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Original Minds

by (author) Eleanor Wachtel

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
May 2012
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2004
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2003
    List Price

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Eleanor Wachtel’s award-winning CBC Radio programme Writers & Company has set the gold standard for intelligent, insightful, riveting interviews. To mark the dawn of the new millennium, Wachtel talked to some of the most inspiring and influential thinkers of our time -- people who have forever changed their area of specialty and influenced the world around them. As she writes in her introduction, "I wanted to interview people who had shaped the last century and whose influence would continue into the next…I hoped to have wide-ranging conversations with some of the most inspiring men and women of our time, people who’ve made a difference."

And what an outstanding list of people she met:

  • Jonathan Miller — internationally acclaimed theatre and opera director, writer, member of Beyond the Fringe comedy troupe
  • Jane Goodall — primatologist and scientist best known for her work with chimpanzees
  • Bernardo Bertolucci — director whose films including the Oscar-winning The Last Emperor and Last Tango in Paris
  • George Steiner — teacher, literary critic and theorist
  • Desmond Tutu — former Archbishop of South Africa and co-chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Susan Sontag — writer of novels, essays, works of non-fiction, and plays. In America won the National Book Award in 2000.
  • Amartya Sen — Nobel Prize winner in Economics (1998)
  • Gloria Steinem — feminist and activist, author whose 1983 collection of essays is titled Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
  • Jared Diamond — teacher, Pulitzer Prize winner for Guns, Germs and Steel
  • Oliver Sacks — neurologist, best known for his books Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
  • Jane Jacobs — internationally respected commentator on city design and planning
  • Umberto Eco — "the Pavarotti of Semiotics" and writer of the international bestseller The Name of the Rose
  • Mary Douglas — anthropologist, author of the classic Purity and Danger (1966)
  • Noam Chomsky — world-famous linguist and dissident intellectual
  • Arthur C. Clarke — writer, best known for his science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Harold Bloom — "one of the world’s most influential critic-scholar-theorists" according to The New York Times

Each interview enlightens not only the subject’s master area but how we see the world and our role in it. Not content to sit back on their intellectual laurels, Wachtel’s subjects seem driven to influence their world and encourage us to do likewise. As Jane Goodall says, "The nicest thing I’m told after lectures is that I make people realize that their lives have more value. And thousands of children from all over the world have said, ‘You taught me that because you did it, I can do it too.’ That’s amazing. That makes it all—all this effort—really worthwhile."

A book for Eleanor Wachtel’s many devotees and for anyone who has a curiosity about the fascinating intersection of people and ideas, Original Minds is a captivating read.

About the author

Eleanor Wachtel is a writer and broadcaster who has hosted CBC Radio’s award-winning Writers & Company since its inception in 1990 and The Arts Today since 1996. In addition to her widely acclaimed Writers & Company and More Writers & Company, she contributed to Dropped Threads and Lost Classics and has co-authored or co-edited three other books. Her work has also appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Saturday Night, Maclean’s and The Globe and Mail. Among the many honours she has received in recognition of her contribution to Canadian intellectual and cultural life, she won the 2002 Jack Award for supporting Canadian books and authors. Born and raised in Montreal, where she studied English literature at McGill University, Eleanor Wachtel lives in Toronto.

Eleanor Wachtel's profile page

Other titles by Eleanor Wachtel