Isaiah Berlin once said that there are two kinds of writers, hedgehogs and foxes. He said the fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows just one thing. So Shakespeare is a typical fox; Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are typical hedgehogs. Now, I'm a typical hedgehog. I know just one thing, and I repeat it over and over again. I try to approach it from different angles to make it look different, but it's the same thing.
The novice trader is at a disadvantage because the intuitions that he is going to have about the market are going to be the ones that are typical of beginners. The expert is someone who sees beyond those typical responses and has an understanding of the deeper workings of the market.
My life was typical. I played a little Little League baseball. I never wanted for food. I always had shoes. I had a room. There were no great tragedies. There were the typical ups and downs but I wouldn' t say it was at all sad. We were Jewish and living in the suburbs so there was a slightly neurotic bent to it, but I can't point to anything where a boy overcame a tragedy to become a comedian. As my grandmother used to say, 'I can't complain.
Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country - bigger than all the Presidents together. We are still too near to his greatness,' (Leo) Tolstoy (in 1908) concluded, 'but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.' (748)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
If you're ignoring a high percentage of the elements of your entire being, and the range of qualities they can naturally engage, there will be no real recovery or progress until you do. The typical relentless worker is just as lazy as the typical indulgent idler; they're both just going through the habitual motions. To break the repetitive pattern, and discover more energy and effectiveness, one simply must stretch out in all directions, rotating focus and application of the qualities that make up one's natural versatility.
The British have their own conception of what constitutes the typical American. He must have a flavor of the Wild West about him. He must do spectacular things. He must not be punctilious about dignity, decorum and other refinements characteristic of the real British gentleman. The Yankee pictured by the Briton must be a bustler. If he is occasionally flagrantly indiscreet in speech and action, then he is so much more surely stamped the genuine article. The most typical American the British ever set their eyes on was, in their judgment, Theodore Roosevelt.
B. C. Forbes
I don't think anyone aims to be typical, really. Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical. But still, they just kind of loop back to it somehow. Like the circular rails of a train at an amusement park, the scripts we know offer a brand of security, of predictability, of safety for us. But the problem is, they only take us where we've already been. They loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go. Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.
Certainly the most obvious . . . example of the strictly infantile essence of America's all-conquering mentality greets our eyes daily, anywhere and everywhere, in the guise of the tabloid newspaper. The tabloid newspaper actually means to the typical American of the era what the Bible is popularly supposed to have meant to the typical Pilgrim Father: viz. a very present help in times of trouble, plus a means of keeping out of trouble via harmless, since vicarious, indulgence in the pomps and vanities of this wicked world.
e. e. cummings
Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince. Auden has a line: "Ports have names they call the sea." Just so will literature describe life familiarly, regionally, in terms life is accustomed to use -- high or low matters not. Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject -- there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.