Tag Archives: reads

Seeking Tribe #17: Dark Winter is Over


I am feeling quite optimistic at this moment (it may not be a coincidence that you receive emails from me on days when I’m feeling particularly positive and energetic,,,).

For those of you who are a bit tuned out, and I do not blame you:

One can certainly find reasons to temper our optimism. There’s a lot that we still don’t know and we’ve all just lived through 12 months of bad takes that seldom played out as expected. I am adding this little paragraph because I don’t want this email newsletter to end up on this feed in a year…

But personally, I think we’re about to have an amazing spring and summer. The past few days in Rochester have been moderately sunny and the temperature has been as high as 38F. While finding that to be good and remarkable is kind of sad, we learn to cope in Western NY. We’ll have some warmer days in the next few weeks and people will find it easier to socialize as we monitor the effects of mass vaccination.

My winter is over. I am leaving this Sunday to go visit Orlando for a week with a few of my friends. From there, I’m continuing on to Houston for a week and then Austin for a minimum of two weeks. It’s unclear exactly where I’ll go from there but it seems unlikely that I’ll return to Rochester before May. If you have any recommendations, connections, big ideas, etc that you want to share with me – please hit me up.

I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again and (re)connecting with friends and strangers alike.

Best of My Recent Read:

  • Bitcoin Dissidents: Those Who Need It Most by Anna Baydakova, Coindesk

    Bitcoin, like Amazon and Tesla, has benefitted disproportionately from the US’ (and other country’s) monetary policy response to the pandemic. As new dollars have flooded the market and short-term interest rates declined, people with a large amount of assets and the ability to borrow at near 0% interest have sought out assets with potential long-term growth and robust network effects. While it may not make sense for Tesla to be valued at $586/share, it would make much less sense to have seen a 500% rise in price of a robust, moderate-growth manufacturing company. Tesla, like Bitcoin, at least has a plausible narrative for how it could eventually earn its valuation. This article demonstrates the utility of Bitcoin beyond its role as a speculative asset class, or hedge as “Digital Gold”. It’s easy for Americans to forget that cryptocurrencies are of global significance.
  • How I Read by Slava Akhmechet

    TL;DR: Read ~40 pages/day, assume 30% failure rate. That’s 10k pages and ~20 books annually. Pick a problem, and read clusters of five books to study that problem from a unique perspective. Visualize each cluster as an instrument to inspect the world. Collect instruments into a mental lab, with various stations for related instruments. You can upgrade the instruments one book at a time. Have your bookshelf reflect this mental image. Win the decade, not the day. Start now and never stop.

    I recommend reading the full article. I’m still refining which clusters I want to focus on this year but community and localism will certainly be two of the topics. Lately I’ve been listening to more audiobooks as I’ve soured a bit on podcasts. If you have Audible, there’s a ton of interesting books that are available for free, “Included” FYI.
  • Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism by Scott Horton

    If you have any opinions about American foreign policy, you need to read this book. Horton certainly has his clear biases, as we all do, but almost all of the most damning claims are from official, publicly available government documents. He does a great job of sharing a clear narrative about the madness of American Middle Eastern policy, from the Carter administration through to the book’s release date.

    As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read the newsletter and I’d love to hear from any and all of you. I think my trip will be quite energizing and I’ll have some interesting ideas and perspectives for y’all in the weeks to come. Have a great

This post was initially sent via Substack on March 5th, 2021.


Seeking Tribe #12: Home for the Holidays


I’m back at my Mom’s house and I’ll be here for the next 2+ weeks.

After spending my Thanksgiving watching Lord of the Rings and eating frozen pizza with one of my housemates, it’s nice to be celebrating the season in a more conventional way. Like listening to Bing Crosby and eating stollen. 

My plan is to spend the rest of 2020 reading books (being less online), scheming for a better 2021, and enjoying some quality time with my Mom and Daisy, her Havanese doggo.

This will likely be the last edition of Seeking Tribe for the year. I’m grateful to all 204 of you for joining and sticking with me on this adventure! It’s only going to get better in 2021, that’s a promise 🙂

The Best of my Recent Reads:

  • When I was 15, my ‘Grandpa Chuck’ died. A humble man, he was kind to those he met. His career included being a U.S. Marine, a Police Officer, and a long time Detective for the Rochester Police Department. His capability as a Detective was built through decades of treating those he met with respect. This accrued social equity provided information that other detectives could never attain.

    At his wake, hundreds attended. The wealthy and powerful, the poor and the meek, the innocent and the guilty. RPD escorted him to his burial; shutting down a major highway to keep the procession uninterrupted.

    This fundamentally shifted my understanding of success. I will never know how successful I was in life; I won’t be at my own funeral.

    Legacy is more valuable than currency.” from my older brother Clark’s newsletter, Forward.

    I was only five years old when Grandpa Chuck died. It was great to be reminded of this story. I learned a similar lesson from the life and passing of Paul J. Burgett – as anyone who has read my book knows.

  • This great migration from mainstream to ‘free speech’ platforms will inevitably have the effect of fostering hyper-partisan, right-wing echo chambers — tailored realities which barely offer even a glimpse of an alternative opinion.” from the provocatively titled, Tech’s QAnon Crackdown was a Huge Mistake by Mark Ledwich

    If anyone has read anything that argues the opposite, I’d love to read it.

    Currently, I’m thinking that these heavy-handed strategies are mostly good for shareholders, not for society. We’ll bear the costs of increased radicalization, atomization while Facebook, Google, etc get to wipe their hands of being a part of a solution to help rebuild genuine trust and facilitate open, critical conversation.

    The problems of online radicalization are not going away anytime soon and we’re never going back to a world where there’s a handful of mutually credible news sources.

  • Having earned a Ph.D. in English and taught poetry courses, there is no question raised so frequently as some variation of:

    Can literature exist on Instagram?
    Is Instagram poetry real literature?
    What do you think of Rupi Kaur?

    from Precursor Monthly – December 2020 by Tim Wilcox

    Tim and I recently collaborated on a podcast. We both read Life of Pi and watched Donnie Darko, these two pieces of media were released within a month or so of each other. We had a wide-ranging conversation about their numerous shared themes.

A Few Last Points:

  • Reflections on One Year as a Published Author (new from me)

    Ever wanted to know how many copies I sold? Check it out.
  • Year Compass is a great little planning exercise for the new year. This is my 3rd Year Compass in a row. I’ll likely be reflecting a bit more about what I’ve learned from my plans and failures in 2019 and 2020

My currently reading list: Collaborative Circles by Michael P. Farrell, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, One Billion Americans by Matt Yglesias, Your Music and People by Derek Sivers, and The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (almost done).

I’ve already got a lot planned for 2021 and I’m determined to make it a better year than 2020. This year has emphasized what is and what is not within our control. My plans are going to focus on what’s within my control and take to heart many of the other lessons that I’ve learned and re-learned in 2020.

I hope that each of you has an excellent holiday season (and a happy new year if you don’t hear from me)!

This post was initially sent on December 13th, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!