Nathan Jun is Professor of Philosophy at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he teaches courses in a wide variety of philosophical topics. Dr. Jun earned his doctoral degree in Philosophy and Literature from Purdue University in 2008. Dr. Jun has published extensively on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century radicalism with a particular emphasis on anarchist philosophy. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of several volumes including Anarchism and Political Modernity (Bloomsbury, 2011), Proletarian Days: A Hippolyte Havel Reader (AK Press, 2018), Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach (with Benjamin Franks and Leonard Williams, Routledge, 2018), and Brill’s Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy (Brill, 2017), Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies (with Jorell Meléndez-Badillo, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013), and New Perspectives on Anarchism (with Shane Wahl, Lexington Books, 2010). Dr. Jun is currently working on his second monograph, entitled The Immortal Idea: An Intellectual History of Anarchism, to be published by Routledge.
Where did the idea for book come from?
Anarchism and Political Modernity is based on my doctoral dissertation, which I was inspired to write through my simultaneous engagement with French poststructuralism and classical anarchist ideas while studying at Purdue. The book was also informed by my experience as an activist in the antiglobalization and anti-war movements.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake early and devote several hours to writing before heading to campus. I typically teach two classes every day, followed by office hours and meetings. During office hours I work on grading and preparing lessons; I work on scholarly writing during this time as well. I try to make my day as productive as possible by keeping to a schedule. Time is precious, and self-discipline helps keep me on track.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think deeply and allow my mind to wander freely, conjuring up whatever ideas it likes. I keep meticulous notes that I can refer to for future projects.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited by the fact that more students are beginning to pursue degrees in traditional liberals arts and humanities disciplines. Society is desperately in need of critical thinkers and writers, and this is precisely the course of study necessary to create them.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I wake up very early every day, usually between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. These are my prime writing hours.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to keep pushing even if it feels like the wall is not going anywhere. And when you think the wall cannot move, find a way to climb over it. Roadblocks are not permanent, so find another way whenever you are told “no.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Reading physical books is better than scrolling. Turning a page creates a feeling of excitement, and nothing can beat that feeling!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I strive to manage my time as effectively as possible.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking. You need to find like-minded people—not just people who are operating in the same wheelhouse, but who are doing so in ways that complement your own work. If you’re going to “put yourself out there,” it should be among people you want to notice you, precisely because you’ve noticed (and appreciated) them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There are too many to enumerate. Failure and rejection is an inevitable part of academic life. The key is to learn from those experiences and adapt accordingly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Take risk and enjoy the success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Paying for my dog’s surgery when she injured her paw.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Outlook Calendar is my saving grace. Even though I have my own physical calendar, I am always typing on my computer, so It’s beneficial to have the electronic calendar on my screen, showing all my meetings, project dates, and future plans for work at my fingertips.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which has helped me to become “indifferent to indifferent things” (that is, to accept the things that I cannot change with dignity, grace, and serenity).
What is your favorite quote?
“The best revenge is living well.”
• Take time for the things that matter.
• Great ideas are lost when they are not recorded.
• A “no” does not mean never. Keep pushing.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.