By Britney Wilkins
As long as there have been books, there have been people opposed to what is said in some of those books. Authors who challenge the accepted norms in their literature are often the target of angry people who do not understand or appreciate their literature. The following books are excellent examples of great literature that has become banned or challenged in an attempt to shield the public from what some see as inappropriate.
Protect the Children
These books have all been at the heart of controversy over their appropriateness for children and youth to read.
- Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Frequently a target of censorship, this classic coming-of-age story of a teenage boy in New York is often banned due to the language and sexuality–particularly a scene with a prostitute.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Offensive language, in particular, one very racially-charged word, is the usual reason given for banning this book, which has been controversial since it was published in 1884. Twain’s famous story highlights the friendship between a white boy and a black man in a book that attempted to challenge the racism Twain saw around him.
- Forever by Judy Blume. Blume is frequently the target of censorship as many of her books deal with teen issues revolving around becoming a sexual being. Forever documents a high school girl’s loss of virginity and delves into the emotional aspects of her choice.
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. This fantasy novel says much about friendship and loyalty, but it also says plenty about not following a religion blindly. Many have seen the book as anti-religion and have banned the book.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Most who oppose this book claim the violence, language, and the implication that man is little more than an animal as the reasons. The book depicts a microcosm of society played out on an island populated by young boys stranded there and trying to survive. The struggle between good and evil and the exploration of human nature can force readers to examine themselves in ways that may not feel comfortable.
- The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Some parents object to the magic and wizardry that is at the heart of the Harry Potter books. Because of their objections, many schools and libraries have banned these books.
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. A powerful book that explores friendship, life, and death, this book is often banned due to what some feel is offensive language and scenes of witchcraft which some believe promotes disobeying authority as well as anti-religious sentiments. Oddly, the theme of death, which is a major element in the novel, is also used as a reason to ban this book.
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. This book depicts a child who lives under the oppression of mean caretakers and relies on his creativity and an alternate world in order to survive. Those opposed to the book dislike the violence, language, and disobedience towards adults.
- And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. This children’s story tells of two male penguins at a zoo who care for an egg together. Despite the reality that male penguins bond together to care for their eggs in nature and that the two characters in the book are based on actual penguins from the Central Park Zoo, the idea of two males creating a family has forced many to ban the book due to reasons of homosexuality and anti-family issues.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The bonds of family and friendship are at the heart of this novel, but it also highlights the battle of good and evil and brings in supernatural spirits, therefore making it a target for those worried about the religious implications they feel the novel makes.
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. Selling chocolates as a fundraiser at school not only sets off fictional turmoil in this book, but it also prompts parents to challenge the book. Reasons given include language, violence, resisting authority, and sexuality.
- The Giver by Lois Lowery. The award-winning book that depicts a society driven to maintain an amazing amount of control over its members, including euthanasia and suicide. Some parents have reacted strongly to these themes in the book and have taken the book as an endorsement for killing.
Religion and Politics
Banned by governments, taken off shelves at libraries, and removed from schools, these books have been contested because of the way they portray religion or politics.
- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. This book of magical realism describes a battle between God and the devil through the depiction of two men who go through fantastical journeys. This book was so reviled by several governments and religious leaders in Asia and the Middle East that a fatwa was issued against Rushdie, who had to live in hiding for many years in order to avoid being killed.
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Irving’s book is a powerful one that highlights the loyalty and bonds of friendship and family in a poignant and humorous manner. Some feel that the stance Irving takes on religion and opposition to US in Vietnam are reason enough to ban this incredible book.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. When this book was originally banned in California for obscenity. However, there is evidence that shows the censorship was lead by wealthy landowners who did not want their treatment of their workers to become highlighted from the very realistic accounts in Steinbeck’s novel.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe. When this book was published in1851, it was criticized by slavery supporters and described as a false depiction of slavery. The importance and relevance of this novel has survived the censorship it has experienced to allow current generations to learn from their ancestors’ mistakes.
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. On the surface this book seems it should be included in the Protect the Children section, but the reason this Dr. Seuss book is banned has more to do with adult issues. The book is an allegorical story describing the effects of poor stewardship on the Earth. Those opposed to the book, specifically some in California, feel it shows an unfair portrayal of those in the logging industry.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This popular thriller is a work of fiction, but that doesn’t mean any less to those opposed to it. Catholic leaders have banned The Da Vinci Code for what it sees as its anti-Christian sentiment and for the portrayal of Christ in a physical relationship with Mary Magdalene–even having children together.
- 1984 by George Orwell. Perhaps one of the most famous dystopian novels written, 1984 was published in the early part of the 20th century with a warning to society that has become eerily true. The book has been banned in the past due to pro-communist sentiment and sexuality.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell. This satirical allegory was initially banned in the Soviet Union because of its anti-Stalinism, but has also been challenged in America by parents fearful that their children will be exposed to the communist sentiment expressed in the introduction and the text.
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Underlying themes in this famous work include political corruption, anti-war sentiments, and the injustices of colonization. It’s no wonder this book has been banned in several countries and Swift had to publish it anonymously.
- Candide by Voltaire. Politics, war, colonialism, and religion are all sharply skewered with the satire in Candide. Since it’s publication in 1759 through the 20th century, this book was banned by several countries.
Perhaps the most popular reason a book is banned or challenged, the following books all portray sexuality in a way that has made some uncomfortable.
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence. Lawrence’s book tells the story of an adulterous love affair and includes explicit sexual language. It was banned in the UK and Lawrence eventually published in Italy, where the first edition sold out immediately.
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Miller’s novel was banned in Great Britain and the US due to the sexuality described in the book. Miller eventually had his autobiographical account of living in Paris published in France.
- Fanny Hill by John Cleland. Considered the first erotic novel published in English, Fanny Hill describes the sexual exploits of a woman who begins with selling her virginity and eventually ends up a prostitute by trade. Besides the typical sexuality described in the book, there are also instances of homosexuality (both with men and women), masturbation, and sadomasochism.
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Whitman published several versions of this book filled with his poetry that often celebrates sexuality, both homosexual and heterosexual. From the late 1800′s to the present day, these poems have faced challenges to be read.
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. New wealth, old relationships, and a society trying to find itself are at the center of this novel. Opponents of this work cite sexual references and profanity in the book.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Huxley’s dystopian view of society depicts adults dulling their senses with pacifying drugs and casual sex. What Huxley uses as a tool to illustrate what he felt was wrong with society is exactly what those opposed to the book latch on to when challenging it.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini’s beautiful book of friendship and loyalty examines the life of two boys in Afghanistan who come from two widely differing classes. Besides the Afghanistan government’s upset over the content of the book, others around the world have challenged the book due to claims of offensive language and a sexually explicit scene in which a young boy is raped.
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This touching story of Charlie, a mentally challenged young man who participates in a scientific experiment to raise his intelligence, portrays the awakening both intellectually and emotionally of the man. A part of this awakening includes exploration of his sexuality, which has prompted many to want the book banned.
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Chopin’s short novel tells the tale of a married woman who discovers herself and explores her newfound freedom through bucking societal expectations, having an adulterous affair, and eventually opting for suicide as a way to preserve her freedom and not become a slave to a life she detested. Opponents object to the sexuality.
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Trapped in a loveless and unfulfilling marriage, Madame Bovary engages in adulterous affairs in an attempt to find happiness. The sexuality in the book prompted many countries to ban the book on the basis of its being immoral.
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike. The main character, 20-something Rabbit, runs to escape the constraints of family life and becomes involved with a prostitute, an ex-girlfriend, and others as he deals with the issues surrounding his marriage. A direct result of the oppressive social atmosphere of the 1950′s, Rabbit, Run includes many sexual depictions that offended quite a few people.
- Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This classic autobiography is taught in almost every school in America, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t faced its challenges. Parents have protested against this book as being too sexually charged, pornographic, and even claiming it was too depressing to be taught.
- Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov. First published by a pornographic press in France, Nabokov explores the life of Humbert Humbert, a pedophile who runs away with the 12 year-old daughter of his landlady. The book was banned from many countries and still experiences challenges today.
Race and Gender Issues
Racism or the treatment of women are the driving forces behind having these books removed from the public eye.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Racism, language, and a rape scene are the usual culprits when banning this book. In reality, Lee was highlighting the rampant racism of her time in this much beloved book in an attempt to change the wrongs she saw in society.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s portrayal of an unusual friendship between two men, one of whom is developmentally challenged, has prompted many to oppose the book due to the language, social and racial implications, and violence in the book.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Some of the reasons this book is challenged include the violence, profanity, and sexuality in the book, including a rape scene, but most importantly are the race relations that Walker depict. Racism is difficult to face for many and the reaction to ban literature that depicts it is a strong one.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Sexual content, racism, offensive language, violence are the most popular reasons this book is challenged and continues to be today. Angelou’s autobiographical book is both shocking and beautiful as she recounts the experiences of her early life as she endured racism, abuse, and other challenges she eventually overcame.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Perhaps one of the most surprising books on banned book lists, Little Women is a very wholesome depiction of a family of four sisters who struggle in poverty but are rich in love and familial ties. The reason the book is challenged may be based on what some view as punishment of the one character who has a strong feminist approach by her marriage to a boring and much older man.
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. This anti-war satire is surprisingly not challenged due to that theme, but because of the depiction of women in the novel. The word "whore" is used frequently and there have been claims that the book promotes misogyny.
Sometimes a book is so controversial or so powerfully written that it hits people on several different levels. These books have been banned for many different reasons, usually including profanity, violence, and sexuality.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Perhaps the most ironic banned book situation, Fahrenheit 451 deals with the issue of censorship in a dystopian society that sends firefighters out to burn down houses discovered to have books inside. Those opposed to this book claim various reasons for banning it including profanity, portrayal of smoking and drinking, and anti-religious and anti-establishment sentiments.
- Native Son by Richard Wright. Violence, sex, and profanity are the reasons this book is frequently banned. The hard depiction of life in the novel highlights the hopelessness and racism suffered by one man and illustrates what happens to a man caught in a society that marginalizes him.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison. Morrison’s book about an escaped slave who rears her children in a world of fright and lack of freedom includes instances of violence and sexual abuse. On the surface, the book may appear to contain gratuitous scenes, Morrison ties everything together in a cautionary reminder for society to heed the mistakes of the past.
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. This masterpiece of American literature explores the physical and mental journey of those oppressed by a life of poverty. The reasons many feel the need to ban this book include the references Faulkner makes to masturbation, abortion, and questioning the existence of God as well as profanity.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kessey. Telling the story of a group of mentally ill patients in an oppressive hospital, this story explores what happens when someone stands up to that oppression in order to create a more equanimous situation, moral choice everyone must face, and forming friendships despite hardship. Those opposed to Kessey’s novel claim it glorifies criminal activity, is "garbage," includes bizarre torture, bad language, bestiality, and promotes secular humanism.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This dystopian story tells of a society run by men that remove all freedom from women and class them according to what purpose they can serve for the men. The story is told from the perspective of a handmaiden, or a women who is used solely for providing babies to wealthy couples. Those opposed to the book claim it is anti-Christian and pornographic.
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This true story details the violent murder of an entire family by two criminals in search of money that they were wrongly informed existed at the family’s farmhouse. This book is considered to be the first true crime book, and upon its publication, many were appalled by the violence depicted in the book for what seemed no good reason.
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut’s book about a time-traveling prisoner of war who has no control of where he will end up next has faced challenges against what opponents feel is unnecessary sex, violence, language, anti-religion, torture, ethnic spurs, and misogyny.
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck. The battle of good and evil in humanity is the major theme in this powerful novel that parallels the book of Genesis in the Bible. The book has been challenged as an obscenity that is ungodly.
COLLEGE DEGREE FINDER
Whether you love writing as a hobby or aspire to a career as a professional writer, there is always room for improvement when it comes to practicing your craft. The following online tools offer everything from writing prompts to get you started, mind maps to help plan your writing project, tools to help with creativity and the quality of your work, tools to improve your research skills, and even tools to help you with a career as a writer. Spend some time browsing through the following list to find plenty of ways to help boost your writing skills.
Story Builders and Writing Prompts
The first line can be the most challenging one to write. Try these writing prompts to stimulate your thoughts and get you ready for a productive writing session.
- Portrait of Words: Writing Challenge Photo Prompts. Check in each month to see a group of photos with directions on how to incorporate them into a story you create.
- Creative Writing Prompts. Get over 300 writing prompts with a wide range of topics to help your writing start flowing.
- Writing Prompt Generator. Use these writing prompts that are generated at the click of a button.
- Big Huge Thesaurus. Find blog post ideas and story plot ideas with this tool that is also a thesaurus.
- Imagination Prompt Generator. Spend about 10 minutes writing with each of these prompts before going on to the next one.
- McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Thirteen Writing Prompts. Use these thirteen preset writing prompts when you need a little nudge.
- WritingFix: The Daily Prompt Generator. With almost 550 questions available, this interactive writing prompt generator will certainly give you great ideas for your writing.
- Writer’s Digest – Writing Prompts. You won’t run out of great ways to start writing with the pages of prompts available here.
- About.com Creative Writing Prompts. Find many links to writing prompt generators and ideas to help you start writing.
- Writing Prompts. Get a random selection of writing prompts with this tool.
Mind Mapping and Brainstorming
Some writers love using mind mapping and brainstorming tools to help organize their thoughts and plan out their writing projects. Give these tools a try to see if they work for you.
- yWriter5. Designed specifically for novel writers, but useful for any writer, easily organize large sections of your writing with this tool unique tool.
- Mindomo. This free mind mapping tool will help you organize your thoughts and ideas.
- bubble.us. Brainstorming got a lot easier with this simple tool that creates bubbles connecting your ideas.
- Mapul. Create mind maps that are easy to use and easy to understand with this tool.
- WiseMapping. This tool offers free mind maps that you can also share with others.
- Cmap Tools. You can create concept maps with this free mind mapping tool.
- Kayuda. Get your thoughts organized if you are working alone or organize the thoughts of a group with Kayuda.
- View Your Mind. See your thoughts with this tool that helps illustrate your thoughts through easy-to-use mind maps.
- Gliffy. This tool helps you create flowcharts for your writing projects, or you can use it to map out plots and other ideas.
- VUE. If you are working on a research-oriented project, this mind mapping tool, created at Tufts University, is especially helpful for such tasks.
- FreeMind. Use this tool to help keep track of projects, organize research, brainstorm, and more.
- Idea Lottery. Scroll down and plug in type in keywords that pertain to your topic to generate related ideas off of which you can brainstorm.
- Jump Start. By the Idea Lottery folks, enter a "How can I?" question to receive a list of related adjectives.
- Google Sets. Enter up to five words that relate to your topic and select a short or long list full of related words.
Writing and Note-Taking
These tools all help with taking notes and keeping your writing organized and readily available.
- Jott. This tool is great for keeping notes via voice mail. Send yourself a voice message and Jott will record notes, appointments, to-do lists, and more.
- Notezz!. This super-simple note-taking tool will keep all your notes in one place without any complicated features.
- UberNote. Email or IM your notes with this tool that you can use from your desktop or your mobile phone.
- Google Notebook. Use Google’s web-based document tool for a full-featured solution to keeping all your writing in one place and easily accessible.
- Zoho Notebook. Another full-featured writing tool, Zoho allows you to integrate audio, video, html, URLs, files, and more and includes tons of tools.
- Evernote. This popular note-taking tool is an excellent way to keep track of your ideas. Type in text, take photos, or link from the Internet to save any important notes.
- WebAsyst Notes. After you create notes with this tool, then organize them in folders for easy access and share with collaborators or clients.
- Wridea. Write down what you need to remember with this tool that allow you to edit, organize, and share your notes.
- FruitNotes. This online notebook offers lots of useful features including leaving voice notes from your phone and uploading photos and videos.
- Notefish. If you do Internet research for your writing, use Notefish to save information from websites, then organize and share your notes.
Make sure you know the words you are using, find synonyms, learn the history of words, and use the correct style with these helpful online reference tools.
- Dictionary.com. Not only can you look up meanings with this tool, but you can also get other tools that help with grammar and style, word FAQs, and other types of dictionaries.
- Webster’s Online Dictionary. Look up a word, use the medical dictionary or thesaurus, and get a Quote-of-the-Day.
- Bartleby. Find a huge number of reference tools at this site that includes access to thousands of books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, quotes, style and usage, and much more.
- Library Spot Grammar/Style. Get links to several sites that provide you with tutorials, how-tos, and style guides so that you are always using proper grammar and style.
- Word of the Day. A great way to expand your vocabulary is by learning a new word every day.
- Online Etymology Dictionary. Discover the origins and history of many words and phrases with this fun online tool.
- Urban Dictionary. Don’t get left behind–stay up on the most recent slang words or phrases with this useful, and sometimes irreverent, dictionary.
- Visual Thesaurus. Look up a word and get synonyms mapped out for you with this tool that is great for exploring connotations.
One of the keys to being a great writer is staying creative. If you feel like you could use a boost in the creativity department, then check out these fun tools to start the creative energy flowing again.
- Creative Aerobics. Find tons of online activities here that will help you find your creativity through exploration, breaking out of ruts, and using new problem-solving techniques.
- Mindstreaming. Learn how a community can work together and share creative ideas on how to bring about world peace.
- Creativity Portal. You can find ideas for arts and crafts, creative living, writing, and prompts with this handy tool.
- Creativity Pool. See what types of fun inventions others have suggested or add a few of your own ideas.
- EyeWire Creativity Cards. Print these inspiring cards and save them to use any time your writing is slowing down. They will spark your creativity.
- Favorite Website Awards. A great way to find your creativity is by appreciating that of others. Check out these websites that show some of the best creativity on the Internet.
- CREAX. This tool provides links to 841 websites thought to be the best in creativity and innovation.
- Good Things Should Never End. Jump on this interactive website to explore the creativity hidden throughout this never-ending website. Careful, it’s addictive.
- An Exercise. From The Creative Brain, this exercise will help spark your creativity.
- Learn to be MORE Creative NOW!. Find lessons and exercises designed to start your creative process here.
- Instructables. This website is full of fun projects that will certainly spark your creativity ranging from manly crafts to eco-friendly projects to offbeat guides.
- Sloganizer. If you need help coming up with a slogan, use this tool to create slogans based on keywords you supply.
- Web Lab. The project happening here are all working into bring fresh perspectives to important social issues.
- Sketchcast. This tool allows you to sketch and publish your work in a blog-type setting, with or without words. If you aren’t feeling inspired yet, check out other’s sketches.
Whether you are writing a novel or an informative essay, your writing will be stronger if you understand your topic better. Check out these Internet research tools that help you find the best, most reliable information.
- Academic Index. This search tool is created by the former chair of Texas Association of School Librarians and only pulls from databases and resources that are approved by librarians and educators.
- Clusty. Use this search tool that looks through top search engines, then clusters the results so that information that may have been hidden far down in the search results easily accessible.
- Dogpile. Dogpile uses several top search engines then removes duplicates from the results.
- Fazzle.com. This meta-search engine accesses a large number of databases and claims to have more access to information than Google.
- Multiple Search. This tool searches among major search engines, social networks, Flickr, Wikipedia, and many more sites to find what you need.
- Hakia. If you want guaranteed quality on your searches, use this popular semantic search engine that only provides results from websites that are recommended by librarians.
- OAIster. When you are searching for digital items, use this tool that draws upon 12 million resources from over 800 repositories.
- DeepDyve. Specifically targeted at exploring the deep web, you can find plenty of expert information with this search tool.
- Intute. The resources you find with this research tool are all hand-selected and specifically for education and research purposes.
- Virtual Learning Resource Center. Get links to thousands of academic research sites to help anyone at any level find the best information for their research projects.
- Gateway to 21st Century Skills. This resource is sponsored by the US Department of Education and provides information from a variety of quality places on the Internet.
Finding Writing Jobs
One of the best ways to become a writer is to do plenty of writing. No matter if you have a full-time job or want to support yourself by writing alone, take a look at these tools that will help you find writing jobs.
- Mediabistro. Writers looking for media-related jobs should check out this popular site.
- Writer Gazette. You can look for freelance jobs here as well as read articles, get tips, and more to help your writing career.
- FreelanceWriting. Find jobs, enter writing contests, and learn how to improve your writing skills from other writers at this site.
- JournalismJobs. Search for jobs in the field of journalism from categories such as freelance or internships, and even enter writing contests.
- NewsJobs.net. Get links to sites where you can search for news jobs or read others’ essays offering advice about how they found their jobs in journalism.
- Guru. Freelancers can post their resume and qualifications and employers can search for prospective employees where contract jobs are negotiated by bidding.
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Web and Print. Get job-hunting tips, network, and find freelance jobs here.
- WritersWeekly. This site posts weekly job opportunities as well as freelance gigs, articles to help writers, and more.
- Media Kitty. Search for writing jobs or find story ideas and media requests at this site.
- Writerfind. Employers can post information and writers can post profiles on this site that helps make it easy for writers seeking freelance and telecommuting jobs.
While writing is typically a solitary job, sometimes writers must work with others to collaborate on projects or when being hired by a client for freelance work. If you find yourself in need of tools to help make this happen, then see what’s available in this list.
- writewith. Great for collaborative writing projects, this tool keeps everyone together with features such as shared documents, shared tasks, and discussions.
- Thinkature. With this too, you and your partners can collaborate, organize your research and ideas, and prepare your project together.
- Diigo. Use this tool to highlight passages on web pages, add sticky notes, and share with your colleagues or you client.
- Backpack. Backpack allows for easy collaboration with both clients and colleagues and includes features such as announcements; shared to-do lists, calendars, files; and centralized discussions.
- Writeboard. Create shareable online text documents to keep track of ideas and progress notes for yourself and your collaborators.
- Springnote. This collaboration tool allows you to take notes for yourself or work with others to create a group project.
- Thinkfree. This tool is loaded with free services, including document creation and sharing, file access and sharing, collaboration, blogging, and iPhone access.
- WebNotes. A great way to share notes with those whom you are working, this tool allows you to attach notes to web pages, create notes in folders, and share your notes with others.
- 30 Boxes. This online calendar keeps you organized, is easy to use, and its sharing feature is a great way to communicate timelines with clients.
- LooseStitch. Create outlines, share with your colleagues and clients, and keep your changes organized and easy to follow with this tool.
If you find yourself freelancing to make your writing career happen, then you will want to take advantage of these free tools that will make your life easier and free up plenty of time to focus on writing.
- Emurse. Keep your resume updated and available with this tool that allows you to create, store, share, and print your resume in a variety of formats.
- SlimTimer. If you need a tool to help you track hours, give this one a try. It also runs reports and manages tasks.
- Toggl. This time management tool tracks your time on projects, creates invoices, offers desktop widgets, an iGoogle gadget, and more.
- FreshBooks. FreshBooks offers free, professional invoices online when you are only invoicing a few clients.
- Zoho Invoice. If you would rather be in control of your invoices and you don’t want to track how many clients you’ve got, try Zoho Invoice for sending quotes, receiving customer payments online, and managing invoices with ease.
- LinkedIn. This popular social site for professionals will help you network, find contacts, and grow your freelancing business.
- Plaxo. Stay in touch with your clients and contacts with this tool that also helps you keep them all organized.
- Tabber. If you have several online accounts, manage your contacts with Tabber, which combines them all for you.
- Tasks Jr.. This task manager allows you to organize and prioritize your professional projects as well as your personal ones.
- Agrata. Manage your passwords with this encrypted tool that securely stores all your passwords so that you don’t have to remember them.
- mint. Freelancers must be especially careful when managing money, so use this free tool that connects your bank, credit cards, and mutual funds so you can stay in control of your finances.
- BillMonk. Keep track of your money as well as other items you have loaned or borrowed with this tool.
- wesabe. This free tool is great for freelancers and helps you track spending as well as create goals towards saving money.
COLLEGE DEGREE FINDER
By Emily Thomas
Important thinkers have been revered throughout time. Whether it’s trying to figure out human nature, standing up for rights of others through logical discourse, or coming up with new ways to approach the world, their ability to think through issues and present them to society provides the rest of the world with a glimpse into a new, and often better, way of thinking. The following philosophers, listed in chronological order, offer something for you to discover if you are looking for self-improvement or even just a stimulating read.
- Confucius (551-479 BC). Born into a humble family, Confucius entered into a life of politics but early on left due to his disappointment with the leader of his state and turned instead to teaching in order to help create better leaders from an early age. Confucius believed that peace and orderliness could come through living a life of virtue and the way to achieve this was through study. The writings of Confucius are credited by many to be the foundation from which many Asian societies have grown.
- Socrates (469-399 BC). Often said to be the founder of western philosophy, Socrates and his work are best known through the writings of his students, in particular, Plato. His style of asking a series of questions in order to help students explore knowledge is known as the Socratic Method. Socrates was primarily concerned with virtue and justice, and ironically, was jailed and sentenced to death on charges of corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens as his philosophical pursuits were at odds with the social climate of the times.
- Plato (427-347). A student of Socrates, Plato later became a teacher and philosopher in his own right. Such ideas as his Theory of Forms (the idea that the physical world is much more than what we as humans can perceive) and philosopher kings (rulers who value truth, reason, and wisdom in their leadership of mankind) have shaped the fields of mathematics, science, philosophy, rhetoric, and logic.
- Aristotle (384-322 BC). A student of Plato’s, Aristotle first began his education studying medicine, then continued with his training in philosophy. Aristotle was known as an elegant writer who covered topics ranging from science to metaphysics to poetry to politics. His works include a formal study of logic that has evolved to the current formal system of logic studied today.
- Marcus Aurelius (121-180 BC). This Roman emperor is also famous for his stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations as a way for his own self-improvement and focuses on ways to live a better and happier life through self-control and living simply and in harmony with nature. Some claim Marcus Aurelius is a true example of Plato’s philosopher king.
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Famous for his quote, "I think, therefore I am," Descartes philosophy was rooted in the idea that the fact that humans can think is the evidence of their existence. Descartes is also famous for his ideas of dualism, or that the body and mind are two separate entities. The body, which he believed operated like a machine, is different from the mind, which is not ruled by the laws of physics, and therefore, must be separate.
- David Hume (1711-1776). The thoughts of Hume have influenced such popular thinkers and scientists as Darwin, Kant, and Thomas Henry Huxley. The basis of Hume’s ideas are that we can only know what we experience. By Hume’s beliefs, scientific study can only be carried out through observance and experience. Hume is often thought of as an early explorer of the cognitive sciences.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Famous for his political and social theories, Rousseau believed strongly in human freedom and wrote about the chains that bind mankind coming from corrupt governments that impose their will on otherwise well-intended people. He also wrote about education and upheld the belief that children should be brought up in a natural learning environment where they could learn the logical consequences of their actions.
- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Considered one of the most influential Western philosophers, Kant believed that by studying human knowledge–where it comes from and its limits–can provide answers to life’s questions. He promoted a belief that reason alone could not provide human knowledge, but that it must come from both reason and experience.
- Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). Largely considered one of the founders of feminist philosophy, Wollstonecraft wrote about the rights and the education of women. She believed that women were not inferior to men, but merely less educated. She herself lived an infamous life on the fringes of what was acceptable to society due to her beliefs about marriage and her rocky relationships.
- Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). One of the creators of German idealism, Hegel’s beliefs and works revolve around the idea that contradictions ultimately reconnect and unite without negating either original idea. Metaphysics play an important role in Hegel’s beliefs and his is often considered one of the most difficult philosophers to read. Don’t let this deter you from studying his works, though, as his ideas about thought and reality are intriguing.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Famous for his transcendentalist school of thought, Emerson was an incredibly popular orator who drew large crowds when he would speak on the topics of nature and individualism. His works center around his beliefs of how religion and nature are entwined and the independence and self-reliance of mankind.
- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Reared by his father, also a philosopher, to be a great thinker, Mill was educated in the classics from a very young age and only allowed to be among adults–his siblings being his only exposure to children. As an adult, Mill was concerned with many social issues and often wrote on liberty and women’s rights (often working together with his close friend and later, wife, on the feminist pieces).
- Margaret Fuller (1810-1850). Born to a father who educated her early and aggressively, Fuller became the first woman to use the Harvard Library, the first female book-reviewer, the first female foreign correspondent, and published the first major feminist work. She believed in equal rights, education, and employment for women and was also an important figure in the transcendental movement–a contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Famously opposed to the work of Hegel, Kierkegaard’s writings often have a strong religious tone, incorporating the idea that understanding one’s self through introspection is the key to understanding. A prolific writer known for his topics in theology and psychology, many of Kierkegaard’s early work was done under pseudonyms. Categorizing this philosopher is difficult, with some calling him an existentialist, a postmodernist, an individualist, and a humanist.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). One of the transcendentalists, Thoreau is famous for his book Walden, which he uses to describe his experience living at Walden Pond and as a metaphor for society at large on living simply and in harmony with nature. Thoreau was also a proponent of what he termed civil disobedience in his essay by the same name, or gently refusing to comply with an unjust government. His philosophical writings have influenced many renowned thinkers including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as a whole host of important literary figures.
- Karl Marx (1818-1883). Known mostly as a revolutionary communist, Marx was educated as a philosopher and believed that human nature is in a constant state of transition. This theory of transition bled over to his political philosophy that he wrote about in The Communist Manifesto where he explains that economic systems will transition from one to the other kind until eventually a classless, communist state will result. Other Marxist works focus on his ideas about human nature, history, and class relations.
- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). The enthusiasm and passion with which Nietzsche writes his ideas have sparked the interest of many readers throughout the years. Embracing existentialism and finding the power of change in the hands of those seeking the change in themselves, Nietzsche writes of how one can break out of the society-driven mode of trying to find the easiest way to live life to embrace a life full of power and strength to become the Superman.
- Ayn Rand (1905-1982). Rand was born in Russia, but moved to the U.S. in 1926 where she developed the philosophy she called Objectivism–goals of which include personal happiness and productive achievement and reason being the only absolute. Among her writings are the two novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which still enjoy popularity today.
- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). Thought of by many as one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, Sartre believed in a unique existentialism that describes a freedom that everyone has, but must face and for which he must accept responsibility if she is to grow as a person. Sartre’s novels, plays, and other writings all revolve around his philosophy and, unlike many philosophers, are very approachable.
- Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986). Tied to existentialism through her lifelong relationship with Sartre, Beauvoir was a philosopher apart from him as well. Her works focused heavily on social issues, especially as they pertain to women. Beauvoir believed that women are equal to men and that historically, men have created an aura of mystery about women in order to keep them repressed and without power. Her most popular books, She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, explore issues of friendship, sexuality, and other aspects of her philosophy.
- Elizabeth Anscombe (1919-2001). Anscombe is well-known for her lifelong study of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and translation of his work as well as her own work as an important philosopher. Her book, Intention, is the description of human action and will through intentions and is her most famous work. She was heavily involved in the philosophy of ethics and made famous stances against abortion and Harry S. Truman (for his use of atomic bombs in Japan).
- Mary Midgley (1919-present). Midgley believes that there is an important connection between humans and animals, and values exploring this connection to understand humanity. She is also opposed to reductionism, or the idea that any one approach is the only correct way to see something. While her beliefs about God are sometimes written as nonexistent and other times a bit more ambiguously, she staunchly defends religion as something that cannot be dismissed.
- Dame Mary Warnock (1924-present). A philosopher still currently at work, Warnock has become famous for her work in the fields of ethics, education, and existentialism. She has written extensively about Sartre as she embraces his brand of existentialism. She has also published several books and papers on her own philosophical beliefs that have been widely studied and discussed around the world.
- Michel Foucault (1926-1984). Foucault looked at human nature and sought answers from the fields of history, psychology, and sociology. He was a strong literary and political figure who fought for many marginalized sections of society, including homosexuals, the mentally ill, and prisoners. Foucault was working on a multi-part work exploring ancient philosophy and it’s relation to modern day sexuality that was left incomplete after his untimely death.