I’ve been looking at this illustration for about an hour now. On one simple piece of paper, you can discover the six degrees of separation between Plato and Zadie Smith, J.J. Abrams and Isaac Newton,
and Voltaire and Moby.

It was created for the Debt issue of Longshot Magazine by Michelle Legro of Lapham’s Quarterly, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. The illustration is meant to chart the “artistic, scientific, and philosophical debts through time.”

It’s a human algorithm that weaves together centuries of creative thought. Sort of mind-blowing, really. I only wish I had paid this close attention in history class! You can hear Legro, Popova and MacNaughton interviewed about the creation of the chart on Longshot Radio.

Copies of the chart are for sale on Etsy.


24 Comments on Circles of Influence

  1. interesting!!! I’d love if it was a website and I could click on each arrow to read about how they were connected. but thats my brain always wanting to know the how.

    oh that commentluv form worked. Does wordpress have a plugin where you can comment with your twitter or facebook login? or one that remembers your details?

  2. SO cool! Funny that Tolstoy was influenced by Charles Dickens who was influenced by Shakespeare, when Tolstoy was supposed to have hated Shakespeare.

  3. yes, it has a twitter and facebook plugin somewhere…i need to find it..that would make it easier for people to comment…

  4. I missed a cross reference between Shakespeare an Miguel de Cervantes. Almost only anglosaxons in this chart! Funny though. I spent a good time looking at it. I find your blog to be amazing and always inspiring!

  5. Now try to imagine such chart with all our influences in the web… that would certainly give you nighmares :D.

    I love it and I’m already imagining endless charts…

    I think I’ll buy one for a “literary” friend for her birthday. Does ETSY dispatchs for Portugal? (teresa running to have a look :))

    Thank you Tina, you always find the sweetest things :flower:

  6. Mind-blowing indeed! I haven’t read all of it but I recognize some connections, though I never made them myself. It’s like that thing with the handshakes, as in how many handshakes did it take to get from someone famous to yourself, but this is so much more interesting!

  7. brilliant! not only are discovering connections always fascinating, but seeing visually the authors linked to my favorites has inspired me to branch out a bit!

  8. bahut sahi…Neeta ji ekdam sahi baat kahi… aur ekdam sahi mudda uthaya… ajaakal is net ke chakkar mei to pata nahi sabhi ko kya ho gaya hai…n specially females ka to aise logon se yunhi pala padta rahta hai…

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