Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Art & Culture: Intellectual Devotional: Biographies by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim

Back in 2006, the whole January Magazine crew liked David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim’s original Intellectual Devotional, a book intended to offer a sort of gymnasium for the mind where a reader would come, on a daily basis, for a new and refreshing piece of information.

Intellectual Devotional: Biographies (Rodale) is the fourth book in the now popular series. “Revive your mind,” a cover line entices, “complete your education, and acquaint yourself with the world’s greatest personalities.”

And so, every day for the next year, you will find yourself face-to-face with a historical great. Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Erasmus, Jezebel, Henry the Navigator, Nikola Tesla, Winston Churchill: it’s an eclectic, interesting mix.

In an introduction, the authors let us know that Biographies is the final entry in this series. “We’ve chosen to conclude the series with a collection of short biographies, offering intimate portraits of some of the world’s most fascinating people, past and present.”

Like other entries in this series, Intellectual Devotional: Biographies is a well-crafted, worthwhile and surprisingly down-to-earth collection. It feels like a healthy slice of all of the world’s learning right in the palm of your hand.

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