(below) and enjoy doing the same further afield with my family in the Sonoma countryside, and when we can over in the Sierras.
On a day-to-day basis I enjoy riding my bike around the city, and doing the same with my daughter on our ebike - it’s fun, exercise, and gives my mind a chance to be somewhere else and work differently than it needs to when I’m working. As a family we’re big fans of the Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, Crissy Field and our own neighborhood the Richmond District. We’re lucky to live here.
I also use my free time to mature my perspective on topics that interest me including consumer and business technologies, psychology(self development), and child development (I’m a parent of a second-grader.) I am also interested in international relations and in particular in political violence and international conflict which I did my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in. I was lucky enough to study at university under Professor Paul Wilkinson who was one of world’s leading academics of the study of political violence and helped draft much of the UK’s anti-terrorism legislation.
I’m interested in these, and other topics, but I also believe that most topics are connected - my mind has always thought as much in synthesis as it does in analysis, that’s where I’m most comfortable, trying to connect the dots between different ideas, themes, and systems.
I am also fascinated by history - of Britain where I’m from but also knowing about other events and threads throughout world history. I also have a penchant for categorizing things which led me to building and maintaining this list of world historical events in Airtable. It’s partial, reflecting my British roots - about a third of the over 1000 entries relate to British history; but there’s plenty of other stuff in there. I add to it little by little and sometimes in intense bursts, see below.
I enjoy the art of telling stories. During the first pandemic lockdown when even playgrounds were closed I had to scramble for things to do with my preschool-aged daughter. I resorted to making-up stories, I researched how stories can be structured, and ended up creating a whole series of tales my daughter still loves two years on. None have been written down, they are dynamic and change each time in the re-telling and are usually an hour or more long. They are ways to convey challenges, values, emotions, strategies and tactics, they give rise to good discussions between my daughter and I about how to make decisions, how to problem-solve and the importance of collaboration and empathy. It was a useful reminder of the creativity that can come from constraints, and has made me reflect on the narratives I create at work as a manager and advisor.
I have learned a lot from travel, been exposed to different environments, world-views, customs and approaches to life. I have been very fortunate in that regard. Particularly memorable places I’ve visited are the
(stunning and incredible variation of landscapes.)
I’m a decent home cook, I cook almost every day and have done for the past twenty years, inspired by memories of my Grandmother’s baking and Sunday lunchtime roasts, and by the different food from the places I’ve visited. I like food but I also see it as a challenge - can I keep raising the bar for what we eat at home. I’m not a precise recipe-follower but my current go-to inspiration comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s
I have broad interests when it comes to reading, most of what I choose to read I do so because I’m trying to fill in blind-spots in my world-view. I’m currently working my way through the following books (last updated August 2022):
. Written a century ago yet still relevant to understanding the sociological context around the formation of gangs. A fascinating and empathetic take that I’m re-reading having first come across the book a decade ago.
. A contrarian yet relatable take asking the question why schools shouldn’t fit children rather than the status quo that has it the other way around. Of all the failing institutions the decline in the relevance and usefulness of schools I believe the most serious.
. A persuasive take on why sea power will reclaim its influence in world affairs in the coming decades. As a former student of International Relations and War Studies I appreciate its central premise around the changing nature of power projection.