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We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons Hardcover – Jun 12 2012

6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (June 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439198705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439198704
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #435,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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)

"A remarkable collection . . . I found myself nodding in agreement and wondering how [Tim Kreider] could so consistently express my feelings, and express them so much better than I ever could." (Nancy Pearl

“Kreider is a superb essayist, a funny and fluent storyteller who wears his cultural literacy lightly . . . To read “The Creature Walks Among Us,” “The Czar’s Daughter,” “Escape from Pony Island,” or “An Insult to the Brain” is to appreciate a mordant but affectionate observer of life’s rich pageant, and a craftsman who almost never puts a word wrong.” (Johns Hopkins Magazine)

“In a political atmosphere as angry as this, [Kreider's] oblique, self-deprecating commentary may be the only angle to which party loyalists on either side are likely to respond. We Learn Nothing should be their required reading.” (Willamette Week (Portland, Ore.))

“Kreider is as compelling a writer as he is a visual satirist. His essays tend toward the ‘elegiac,’ as he puts it—something that cannot be said of his cartoons—but the same delightfully brutal honesty underlies both. Kreider’s descriptions are often simultaneously surprising and resonant . . . self-effacing and funny.” (City Paper (Baltimore))

“Kreider locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity’s inventive and manifold ways of failing.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Earnest, well-turned personal essays about screw-ups without an ounce of sanctimony—a tough trick.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Amazing . . . Any thinking person with a sense of humor will find We Learn Nothing provocative and delightful, reminiscent, in varying ways, of David Foster Wallace, James Thurber, David Sedaris, and Susan Sontag.” (Jennifer Finney Boylan author of She’s Not There)

"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)

"Whether he is expressing himself in highly original cartoons that are hilarious visual poems, or in prose that exposes our self-delusions by the way he probes his own experience with candor, Tim Kreider is a writer-artist who brilliantly understands that every humorist at his best is a liberator. Because he is irreverent, makes us laugh, ruffles the feathers of the pretentious and the pompous, and keeps us honest, We Learn Nothing is a pleasure from its first page to the last." (Charles Johnson bestselling author of Middle Passage)

We Learn Nothing articulated, for me, more human truths than any book in recent memory. When you’re done with it, it almost feels like finishing a textbook: you actually feel like you understand how things work a little better.” (

About the Author

Tim Kreider’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Film Quarterly, The Comics Journal, and His popular comic strip The Pain—When Will It End? ran in alternative weeklies and has been has been collected in three books by Fantagraphics. He divides his time between New York City and the Chesapeake Bay area.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam on May 22 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tim Kreider has a unique gift. Few artists are so equally effective in both image and text. Every word is a brush stroke.

We Learn Nothing is a less satirical testament to human frailty than Tim's previous gonzo, punk rock masterpiece, The Pain, but it's no less sincere, and no less important. His voice has matured since the bad old days of the Bush Administration without ever sacrificing its ability to speak truth to power, even if power now takes the form of love and friendship.

Tim's cutting wit is tempered only by his essential, relentless empathy for fellow human beings. Even the ones he utterly despises.

This book is a gem, and you should read it.

There are few memoirs as honest and sorrowful as this little book of essays, and even fewer as funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ifyouknew on Jan. 13 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
These essays were interesting, thought-provoking, and amusing. Kreider has had an interesting life, but more importantly, he has an interesting outlook on life. I also enjoyed the cartoons. I will look for more by this writer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A cartoonist’s witty and seemingly simplistic - but in essence philosophical - reflections on life through the prism of his experiences. It was a pleasure to read Kreider as he perceptively dissects - with naked honesty and deep introspection - his various peculiar and hilarious experiences!

I smiled and laughed as I turned every page with the strong, yet warm, feeling of reading a quite serious book! It’s just that Kreider, as a true cartoonist, has such a knack for describing complex experiences with brutal simplicity and humour that you never get the impression that your mind and heart are actually fairly engaged, even though the issues/themes discussed are the truly meaningful stuff of life and human relations!

Highly recommended … I know that I’ll gift this book to a few friends!
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