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Video-Recorded Conversation Between Me and James F. Richardson, PhD, on The Merits or Lack Thereof of "Individualism"

Social Scientist and cultural anthropologist James F. Richardson (PhD) and I sat down and had an interesting conversation about the merits or lack thereof of individualism in contemporary America. We first connected when we swapped books: He read my punk-literary YA novel, The Crew (SoCal punk rock late 1990s, think Dead Poet’s Society meets The Basketball Diaries meets The Breakfast Club) and I read his just-coming-out nonfiction book, Our Worst Strength: American Individualism and its Hidden Discontents. After reading my novel—a tale of extreme individualism—Richardson realized my book could have been a long chapter in his book. So we decided to hash things out. Click HERE for James’s Substack, Homo Imaginari.

The talk lasts an hour. We discuss many things, among them: Our books and lives and how they seem connected; Alcoholism and addiction; American culture compared to other cultures; social group dynamics; individuality; the dissolution of The American Family; the loss of Elders; immigration and assimilation; permissive parenting versus traditional parenting; kids and boundaries; social balance and dialectics; social overcorrections; freedom; college and beyond as young adults; hitting an emotional bottom to affect positive change; therapy: Pros and cons; and more.

My Book:

James’s Book:

Bio, James F. Richardson (from his Substack): “I am a Ph.D. cultural anthropologist who has studied American society for twenty years as a market research consultant. I’ve interviewed Americans in 40 different states and has lived all over the country, including New England, the Chicago-to-Madison corridor, Seattle, and Tucson, Arizona. For nearly three years in the late 1990s, I also lived in South India, studying a very different society than our own. Today, I live with my wife, children, and dogs in sunny Tucson, Arizona, where I write nonfiction and consult with a national client base in the consumer packaged goods industry.”


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