Rereading: Emerson: The Mind On Fire By Robert D. Richardson Jr.

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Emerson: The Mind On Fire is, for me, one of those books that you keep coming back to regain knowledge, verify what you believe and even after reading it three times, discovering new ideas and thoughts. Emerson, thrills me from the standpoint that he was interested in some many areas and would read syntopically until he discovered what he truly believed about a certain topic or interest.

It is unusual for me to consider a biography or memoir to be in this category of discovery but Mr. Emerson, with his emphasis on commonplace notebooks, continues to amaze me.

This blurb from page 43 about these commonplace notebooks and his writing:

“And from almost everything he read he culled phrases, details, facts, metaphors, anecdotes, witticisms, aphorisms, and ideas. He kept this energetic reading and excerpting up for over forty years; the vast system of his personal notebooks and indexes—including indexes to indexes—eventually reached over 230 volumes, filling four shelves of a good-sized bookcase. The notebooks were in part his storehouse of original writing and in part a filing system, designed to store and give him access to the accumulating fruits of this reading on every topic that ever interested him throughout his life.”

I am concentrating this time in reading this and understanding Emerson’s thought process in determining what he truly believed about a certain topic or idea and understanding reasoning and method of how he came to that conclusion. I must say that this is truly one of my favorite books of all time!!!


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