Evan Wright, a two-time National Magazine Award winner, is the author of Generation Kill.

"When people were killed, civilians especially, I realized I was the only person there who would write it down. I was frantic about getting names, and in the book there are a few Arabic names, some of the victims. Not that anyone cares. But I thought, 'At least somewhere there's a record of this.'"

Thanks to this week’s sponsors: TinyLetter and HostGator.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._67_-_Evan_Wright.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Andy Ward, a former editor at Esquire and GQ, is the editorial director of nonfiction at Random House.

"How you gain that trust is a hard thing to quantify. The way I try do it is by caring. If you don't care about every word and every sentence in the piece, writers pick up on that. ... Ultimately, it's their book or their magazine article. Their name is on it, not mine. I always try to keep that in mind."

Thanks to this week's sponsors: TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._66_-_Andy_Ward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:34pm EDT

Elizabeth Wurtzel is the author of four books, including Prozac Nation.

"It's not that hard to be a lawyer. Any fool can be a lawyer. It's really hard to be a writer. You have to be born with incredible amounts of talent. Then you have to work hard. Then you have to be able to handle tons of rejection and not mind it and just keep pushing away at it. You have to show up at people's doors. You can't just e-mail and text message people. You have to bang their doors down. You have to be interesting. You have to be fucking phenomenal to get a book published and then sell the book. When people think their writing career is not working out, it's not working out because it's so damn hard. It's not harder now than it was 20 years ago. It's just as hard. It was always hard."

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14 for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._65_-_Elizabeth_Wurtzel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

Gay Talese, who wrote for Esquire in the 1960s and currently contributes to The New Yorker, is the author of several books. His latest is A Writer's Life.

"I want to know how people did what they did. And I want to know how that compares with how I did what I did. That's my whole life. It's not really a life. It's a life of inquiry. It's a life of getting off your ass, knocking on a door, walking a few steps or a great distance to pursue a story. That's all it is: a life of boundless curiosity in which you indulge yourself and never miss an opportunity to talk to someone at length."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Warby Parker for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._64_-_Gay_Talese.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

Jon Ronson, a contributor to This American Life, The Guardian and GQ, is the author of six books, including The Men Who Stare at Goats. His latest is Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries.

"The older you get, you realize that no uncomfortable fact makes your story worse. Contradictions are great. What's bad, what to me is the worst journalistic sin, is ridiculous polemicism. ... To me, the contradictions, the story not turning out the way you want—you have to be a twig in the tidal wave of the story."

Thanks to TinyLetter, EA SPORTS FIFA 14 and Learnvest for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._63_-_Jon_Ronson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His latest book is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

"The categories are in motion. You turn into a Goliath, then you topple because of your bigness. You fall to the bottom again. And Davids, after a while, are no longer Davids. Facebook is no longer an underdog—it's now everything it once despised. I'm everything I once despised. When I was 25, I used to write these incredibly snotty, hostile articles attacking big-name, nonfiction journalists. Now I read them and I'm like, 'Oh my God, they're doing a me on me!'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14 for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._62_-_Malcolm_Gladwell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

Cord Jefferson is the West Coast Editor at Gawker.

"I consider myself to be a sincere human being. And I think that the way the internet carries itself, the way the internet has dialogues, is often insincere. That concerns me. I don't ever want to lose my sincerity. I don't ever want to lose my ability to feel emotional about things that I write about. I don't ever want to have a distance from everything that I write. I think that can be a danger of writing too much for the internet, that you develop this elitist distance from everything. That nothing really matters, you know?"

Thanks to TinyLetter and Hulu Plus for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._61_-_Cord_Jefferson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

Hamilton Morris is the science editor for Vice and a contributor to Harper's.

"It's a shame that there isn't more of an interdisciplinary approach to a lot of scientific investigations, because often the result is that misinformation is produced. Again, there's misinformation in journalism and there's misinformation in science. And if you combine the best elements of both of those disciplines you can come a little bit closer to the truth. If you want to understand a drug phenomenon, you're going to need to look at it medically, chemically, anthropologically, you need to talk to people, you need to interview people, you need to look at the drug policy, the chemistry, the history—there's a lot of different factors that need to be examined in order to understand even the most simple, minute drug phenomenon. And if you're approaching something purely as a scientist, as an academic, there are huge limitations as to what you can do."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Hulu Plus for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._60_-_Hamilton_Morris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Nancy Jo Sales writes for Vanity Fair and is the author of The Bling Ring.

"I'm a mom now, so my life's a little different. I can't do certain things that I used to do, and I won't, because they're dangerous or ridiculous or keep me out till five in the morning or whatever. But back in those days, I didn't even really have—I didn't even have a pet! This was everything I did. This was my whole life, this passion to find out these things, and do these things, and see these things, and have these adventures and be able to report about this street life that rarely gets talked about. I just didn't really have a lot of boundaries in those days. I don't think I had any, really. And if you really throw yourself into something, you can get a great story. You can also not have a life of your own."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._59_-_Nancy_Jo_Sales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT

Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

"People don't really care about issues so much as they care about the stories and the characters that bring those issues to life. ... A story needs an engine or something to propel you forward and it can't just be a collection of like, 'Oh, hmm, this was interesting over here and this was interesting over there.' Realizing that helped me sit down with all my stuff on trafficking and labor abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan and say 'What are the five craziest things that I found here and how could I weave them together in a way that would actually have some forward motion?'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and HuluPlus for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._58_-_Sarah_Stillman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT