We Learn Nothing: Essays And Cartoons

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Satirical cartoonist Tim Kreider here turns his most unflinchingly funny, brutally honest mind to the dark truths of the human condition.

We Learn Nothing (paperback)

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  • We Learn Nothing (paperback)
  • We Learn Nothing (hardcover)


Tim Kreider spent the past fifteen years of his life as a political cartoonist with an avid cult following, exposing the hypocrisies of our government and being, as author Myla Goldberg put it, “funny and crazy and brave enough to proclaim as truths the things the rest of us are too chickenshit to say out loud.” In 2009 he began writing for The New York Times, penning popular essays about love, death, and existential dread. Now, We Learn Nothing takes the reader even deeper into Kreider’s unique worldview.

Combining the keen insight of David Foster Wallace with the absurd humor of David Sedaris, Kreider confronts some of the knottiest and most intimate problems in life. The book feels like philosophical or spiritual inquiries, asking big questions about human-sized problems: What if you survive a brush with death and it doesn’t change you? Why do we fall in love with people we don’t even like? What do you do when a friend becomes obsessed with a political movement and won’t let you ignore it? How do you react when someone you’ve known for years unexpectedly changes genders?

Uncompromisingly honest, sometimes mercilessly so, these comically illustrated essays are rigorous, deeply personal exercises in self-awareness and self-reflection, in routing out delusion with the insight only hindsight can provide. These are the conversations you only have with best friends or total strangers, late at night over drinks, near closing time.

"Tim Kreider's writing is heartbreaking, brutal and hilarious -- usually at the same time. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I'd rather not do a blurb. I am beginning to feel bad about myself." —Judd Apatow

"Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in America and his subversions—by turns public and intimate, political and cultural—are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs. The essays in We Learn Nothing are for anybody who believes it's high time for some answers, damn it." –Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Additional Information

Author Tim Kreider
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Page Count 240pp
Publication Size 5.5 x 8.25 x .5
Publication Notes paperback, b/w
Publication Date April 9, 2013
ISBN 978-1439198711

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