In March 2020, Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman were just beginning The Slowdown, a New York–based media company that aims to make sense of a world addicted to speed, advocating for a more thoughtful and considered approach to the moment. As Covid-19 emerged and lockdowns began, a global slowdown unfolded with an immediacy neither of them could have predicted. Immediately, they felt the urge to record what leading minds were thinking and feeling in real time. At a Distance, a podcast of conversations focused on long-view, planetary-scale concerns, was born.
Now organised as a book of 100 of these interviews, At a Distance provides a curated selection of the wisdom shared by the podcast’s guests. Presented in short-form narratives that capture the best thinking in an easily digestible way, the book contextualises the surrounding political, cultural, and social climate with revealing editorial commentary. The guests—including environmentalist and journalist Bill McKibben, psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, food artist Laila Gohar, biologist Merlin Sheldrake, Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten, novelist Hari Kunzru, philosopher Kate Soper, and landscape architect Walter Hood—offer a grounding sense of context and clarity, looking at the world from multiple angles, such as public health, the climate crisis, racial inequality, and Big Tech.
At once informative, intelligent, and deeply personal, At a Distance explores the dramatic changes that could be possible going forward and provides a hopeful, rationally optimistic guide toward the future.