Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Millennial Reincarnations: Interview with Daniel Mark Harrison

Described in August 2015 by the Financial Times as a "Journalist. Author. Publisher. Editor-in-chief. FactoryBanking inventor. Serial entrepreneur. Bitcoin 2.0 enthusiast [and] Blockchain evangelist. And... direct descendent of the The House of Harrison, the bloodline behind money-printing business Harrison & Sons, which FTSE-listed De La Rue acquired in 1997," Daniel Mark Harrison is an Asia-based entrepreneur, thinker, technology evangelist and writer and professional negotiator. Currently, he is Managing Partner of a South East Asia-based investor consortium which is actively investing in deep value and high-growth deals specifically within the region. He is also a media proprietor, having successfully started up two widely-read publications online in the past 2 years.

Considered one of the first major mainstream millennial authors to have widespread success in publishing, Daniel M. Harrison has been described as "one to watch" by bestselling author Jeffrey Robinson and "innovative" by the Huffington Post's culture critic Azeem Khan.

Harrison's most recent publishing venture was founding the news site MarxRand, which has broken numerous stories mainstream media outlets have refused to cover.

In journalism, Harrison has written hundreds of articles for big name global news publications, including Forbes, The Washington Post, Portfolio Magazine as well as newer online journals such as the Daily Dot.

Jeffrey Robinson, the popular financial crime journalist and bestselling author of New York Times bestseller The Laundrymen, describes Harrison as "brilliant... required reading." Writing in The Huffington Post, leading millennial culture critic and former start-up CEO Azeem Khan called Harrison’s style "reality TV for the novel" and wrote "I applaud the effort Harrison is making to try and make literature a place that is ultimately more connected and innovative as a place where ideas can be exchanged and discussed in a way that no else has done before. In that respect at least, this was easily the best book I have read this year."

Interview with Daniel Mark Harrison:

You have new book that just released called The Millennial Reincarnations. Tell us a little bit about the book if you will. Why did you choose the word Reincarnations?

Daniel: The book is about a number of things. It’s about the choices – or the lack of choices – we actually make for ourselves today as a result of having the opportunity to make an increasingly abundant variety of them open to us. It’s also about the nature of spiritual belief and practice, and by association, to some extent at least, religious practice and belief, and how these concepts are becoming exponentially more bound to the concepts we discover in science, such as genetics. Finally, it’s about our obsession with scale and celebrity – the mass-media market if you like. Technology has driven all these events, fundamentally, and that’s why technology is a big theme in the book. By setting it between 1990 and the present day, I was able in many ways to mark the upward climb of the technology during the past 25 years in narrative form, which shows how remarkable it has been. Really, really remarkable. As a result, we as a culture, as a society – and in turn, as a new emergent adult generation – have changed. The term reincarnation is applicable here, not just because the characters are in a sense reincarnations of their earlier 90s past life selves, but because society is in a sense undergoing a reincarnation. That’s really what disruption is, at the end of the day. It’s a technological reincarnation, which is in turn, a millennial reincarnation in the contemporary sense of that term.

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a writer?

Daniel: I’ve always been writing, really ever since I can remember to be honest with you. I think writing is something you do in order to progress and further ideas, to experiment with them in a slightly more theoretical and maybe at times abstract sense than it's possible to do in real life. So I guess a lot of my rationale and drive to become a writer was really about expressing a lot of ideas, and perhaps some feelings, that I had about the world that I don’t see so many people talking about. Writing should be like that – it’s responsibility is to challenge the conventions of society really. And inform and educate.

What was your motivation for writing The Millennial Reincarnations?

Daniel: I am not sure there was a specific motivation other than those general desires to share ideas and points in a more abstract sense than I might, say, giving a talk. But here’s one thing I will confess to: about 75 percent of the way through the book, I met a girl socially, at a friend’s house, who was really quite remarkably similar to several of the characters in the book I was writing. In many ways, it was as if she was these characters in combined, unified human form. I have had a number of things like this happen to me before – sort of premonitionary things, whereby you end up writing something that actually happens in some way – but never before had I met in the flesh what looked like, acted like, spoke like, and once I got talking to her, I discovered had a history so like many of the characters in the book I was writing! Anyway, the last quarter of the book was when I realized that the reincarnation theme was the real driver here, since I saw how these different characters were so completely interrelated. It was a fascinating and brilliant experience!

What would compel someone to pick up a copy of The Millennial Reincarnations?

Daniel: A desire to see the dark side of the wee hours in the most beautiful afternoon light you can imagine it bathed in.

Are you hoping to enlighten the millennials and hopefully make them aware of themselves? Would a millennial even be interested in knowing how his or her own generation is perceived?

Daniel: Of course, enlightenment is an important factor for any generation or person, and enlightening someone is the role of writing really, so sure, I would like to thank there is a benefit – however ancillary – someone gets from reading the book other than just sheer self-gratification. But also I think we are a generation not just with a little self-interest, but more or less with a self-obsession about all things us. So I think it’s inevitable that the book was going to be popular. It has gone to No.1 on Amazon already in Category Fiction, and it has only been out a couple days, which sort of backs up the point I guess.

You mentioned that the world is headed in one direction or another. On one hand "acceleration of innovation and productivity that characterized the previous century are about to come to a grinding halt or everything is going to move at such an accelerated rate of progress that maybe only 20 percent or so of the moral values, scientific facts and artistic trends of today will survive". What is your honest opinion?

Daniel: I think it’s fifty fifty, honestly. And it’s the thing that scares me most of all. The other thing that scares me is how like the early turn of the 20th Century we are. At that point, no one considered war a possibility at all. It was all careers, money, economics that was the talk of town. And that is what ruined Germany, essentially, and then Europe. You see similar things happening in the Middle East and parts of Asia now. It’s frightening.

In this book, do you dissect the millennial mind and explain why they act the way they do?

Daniel: No – because it’s a story. But it’s a very insightful story, so there are aspects of the millennial mind that readers seem to pick up on. A lot of people have told me, ‘Oh, it’s so interesting how you have a different take on millennials.’ I am not really sure what that means, to be honest! But that gives me a sense of the feeling in society that while there’s a lot spoken of about millennials as a culture, little opinion or insight is actually expressed in that dialog.

Does The Millennial Reincarnations have all these answers and is it too late to change? If we could change it...how do we go about doing that?

Daniel: Yeah – you should read it if you want to know how to get thrown out of College … it has all the answers there all right! I think it’s less about change and more about evolution – that is the reincarnation bit I was referring to earlier, right?

What is in store for Daniel M. Harrison? Do you plan on a book tour to promote the new book?

Daniel: I have a lot of speaking engagements this year. I’m looking forward to San Diego and Seoul, Korea, where I will be giving a talk on the concept I discovered which concerns the Internet of Things hosted by Inside Bitcoins. I have literally spent the entire year travelling or riding out to some far-flung business somewhere in Asia to take a look at buying it. I expect it’ll be doubly-intense in the back half of this year, to be honest. I’ll accumulate a lot of airmiles this year, that is for sure!

Are you planning to write another book?

Daniel: I am always working on another book!

You can find more, including dates for speaking events, at Harrison's official website www.dmh.co. Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/dmhco
Purchase a copy of The Millennial Reincarnations on Amazon.com

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