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 anyone else to hear it. It’s an important concept for anyone who wants to be a better writer. This is among many fascinating concepts discussed in Steven Pinker’s new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, which some are calling the new Strunk and White. This is part of a complete episode.
- Queen Bee (episode #1550) 07/13/2020: An artist asks strangers to write haiku about the pandemic and gets back poetic, poignant glimpses of life under lockdown. Plus, the new book Queenspotting... [more]
- Navel-Gazing (episode #1549) 06/29/2020: In 1971, when a new public library opened in Troy, Michigan, famous authors and artists were invited to write letters to the city's youngest readers,... [more]
- Yak Shaving (episode #1548) 06/08/2020: There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin.... [more]
- Cabin Fever (episode #1547) 04/21/2020: The adjectives canine and feline refer to dogs and cats. But how does English address other groups of animals? Plus, cabin fever has been around... [more]
- Singing Sand (episode #1546) 04/06/2020: Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means "money." In the same way, cat beer... [more]