Matt is Wachsman’s Consultant, Editorial. His responsibilities include writing and editing articles, blogs, bios, press releases, and thought leadership.
- How did you become interested in blockchain?
In my previous life as a book scout, I read the manuscript of The Truth Machine by Michael Casey and Paul Vigna. It’s a great crash course in the history, prospects, and uses of distributed ledger technology.
- Who or what inspires you?
As a writer, I’m inspired by people who can see clearly and express what they see with equal clarity. Of late, I’ve been reading lots of Joan Didion; her clarity sometimes approaches cruelty in its unstinting honesty.
- What is the last book you read?
I’m almost through Machines in the Head, the selected fiction of the brilliant British writer Anna Kavan; before that, I read and loved James Ellroy’s classic crime epic L.A. Confidential.
I’m also a freelance book reviewer; here’s the last review I published, an overview of Robert Graves’s life and work for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
- If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Samuel Johnson. Has there ever been a greater conversationalist? And you’d have to wonder what he’d make of the United States, c. 2020. I don’t suppose he’d like it much.
- What is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring professional?
As the introvert in a family of introverts, networking doesn’t come easily to me, and it took me a long time to become comfortable emailing out of the blue, asking for connections, or requesting informational interviews.
- Where was your first job?
In high school I was the youngest-ever intern at the American Antiquarian Society. I spent two summers working with nineteenth-century manuscripts, particularly the letters of a Union officer in a Civil War and the collected sermons of an obscure Baptist preacher. The sermons date from a pre-stapler era; if you needed to link pages, you’d sew them with needle and thread; sometimes you’d leave the needle in to serve as a spine for the resulting booklet. The Civil War letters were moving: Paper was scarce, so soldiers would make the most of what they had by filling a page top to bottom, then flipping it ninety degrees and writing over what they’d already written. Completed letters resembled crosswords.
- When you’re not at work, what’re you doing?
Trying to convince myself to go to the gym, pestering my sister for pictures of the family Yorkie, or chatting about obscure films with my brother. I also read quite a bit.
- Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to so far?
I spent a year studying abroad in Dublin, and I came to love the country and the people of Ireland. I especially love the Aran Islands off the west coast; they’re as beautiful and as bleak an environment as I’ve ever visited, and going in the off-season feels like a trip into the past.
- What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
A tent, a thick book, and a flare gun.
- What’s your favorite famous or inspirational quote?
In this time of political turmoil and upheaval, I’m perversely comforted by Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in The Third Man: “After all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”