People Who Make You Want to be Smarter

A commenter on this YouTube video clip of David Foster Wallace says:

He makes me want to be smarter. He makes me want to hit the library and not leave until I pass out from reading.

A powerful image. I myself have had moments like this. It’s usually when I have an overwhelming desire to take out a tape recorder and record every word the person is saying — that’s when I know I’m really being inspired to soar. Not every person who’s smarter than me inspires me to want to be smarter. But there are some who do, it’s a short list, and I try to talk to them (or read them – if I don’t know them personally) as much as possible.

Do you have a list of people who make you want to be smarter?


The Wallace clip is from a series of readings / clips taken at the Harper’s 150th Anniversary. Tom Wolfe, Annie Dillard, Lewis Latham, Richard Rodriguez, George Saunders all have their own YouTube pieces.

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