A few weeks back I recommended the book Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles by Rosecrans Baldwin for a summer reading list. Having been an admirer of Rosecrans’ writing (especially in his newsletter) I was eager to chat with him about the book on the podcast. He graciously drove across town and we had a great chat in my backyard. We spoke about the many great stories in the book, life in Southern California and he even opened up about his relationship with the brand Patagonia.
“What if I hate Los Angeles? Why should I read this book.” That’s the big question for Rosecrans. It’s something we speak about in the podcast but it is worth pointing out again here. If you love L.A. this is a good book for you. If you hate it — there’s likely something for you too. If you are interested in the human stories that bring a place to life then you will enjoy it.
All of this thinking about Los Angeles makes me revisit the ongoing N.Y. vs L.A. debate. So much is said about these two cities but it doesn’t seem like many people truly understand either place all that well — myself included. I’ve got a connection to each city, but I’m not really from either and don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a New Yorker or an Angeleno. I only think I know them well enough to know that I’ve only scratched the surface. The book reinforces this theory.
One fact I heard during the pandemic about the size of L.A. surprised me. If Los Angeles County was a state it would rank 8th in terms of population. That statistic helped illustrate in my mind just how big L.A. is and how it is often too easily distilled down to one industry or one frequently visited part of town. Everything Now helps to open up these places, and to help us all better understand the people who give them life. The book is unlike what one might expect from a story about a city, no less a story about L.A., but that is one of the reasons it’s so enjoyable. It’s unexpected in a lot of ways, and like L.A., it’s not as easy to characterize as you might think.
Hope you enjoy our conversation. Some show notes are below.
0:52 Coffee: Mudd 2.0 from How Long Gone.
5:30 Rosecrans’ newsletter: Meditations in an Emergency.
6:55 The book is called: Everything Now.
9:27 Los Angeles has the second greatest urban density in a metropolitan area in the U.S. behind New York City.
10:33 New York Times Book Review.
16:17 Betting on three horses to finish first, second and third in that exact order is called a trifecta.
16:58 Luck on HBO.
19:30 We looked it up and 30.2% of Los Angeles residents live alone.
35:40 Types of Adventures (or fun).
45:46 We looked it up. Los Angeles is second in diverse and endangered species in the U.S. next to Hawaii.
59:00 Our Malibu Beaches App.
Thanks to my summer associate Max Arden for fact checking and annotating this conversation.
The ACL Podcast is more of an add-on to the newsletter than a full fledged podcast. You can listen in Apple Podcasts or via Spotify directly if you prefer that to Substack. If you enjoy this edition, please consider subscribing and sending to a friend who you think would like this. I appreciate your support.
Thanks to Al James for lending me his music. The song is: Hard Working Dogs by Dolorean.