An interview with Grant Lindsley ‘07, Author
First off, tell us a little bit about your background. What have you been doing since you graduated from Paideia, and where are you now?
I’m in between New York and Utah now. With a second child on the way, living in Brooklyn will be untenable in short order, so I’m excited to settle in Utah sometime in 2024 and be close to wilderness and family.
Otherwise, I’ve been experimenting. I’ve lived on both coasts, tried jobs in consulting and education and tech, and gone to grad school twice. One constant has been ultimate frisbee, which I still love to play and thank Michael Baccarini for cultivating that seed of interest in me at Paideia almost 20 years ago.
With regards to your book Mediocre Monk: A Stumbling Search for Answers in a Forest Monastery, tell us about your experience and what led you to write this?
I lived in a remote Buddhist monastery in Thailand for half a year, and the book is an attempt to make a story out of the experience that is entertaining and meaningful.
A lot of mindfulness books are short on narrative and long on aphorism, and I wanted to do the reverse. I tried to make the story honest, vulnerable, and fast, which was a challenge at first because I felt tempted to paint myself as some sort of spiritual guru with universal answers, a portrait which would’ve been none of those three things.
What led me to finish the project, though, was a need to make sense of the experience for myself - I’d been living in a cave meditating for hours on end, eating one bowl of food per day, grieving the loss of three dear friends, and then come back to the US and had no idea what the hell to make of what I’d been through.
Anything the Paideia alumni community can do to support you?
Buy the book and tell me what you think. One of the most gratifying parts of publishing this story has been hearing what people liked - or didn’t - and what parallels they’ve drawn in their own lives.
Which teachers and/or experiences during your time at Paideia helped shape who you are and what you do?
So many, but I’ll stick to the teachers that impacted my writing: Bernie Schein, Bonnie Sparling, Stacey Lewis, Lisa Fierman, John Capute, Jane Pepperdine, and, of course, Joseph Cullen, who kindly - and majestically - hosted the Atlanta book event earlier this year. Also shoutout to my classmate Pablo Rochat for designing the cover.
If you could go back and time and give the high-school version of yourself advice, what would it be?
- Don’t waste your time being self-conscious about being skinny, the sound of your voice in class, or that freckle on your thigh
- Seek more financial and professional education
- Question the gag reflex to all things conservative