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How Fact Influences Fiction with Douglas Richards

Episode 281
The future is filled with more possibilities than the mainstream narrative would have you believe. At least, author Douglas E. Richards thinks so.

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“Every technology has great things that it can do and horrible things that it can do.” — Douglas E. Richards

Douglas E. Richards is a New York Times bestselling science fiction author. Douglas frequently uses the world of scientific fact to influence the creation of his fictional worlds. He’s authored over a dozen different novels, both for adults and children. Prior to working full-time as an author, he was a biochemist at a number of different pharmaceutical companies.

In a time when so many works of sci-fi and fiction take a dystopian view of the future, Douglas prides himself on being optimistic about the future of humanity.

In today’s episode, Douglas explains how he transferred his experience in labs and the business world to being an author, how he aggressively researches his books, and why the best way to break into the world of publishing is to go at it without an expectation of success.

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Quotes by Douglas Richards:

3:00 – “Every technology has great things that it can do and horrible things that it can do.”

8:22  – “I tend to be very optimistic and not post-apocalyptic.”

18:46  – [On being optimistic about the future] “Humanity is pretty clever. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care or we shouldn’t do our best to be good stewards, but we invent our way out of stuff.”

29:20 – [On being VP of Business Development for a biotech company] “What I came to learn in that realm, is that just being technically proficient, just being a genius scientist MD, wasn’t enough. Especially in deal-making and business development, you had to have a little bit of a pitbull mentality, you had to be street savvy, you had to be able to play poker and chess.”

48:09 – “Self consciousness and doubt is the enemy of good writing. Sometimes it’s better to write a scene as fast as you can. Don’t worry if the grammar is right or the spelling is right. Get it out there.”

49:15 – “I never know how my novels are going to end until I’ve written at least 50-60% of the novel – at minimum.”


The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

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