Let the shameless self-promotion begin

As something of a (not-really) non-sequitur, I follow a couple of different Buddhist studies groups over on the Facebook hell-site; very often, people post things about their work and start off those posts with (an obligatory?) “Sorry for the self-promotion…” I’ve often wondered about that. On the one hand, there’s something to be said about humility — even performative humility. On the other hand, social media was literally invented for self-promotion. Why apologize? Moreover, as someone who has struggled with the feelings of imposter syndrome and a generally poor self-esteem, is this (ritualized) apology for saying anything positive about oneself an act of self-harm? Perhaps I’m over-thinking things. But if you find yourself wrestling with these same thoughts, feel free to disregard the rest of this post, skip to the comment, and let others know what’s on your mind!

Back to the point. Apologies for the self-promotion! But I am rather excited and thrilled and, dare I say it, proud of the fact that my forthcoming book, The Making of American Buddhism, has a publication date (May 19), and I’m going to be spending a significant amount of energy over the next twelve months letting everyone know that this is a thing that exists, that you can purchase (or borrow it from a library), and, more than that, that I think you should read it, because, as biased as I am, it’s good.

To aid me in all this shameless self-promotion, I’ve created a dedicated page on this here website specifically for The Book. On this page you’ll find a brief summary of what the book’s about, a video about the book (thanks to Gesshin at the IBS for suffering through my awkwardness to get this made); and an ongoing updated list of events, interviews, public presentations, etc., etc., about the book where you can watch me talk about it and, in some cases, even meet me in person and buy a copy. Imagine that!

The first event — still in the planning phases — is being hosted by the Institute of Buddhist Studies on May 24. It’ll be a virtual event, so no matter where you are in the world, you can join me, Harry Bridge, and Chenxing Han while we talk about the major themes of the book. By that point, it should be out in print (pre-orders are available here). And people who register for that event will get info about how to get a discount from the press.

The next event I’ve got in the works is a live event at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple (which seems more than a little appropriate given the book’s subject) on June 18. More details are forthcoming for those local to the SF Bay Area. Beyond that, as I said, I’ll update the site as I line up various engagements, podcasts, and other events.

So, if you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog to get updates more regularly. And in the coming months not only will I post more about upcoming events, if we’re lucky, I’ll find the time to post excerpts from the book or reflections on the process of writing it and what I think its significance is to the study and practice of Buddhism in North America.

I hope these occasional updates about my academic shenanigans are a welcome distraction from our otherwise distressing reality!

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