511: George Saunders on: “Holy Befuddlement” and How to Be Less of a “Turd”


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One of the great perils and problems of our age is that we sometimes become too entrenched in our views and attached to being right.

According to guest George Saunders, the antidote is something he calls “holy befuddlement.”

George Saunders is the author of eleven books, including Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for best work of fiction in English. His most recent book, Liberation Day, is a collection of short stories that explore the ideas of power, ethics, and justice, cutting to the heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How George Saunders creates “holy befuddlement” in himself and in his readers
  • How shaving down dogmatism can help us be, in his words, less of a “turd”
  • How to deal with heightened expectations we might have of ourselves
  • Healthy ways to enjoy praise
  • What it looks like to cultivate a relationship with our self, to the extent that the self exists
  • The importance of moral ambiguity in his work
  • The impact of meditating – or not meditating – on our creative work
  • And forgiveness and coming up short

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/george-saunders-511

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