Episode 43: Native Son

cover art for Native Son, a novel, by Richard Wright (black man smoking a cigarette and looking out of a window)
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Joe and Mark are joined by entrepreneur, cyclist and avid reader Ben Fox to discuss a book that had a huge impact on him.

Native Son, by Richard Wright, was assigned to Ben as a senior in high school.

“I hated it from the depths of my soul, but now this book is strongly in my DNA,” Ben says.

The novel is about a black man working for a wealthy family in 1930s Chicago. The protagonist lives with racism, though the family is friendly and good to him. Through a series of events, the protagonist accidentally kills the daughter and pays the price for this act.

“I hated the whole series of events the main character gets trapped in,” Ben says. “I’m an optimistic person, so I really disliked the idea that he was trapped by his circumstances. But there’s not a year that goes by that I don’t think about it.”

He doesn’t hate the story now, though it does haunt him. It’s one of the top fifteen books he would recommend.

Don’t miss this great conversation about systematic racism, reading and entrepreneurship!

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Ben Fox reads more than a hundred books a year, so he’s constantly on the lookout for his next best read.

After spending huge amounts of time on Amazon and Goodreads, and finding nothing but frustration, he decided to create his own online tool to help readers bump into books in a more serendipitous manner.

“I love walking around the bookstore and browsing until something grabs my attention. I want to bring that experience online,” Ben says.

A long-term entrepreneur, Ben has created the book discover site Shepherd – explore, discover, read! It’s a warm and welcoming website that helps readers find new books and authors in an organic way.

Go visit Shepherd here to find your next best read. If you’re an author, consider becoming a member to get some cool benefits such as free ads and having your book listed on the front page!

cartoon of ben fox

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