Seeking Tribe #2: Bison, Boars, And Books — Oh My!

Can you feel it? It’s going to be a wonderful week.

I am so grateful for the positive initial response to this newsletter and thankful that you decided to stick around.

This past week, I had a couple friends from out of town visiting so I ended up much more focused on friendship than my personal projects.

I have decided to stay in Rochester for the next 10 months (originally I had planned to move to DC or another larger city) and focus on: building my ‘skill stack‘, identifying a great, next full-time opportunity, and prototyping  various digital events (book clubs, writing groups, author interviews…) and ‘community’ spaces. The quarantine has emphasized my personal need for a social function within a community and the importance of friendship.

If you plan to visit Rochester, please be sure to give me a heads up and if you’re local and want to connect, dm me!

The Best of my Recent Reads:

  • When most people hear the name Ben Horowitz, they either don’t know who he is or, they think of his work as the co-founder and a GP at a16z. My personal admiration for him comes from his excellent books on management and organizational culture. I am currently reading What You Do Is Who You Are, which opens with insights from Touissaint Louverture’s experience leading the Haitian Revolution and how these principles of culture are being applied by powerful organizations throughout the world. I plan on writing a book review once I’m done but cannot recommend it enough for anyone interested in the importance of culture for any movement or organization.
  • One of the greatest potential positive outcomes from the pandemic is a deeper appreciation of humanity’s impact on ecosystems. Decreased manufacturing and social activity in various parts of the globe have yielded no shortage of videos of wildlife roaming into areas where they haven’t been seen for decades, most recently these boars in BerlinThis piece by Santi Ruiz in the National Review makes a strong case for a concerted effort to Bring Back The Bison. I’m no fan of the National Review and am now wondering if its decision to run this piece is further evidence of a larger political-cultural shift underway.
  • In my limited understanding of the tenure system, it was designed to provide academic researchers with the job protections that they need to conduct their research, without excessive pressure to avoid lines of inquiry that are unfashionable, or even dissident. Is that empirically the case and is tenure sufficient? In a recent piece for the Atlantic, Academics Are Really, Really Worried About Their Freedom, the [liberal] Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University, John McWhorter makes the case that it isn’t. Are the figures and narratives he cites mostly a function of who selects and is selected into jobs as academic researchers, or does it have more to do with our current cultural moment?

    A survey of 445 academic researchers [,who are members of] Heterodox Academy found that, “…more than half the respondents consider expressing views beyond a certain consensus in an academic setting quite dangerous to their career trajectory.”

This post was initially sent on September 14th, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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