Secret Library Podcast


Secret Library Podcast Episodes

#82 Mark Frauenfelder


Mark Frauenfelder makes magic with books.

Everyone has heard the classic trope write what you love. In some cases, I have felt a bit bullied by this concept. "How am I supposed to know what I love most?" I have wondered. I think the best thing you can do to figure this out is to listen to this conversation with Mark Frauenfelder and listen to how he followed what was fascinating to him and wrote books and articles about these things along the way.

In this conversation we talk about the day job that Mark escaped to write and it is the worst day job for a writer I have yet heard of. In addition, learn about how Boing Boing was founded. The original office space for the zine version sounds like my version of heaven and I'm sure it will to you, too.

Above all, Mark is an incredible role model for making a living from curiosity, enthusiasm, and being willing to dive into a world you don't entirely know yet. His fascination with a variety of topics and being willing to write about them just because he loves learning is both infectious and a great example to the rest of us. If we follow his lead, I think we are in for a lot of amazing books to hit digital and physical shelves very soon.

Listen Up on iTunes or Stitcher | Mark's Site | Boing Boing | Mark's Books | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Discussed in Episode 82 with Mark Frauenfelder

  • “I think it’s just because I’m curious about so many things.” On the diversity of his writing output.

  • Video is the future of how-to.

  • Books and audio may still be champs when it comes to the storytelling. Recipes too.

  • The founding of BoingBoing.

  • On the beginning of BoingBoing.

  • “It took us about a year to do the first issue of BoingBoing.” On writing a zine around a day job.

  • “It was really exciting. The PO Box every day was just stuffed with colorful, amazing, eclectic publications.” On the height of zine culture.

  • Today indie games and lofi music maybe still have some of the same energy of the zine days.

  • Podcasting has some of that vibe and intense focus on topics.

  • Whole Earth Review

  • Coming out of Whole Earth Catalog

  • Moved to SF to work on Wired. Total fake it till you make it situation.

  • Signal, special issue of the Whole Earth Review

  • A proto-Wired magazine.

  • Cool Tools

  • Institute for the Future


  • Navigating between ideas that could be books, articles, videos, etc.

  • Has a smart agent.

  • “I tend to get overexcited after just thinking about something for a couple of days.”

  • “Any exciting idea that comes my way, I’ll think ‘oh yeah, there’s a book there.’” On being a broad spectrum enthusiast.

  • “One thing that’s fun about writing is that you get to jump in & explore a new world.” On finding writing as a career.

  • Vellum app

  • “I’m not really doing any of it for the money.” On the broad swath of his writing output.