Hanging Out

During the early-1990s, my brother, Phil Bosserman, and I began a book project about the impact of advances in technology, quests for profitability, and changes in policy have had on paid work and free time, and subsequent implications for the future of people and the planet. By 1995, Phil completed a first draft entitled Hanging Out. But that was as far as we got. Many of the ideas he posited in the draft he included in a published book he co-authored with Stan Parker in 2003: More of Us Than You Think: Searches for a Post-Capitalist World1. Meanwhile, Ed Hiler and I described several strategies and tactics we found effective when influencing organizations—namely, universities—to adapt to an unpredictable future in our book, Together We Can: Pathways to Collective Leadership in Agriculture at Texas A&M2, published in 2011.

Phil passed away in 2011 following a long, debilitating illness. Over the course of several months beforehand, we discussed the fate of Hanging Out: did the topic still have relevance; who would be the audience; how should it be written given the increased pervasiveness of high-speed Internet access, self-publishing, and online education; essentially, should it live or die. 

I committed to three agreements about the book:

  • It would be finished;
  • It would be open source; and,
  • It would wait until after I “retired”

Since “retirement” in 2017, my research and writing followed two tracks: first, archiving content I originally posted to various social media platforms over the past 15 years into one, publicly accessible website— Framework for Understanding the World—and second, adding fresh content to that same website summarizing my thinking about organization design as it developed across a 40-year career. THE BOOK, as I call the draft of Hanging Out, received little attention. Until now… 

In my initial approach, I envisioned a rather dramatic rewrite of my brother’s original draft due to developments in technology and shifts in social context since 1995 coupled with our different writing styles and ways of organizing content. At this point, though, I prefer to dodge adopting a “cancel culture” attitude and instead, let my brother’s original work stand on its own merit as a useful benchmark set in time to which contemporary comparisons can be made and changes noted. 

To that end, I will post the original draft, chapter by chapter, to this website. In addition, extracts with commentary will be cross-posted to other platforms like Micro.blog and Mastodon in order to reach a wider and more varied audience. Hopefully, this invites the kind of constructive feedback and ongoing interactions that lead to corrections and clean-up to THE BOOK as well as supplementary content posted to the website. 

This suggests THE BOOK will never be “finished,” in a traditional, hardcopy sense. Rather it will continue to act as a reference point from which readers can note the degree and rate of departure from the circumstances and condition it describes.

Thanks in advance for your readership and commentary!

Steve L. Bosserman

  1. Bosserman, Phillip, and Stanley Parker. More of Us than You Think: Searchers for a Post-Capitalist World. Warner, NH: Silver Brook Press, 2003. 
  2. Hiler, Edward A., and Steven L. Bosserman. Together We Can: Pathways to Collective Leadership in Agriculture at Texas A&M. 1st ed. AgriLife Research and Extension Service Series. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2011.