Earlier this year, Modern Stoicism launched something new – at least for this organization – a podcast, in which the host and editor, Adam Piercey, interviews guests who have made contributions to modern practices and interpretations of that ancient philosophy. Listenership has been growing steadily, and the Modern Stoicism Podcast provides an excellent supplement to other media in which Stoicism gets discussed.
Today, we are happy to report that the podcast has hit an important milestone. We’re publishing the tenth episode here in Stoicism Today (as well as on all of the many platforms where the podcast can be found) in this very post. The title of this one is “Adam the Host Answers Questions about Podcasting and Practice!”
As editor of Stoicism Today and as a team member of Modern Stoicism, Ltd., I was one of the people interviewed in the first ten episodes, and I would like to not only congratulate Adam for bringing the podcast to this point, but also to sing his praises a bit. Podcasts are somewhat deceptive, as they sound almost effortless to the casual listener. Intros slide right into to thoughtful discussions of topics, going just the right amount of time before they finish up with an outro. That’s all due to hours and hours of recording and then laborious editing work. Schedules have to be aligned between host and guest, and that’s just a bit of the preparatory work that goes into each episode. So Adam has been generously devoting significant time, thought, and effort to this project, and for that the entire Modern Stoicism Team thanks him (and maybe you readers and listeners might want to do that as well).
If you missed them when they came out, or you’d like to listen to them again (or download them for later), here are the nine earlier episodes.
A Special Give-Away To Commemorate the Occasion
We’re giving away 3 signed copies of books by Donald Robertson! We have 2 signed copies of The Meditations, and 1 signed copy of The Philosophy of CBT.
To enter into the giveaway, simply add a comment to this blog post with some feedback on what you think about the podcast so far (good or bad!) And we will randomly select 3 lucky winners! Details for the winners will be collected once they have been announced.
Another Interview With Adam
Even after talking with Adam before we recorded our episode, and during that interview, there are a lot of things I’d like to ask him about. I sent off a set of questions to him earlier this week, and here are his responses to those. I think you’ll find them interesting!
Why do you think it’s important for Modern Stoicism to have a podcast?
As an organization, Modern Stoicism already has so many avenues to connect with people, but after following the Stoicism Today blog I noticed that there were many contributors that were new to readers, and who shared some very interesting views on this practice. I think it’s interesting to people to try and dive into some of these topics further, in a different medium, where we can here directly from the authors – and a podcast can do that in a very unique way.
How did you get into Stoicism? Would you describe yourself as a Stoic? Why or why not?
Growing up there were always books on classical literature, philosophy, and history in my house, so I was aware of names like Socrates, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius at a pretty young age. The stories of classical mythology and classical warfare rounded out my interests, and I even spent some time at Queen’s University studying Classical History. Alongside this, I had always struggled with finding a direction for myself which I could use to harness my mind and my emotions. Even before beginning my practice of Stoicism, I believed that the mind could be honed to act as a tool, or reinforced to act as a citadel for ourselves, so when I took the step to really investigate and research Stoicism, I found that it resonated with me in both my thoughts on the subject, and with new concepts that it brought to my attention.
What made you want to put in all the work, thought, and planning that goes into a podcast? And why this podcast in particular?
I believe that which you practice most regularly is that which you will embody. Couple that with my interest in the Zen practice called Beginner’s Mind, and it’s safe to say that I wanted to put my efforts into this podcast because I wanted to surround myself with like-minded individuals, and learn as much as I possibly could on the subject. I was also hoping that a podcast within the Modern Stoicism community might lend itself to generating some good discussion, and perhaps give an avenue for some new, and different views.
Podcast editing seems like it could be a never-ending task. There’s always something that could be tweaked or improved. How do you keep yourself on-point and get the episodes out on time? Any tips?
Tip #1: Choose to do a podcast on a topic that you love and enjoy being immersed in. It doesn’t matter if there are 1000 podcasts about Baseball, if you love it then it will show in your willingness to put in the effort, and your enthusiasm for the subject, when you record the podcast.
Tip #2: Pre-record as much as you possibly can. Many of the segments that go into the final edit of the podcast are pre-recorded and re-used for every episode. It saves time, saves effort, and if you’re stuck on an edit late at night one day, it’s great when you can just drop a bit of audio in and call it a day.
How have you found the process of doing the podcast so far? Any unexpected challenges that arose? Did Stoicism help with dealing with those?
The process of creating the podcast has been good so far, though I will say that I have had to learn quite a bit. But the guests have been very encouraging and willing to participate, and the feedback that we have gotten has been overwhelmingly positive.
In terms of unexpected challenges, I would say that I never thought it took as long as it does to edit and publish a single episode of the podcast. So, as the time drags on and I run through the audi files, clip the segments, and merge them together, I just keep on remembering that this is just how it is. It wouldn’t really help if I yelled at the computer, or got angry about the editing time – it is what it is, and that’s that.
What was your favorite moment or discussion from the podcast so far?
I think that my favorite discussion so far has been the episode with Brittany Polat on the subject of oikeiosis – or Stoic development. Brittany is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject, and brought a real honesty to the conversation about both her research and her feelings. In previous episodes, I had been quite hesitant in getting involved with the converdation too much, so this is the first episode where I really felt like I jumped in and added my own points. It was nerve-wracking, but I think that the outcome was a verry good podcast with some really interesting dialogue.
You’ve made it through ten episodes, which is quite an accomplishment. Looking back, what have you learned in that process?
First thing I have learned, is that I knew nothing about creating a podcast before I put together the first, introductory episode. Roman Mars, Helen Zaltzmann, and Avery Trufffleman make it sound so easy, but there is a lot of work that goes into each episode.
Second thing, is that you should try and fgure out what your voice in the podcast is going to be. I have bounced around a bit in some of the episodes, going from the voice of a novice to the voice of a veteran, from merely asking questions to generating discussion. If you can find the voice that you think best suits you, it makes it much easier to set the tone for your episodes as you record them.
From the people who haven’t yet come on to the podcast, who would you really like to get on it, and why that person or persons?
My first thought is Donna Zuckerberg, because although I haven’t read her book yet, “Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age”, it sounds intriguing and is a discussion I would love to give some traction to. Stoicism touches people from so many different walks of life, and I want to try and showcase that for us. It’s not simply one kind of person that can find a home here, we all can.