Cover art for podcast Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Open Source with Christopher Lydon

50 EpisodesProduced by Christopher LydonWebsite

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics


Henry at Work

It’s Labor Day week, 2023, and Henry David Thoreau is the heart of our conversation. It’s not with him, but it’s driven by his example: American thinking at its best on the matter of how to make a living.

John Kaag.

Have no doubt that the gabby man-about-Concord in the 1850s was a worker: expert surveyor, gardener, as many trades as fingers, he said, not to mention the writer of Walden and Civil Disobedience, of course, and a life journal that came to two million words. We read Henry Thoreau anew for his insight into our work, not his: the often fruitless, driven, underpaid labor of the 2020s, and, oddly enough, our midnight anxiety that ChatGPT could take it all away. This is a conversation in the Harvard Bookstore with our friend the philosopher John Kaag, who co-wrote the pungent and personal handbook titled Henry at Work.

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