Riese’s Team Pick: What I’ve Learned

I am a magazine junkie and one of my favorite features in the entire world of magazines is Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned.” I’ve even written my own “What I’ve Learned” twice (for my birthday in 2006, as a “year in review” in 2007 which contains fascinating tidbits like “It’s really crazy how fast you can get used to really crazy shit.”)

Esquire has put its entire What I’ve Learned archive online, which is basically the best Christmas gift ever. I think how it works is that a famous person sits down and says a bunch of things and then someone from Esquire writes it down. Some are really long and some are short.

50 Cent, Julia Child, Mary Louise-Parker, Satan, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Arianna Huffington, Albert Einstein, Paris Hilton, Jesse Jackson, Howard Stern, Joan Jett, Oliver stone, Clint Eastwood, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, Danny DeVito, Ted Kennedy, EVERYONE EVERYONE EVERYONE. Also Johnny Depp & Tim Burton is an especially good one as is Homer Simpson.

From some of my favorite “What I’ve learned”s:

Dwight Schrute: “Have you ever really kept your nose to the grindstone? The amount of blood that comes out is shocking.”

Arthur Miller: “Sex is the most compressed set of circumstances that we’ve got. Everything is in that collision.”

Aaron Sorkin: “The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called Poetics. It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you’re writing, you’ve probably broken one of Aristotle’s rules.”

Chloe Sevigny: “I’m ambitious, but I’m not ambitious enough to move to Los Angeles.”

Chuck Close: “My father died when I was eleven. That was a real tragedy, a horrible thing to happen when you’re little. But one of the gifts in that experience was that I learned very early in life that you can get past something and you will be happy again.”

Bob Saget: “Full House was a show that was done for ten-year-olds. The critics hated it. They said terrible, terrible things about it. But it should have been reviewed by ten-year-olds. That’s who it was made for. They loved it. And if they loved it, great. Why the hell does a fifty-year-old guy working at a big newspaper have to tell me I’m a piece of crap?”

Yoko Ono: “I still feel that I’m an outsider. About two days ago I was thinking, It’s wrong to think I’m an outsider. I’m just part of the world.”

You can also watch Daniele Ruah from NCIS: Los Angeles lip syncing to some of the best advice Esquire feels they’ve ever given.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3179 articles for us.


  1. fantastic. i know what i’m doing for the next 2/5/9 hours.
    esp. liked the part with the pretty lady lipsynching sage advice from famous people.
    that was good.

  2. ah this is great! re: sorkin- i’ve been thinking about the ancient greeks a lot lately. there was so much amazing philosophy written in the 400/300 BC era and we seem to have learned nothing from it! all this time and we’re just living longer, nothing much to show as “progress”. arggh! anyways i guess that’s another conversation but thanks for introducing this riese :)

  3. sometimes i click links to your blog and then i click other links to other pages in your blog and then i am so enthralled that i forget to go to sleep, whoops


    keep writing them, thanks.

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