Brain Pickings

Seuss-isms: Wise and Witty Prescriptions for Living from the Good Doctor


“Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

As a lover of Dr. Seuss and of children’s books with timeless philosophy for grown-ups, I was delighted to stumble across Seuss-isms: Wise and Witty Prescriptions for Living from the Good Doctor (public library) — a simple, lovely 1997 collection of Seussean gold that transcends the seemingly simple verses to glean wisdom on life that gets more profound with each reading.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
(Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

(Because, let’s not forget, personality is fluid and we can rewire our own habit loops.)

All alone!
Whether you like it or not,
alone is something
you’ll be quite a lot!
(Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

(And you might as well make it a creative advantage.)

Today you are true!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive
who is you-er than you!
(Happy Birthday to You!)

(Unless, of course, you get into the philosophy of what a “person” is.)

This pool might be bigger
Than you or I know!
(McElligot’s Pool)

(And, as we’ve recently learned, embracing the bounds of our ignorance is fundamental to expanding our knowledge.)

Think left and think right
and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up
if only you try!
(Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!)

(The good doctor knew a thing or two about networked knowledge and combinatorial creativity.)

You’ll find many more such timeless prescriptions in Seuss-isms, divided into subjects ranging from the serious (“Equality and Justice,” “Facing up to Adversity”) to the tongue-in-cheek (“The Art of Eating,” “The First Nerd!”).

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