Monday, March 9, 2015

A Book Chat with Patrick Andendall, author of 'Stupidparty Math V. Myth'

Patrick Andendall has always had an interest in politics and, being multicultural, he views issues from a more international perspective. In 2004, five days before the election, he flew to Cleveland and pitched in to help with the political process. What he discovered was the dissolution of the American Dream, which he writes about in his book, Stupidparty.

Educated at English boarding schools from the age of seven, Andendall went on to graduate from Lancing College. He started by sometimes working three jobs at once, trainee Underwriter/claim broker at Lloyd's of London, his own one man cleaning Company (cleaning the very offices of a Reinsurance Company he would transact business at) plus doing seasonal work on various farms.

Having made some windfall profits by borrowing money in order to be a "Stag" to take advantage of opportunities created by Margaret Thatcher's de nationalization policies of the mid 1980's, Andendall evolved into an entrepreneur with a core specialty in Reinsurance in London and New York where he looks for patterns in numbers. Self-employed in a field not normally conducive to self-employment, he is able remain in control, juggle different jobs, travel and pursue his various interests.

Ending up in New York via romance in the African bush, Andendall now lives on Long Island with his wife, two children and two dogs.

Can you tell us what your book, Stupidparty Math V. Myth is about?  Why did you write it?

My inspiration for Stupidparty Math v. Myth comes from my work on the 2004 Kerry campaign. I had the opportunity to canvass door to door educating voters about the election. I have learned that face to face conversations are the most effective way to motivate sporadic voters and I know that if I had not had spoken to many of these voters, they would have stayed home so I am proud of that kind
of work and recognize how important it is year after year to building a strong community. However, as I reflected on how we lost and in the years since, I couldn’t help but think about the conservative media and other political figures who command a huge audience of regular voters.

These are the same figures who perpetuate the myth that Obama is not an American, who have a fantasy economic theory, who empower attention hungry politicians every way they can. The book is about the messages being sent to the audience that pays attention to these people. I know one thing about this audience: They vote. The reason I stopped working in the field is because I saw it as my responsibility to combat the leaders of this audience. These people are easily motivated to vote and if we have a more responsible discourse and if these people are equipped with facts, I believe that the Republican party will be more responsible when governing. The group of people I am writing for includes this group of voters who are ignorant about what they are voting for when they elect Republicans. A simple comparison of what Republicans portend to be the main set of values they believe in does not coincide with the math created by the modern day Republican party.

What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?

Don’t accept the status quo. Think about what our leaders our telling us against the facts.

Who influenced you to write your book?

The people around me. I feel that even very smart well-meaning people fall into the trap of false equivalence, and opinions not grounded in the facts.

Which author(s) do you admire?

Patrick O’brien – but I have no delusions about trying to emulate any great author.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

This was never a problem. I had too much material from years of thinking about the subject for this book. The challenge was deciding how to distill it into book form, chapter by chapter.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?


If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

A small boutique coffeeshop with charm and character. The way I measure character in a coffeeshop is through its amount of diversity in sitting and table options: The greater the variety, the greater the character.

What do you like to do for fun?

I am an outdoorsman — I greatly enjoy skiing. Most of all, I like being with my dogs.

What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?

Hire a great Copy editor, who asks the right questions, without changing your voice and makes you look smarter than you are.

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