Blog Obsession: The Serial Mentor

Recorded on April 5th, 2016

By way of Eddie Smith’s recent post about blogging with Jekyll, I followed the trail to The Serial Mentor, the blog of Claus Wilke, Professor of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin. The gateway drug post for me was his take on Goodbye Squarespace, Hello Github. After that, I couldn’t look away from his excellent posts on writing, such as the brain-nourishing Avoiding the official style, and To write well, learn how to read. He’s not afraid to dig deep into a topic to give you thoughtful reasons and examples of how to do things better. My Instapaper queue is getting quite a workout. I just hope I can keep up.

Wilke has a nice collection of some of his posts assembled in what he calls a virtual book — collections of blog posts that may have constituted the book he’ll likely never write. There’s good stuff in there that you might not uncover as easily otherwise.

I especially enjoy the frequent peeks into the world of academia and research. Lots of Wilke’s stories and writing examples include passages from scientific articles and journals. Most of it should be way over my head (like The one time I failed to parasitize an established clinical researcher), but his writing makes it relatable. It’s refreshing to step outside of my comfortable RSS-feed clubhouse of lifehacks®, software development, and web design, and learn about how people get a whole different kind of work done.

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