Josh Knox

Hugging the X-Axis by David Perell

This is a love letter to commitment. It convinced me to take writing online seriously and join David’s Write of Passage course. It made me intentional about nurturing the multi-decade relationships I want in my life – especially with my wife and sons.

Growth without Goals by Patrick O’Shaughnessy

My dad has been retired for almost 20 years. Everyday, he consults a notecard with five activities. It’s not a todo list of ambitious goals, just habits to maintain: read, write, take a walk, practice chess, study a language. Get a little better each day.

I used to think this was cute in a dads-do-goofy-things sort of way. Patrick’s essay helped me appreciate the wisdom in my dad’s process. Chasing goals is a trap. Better to focus on cultivating the habits and practices that shape our lives. The rest will take care of itself.

School Is Not Enough by Simon Sarris

My oldest son is almost kindergarten age. This piece, and Simon’s other essays, have helped shape my thoughts around what school can and cannot provide for my kids – especially around recognizing and growing their own agency.

Childhoods of Exceptional People by Henrik Karlsson

Henrik is also someone I admire as a thought leader of intentional parenting. What lessons can we learn from the childhoods of exceptional people, and how can we apply them to our own parenting practice? Henrik identifies tutoring and apprenticeships, but also “curating a rich intellectual milieu”. So new question: how can I make space for my smart friends (who are much smarter than me) to meaningfully interact with my kids?  

Here be Sermons by Kevin Simler

I bet sermons don’t work like you think they do. And I bet sermons are in more places than you think they are. At least, that’s what this essay did for me.

You Can’t Reach the Brain Through the Ears by Adam Mastroianni

Adam’s Substack is wonderful. And he has quickly become my favorite EconTalk guest. 

This is about how hard it is to communicate ideas, and also how easy it is to fool ourselves into thinking we are communicating ideas when we are not, and yet also how his grandma can end an email with “be good” and communicate everything perfectly. If the piece taught me anything, it’s that I can’t do a good job explaining it…so you should probably just go read it yourself.

A Story About Tim Duncan by Shea Serrano

I love reading Shea Serrano for the way his voice pours through the page.

Shea’s sneaky about it, but this essay is really a list of things he was taught through example instead of words: show up, be a professional, take care of the people around you and they’ll take care of you. Reading it also makes me hungry for breakfast tacos.

Does My Son Know You? by Jonathan Tjarks

I cry every time I reread this. It is a beautiful, Christian witness.

Jonathan Tjarks, six months before he passed away, reflected on his terminal cancer diagnosis, his relationship with his own father who had passed away early, and his hope for the future of his family, including his 2-year-old son. “I didn’t need my dad’s money \[when he died], but I could have used some of his friends,” echoes when I consider how to structure my own life as a parent.