Carl Sagan was a brilliant astronomer, author, and professor.

He's well known for being the presenter of the popular PBS series "Cosmos."

Here are some of my favorite thoughts on books from the show.

(thread) 🧵

• Humans are the only species on the planet that have learned to stockpile enormous amounts of information outside our bodies.

• Today, we call these communal memory systems libraries.

• The Assyrian library of Ashurbanipal had thousands of clay tablets.

• The library of Alexandria had almost 1,000,000 papyrus scrolls.

• Modern libraries, such as the New York Public Library, have around 10,000,000 books.

•"If I were to read a book a week for my entire adult lifetime, I would have read maybe a few thousand books, no more. The trick is to know which books to read."

• "What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years."

• "Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you”.

• "Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions. Binding together people who never knew each other."

• "Books break the shackles of time."

• "A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."

• Some of the earliest authors wrote on bones and stones. and date back to 5,000 B.C.

• Then in the 2nd-6th century in China, paper, ink, and printing with carved wooden blocks were all invented.

• Around 1450, moveable type was invented.

• Before the Gutenberg printing press, there were about 10,000 books in all of Europe.

• Fifty years after its invention, there were 10,000,000 printed books in Europe.

• "Learning became available to anyone who could read."

• "Suddenly books were being printed all over the world. Magic was everywhere."

• "Books permit us to voyage through time. To tap the wisdom of our ancestors."

• "A library connects us with the insights & knowledge of the greatest minds & the best teachers, drawn from the whole planet and from all our history to instruct us without tiring & inspire us to make our own contributions to the collective knowledge of the human species."

• "For the price of a modest meal, you get the history of Rome."

• "Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries but they may also produce flowers in the most unpromising soil."

• "Books are the repositories of the knowledge of our species & of our long evolutionary journey."

• "Libraries in Ancient Egypt bore these words on their walls: Nourishment For The Soul. And that's still a pretty fair assessment of what libraries provide."

RIP Sagan 🙏
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