My RadReads Podcast: Skimming the Surface of Life

In this RadReads podcast with host Khe Hy, “Skimming the Surface of Life,” we discuss high performers’ antagonistic relationship with time and their desire to turn life into a series of problems which can be resolved — and how this can mask our disorienting relationship with mortality. Instead of avoiding these question, we consider how an examined life is a life lived more fully.



Silicon Valley wants to sell us solutions—but are we sure there’s a problem in the first place?

Is the world writ large just One Big Problem to be solved? I say no in my latest piece for Quartz. Here is the opening:

In Matt Damon’s 2016 commencement speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he tells graduates that “this world has some problems we need you to drop everything and solve.” He rattles off at least 12, including economic inequality, the media, our political system, the banking industry, institutional racism, and water. In his closing remarks, he cites former US president Bill Clinton’s words—“turn toward the problems you see”—and leaves them with this question: “What’s the problem you’ll try to solve?”

Notice a pattern? In his svelte 3674 word speech, Damon uses the word problem 19 times, solve seven times, and solution three times.

Listen closely and you’ll hear his sentiment echoed almost everywhere, in the news, in the business world, and in our personal lives.

You can read the rest of the article here.

How To Care Less About Work–But Not Do Less Of It

My piece on total work recently appeared in Quartz. I’m including the opening paragraph below.


We live in an age of “total work.” It’s a term coined by the German philosopher Josef Pieper just after World War II—describing the process by which human beings are transformed into workers, and the entirety of life is then transformed into work. Work becomes total when all of human life is centered around it; when everything else is not just subordinate to, but in the service of work. Leisure, festivity, and play come to resemble work—and then straight-up become it.

You can read the rest here,