A product and design leader interested in how systems shape our work and our world.
Howdy friend, great to meet you. I'm an economist-turned-designer-turned product person who spends a lot of time thinking about incentives, human behavior, invisible systems, institutions, big technology, and the future of work.
So the truth is that the influencer economy is just a garish accentuation of the economy writ large. As our culture continues to conflate the private and public realms—as the pandemic has transformed our homes into offices and our bedrooms into backdrops, as public institutions increasingly fall prey to the mandates of the market—we’ve become cheerfully indentured to the idea that our worth as individuals isn’t our personal integrity or sense of virtue, but our ability to advertise our relevance on the platforms of multinational tech corporations.
I saw someone refer to this as the new Lonesome Dove (which, for any fan of Western American literature, is quite the compliment). Suffice it to say, it's not that, but it is a fun narrative and easy read. The author borrows from American folklore to spin a new tale, which is great until that structure gets in the way of the story itself towards the back half of the book.
I vaguely remember when wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone’s greater ecosystem back in the 90’s, and as a resident of the American West I’m familiar with the politics of encounters between humans and animals. The author takes you through these issues with care and compassion, but he takes the reader beyond that to bring the sociology and personality of wolves to the forefront. I cried at the end and joined a Facebook group to learn more about the Yellowstone wolf packs, in case you needed further evidence of how much this book will affect you.
I really wanted to like this book. I’m immensely curious about ways local policy and regional development affect water use and infrastructure in the west. Besides for some interesting anecdotes, the author does not present anything new to the discourse. I managed to finish the book, but I don’t imagine returning to it for a re-read the way I have Cadillac Desert.
I always enjoy when Rebecca Traister pops up in a podcast or show I tune into, so her book was a total guilty pleasure. There’s something healthy and cathartic to being given the permission to just FEEL angry, to wield it or to set it aside, but to admit that it exists. If you don’t go into this book sharing her opinions then I doubt you will leave with them. That wasn’t an issue for me for I devoured this like a rich slice of cake.
I really don’t know how I'm supposed to feel about finishing this book, but also I think that’s the point? It's definitely contemporary, from the core narrative to the tropes behind each character. As I was reading, I could place White people I know or are aware of in each of the corresponding roles. I appreciate that the author doesn’t make excuses for any of her White characters, but she also does’t laden her White readers with lingering guilt. It just–sits there, which is more uncomfortable but also more accessible. And for that I find myself coming back to think about the book more often than I might if that wasn’t the case.
It was interesting to read this following another memoir that I didn’t enjoy as much. Both are melancholy stories rooted in family tragedy and intergenerational poverty. Unlike in Educated, which reeks of apologizing contempt towards the institutions behind the author’s troubles, Sarah M. Broom writes of her family, community, and life experience with compassion and awareness–guiding the reader through the laws and structural injustice behind her circumstances. *Note: I followed this with The Vanishing Half and The Color of Law, and highly recommend reading the three books together.
I love a good Wonky book that reads like a narrative. Rothstein doesn’t disappoint. The content of the book is laid out in a highly structured way that brings the reader back to his core thesis instead of getting lost in factual details, and his argument is well presented. One thing I wasn’t prepared for: how often I recognize examples of the continuance of the policies and biases presented in the book (and the lingering sense of anger).