Sources and Methods #1: Anand Gopal

Anand Gopal in Kandahar

Alex and Matt are joined by writer, journalist and polymath Anand Gopal for our inaugural episode. He talks about writing books, reporting in Afghanistan, how he stays on top of the news from a variety of countries, why it's so important to learn languages and many other things.

Anand Gopal 101: What You Need To Read

No Good Men Among The Living (2014)

Foreword to I Am Akbar Agha: Memories of the Afghan Jihad and the Taliban (2014)

"Kandahar's Mystery Executions" (Harper's) (2014) (read it here)

"Welcome to Free Syria" (Harper's) (2012)

"Decoding the Syrian Propaganda War" (Harper's Blog) (2012)

"Militancy and Conflict in Kandahar" (New America Foundation report) (2010)

"Qayyum Zakir: The Taliban's Rising Mastermind" (Christian Science Monitor profile) (2010)

"Pakistan Arrests Senior Taliban Leaders" (Wall Street Journal) (2010)

"U.S. Plan To Arm Afghan Militia Founders On Tribal Rivalries" (Christian Science Monitor) (2010)

Show Notes:



Anand at the New America Foundation

Book: Quantum Theory For The Rest of Us by Anand Gopal

Book:  My Life With the Taliban by Felix / Alex

Book: No Good Men Among The Living by Anand Gopal



Anand’s New America Foundation Article: The Battle for Afghanistan: Conflict and Militancy in Kandahar



Lexis Nexis (Wikipedia link) - a powerful research tool useful for examining the public record, particularly archives of major newspapers



Anand Gopal’s Harper’s Article ("Kandahar's Mystery Executions")



Anand’s Work in Syria:

Welcome to Free Syria - Harper’s, August 2012

Syria’s Summer of Stalemate - Harper’s, September 2012



Twitter thoughts:

Set up a list of people regularly tweeting interesting things - create a list of people who can help curate information sources for you. (Mashable: "How to Use Twitter Lists").



Taftanaz, Syria


33:00 Get the top stories being shared on Facebook and Twitter in a handy email newsletter every day

Libya Twitter:

Chris Stephen (@ReportingLibya)

Afghanistan Twitter:

Taimoor Shah

Matt Aikins

Afghanistan Analysts Network

Borhan Osman

Three Quarks Daily - Science website, newsletter

Medical Skeptic




To pick his next book - uses

Anand's Goodreads profile


40:15 wishlists




Feynman Method Reading Technique



Devonthink - information organization assistant

Get at the chain of reasoning of an argument

Anki - Spaced Repetition Software

Forgetting Curve (Wikipedia)



The Myth of Religious Violence by William T. Cavanaugh



Python - computer programming language

Udacity - online courses

Udacity CS101 ("Intro to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine")

Udacity CS215 ("Intro to Algorithms: Social Network Analysis")



Memorization as the key to creativity

Andrew Abbott (Wikipedia) sociologist



Confirmation Bias



Random App - gives a random new story mixed in with chosen categories

Film - The Wind That Shakes The Barley by Ken Loach

Book - The Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge

Song - The Alabama Three: Vietnamistan

Book most given as a gift: The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutchser


Time travel: 1917