“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” (Cicero, c. something BC)
Now, here’s the catch. There is no evidence that this quote ever originated from the lofty Ancient Roman philosopher more than 2,000 years ago. In fact, there is no evidence that this quote originated from any period greater than 100 years ago.
And yet, since the early 1900s, this quote has been bandied about it some form or another, always attributed to the ancient world. Most early attributions quote the literary portion reading something like “and every man wants to write a book”. Others attribute the more generalised version of “and everyone is writing a book” to some point between the 1980s and 2001.
The point is that right from at least the beginning of the last…
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