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The Art of Perspective.

The CAESURA LETTERS is a daily devotional for life-long learners, critical thinkers, mindful questioners, and other hopelessly inquisitive people.

High level thinking. Go deep.
Recent Letters

Upcoming Letters

  • Forced to be Free (Wednesday, May 27) The paradox of liberty: why living as a ‘free citizen’ inescapably demands living under stringent restrictions and regulations.
  • Freedom as Revolutionary Rhetoric (Thursday, May 28) One of the most effective ways to terrify people is to threaten their beliefs about their liberty.
  • Freely Strolling on Private Streets (Friday, May 29) The great libertarian thought experiment: what if absolutely everything was the property of someone?
  • Harm Principle (Monday, June 1) Possibly the most politically influential axiom of the past 150 years.
  • Rule of Liberty (Tuesday, June 2) The unconstrained freedom of the majority is only another kind of tyranny.

The CAESURA LETTERS is a haven of discovery for leaders, educators, academics, theorists, artists, speakers, writers, strategists, and visionaries. Interdisciplinary in scope, we scour the humanities and sciences in quest of the most compelling and provocative ideas, insights, perspectives, and theories.

“Caesura Letters is the smartest thing I read every day. Every single one nourishes my brain in ways I never thought possible.”

Patrick Rhone (author of Keeping it Straight and Enough)

“It’s the most insightful, digestible and thoughtful writing I consume on a daily basis. At the end of each week I feel like I’m better prepared, with a broader perspective on life, to take on the week to come. It seems a bit romantic, but this publication has changed my life. I highly recommend the Caesura Letters to anyone looking to grow as an individual.”

Kevin Van Lierop (founder of utility.bz, co-founder of @thiscityis)

“This is a daily read for me… The letters are very digestible, thought-provoking. I find them profound and inspiring.”

Jocelyn Aucoin (Owner at @LujoRecords)

“It is, it feels safe to say, the greatest gift you can give your inbox, so head on over and support one of the greatest publications on the web.”

Rob Boone (Sssimpli)

“I have read a number of Caesura letters now, and every single one of them after reading has made me pause to reflect on my place in society. I am inspired by this project to always ask myself whether my writing would be compelling enough to stop readers in their tracks…”

Jasmine Hon (Startup London)

“The Caesura Letters offer enough multi-faceted challenge to ignite even a jaded mind. At the same time, the author serves us a subtle and nourishing measure of humour that is his unique stamp on any kind of mind-exploration. Delve into his world, and be prepared to happily toss away complacency. These books are a constant pleasure. Don’t pass one by.”

A. H. Richards (author of Kronos Duet)

“Caesura Letters has become an essential part of my morning routine, and leaves me both inspired and enlightened to start the day.”

Dr. Abram Oudshoorn (Western University)

“James Shelley brings together treasures old and new to spark imaginations, inspire hearts, and focus energies.”

Dr. William Danaher (Episcopal priest, dean, author)

“James can always say in a few words what takes the rest of us a long time. His observations range from the sublime to the pertinent and help to form the building blocks for better communities.”

Glen Pearson (author of A Path Between Two Mothers, Identity, and A Place for Us)

“James Shelley is not just a story-teller, he’s a story-liver. I have never known a more well-read individual.”

Tim Bailey (author of And Another Thing and upsidedn)

“I read very little online material, but always make time to read James Shelley, a writer worthy of any reader’s time.”

Ando Perez (writer, poet, and meditation teacher)

These words define us.

Daily. The Caesura Letters is like clockwork, providing a dependable cornerstone upon which to build a private, personal discipline of journaling or quiet rumination. Pair with a morning coffee, daily commute, lunch break, or a park bench along an evening stroll.
Devotional. The Caesura Letters is wholly devoted to thoughtful, substantive self-reflection. It is not about trivia, factoids, or random tidbits of knowledge. Rather, it is an ongoing pursuit of wisdom: the kind of knowledge that transforms our approach and attitude to life.
Curious. We readily admit to an all encompassing bias: we want to consider the questions of life from every possible angle. Be warned: you won’t find many pat answers in the Caesura Letters, just compelling provocations to second guess the obvious and rediscover the mysterious.
Contemplative. Every day, the Caesura Letters hinges on a single word, “Today.” From science to ancient literature, we explore ideas that beg for attention and introspection. How will we live the next twenty-four hours differently than we did yesterday?

Quiet contemplation. Meaningful reflection.

Where and when do you make space for intentional thinking?

The CAESURA LETTERS is available on multiple reading platforms:

Choose a medium that best suits your rhythm and routine.

Digital

Email/Ebook Readers

Delivered to your email inbox Monday to Friday (or as a single weekly compilation if you prefer). Includes new quarterly volumes in ePub, Kindle, and PDF format.

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Delivered to your iOS device monthly. Our Newsstand subscription features a seamless and intuitive reading app. Free download from iTunes.

$4.99 Monthly

Paperback

Print Magazine

Delivered quarterly (March, June, September, December) to your postal mailbox, in a beautifully typeset paperback edition. Pair with notepad and coffee.

$16.99 Quarterly

Volumes are published quarterly, every March, June, September, and December.

Upcoming volumes are included with a Digital Subscription (in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats) or as hardcopy editions with a Paperback Subscription. All past volumes are available for individual purchase below.

Volume I

Beginning Today


Released 12/21/2012

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Volume II

All That We Are


Released 03/20/2013

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Volume III

Made By Thought


Released 06/21/2013

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Volume IV

Then And Again


Released 09/22/2013

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Volume V

Ways of Seeing


Released 12/21/2013

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Volume VI

Great Explorations


Released 03/20/2014

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Volume VII

Affecting Cause


Released 06/21/2014

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Volume VIII

Beyond Here


Released 09/22/2014

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Volume IX

Thinking Path


Released 12/21/2014

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Volume X

Live to Learn


Released 03/20/2015

Ebook $12.99

View Paperback

Author’s Notes

Check Out

FAQs Sharing Terms of Use Privacy Policy Complimentary Subscriptions

FAQs

  Do all subscription formats receive the same content?
Yes, the very same reading material is shared between all subscription platforms. The timing, however, does vary between formats. The material in the quarterly ebooks and paperbacks “trail” the email elivery schedule by about six months (this is because new pieces are published daily and then collected into quarterly volumes).
  What ebook readers are supported by the Caesura Letters?
The Caesura Letters volumes are delivered in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats.
  Can I read the Caesura Letters in Instapaper?
Yes, reading the Caesura Letters in Instapaper is easy to setup if you subscribe to the Digital Subscription format. Configure your personal ‘readlater’ email address in Instapaper (login to your Instapaper account and see instapaper.com/extras to set this up). Next, use your email client to configure an email filter that forwards all new messages from today@caesuraletters.com to your Instapaper email address.
  I am a journalist or blogger. Can I acquire a review copy?
Please contact us to obtain review copies and complimentary subscriptions for journalistic purposes. Please identify the institution, company, or blog you represent.
  What are caesurae, anyway?
A caesura is a complete pause or stop in a line of poetry or in a musical composition. We chose the name Caesura Letters to reflect the periodical’s intrinsic invitation to stop, think, and reflect. Wondering how to pronounce caesura? Here’s an audio link:

Let’s debate liberty

Freedom is a loaded word.

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All around the world, we hear a lot of talk about liberty. We defend liberty. Love liberty. Die for liberty. Accuse other people of undermining our liberty.

But what is liberty?

For the next couple weeks, the question of liberty will lead us on an exploration into several ancient and modern thinkers, from die-hard classical republicans to die-hard libertarians. Whether you lean to the so-called ‘right’ or ‘left’ of the political spectrum, strap in and get ready: no matter what you believe about your liberty, at least one of these thinkers is going to disagree with your definition and challenge your underlying assumptions.

The topic of liberty is compelling for many reasons, but for me personally, I am most fascinated by its magnitude for society and its simultaneous immediate, intimate implications for personal life. Am I free? Are we free? These are questions we must ask in tandem. Investigating liberty leads us to ponder the heights of political order at the same time as it prompts us to think about our own ability to make daily choices.

I’d love to hear what you think. Kick-start a discussion by clicking the ‘Respond’ link an upcoming email and leaving a message on the site.

If you’d like to dig deeper, here is some supplemental reading to check out over the next few weeks:

  By James Shelley, May 16, 2015

The Caesura Letters Recruits Contributing Authors

Thanks to your constructive input and affirmation, we are moving ahead with the proposal to add more contributing writers to the Caesura Letters. We are committed to maintaining our rigorously high standard of quality and consistency. Indeed, we have decided …

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Thanks to your constructive input and affirmation, we are moving ahead with the proposal to add more contributing writers to the Caesura Letters. We are committed to maintaining our rigorously high standard of quality and consistency. Indeed, we have decided to expand our author base in order create an even more compelling and provocative place to discover new ideas. (James Shelley will continue to be the principle researcher and writer, and maintains editorial oversight of the publication.) We will be following a very slow, careful, and gradual process of implementation, but you will occasionally hear some new voices chiming in over the course of the summer.

If you are personally interested in being a part of the team…

✉ Sign up to the contributors email list for updates, calls for submissions, etc.
☞ Read the Writing Guidelines & Author Agreement for our ethos, style, formatting rules, etc.
✎ Submit letters for consideration using this form.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

  By Admin, May 9, 2015

Influence and Authority – how we shape one another

The daily letters this week are gathered around a theme: how is it that we influence one another?

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How do we influence each other?

To start considering the angles we might take on this topic, consider this letter, published about a month ago. The idea we explored then was the proposition that leaders are influenced by their followers, just as followers are influenced by their leaders. As a leader changes and alters her environment, her environment changes and alters her in turn.

This week, we’ll extrapolate on this general idea further, and think about how influence, authority, and the affects we have on one another never seem to take place in a vacuum.

  By James Shelley, May 9, 2015

Personal Lessons From Eons of War

Learning from our own darkest moments.

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This coming week in the Caesura Letters, we will explore the issue of war. Granted, military conflict is not a very ‘warm and fuzzy’ thing to contemplate every morning for a whole week, but even a cursory glance at history — past and present — forces us to acknowledge that war is a part of us. Instead of averting our gaze, we will peer deeply into our story: why do we kill? What does war tell us about ourselves, both as individuals and as a species?

If you are interested in discussing these letters further with myself and others, please sign up for The Dialogues and then simply click ‘Respond’ in any letter to share your perspective with the community.

  By James Shelley, May 2, 2015

Introducing… The Dialogues

This coming week, we are prototyping a new ‘dimension’ for the Caesura Letters, The Dialogues. In our recent collaborative brainstorming session, several of you indicated an interest in having more ways to interact with the Caesura Letters. Inspired by this …

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This coming week, we are prototyping a new ‘dimension’ for the Caesura Letters, The Dialogues.

In our recent collaborative brainstorming session, several of you indicated an interest in having more ways to interact with the Caesura Letters. Inspired by this great suggestion, we’ve created a peripheral discussion platform for the Caesura Letters.

How does it work?

To discuss a letter, simply click the ‘Respond’ link in any email and share your thoughts on the website. (We have made this link as discreet and non-obtrusive as possible, so as not to interfere with the simplicity of the email formatting and overall reading experience.)

The Dialogues is simply another email newsletter, but it is written by you. It consolidates all these contributed perspectives and delivers them (either daily or weekly) to all who are interested in continuing the conversation or in hearing the thoughts of others. Share your perspectives, read what others are thinking in response, react to other people’s reactions, and dig deeper.

This is important: If you would like to participate, you will need to subscribe to another separate email list. We have done this so that the new ‘community space’ is distinct from the daily letters themselves, making it entirely optional. Therefore, this new feature will not interrupt the status quo. So, if you’d like to be part of The Dialogues, click here. (If you’d rather not, simply ignore this message. There is, of course, no pressure to participate.)

  By Admin, May 1, 2015

6 Days Left to Help Us Brainstorm!

This is the last week to add your thoughts…

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We recently asked for some help in developing our priorities for the future of the Caesura Letters. Thank you so much to everyone who has already taken the time to participate. Whether or not you have contributed already, please take another visit to our brainstorming page and add your thoughts to the suggestions that have been proposed by fellow readers.

We are eagerly looking forward to your input. The collaboration session closes this coming Thursday (April 30).

Thanks for helping us make the Caesura Letters the best it can be!

  By Admin, April 25, 2015

Habits, Change, and Transformation

Exploring the humanity capacity for intentional adaptation.

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This coming week the Caesura Letters explores the theme of self-change, delving into the topic of personal, self-directed transformation. How are habits formed and changed? What can we learn from people who have resolved to change their lives and successfully followed through?

  By James Shelley, April 18, 2015

Volume X is released today

Today we are excited to release our tenth volume, Live to Learn — now en route to all Digital Subscribers. (If you are a paperback subscriber, your copy should arrive shortly, if you have not already received it.) This volume …

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Caesura Letters Volume IXToday we are excited to release our tenth volume, Live to Learn — now en route to all Digital Subscribers. (If you are a paperback subscriber, your copy should arrive shortly, if you have not already received it.)

This volume explores ideas about fame, mental health, human progress, and stoicism, among many more inquiries. Makes for great springtime contemplation.

Curious to learn more? Here is a chapter overview.

New volumes are published quarterly, every March, June, September, and December.  If you are not already a subscriber and would like to purchase this volume individually, here are the links:

Ebook (ePub, Kindle, PDF) Paperback

  By Admin, March 20, 2015

We’re Brainstorming. Can you help us?

Here at the Caesura Letters, we are brainstorming our next steps and priorities for future development. Your perspective and input are very valuable. We have posted some potential ideas we are presently reviewing, and invite you to vote on the …

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Here at the Caesura Letters, we are brainstorming our next steps and priorities for future development. Your perspective and input are very valuable. We have posted some potential ideas we are presently reviewing, and invite you to vote on the ones you think we should focus on, add your ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to the arguments, and most importantly, add your own ideas to the mix.

Your input would be very helpful.

Join the brainstorming session.

Thank you so much for sharing your feedback.

  By Admin, March 16, 2015

Digital Edition of Volume IX Released Today

Today we are excited to release our ninth volume, Thinking Path — now en route to all Digital Subscribers. (If you are a paperback subscriber, your copy should arrive shortly, if you have not already received it.) New volumes are …

  Show More

Caesura Letters Volume IXToday we are excited to release our ninth volume, Thinking Path — now en route to all Digital Subscribers. (If you are a paperback subscriber, your copy should arrive shortly, if you have not already received it.)

New volumes are published quarterly, every March, June, September, and December. Read an overview of Thinking Path. If you are not already a subscriber and would like to purchase this volume individually, here are the links:

Ebook (ePub, Kindle, PDF) Paperback

  By Admin, December 22, 2014

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