The sciences of only one nation, the Greeks, have come down to us, because they were translated through Al-Ma'mun's efforts. He was successful in this direction because he had many translators at his disposal and spent much money in this connection.
I did work at a mall in college - I think retail/customer service is just one of the most hideous jobs in the world. So I always try to be extra nice when I go into a store. But malls are part of our culture, if you watched any teen comedy in the '80s. it's clear that malls are where we live!
The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time. It pays off slowly, your agent will sneer at it, your publisher will misunderstand it, and it will take people you have never heard of to convince them by slow degrees that the writer who puts his individual mark on the way he writes will always pay off.
I remember being on film sets when I was younger, and only men got to do the cool action movies. So I thought, 'Maybe I'll get to produce one day and get to do cool stuff too,' which is what happened when we did 'Charlie's Angels.' Starting my production company was a big turning point for me.