Conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe Class of 1992.
Hosted by Will Bachman.

Episode: 9

Richard Nash, Theatre Director turned Publisher turned Executive Coach

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Show notes

Richard Nash is an award-winning editor and publisher; he has held leadership positions at a range of media start-ups and consulted with Fortune 500 companies. Richard has spoken on the future of media at a wide array of International events, including Booknet Canada in Toronto where his keynote speech was described by former Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson as the “best talk on the future of publishing I’ve ever seen. In today’s episode, Richard shares his journey from graduating from Harvard to his current position, in addition to insights from the world of publishing.

Key points include:

  • 04:31: Why publishing is not an industry
  • 11:30: Self-publishing and entrepreneurship
  • 16:11: What would most surprise Richard’s college self
  • 21:48: How Richard’s coaching practice evolved

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Richard Nash-92


Will Bachman  00:01

Welcome to the 92 report conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe class of 1992. I’m your host will Bachman. And I am so excited to be here today with Richard Nash, who is someone that I knew around campus and seen and performances around campus and did not know each other. Well, then. And I’m so excited to speak with him today. Richard, welcome to the show.


Richard Nash  00:25

Thank you so much. 


Will Bachman  00:28

Richard, let’s start here, the wired editor in chief Chris Anderson, who runs Ted said that a described a talk that you gave to book net Canada as the best talk on the future of publishing I’ve ever seen pretty high praise from the guy who runs TED Talks. Only, let’s let’s use that to start, you had an eclectic career, you’ve been in theater and publishing and you’re a coach, talk to me about some of your experience in publishing and some of the I’m really curious to hear about some of the thoughts you shared that talk about the future of publishing where you see that heading, right. I mean, you know,


Richard Nash  01:10

the funny thing is, is I think the reason I had something worth responding to then talking about the future of publishing is that I started in publishing, by knowing absolutely nothing. And it was by being able to start from a place of absolute ignorance, that I was able to get something figured out. You publishing. You know, like a certain number of professions, a lot of the, you know, maybe the legal profession medicine, professional services, as it gets called, um, is a kind of, or maybe the military, it’s sort of a, it’s a kind of it’s very inside hurry. And, but it’s built atop hundreds, if not 1000s, of years, of carefully accumulated knowledge. It’s guild like, I mean, in many respects, publishing is the first industry it’s the first time humanity ever mass produced anything. And, and so, so much knowledge accrues and sort of built layer upon layer upon layer upon layer. And so, arriving for somebody else who arrives into publishing, in the way in which most people came to publishing, you know, as an entry level assistants, editorial assistant, or a marketing assistant, or somebody working at a bookstore, or, or somebody working in a library, um, you you get taught about your job by the people in your department. At as a result, you know, you have a very siloed view of what publishing is, um, it’s really, you learned a functionality? Um,


Will Bachman  03:59

well, let me ask you there and ask you questions. Yeah, that, so, historically, you know, I would think of publishing as controlling the means of production of the printing press, and as well as being the wholesaler, you know, who gets books into bookstores. But with the internet, you know, anyone can publish a blog post or a podcast, and perhaps publishing is becoming more of a of a curation role. But but But you asked the question, what is public? Well, what is publishing? How would you define it?


Richard Nash  04:31

Well, that was the thing. There was never any such thing as the publishing industry, it turns out with hindsight, um, and, you know, we go to the Frankfurt Book Fair, and I mean, actually, that this this first crystallized for me one time when I was at the Frankfurt Book Fair, maybe after I don’t know, maybe my, maybe my 10th or 12th or 13th time there. I realize that that publishing isn’t an industry. It’s a capability. But it’d be game perceived to be an industry. Because it was a capability that seems so distinct. So, you know, what, what, what the cookbook, publishing and medical reference publishing, and poetry publishing. And travel publishing had in common, other than the big printed inbound something was virtually nothing. The actual purpose that a cookbook was serving was radically different from the the the thing in use, of what purpose of poetry collection was serving, or a novel was serving, or the physicians desk reference was serving. So it the call it in an industry, I mean, printing was an industry, although printing, published all kinds of things print, you know, printing had nothing necessarily to do with publishing as we, you know, somewhat self deceptively called the industry, printing, you know, lots of 10, K’s for the SEC in the 1990s was completely different than printing a bunch of books, or printing a bunch of magazines or printing a bunch of newspapers, completely different business models. Um, in a sense, you know, one whole zone of publishing, disappeared, when the internet came along, which was referenced publishing, was effectively killed by Wikipedia, you’re not going to be printing a whole bunch of encyclopedias, general interest encyclopedias, if you can access that information elsewhere. In fact, you could say this, the same thing might have been said for cookbooks were not for the fact that the real purpose of a cookbook at this point is not necessarily to sort of figure out what to make for dinner tonight. It’s sort of a talisman of association with a particular cuisine. Or it’s a way of marking yourself out as a foodie. And so it has more to do in a sense, almost with fashion. You have cookbooks in the way of you have certain kinds of shirts or design, you have cookbooks in the way that you have a certain kind of chair in your house. And so in a sense, you know, a lot of the sort of talking that I was doing about the future of publishing really had to do with getting a better grasp. And what it was that publishing had been that it was a capability or a functionality that was used for so many different purposes, with so many different business models, that when you were trying to figure out what the future of it was, you really had to asking yourself, what was it that you’re really talking about, because publishing wasn’t really an industry where you could generalize from. And so the future of poetry publishing has nothing to do with the future of encyclopedia publishing. So, so that was kind of, you know, really trying to understand what was really going on here. And to be able to sort of, yeah, and it was because I was so ignorant, I had to kind of like learn about all this stuff, kind of on my own, because I took over an independent book publisher from a guy who had no idea what he was doing and had run it into the ground. And I had to kind of like, learn so much so quickly, from so many different elements, I had to learn from sales reps, and I had to learn from agents and I had to learn from a distributor and I had to learn from printers. What the fuck is it that we were actually supposed to be doing? I have no idea what to do. But I had to run an entire little mini company. So I had to figure it all out. And I had to figure it all out with out you know, not as a sort of like a right now I have a boss who’s going to have me perform, you know, various tasks that she in turn had been assigned by her boss. Before that, I had to sort of figure out like, What the hell is it that we’re actually doing. And that in a way that ignorance gave me the scope, to be able to kind of look at it from a much more from a much broader vantage point, and then made it also easier to be able to say, Oh, well wait where my all this be going. Because the all this, I have no real ability to predict anything, what I just had was I was less attached to stories about what publishing was, because I could see that publishing wasn’t in fact, what what it was sort of described to be, it was way more eclectic, and diverse and bizarre and I circumstantial and contextual, that then it was assumed to be


Will Bachman  11:02

what are some of your thoughts on the future of publishing? Now, on the journalism side, there’s all sorts of transitions happening with, you know, major, well known writers going to substack to just be be independent entrepreneurs. What do you see happening more in the book publishing realm? Do you see authors just creating their own imprint and going direct to the public? Or what are the transitions


Richard Nash  11:30

of the individual? It depends, it depends on you know, different people have different appetites for you know, some people like being entrepreneurs, some don’t. So, you know, some people will, you know, some people want to run their own bar. Other people like to go somewhere to buy a drink. So, for the kinds of people who are like, I’m gonna have my own bar, those are the kinds of writers who might decide I’m going to Self Publish. But for the kind of people who like going to a, a, going to a wine bar, or like buying stuff from a liquor store and bringing it home and drinking it, they’re in a different situation, they kind of want perhaps to just add a plug into some larger system, right, going to a wine bar, and just make sure that everybody, you everybody who knows how to do their job is going to do their job, and you are going to, in a sense, pay them for it. And so, you know, some people have chosen to go the self publishing route. A, you know, I mean, I took the probably the most sort of, economically successful of them was the woman behind 50 Shades of Grey, and whose name I’m temporarily spacing on, but a girl’s The best analogy, I think of other sort of areas of the world, what she did was Dollar Shave Club. Um, it just the fact that, you know, it’s not just publishing where you can, you don’t have to go through pre existing supply chain systems, it’s almost every area of human endeavor, you can basically contract out the manufacturing, and distribution in one way, shape, or form. It’s simply a question of obtaining attention. With Dollar Shave Club, it was like their original YouTube video. So it’s, it’s, in a sense, you know, that transformation that is going on and publishing as a transformation that’s going on in a great many industries, where the, you know, barriers to entry have fallen. You know, it’s not just anybody can print a book. It’s also the case that anybody can record a song or anybody can record a video clip or anybody can call themselves a coach, or anybody can start a consumer packaged goods company. There’s still some areas where it’s, you know, I’m not saying it’s completely universal, but you know, um, and, God I just noticed recently yesterday DirecTV, that right? No dish is starting a 5g phone network. Because effectively, they’re just using the cloud instead of switching equipment. They’re not buying huge amounts of pre existing switching equipment, they’re just using AWS. So there’s, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s there’s so many different areas of human endeavor where the barriers to entry have fallen, then the question becomes is like, where do you get the demand?


Will Bachman  15:40

Let me ask you this, who’s gonna buy your book? Or who’s gonna? Who’s gonna use your service for their 5g phone? Right? So after college, you spent about nine years in the theater, and then you’ve spent the last 20 or so years a variety of roles in the publishing industry, including a lot of entrepreneurial ventures. Yeah. What about your journey would most have surprised your college age self?


Richard Nash  16:11

Jesus. I mean, the funny thing is, the second 20 years of publishing was almost like a completely different thing. Because I was just doing, you know, startup stuff. I mean, it it wasn’t I, it felt as much a different world as running a publishing company felt from being in theater. And God even doing coaching now is, you know, basically, I’m on my fourth post college life. Um, I mean, actually, I guess, in a weird way, it’s what I’m doing now, that would have freaked me out the most.


Will Bachman  16:55

All roads lead to consulting. Well, yeah, I mean,


Richard Nash  17:00

well, I suppose to consulting what I specifically mean coaching, just because it’s sort of woowoo boo, you know, are seen as kind of woowoo. Um, and you’re partly a highway came, coach, so So about four years, four years ago, I had a meeting session with my, with my therapist with my shrink. And I was I was sort of repeating a kind of dialogue that I had had, I don’t know what day it will be previously with my then girlfriend. It was that like, you know, she said this. And I said that she said, this. And then I said that and that. And as I’m describing it, as I’m relaying repeating the dialogue to my therapist, I sort of exclaim, all of a sudden, oh, I sound like a fucking life coach. And my shrink looked at me pointed to me and said, That’s what you should do. Because I was at a point where, you know, I done theater, and I done publishing and I was done startups and I, this consulting gig that I had, that just sort of wrapped up. So I was really, I had to figure out what the fuck I was doing with the rest of my life. And I had no idea what to do, because I felt that everything I had done before, I was not going to be able to go back to for one reason or another, I did not want to go back to for one reason or another. So she said, that’s what you should do. And I looked at her and I said, Oh, God, no, absolutely not. And that was my college age. So saying, you that’s what I do. That was was that was it themselves, Richard? Oh, that’s gross. She asked me why. And I, I, you know, we started we sort of kind of like talking it through and I said in a way there’s, there’s two ways to have influence in the world. One is to have a small impact on a large number of people. And the other is to have a large impact and a small number of people. I said I feel self conscious saying this because obviously you chose your shrink, you chose large impact and a small number of people. I really want to do the small impact on large. That’s, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. That’s what I want to do. And you know, and we kept talking and I ignored that in some ways, you know, that was an ongoing tension. It wasn’t like that was a completely resolved thing for me. Because, you know, I first started as an actor, and then I shifted to director. I was also a writer and then shifted to editor and publisher. I then did my own startup and then was working at other people’s startups, and then was really just being a startup advisor. So, so I this rhythm where I would kind of go start off in front of the curtain, and then go off stage over and over and over again. And I spent a lot of time looking into coaching with the idea that I was going to prove her wrong. And it turned out she was right. That, that what I realize I should be doing with the rest of my life was to have large impact on a small number of people. And, you know, I’m not, here I am doing this fucking podcast, I’ve not completely let go of the idea that there might never be a moment when I get to be in front of the curtain again. Fundamentally. It’s, it’s, it’s not what I’m, it’s not my vocation.


Will Bachman  21:39

And tell me how your coaching practice has evolved. What, what sort of the target market that you’re serving? What sort of, you know? Well,


Richard Nash  21:48

I suppose the great thing about a lot of big career shifts, is you can kind of get to do what you’re where you get to break the rules. And, you know, one of the class one of the one of the classic rules and coaching as it is in a lot of different areas of professional services is that you’re supposed to have a kind of a forte, right? A brand, a distinctive brand, like I’m this kind of a coach. I sort of connect with these kinds of people, I help this sort of person with this kind of problem. And I completely don’t do that. I’m completely eclectic. I have diplomats and screenwriters, and CEOs, and CTOs and interaction designers and a computational linguist, a musician, academic. I’m museum person, a financial technology people. And it’s the whole gamut. I coached a cabinet maker in Australia, a french french emigrants, cabinet maker, living in Australia. So so I get to kind of completely coach to people who interested me. And in a way, it is a lot like being a therapist, but in another way. It reminds me of Harvard. You know, it’s, it’s, 


Will Bachman  23:58

Well the advice on having a focus area is partly a go to market related advice. Because yeah, if you’re, if you’re going to be proactive about developing a consulting or coaching business, sure, it helps to have a, you know, defined target market. So sure, yeah. When you go to the right conferences or conventions, but how is your was it Yeah, word of mouth or primarily? Yeah,


Richard Nash  24:25

exactly. It’s completely word of mouth. It was just that I was old enough. Yeah. And I’d done enough different stuff over the years and actually, weirdly enough without realizing it developed a kind of a reputation as a person who you could have a thoughtful conversation with about where you’re at, what’s going on what you might do and whether you’re sort of concentrating career change or contemplating a post divorce life for all Dealing with kids or or dealing, you know, with I don’t know, change in one way, shape or form. So, so I done enough of that with enough people informally just as a human being, that that sort of my go to market was was more a question of saying, you know, there was a, you know, just emailing a shit ton of people and saying, Hey, this is what I’m doing now, individually, you know, like, not a group email, like one person at a time. It took a year. But, but that was, but you know, there’s one thing I’m realizing, as I’m saying all of this, is that is that this conversation with my shrink took place, six weeks after the 25th.


Will Bachman  25:56

Time for Change, right?


Richard Nash  25:59

Yeah, there was, there was something you know, the 25th was a really big deal for me.


Will Bachman  26:06

In what way? What, tell me what happened there? And what was what was the what was the, you know, conversations are what was the realization? And,


Richard Nash  26:15

you know, I mean, there’s a few, a few things, I’d only the only other reunion I’d been to was the tents. So the temporary union, you’ve got a bunch of people in their early 30s, who were all fucking showing off. Or doing our best to show off, depending on what we had to show off, but I don’t know, it was it was there was there was, you know, there’s so much shit, we said to ourselves in our 20s about what we were going to accomplish by the time we were 30. And so when you’re 31, or 32, you’re still kind of thinking that way. When you’re like 45, you know, you’ve even if you’ve done incredibly well, that X Y or Z thing, you’ve gotten your ass kicked, and your teeth knocked out doing some a B or C thing as well. You have, you know, you just have dealt with plenty of ship to go along with whatever success you have had. And you just have a much more I don’t know grounded view of the world. And so the big one big thing for me, it was just the delight in getting to feel how kind of delightfully weirdly collectively well rounded, we all ended up being in this sense, that just there was just a lot more fucking wisdom in in 2017, then there was in 2002 just so much more experience and perspective and context. Yeah, just honestly, wisdom. And, and just sort of like, seeing, just I mean, that really is that that’s it. That’s it, there was just so much fucking wisdom. And I suppose I felt like it was just a lot of meaningful conversation, which is so goddamn enjoyable. And in a way, was


Will Bachman  28:44

there anything that anyone said that you recall, that kind of may have helped unlock that? You know, that recognition you had six weeks later?


Richard Nash  28:53

I suppose. This is embarrassing, but I’m gonna say there were a few different people who came up to me. And they said, Oh, hey, in a conversation said, you know, you’ve once said this thing to me that I will never forget. I still think about it now. And I don’t remember what the thing was. But three or four different people said and, and that I think that’s the thing. That was what stuck with me. As the as the months went by.


Will Bachman  29:45

Can I ask you this? In your coaching practice, obviously, respecting confidentiality? Yeah. Is there something that you can share that you’re most proud of, or that comes to mind that you’re quite proud of, that you’ve done over the past year or so? insight you’ve helped someone come to or some type where at the end of the day That day you said, Wow, I really got an A plus as a coach today, that was a good coaching. Um it’s not always a statement, it’s sometimes it’s Yeah.


Richard Nash  30:23

That’s great. Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s a it’s almost never a statement or, or if it’s a statement, it’s I mean, I answer your question, eventually, I promise because I know what I know what an example is that I think speaks to the question. But I also want to mention a couple of things around your question, one of which is that I, much like I have no, not only did I not remember saying that thing to that person who was telling me about that thing that they will never forget, I can’t even remember it. Now that they reminded me. And one of the things that I don’t do is I don’t take notes. I don’t write down what I said. Because it feels like the second I do, it becomes about showing off. It becomes about being wise. And to go back to your kind of question about the future of publishing stuff. It’s really when I’m at my most stupid, but curious that I’m useful. You know, which is something that is not the easiest thing for Harvard person who has got to Harvard because not by being stupid, but by working really hard and being smart. to kind of get to the point of thinking, where I’m at my most useful isn’t when I’m at my most stupid. Oh, it’s very Socratic point of view, right? It’s a Socratic a way. Exactly. It’s Socratic, precisely and just by so so in a way. Like, I, there are times when I’m like, God, that was a great turn of phrase. And then I have to just let it go, like, Richard. doesn’t fucking matter, because none of your turns of phrase will matter. All that matters is what they did, what, what matters is what happened inside the other person. And you’re never going to know what it was that you said that really actually made the difference, unless you’re lucky enough that they remember until you you years later. I will say that I got an email about three months ago, from a woman who was a sole practitioner. In a given discipline, who was in a situation she was working her ass off, she felt like she was really in a grind. And she was hoping I was going to be the person to help her figure out, like, how to make it more scalable. And, of course, you know, I just, I, I’m not just not that specific at all. But we had a lot of conversations in which one of the things that sort of jumped out at me a little bit in her case was that all her clients just loved her. And she felt really bad about ever charging the money, like she would forget to send them invoices, or she’d get embarrassed about telling them how much she cost. And she looked out in the world and was like, am I charging too much money. And it was just so clear to me that she was really good at what she did and had a very hard time kind of charging people for it. And we spent a lot of time just just kind of sitting around with this feeling of kind of shame that she had around money and so this is about we worked for about nine months together in 2018. She was one of my earliest clients. And I got an email from her. And at the time we ended you know, she was still kind of in that state of feeling over whelmed of having to say yes to every gig that she got every client that she got, because she had to make more money. But anyway, so three months ago, I get an email. And basically she said, I now work six months a year. That’s fabulous. My life has completely changed.


Will Bachman  35:24

Yeah, the stories we tell ourselves about money, it’s a, it can be a difficult thing to change. Right?


Richard Nash  35:31

Yeah. I mean, the stories we tell ourselves about everything, you know, it is definitely well, like, I think one of the ways in which I sometimes think about what it is that coaching does is it sort of helps people realize that they keep telling themselves the same story about who they are. And it’s not the only story. There’s other versions of that story. That could be free. I mean, that’s Shitman reunion again, or for that matter of publishing. It’s as an editor. You’re you realize there’s many ways to tell the story. And you show up at reunion and realize there’s many ways you can tell a story.


Will Bachman  36:28

One, one question that we ask on each episode here is what classes in college did you take, if any, that that had an impact on you over the course of your life post college in classes stand out now that, that the you know, they’ve stayed with you?


Richard Nash  36:58

See, I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s a few. I think there’s a couple of categories. One, two, there’s two classes. One was the dance class taught by clear molarity. That was, I think, technically considered a Rackleff seminar. I’m not sure you got a grade for it. So it wasn’t that I can’t remember exactly how it was dramatic arts. It was a dramatic arts class was one of the few for credit graded dramatic arts classes. That dance class. And then this class I took that was part of the core curriculum with Litton arts, B was a class on I can’t remember what the title of it was, but it was taught by a guy named Bernard RAM. And it was basically about postwar contemporary music, sort of avant garde composition, serial music 12 tone, music, atonal music, that sort of thing. The thing about those two classes is that I wasn’t good at either of them. I was not a natural musician. I was into theater but I was not a natural dancer. I was not naturally comfortable in my body. I remember this one moment in this one class with with the dance class where I was where she just had us walk. And we were watched by the class and you have your back to the class and you’re back to the teacher you’re sort of like walking away from them. And and I start walking and the the professor she passed away about a year ago Claire and LRT she starts cackling look at his prissy little I was mortified. mortified. And, but there’s something just about, you know, like getting through the thing that you’re not good at. That was down a really big deal for me. And I would say the other kind of category was I think it was another core class taught by a woman who then laughed because she didn’t get tenure the way you know, always was with Harvard. It was a class about epic novels. It was where I read 100 Years of Solitude for the first time. And but I think it was kind of, you know, it was sort of my introduction to kind of world scale. Cultural Diversity. Um, you know, reading Toni Morrison and Carlos Fuentes and Garcia Marquez and reading non white non American stuff. And the fact that it was just sort of wild and funny and rivaled and political. Just the, the breadth and weirdness of it all was just gorgeous.


Will Bachman  40:32

What about that dance class has affected you since has it, it’s gonna change your, just the way you move in the world and the way you kind of think about being in a physical place, or, like, what is the


Richard Nash  40:47

physicality it’s more about incompetence and failure. Okay, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s more about, like dealing with not being good at something. I’m in my early 40s, is it before reunion, somewhere where I’m at the age of 41, or 42, I was feeling like, I was spinning my wheels. I decided I had to do something outside my comfort zone. And my first thought was, because this is my this is like, kind of 10 years ago. So 2011 2012, my first time in 2013, at my first thought was, oh, I should learn to code. Right? Because I was not one of those guys in the basement of the Science Center. doing coding back in 1990 9192. And of course, like, you know, the world changed. And that became, you know, the coders inherited the earth, that sort of thing. Like, oh, I should learn to code and I would be insecure around that I didn’t know how to do it, blah, blah, blah. So they should do that. And I was like, I can’t remember quite what it was. But, um, weirdly enough, comes back to Harvard math, and I think I never learned to swim. As a kid it was the the Americans with Disabilities Act is magnificent and spectacularly important thing that we should all be grateful for. But the one thing that it did was it forced Harvard to end its requirement that you learn to swim. Which had been a thing for a long time, that’s part of that whole Weidner, bequest story, but and they actually had to eliminate the requirements. I mean, they encouraged it, and I was so mortified that I didn’t know how to swim and I just couldn’t bring myself to, I just kept going on and on and on and on in my life that I, you know, couldn’t swim. And I realized that that’s what I was gonna have to learn to do. I was gonna have to take my gas, and get it into a swimming pool, and learn to swim. So at the age of 4344, I finally learned to swim to be two years. But but, you know, it’s an I’m sure, this is something I’m gonna have to, you know, confront again and again and again in my life. Oh, I’m not doing that because it is too embarrassing. You know, if the kind of like, take on your embarrassment, and just, you know, by trying to dance when you’re not good at it, trying to learn to swim when you can’t. Yeah.


Will Bachman  44:26

When you started, I imagined taking swimming lessons. What was that? Like? Did it turn out to be harder than you expected? You know, less of it because I was expected or


Richard Nash  44:39

it was it was as hard as it like, two fucking years of one on one. Wow. I mean, it wasn’t every week. Yeah. Because I couldn’t you know, that’s expected but it was I probably took 50 classes over the course of 51 on one hour long. classes over the course of two years, I just had so much fear. I think there was a lot of, weirdly enough is going back to the body, but I think there’s just a lot of I, as a child, I think, very young child, I think there was some fear instilled in me around water. And, and a variety, you know, I think that just kind of it’s like the opposite of or not the opposite, but like the pearl in the oyster, just like, more and more kind of fear layered on top of it all. So yeah, no, it was it was as hard. I mean, the one thing I got to not do is, you know, I was only failing in front of the instructor, right? Or the instructors boss. Um, but you know, definitely dealing with a lot of like, the instructor trying to figure out like, why the fuck Can’t he do that? Like, what, you know, feeling like, a deep sense of like, not only am I not good at this, but I am weirdly not good. This,


Will Bachman  46:14

this sounds this is I am stuffing


Richard Nash  46:18

an expert, not yours, an expert in this person’s specialty is getting adults who are afraid of swimming to learn to swim. And this person is still mystified by why, you know, I can’t do X, Y, or Z. And, you know, I would find other excuses, you know, things to blame it on. But, you know, basically I can, I’m not a very good swimmer, but I can now swim, I’m gonna actually even try not in 2022 and 2023 to do triathlon.


Will Bachman  46:57

Amazing. That sounds that’s an That’s a wonderful story. And it sounds also like the genesis of an episode of The Moth to stories. It really does. I’m sure, you know, we come to the final section of this with where we end, I know, we just have a few minutes left. What this is sort of the cultural recommendation department, any books or films or other cultural artifacts that that you would love to recommend to fellow members of the class and other listeners of the show?


Richard Nash  47:35

Okay, well, so there’s a few things. I mean, this is, I think, for me, the first I have to just give them the class of 92. I have to recommend my classmate and roommates, second to last poetry collection, Kevin young, his poetry collection Brown, in part, because, I mean, it’s magnificent. He’s class of 92, but also because there’s a whole sequence of Harvard poems and then like poems from and the late 80s. Early 90s So, that is absolutely something it’s technically one poem. But it is a you know, 2025 Page poem called de la Sol is dead. And and there’s Adams House swimming pool poems, and there’s early 80s Dance Party, circa February 1990 poem and there’s a it’s just a beautiful sort of representation of, you know, one person’s experience that kind of reminds us in a way of all of our experiences I think of, of Harvard late 80s, early 90s. So definitely Kevin Young’s collection Brown, let me think I’m, I’m God I read. And there is a beautiful book by a guy named Rob Walker. He used to write the country assumed column in the New York Times Magazine kind of like 510 years ago, he has a lovely book called The Art of noticing. That is, I think its subtitle is 101 131 ways to spark creativity find inspiration, and discovered joy in the every day. And in the universe of what might be called self help, or productivity or creativity, or that sort of thing, it is both wise. And goofy. Yeah,


Will Bachman  50:40

I love that. And, and here, you know what, oh, I love that book. He also has a great substack he has a great newsletter, the art? He


Richard Nash  50:48

does, he does, in fact, I have to email him about yesterday’s one. Um, because I, you know, I had something to suggest to him about about about yesterday’s one, he worked on a I helped him with a project and a number of years ago called significant objects. Which is, that’s sort of how I know him. It was basically a project where he and a friend bought a whole bunch of objects on eBay. And then they commissioned writers to write stories about the object, love it, and then they resold the object. Oh, that’s amazing. And basically, it became an experiment in how narrative changes the value of something.


Will Bachman  51:44

Oh, that’s amazing. What a cool. What a cool story.


Richard Nash  51:47

Yeah, yeah. And there, they have a book of them called I think significant objects. Yeah, yeah. Rob, is, is is is just wonderful. It’s wonderful. In fact, it also makes me think, especially in relation to, to your work. And I think of your kind of project of like your network of consultants in the stuff you’re obviously very aware of, like, how to help solo practitioners succeed. And this guy is a good friend of Rob’s diamond in Austin.


Will Bachman  52:23

Leon. Oh, sure. Yeah.


Richard Nash  52:27

So funnily enough, I’m in the acknowledgments of Austin’s first book. Because I met Austin, because Austin went to one of my future of publishing talks and did a great. He just needs great drawings, like a single drawing of all the themes and ideas in the talk. And my apparently, sort of my talk about the future of publishing, as it pertains to individual writers kind of helped them a lot in his thinking that goes into a lot of his books. And I think the show your work book is a really great book for anybody trying to sort of be an individual making an impact on the world and wanting to make a living while doing it.


Will Bachman  53:20

Oh, I love Austin Kleon. He’s got Steal Like an Artist. You mentioned show your work. And I think he has so some other he has a whole series. Yeah. The third one, how to discover how to how to, like how to be an explorer of the world, I think is Yeah,


Richard Nash  53:39

yeah. Yeah. Austin and and Rob, they’ve they’ve they’ve definitely been kind of, there’s a kind of a groove that they’re working. That is wise. I guess why isn’t goofy like it’s, it’s wise, but not smug. And I think it was the wisdom and lack of smugness, that was what I loved about the 25th reunion.


Will Bachman  54:09

Yeah. Richard, if folks wanted to find you online and follow up or check out what you’re doing, where we just


Richard Nash  54:17

are Nash calm, RNA sh calm, and I’m rich, our Nash But,


Will Bachman  54:24

Richard, we will we will include that link in the show notes. Thank you. And thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Listen, this has been such a joy Richard catching up with you and hearing these, you know, future episodes of the moth and your winding path. Thanks so much for being on the show. Well, it


Richard Nash  54:47

was my absolute pleasure, man. I really appreciate it. It was an honor.