John McPhee

I could barely get through Coming Into the Country, John McPhee’s nonfiction book about Alaska, so packed was it with vivid descriptions. I felt like I was consuming lush poetry, compressed experience, and I could only handle small amounts, three pages or so, at a time. I brought this as a complaint to my friend Andrew Alexander. He said something along the lines of, “Isn’t that what writing is supposed to be like?” I had to agree, and reluctantly noticed the pettiness of my complaint.

Recently, I came across an article to McPhee linked by Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek:

Writing with the Master – The Magic of John McPhee

The parts of the article that stood out for me:

John McPhee’s class was pass-fail. I’m increasingly anti-grading, so this resonated with me. Grading seems like it can put the emphasis on ranking you relative to your classmates, which is not the point of school. The point of school is to challenge you and help you learn and grow. Far from being less rigorous, McPhee’s class seemed more rigorous — he provided feedback that was succinct, often biting — “Sober up.” was a comment Tim Ferriss said he received — and other times celebratory.

I intend to make updates to this post as I continue researching.

For now, here are some more links upon links within articles: