Everyone needs heroes. Without them there’d be no one to learn from, nothing to strive for, and the Nazis would always end up winning in 1950s war movies. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of writers I admire. The list is by no means exhaustive, and it’s heavily influenced by my recent reading. But all of the following are affecting the way I’m thinking at the at the moment.
English born but Australian bred, Haigh’s Ashes blog was one of the best reads of the summer. A wry writer with a great eye for quirks, his blog always provided original insight and stepped off the beaten track – exactly what a good blog should do.
The fleeting nature of pop music means lyricists never have time to build a detailed story. All they can do is throw out an image using a few words and hope it captures the scene. Presumably, Ezra Pound would have been a great frontman for a rock band.
Mike Skinner (leader singer of The Streets) is brilliant at these images – listen to his account of first date awkwardness on Could well be in. I especially like ‘I’m trying to think what else I could say / Peeling the label off, spinning the ashtray.’ For fans, Skinner’s Twitter account is well worth following too.
Sir Winston Churchill
I’ve been gradually working my way through Churchill’s The Second World War since Christmas. That’s not to say it’s not great, but it was a very long war and the book is too heavy to take on the tube.
Churchill has a fittingly majestic style but is always very readable. The part where he goes to Russia to persuade Stalin to change sides is extraordinary. He weaves the domestic details of the trip in amongst an account of a conversation that ultimately decided the fate of the entire world. Very rarely do we get such a personal insight into history.
I know this is hardly an original choice. And I know there’s already more than enough Godin fawning on the internet, especially as he spends most of his time recycling the same ideas over and over again.
But Godin is massively successful, and I think his great secret is his accessibility. He writes plainly, avoids getting overly technical, and above all he keeps things brief. His 200 word posts are perfect for skim-reading during a working day, and then discussing endlessly around the water cooler or on Twitter. If there ‘s one thing I will do with this blog, it’s to start writing entries of less than 300 words where at all possible.