Q&A with Josh (1)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: About Josh, Browbeating, Most Visited, Utopia

Image from John Hilgart's 4CP archive

Image from John Hilgart’s 4CP archive

Someone asked me to answer the following two questions, yesterday. Thought I’d share my answers with HiLobrow readers…

Q. What does curiosity mean to you?

A. In a utopian society of perfect leisure — or if we were stranded on a desert island, which is the next best thing — we’d curiose (a verb I’ve just coined, thanks to your question) all day, every day.

Q. How do you stay curious?

A. Here are some random strategies. Hope they’re helpful — they might only work for me.

  1. Avoid 9-to-5 wage slavery! Unless it’s writing a newspaper column, in which case you’re getting paid to be curious.
  2. Assign yourself research/writing projects with deadlines. This is the #1 reason, in my experience, to start a zine or blog.
  3. Poke around — including parts of the supermarket, bookstore, and Internet where you usually don’t go.
  4. Lose interest in yourself; gain interest in everyone else.
  5. Keep making new friends. Stay in touch with old friends.
  6. Never say “No” when someone wants to meet for coffee, lunch, or a drink. It’s OK to say “No” to dinner.
  7. Don’t watch TV in the evenings. Unless it’s So You Think You Can Dance.
  8. If you’re a freelancer, share an office with someone who’s in a different line of work.
  9. When you’re driving the carpool to school, keep your mouth shut and your ears open.
  10. Visit your friends where they work. Not for lunch — just for a visit.
  11. Ask people you meet to show you their favorite smartphone apps.
  12. Completely rearrange your bookshelves every so often. Don’t alphabetize.
  13. Avoid NPR.


Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011); and he is co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.