Virtual Event: Pete Davis
The Case for Commitment
in an Age of Infinite Browsing
in conversation with RANDALL KENNEDY
June 23, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes writer and civic advocate PETE DAVIS—the cofounder of the Democracy Policy Network—for a discussion of his book Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing. He will be joined in conversation by RANDALL KENNEDY, celebrated legal scholar and the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Dedicated on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
Most of us have had this experience: browsing through countless options on Netflix, unable to commit to watching any given movie—and losing so much time skimming reviews and considering trailers that it’s too late to watch anything at all. In a book borne of an idea first articulated in a viral commencement address, Pete Davis argues that this is the defining characteristic of the moment: keeping our options open. We are stuck in “Infinite Browsing Mode”—swiping through endless dating profiles without committing to a single partner, jumping from place to place searching for the next big thing, and refusing to make any decision that might close us off from an even better choice we imagine is just around the corner. This culture of restlessness and indecision, Davis argues, is causing tension in the lives of young people today: We want to keep our options open, and yet we yearn for the purpose, community, and depth that can only come from making deep commitments.
In Dedicated, Davis examines this quagmire, as well as the counterculture of committers who have made it to the other side. He shares what we can learn from the “long-haul heroes” who courageously commit themselves to particular places, professions, and causes—who relinquish the false freedom of an open future in exchange for the deep fulfillment of true dedication. Weaving together examples from history, personal stories, and applied psychology, Davis’s candid and humble words offer a meaningful answer to our modern frustrations and a practical path to joy.
Praise for Dedicated
"If you have ever struggled to cross the Rubicon and commit to an endeavor that would foreclose other options, then this book is for you. Pete Davis provides a provocative countercultural thesis for our time, explaining why resolve and stamina are in such short supply and how we can, in an era of infinite browsing, learn to be dedicated." —Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
"Pete Davis is one of America’s most creative and inspiring young writers—sparkling with enthusiasm, yet profound beyond his years. In Dedicated, he challenges his peers to change America and themselves for the better by committing themselves to something greater than self. It’s a sermon, all right, but it’s far too lively to be just a sermon. And those of us a bit older could learn a thing or two by eavesdropping." —Robert D. Putnam, Research Professor, Harvard Kennedy School, and author of Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again
“Pete Davis’s Dedicated is a magisterial book on the moral Counterculture of Commitment in our shallow culture of money and fear. His depth of wisdom and scope of knowledge are astonishing. And his powerful vision of decency and democracy are compelling.” —Cornel West, Harvard University
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