MJ, thanks so much for keeping me on the mailing list for Ivan’s articles. I read and enjoy every single one. They are always intellectually provocative and such an engaging mix of history, anecdote, insight and opinion. And I’m not just being polite! I really love this kind of essay. Back in the days when I was a magazine editor I would have signed him up in a heartbeat. These days with everyone under the sun writing their own blogs, it seems harder than ever for quality thought and opinion to find a readership. I’m glad you’re providing that through DDi.
Dear Ivan, as you know, I’ve been an avid reader of your articles for a long time, and I thought it might be appropriate if I told you how much I enjoy them. (Like the old Swedish joke about the guy who says he loves his wife so much he was thinking of telling her.) Anyway. What I most enjoy is your research. I don’t know how you pick your topics, but once you settle in, you sure know how to dig. Not to mention, as you dig, you do a great job of relating historical data to current times. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but your articles have the feel of a college term paper… except they’re well written and interesting. I should know. I’ve read way more than my share as a graduate student teaching assistant. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next installment.
I await with interest the next article Ivan provides us. I can tell that they are very well researched, analyzed and written with care and meaning, and in a way that can be understood and provide some knowledge on the subject he chooses. I always end up feeling that I learned something new, some piece of information that I had previously not had the chance to analyze. The knowledge they provide is invaluable. And I love sending him my comments.
Keep it up, Ivan.
In the years that Ivan has written articles for DDi, he has never failed to entertain and enlighten me, connecting the dots between social sciences, history, finance, and current events in a way that enriches otherwise mundane experiences or enlivens subjects once thought esoteric. For instance, his articles on Economic Stress and the Middle Class gave me insight and context regarding the “middle class”. Lost and Found helped me find my grounding. Why Language? combined social sciences to illustrate language development, but it opened my eyes to personal development as well. Every time I read his articles, I’m guaranteed to smile, to become empowered in some way—even if by taking a different perspective on something—and I often discover a new facet in my life, too. His writings have reawakened my love of learning and given me a comprehensive education in layman’s terms.
Ivan, thanks again for your continuing series of articles. I love that you cover so many different subjects and yet, are always able to make every essay entertaining and thought- provoking. In a world where just about anyone can vomit into a computer and publish it, it is a real treat to have your well-crafted and thoughtful writing show up in my in-box. Keep it coming!
Thanks and congratulations to Ivan for these great articles, not all related to the translation world. I not only enjoy them, but I gladly pass them along to various colleagues depending on the topic covered. I also often present them to my students, if only as a guide on “how to” research, document, and reach solid conclusions about various subject matters. As someone who has written thousands of articles (not to mention 27 books), and of course translated many for other writers, I can appreciate the time and depth taken to present complex content while keeping it easily readable. Maybe one day, you will also want them translated into French?
I really enjoy reading Ivan’s articles. He can take the most esoteric subject and not only make it interesting – but understandable. He has the ability to break down a complex subject into easily digestible components and before you know it, you might actually understand something, say, about how negative interest rates work. I always learn something new when I read his articles and am usually exposed to areas that I had never contemplated before. Thank you, Ivan, for providing me with many mind-expanding experiences.
Ivan combines a wide-ranging curiosity with a writer’s ability to make dry, complex issues both easy to understand and entertaining. I always look forward to his articles!
Translating Ivan’s articles into Spanish is a fascinating and challenging task for me. Every month I look forward to the email with its attached essay, with a blend of uncertainty and eagerness. With uncertainty because I don’t know what tales Ivan has woven on this occasion, or into what unexpected world he will be plunging me: it might well be a painstaking and well-researched analysis—using exact terms and handling the English language in his characteristic way—of such complex subjects as the stock market, mathematics, language, genetics; revealing accounts of the spice trade, the development of electric networks, humanity’s geniuses, or a combination of insights on these and many other topics that Ivan knows how to intertwine masterfully and clearly. Eagerness, for its part, comes into the blend because I know that I will always encounter a topic that will surprise me and which Ivan will analyze in an entertaining, informative and revealing way, in order to open a window for his readers to a multifaceted and dynamic world.
Ivan’s articles have come to be one of the high points of my month. Not one, since I began to read them, has failed to provide new information or insights in the most varied range of issues. I find them extremely stimulating; they force me to rethink my assumptions, or shed an entirely new light on everyday matters, or just provide me with information on subjects I knew nothing or very little about. I often wonder how Ivan comes up with his ideas for his articles, not just in terms of the subject matter itself, but also his specific approach to this or that particular issue, the special twist that we, his readers, have come to expect whenever we receive the new monthly article. The scope of his thoughtful interests pushes his readers to explore new paths in the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual stimulation.
Surprising, unexpected and well-documented describe Mr. Obolensky’s articles in the Dynamic Doingness Web site. Mr. Obolensky writes in a comprehensible and readable style, which does not mean his articles are shallow or simplistic in content.
Surprising, because they start with the account of a historical event or reflection that make the reader wonder about their relation to the subject of the article; as the paragraphs evolve she or he will find an effortless turning point leading to the theme proper.
Mr. Obolensky’s articles cover a variety of matters: global business, the spice trade, human behavior, technology and more.
In addition, they are well-documented; as notes support the data in each article, the reader is free to draw her or his own conclusions.
Every month I read Ivan’s articles so avidly that at times I sprint forward to the end, and then go back to the beginning to savor each paragraph and each explanation. Some of his texts shed new light upon issues that seemed well-known; others delve into matters which I had never stopped to think about.
At times I get carried away by his fascinating anecdotes; at others, I struggle with the scientific or financial concepts that he handles with such ease, but I always enjoy the articles intensely and look forward to whatever he may be working on for the following month.
Mary Jo, thank you for sending the articles. I always find them to broaden perspectives and knowledge. I especially liked A Power Story, which reminded me of a great biographical novel on Tesla by a French writer, Jean Echenoz, called Des Éclairs, which made a lasting impression on me. It was translated into English under the name Lightning, A Novel. There is always a human story of science and technology, as demonstrated by the saga of electric power in Ivan’s article!
I really look forward to reading the monthly articles written by Ivan Obolensky for DDi. What sets Ivan’s writing apart from the rest is that he consistently draws abundant details into his work in a gracious way, which provides the reader plenty of information to set the stage for the major topic at hand. The deft way in which Ivan brings it all together for us tickles the intellect, and makes every piece a worthwhile read. He is a skilled storyteller, to be sure! I hope the world and all its intricacies continue to inspire Ivan to write and share with us.
Ivan’s articles stimulate my reflexion on historical knowledge. I’m always delighted to discover the new topic. Several blogs and YouTube channels summarise books or socioeconomic concepts, but Ivan takes it a step further by adding his opinion and expertise.
My only wish is that you create podcasts. I would love to listen to the article while walking to work or on a couch with an espresso.
Thank you again for the quality and consistency of your work.
To send us your thoughts, email Mary Jo.