How to Be Awesome

TOPICS: Research and Fieldwork, Humanities, Faculty and Staff

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It’s pretty safe to say that Nick Riggle is the only former professional skater who also holds a Ph.D. from New York University’s prestigious philosophy program. It’s also hard to imagine that anyone else has thought so deeply about the nature of awesomeness: its meaning, its importance, and the ways that true awesomeness is under threat. In “On Being Awesome,” Riggle offers a careful dissection of the psycho-philosophical categories of sucking (“killjoy” is fundamentally different from “sucky”). But the book also works as a practical, and surprisingly inspiring, guide to better living. He answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.   

How did you become interested in awesomeness, and what is it, exactly?

A good person is great; but an awesome person—they’re on another level. I’m all for tasty sandwiches; but I’d rather have an awesomeone. In a Socratic spirit I started wondering what was going on with “awesome” and whether there was anything to gain from a philosophical inquiry into its contemporary significance. I started to notice that “awesome” is often being used in a distinctive social sense to talk about people and actions that bring people together in a certain way.


Full Article: "How to be Awesome" in Scientific American

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