Happy Birthday, Jill Lepore, born 27 August 1966
- The study of history requires investigation, imagination, empathy, and respect. Reverence just doesn’t enter into it.
- History is hereditary only in this way: we, all of us, inherit everything, and then we choose what to cherish, what to disavow, and what do do next, which is why it’s worth trying to know where things come from.
- Writing history requires empathy, inquiry, and debate. It requires forswearing condescension, cant, and nostalgia. The past isn’t quaint. Much of it, in fact, is bleak.
- Innovation and disruption are ideas that originated in the arena of business but which have since been applied to arenas whose values and goals are remote from the values and goals of business. People aren’t disk drives. Public schools, colleges and universities, churches, museums, and many hospitals, all of which have been subjected to disruptive innovation, have revenues and expenses and infrastructures, but they aren’t industries in the same way that manufacturers of hard-disk drives or truck engines or drygoods are industries.
- …but everyone tries; trying is the human condition. All anyone can do is ask.
Lepore is an American professor and writer. She is chair of Harvard’s History and Literature Program. She writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Scholar, among others. Her biography, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Source for Image: Dari Michele.
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