I’m writing a book!
It’s a memoir/manifesto about the internet 🌀
Today I’m officially announcing my first book. It’s called The Portal, and it’s part memoir, part manifesto (memoirfesto?) about the perils and possibilities of the internet. It will be published by my good friend Ellen Fishbein and her publishing company, Altamira Studio. It’s slated for release in the Fall of 2024, but available for pre-orders starting today.
Here’s the cover of the book, along with the author’s statement I whipped together, which captures the essence of the journey I’m hoping this little book will take readers on.
The Portal is an invitation to examine our relationship with the internet, both as individuals and as a species.
The internet can be a portal into suffering and delusion. It can seduce us, coaxing out the devil on our shoulder, amplifying the worst aspects of our nature at unimaginable scale. Getting lost in this labyrinth can turn us into both predators and prey, gamblers and addicts, zealots and extremists.
The internet can also be a portal into life’s highest possibilities. It can open the doors to connection, purpose, and self-renewal. It can erase the limitations of the physical world, helping us connect to the exact people and opportunities that bring us most fully to life.
Over ten years as an internet dweller, I’ve experienced both extremes. My plan with this book is to reflect on the various digital portals I’ve stepped through—the addictive patterns of media consumption and spending, getting caught up in America’s culture war fervor, my journey to predatory internet marketer and back, and more.
But I also want to explore the positive portals as well. The internet has connected me to amazing opportunities, made it possible to build a joyful business, led to new friendships and romances, and helped me spiral into more whole and healthy versions of myself. Digital cynicism and nihilism are in vogue these days. But the beautiful, life-affirming aspects of the internet are part of this story, too.
Part memoir, part manifesto, my hope is this short book will act as a portal into a much larger story. The internet is still young, as is our collective relationship to it. It’s no stretch to say this technology could lead to our downfall as a species. Or it could be integral to how we come together, solve our most challenging coordination problems, and reach towards our collective potential.
We get to choose which of those stories comes true. We get to choose which portals we step through.
There’s one other thing you should know about The Portal.
I plan to write it in public, chapter by chapter, right here on Substack. This won’t be one of those projects where I announce it, run away and work on it in the background for two years, and then re-emerge from my cave with a finished product. My plan is to share most, if not all, of my messy and imperfect drafts in public.
I’m doing this partly because I believe it’ll be some of the most effective (non-coercive) marketing I can do for this book. I’m not particularly worried about giving too much away for free. Mostly, I just want people to read it, spread the word, and purchase a copy if it feels meaningful to them.
Second, I believe we’re in an important moment right now in our collective relationship to the internet. With AI chaos looming on the near horizon, it’s more important than ever for each of us to begin cultivating healthier relationships with this technology. Shit’s about to get so much weirder and less trustworthy in the digital realm, and I’m not sure any of us are prepared for it.
My hope is that by releasing individual chapters into the cultural slipstream, this work will end up reaching far beyond the typical impact of a book. And maybe, just maybe, that strategy will help more people begin navigating our turbulent digital future, right now.
So yeah, that’s all I’ve got. If you dig the vision, it’d mean the world if you could spread the word, or even pre-order a copy. 🙏