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About Pete Davis
Pete Davis is a writer and civic advocate from Falls Church, Virginia.
He works on civic projects aimed at deepening American democracy and solidarity. Pete is the co-founder of the Democracy Policy Network, a state policy organization focused on raising up ideas that deepen democracy, and is currently co-producing a documentary on the life and work civic guru Robert Putnam. In 2015, he cofounded Getaway, a company that provides simple, unplugged escapes to tiny cabins outside of major cities. His Harvard Law School graduation speech, “A Counterculture of Commitment,” has been viewed more than 30 million times — and was recently expanded into a book: Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in An Age of Infinite Browsing.
Pete is also the author of Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission, a book on reviving Harvard Law School’s public interest mission, and the co-author of How To Get Away: Finding Balance in our Overworked, Overcrowded, Always-On World, a book articulating Getaway’s philosophy of balancing technology and disconnection, city and nature, and work and leisure. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Daily News, Aeon, The Guardian, Fast Company, America Magazine, and The Falls Church News-Press.
Contact Pete at contact@PeteDavis.org, follow Pete on twitter @PeteDDavis, and subscribe to Pete’s newsletter at PeteDavis.substack.com.
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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 inspired by 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 “insightful without being preachy…guide to commitment should be on everyone’s reading list” (Booklist, starred review).