Ashley Zhang

James Baldwin, The Paris Review Interview

Think of any iconic literary figure of the last century, and they’ll probably have an interview in The Paris Review. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I return to Baldwin’s, Simone de Beauvoir’s, and Vladimir Nabokov’s quite often.

The Straussian Moment

Thiel crafts a theory of liberalism for our post-9/11 world, and raises questions of the implications of our loss of faith in human reason.

Quit Your Job

A rousing call to leap off the beaten path, and a reminder of the importance of leisure in an authentic, creative, ambitious life.

Whole Earth Index

The Whole Earth Catalogs were defining artifacts of the 1960s counterculture movement and Silicon Valley’s maverick, do-it-yourself ethos. They’ve recently been digitized and collected in this archive, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see them preserved for posterity.

Notes on Taste

Taste is an uncommon virtue and a notoriously difficult concept to articulate. Brie’s essay, modeled after Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp,”is the best distillation of it that I’ve encountered, and gives us a sense for how we can develop our own.

Go gentle into that good night

Film critic Roger Ebert penned this essay on life, love, and death just a few years before his own passing. It’s a touching reflection on life’s biggest questions and how we can be better to one another during our time on Earth.

John O’Donohue: The Inner Landscape of Beauty

A beautiful reminder from Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue about the necessity of beauty in a full human life.

David Foster Wallace on Ambition

This sentence has haunted me since I first heard it in this interview: "Perfectionism is dangerous because if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything — you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is." I return to it every time I find myself getting in my own way.