Creative Consumption

A conversation with Dr. Brandon Gauthier about his new book, "Before Evil," and all the ways he finds flow, balance, and enjoyment through music, gardening, and many other passions and pursuits.

Show Notes

In this interview, I speak with Dr. Brandon Gauthier about his newly published book, “Before Evil.”  In the book, Brandon writes about the lives and formative experiences of six terrible dictators (Adolf Hitler; Joseph Stalin; Benito Mussolini; Mao Zedong; Kim Il Sung; and Vladimir Lenin) and, through that lens, seeks to answer the question: “Should we humanize the world's most inhumane leaders?” Through his writing, Brandon brings a level of emotion to the work of historiography that helps emphasize the difficulty of the topic. He challenges readers to consider what evil means, and what commonalities the lives of these awful leaders contain which may have led them to commit atrocities beyond imagining. Brandon and I also spoke in detail about why he wanted to write this book, and how his other passions (like music, gardening, and watching YouTube science videos) contribute and intersect with his work as a teacher and historian. Enjoy!

Brandon's Work
"Before Evil" Website
Academia Profile

Brandon's Recommendations
Caroline Rose
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Steve Anwyll
Jonas Reinhart
Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategy Cards
Paul Bloom (Chosen Suffering Podcast)
Megan Boyle, “Liveblog”
Steve Hauschildt

Show Links

Creative Consumption Website

What is Creative Consumption?

Hear creators talk about how and when they make stuff, and how and when they enjoy other stuff in their lives - because nowadays, there's a lot of other stuff to enjoy. Hosted by Daniel Schwartzberg. Visit for more information.