I am officially on paternity leave for all of August and September helping my daughter Maeve (born May 28) learn and grow and just spending time with her!
First off, a huge round of applause to Pandora and other companies with humane and generous parental leave policies!
Second, it has been funny hearing people’s reactions to me taking this time. People without kids generally view it as vacation: want to go to Vegas? ;) Other dads in NYC usually say: “I was lucky I got a week”. And so far, every woman says something along the lines of: “that is so amazing that you get that time, are you ready?!”
Here is what the first week and a half has actually been like: I spend about a third of my time trying to get a tiny, sleepy human to go to sleep. About a third of my time changing, feeding, bathing, and playing with her. And about a third of the day, mostly while she is asleep, I get to read, watch TV, and listen to music and podcasts.
Typical Day on Parental Leave
I wanted to share some of how I've been spending my time in hopes of soliciting additional, related recommendations:
Reading about Artificial Intelligence. I quickly read the book Bold (meh) but that was where I first learned about the Dartmouth Workshop. The workshop occurred in the summer of 1956 when a dozen pioneers of artificial intelligence met to define the field. One of the participants was Dr. Claude Shannon and I am just finishing up A Mind At Play: How Claude Shannon Invented The Information Age, I intend to read Marvin Minsky’s book Society of Mind (he was another participant). I spent a lot of time with The State of AI (nice work Ian!). Caroline and I loved watching Westworld and thinking about ethics around humans and machines. I am currently giving Maeve a TON of training data and I’m excited to read a lot more about the founding of the field and the current trends and latest advances.
Listening to Podcasts. I usually take 2 long walks a day with Maeve all around downtown Manhattan, battery park city, and the west side running paths. It’s the perfect time to talk to family and listen to music and podcasts. Some good ones I’ve listened to recently:
Caliphate - NY Times reporter interviewing ISIS fighters and survivors
Timesuck - Dan Cummins comedic podcast that goes deep on interesting historical or cultural topics
The Wilderness - new podcast from Jon Favreau about the history and future of the democratic party
Dirty John - the wild story of an abusive con-man and the poor family he victimizes
And a bunch of other ones: Change Agent, A Very Fatal Murder, Crazy/Genius, Masters of Scale, More Perfect, The Habitat, How I Built This, Empire on Blood, TED WorkLife
Watching The Vietnam War. Caroline and I watched The Post a few weeks ago. Since I like to learn about things in batches, Maeve and I are working our way through Ken Burns’ Vietnam War 10-part documentary on Netflix. I have read Legacy of Ashes and knew about all the covert work being done in Saigon before the US was officially involved but the series makes me want to read a lot more about LBJ. It is a story for a different post but many years ago I got to meet and speak with Donald Graham and hear Neil Sheehan tell the story of The Pentagon Papers at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Watching the documentary and The Post is really rounding out my knowledge of the era.