The People Who Made My Book Exist [Radio Readings]

The People Who Made My Book Exist [Radio Readings] May 9, 2015

You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streamed Saturday at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm.  And it’s now available to download and stream.

fights in good faith

Every week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, articles, and (this week) productivity tools that I cite on the show. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m talking about this week.

Arriving at Acknowledgements

  • And this one:

  • I read the opening of the book on the show, and, if you want to keep reading, grab a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  (Amazon is sold out and restocking at the moment)
  • Or come get a copy from me in person in DC, NYC, or Boston!
  • I forgot to put acknowledgements in the book proper, so I’m doing some on the show


Acknowledging the How

  • I was really scared of writing something long (I had trouble with it in college) so here are the tools I used to make it through a whole book
  • Freemind – basically a graphic interface for nested lists, this is what I used to outline the book
  • Pomodoros – working in focused chunks of 25 minutes (actually, I do 20 min chunks) to keep you on task without despairing if you get stuck
  • Scrivener – writing software, has a lot of nice features to make it easy to move sections around, but I liked it most for just being new to me — a context in which I technically had no learned bad habits
  • Beeminder – helped keep me on track (mostly!) with my wordcount, and gave me a visceral sense of progress when I looked at my graph

beeminder book


Acknowledging the Where

  • Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is one of the best books I’ve read that doesn’t just show you what the author knows, but also why the author is delighted to know it.  I hope I echo that spirit in Arriving at Amen.
  •  I got some practical training in arguing by analogy as an undergraduate in the Yale Political Union
  • I guess the way I’d put it is that, in the YPU, we tended to dissect ideas using tools made of ourselves — books we’d read, philosophies we believed in, individuals we admired, so I couldn’t have a fight without learning what someone loved in the process


Acknowledging the Who

  • I’ve been lucky to have a lot of wonderful Catholic/Orthodox people invite me into their lives, both online (Calah, Jen, Elizabeth) and in person (Chris, Alexander, Tristyn, Nicola, Sara, and a whole lot of Dominicans) who helped learn Christianity at the scale of a human life.
  • And, firing me off after the idea that truth is worth seeking and always worth sharing, I have my parents, who raised me in a house full of open-minded inquiry and people looking up from books/newspapers/etc saying, “Hey, did you know….”
  • ^That’s basically the spirit in which Arriving at Amen was written and I know where I learned it.


Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer is on sale now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in person if you come to my talks in DC, NYC, or Boston!

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