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Montaigne Quote

Don’t worry, be happy — or, as a quote attributed to Montaigne goes, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” This is part of a complete episode.

That Song in Your Head

If someone clapped out the rhythm of a song you knew, would you recognize it? It’s pretty unlikely, given what’s called the curse of knowledge. To the person with the song in their head, it’s obvious, but you can’t expect...

Steven Pinker’s Advice for Writers

Steven Pinker’s new book, The Sense of Style, which Martha cites among her all-time favorite books about writing, has just the right message: don’t worry so much about the errors, because you’ll make them, and if writing...


Michel de Montaigne once wrote, “A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.” This is a classic example of chiasmus, or a reversal of clauses that together make a larger point. This is part of a complete episode.