Friday, May 14, 2021

The Written World by Martin Puchner

This book’s full title is Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History and Civilization. He has his own we website. He has put lots of information about this book there.

I found this book interesting. However, he does not always get his history right. After I saw some mistakes, I decided to note the next one. He said (page 297 my copy) that rulers in Delhi converted to Islam, but India was conquered by the Islamic Mughals. Just little things, but annoying. I do know a lot of history as I read a lot of history.

He talks about the 4 stages of literature. The first stage was dominated by small groups of scribes who mastered a difficult writing system and control the texts they assembled. In the second stage there were charismatic teachers such as Buddha, Socrates, and Jesus whose followers developed news styles of writing. In the third stage individual authors emerged supported by innovations that made access to writing easier, such as Lady Murasaki in Japan and Cervantes in Spain. The fourth stage made use of the widespread use of paper and print and ushered in an era of mass production and mass literacy with newspapers and broadsides.

There are a lot of interesting reviews of this book on Good Reads. There is a short description of this book on Kirkus. There is a podcast at Harvard Edu with an interview of Martin Puchner by Robin Kelsey. On the Writ Large site, Zachary Davis interviews Martin Puchner about his book. There is a podcast and the script from the podcast.

Martin Puchner explains the History of the Written World on YouTube for Cambridge Forum. He starts speaking at 1.14 minutes in to almost 40 minutes. I found interesting is the discussion on Charismatic teachers that appeared in writing cultures, but these teachers did not write. Their student did write what that said later. These teachers appear around the same time and they included Buddha in India, Confucius in China, Socrates in Greece, and Jesus in the Near East. Here Kameel Masr interviews Martin Puchner and this is sponsored by the Curiosity Foundation. Martin Puchner is interviewed at Harvard by Miles Osgood. This is shorter at some 14 minutes.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.