Anand Giridharadas

The writer on the rot of elite do-gooders, finding a rare silver lining, and why he needs a good drug story.


This interview originally appeared in Volume Six of our magazine. Order your copy here.

The advice a lot of young people get today is to spend a considerable amount of time, maybe all of your twenties and some of your thirties, trying lots of things. Not committing too early. I followed the opposite path. I knew I wanted to do exactly what I’m doing right now when I was 15 or 16 years old. 

I was a math- and science-prone kid in school, and I think part of that was almost a default of being the child of Indian immigrants to the United States. My dad came from a family of engineers and my mom’s father was a chartered accountant. Math and science were what I thought I was supposed to be good at, what I was good at, and where I thought my path lay.

But I remember very clearly, during my sophomore year of high school, I had an extraordinary history teacher and an extraordinary English teacher, both of whom were PhDs and just out of the league of teachers you might normally encounter as a 10th grader. I remember reading and writing with both of them and realizing that history and English were fundamentally about being able to think about life, yourself, the world, and your place in it, and other people all the time, for fun.