“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
Today is Thoreau’s birthdate. Born on this date in 1817, he remains one of America’s great philosophers, naturalists and poets. Best known for his book Walden, he wrote not only on the world around us but also on the importance of being aware of how we reflect that world through our words and actions.
Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are writings on natural history and philosophy. Thoreau also holds the distinction of influencing both writers and naturalists. Among the dozens of leading writers who cite his work as having a major impact on their own were Edward Abbey, Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway. Among the dozens of naturalists who list his work as key to their own are John Burroughs, John Muir, B.F. Skinner and David Brower.
An avid reader all his life, Thoreau advised all to enjoy books as a key part of life. “Books,” he said, “are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
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