The book-writing journey is one of hills and valleys, euphoria and despair, triumphs and crushing defeats. People say it takes a village to raise a child; well, it takes one to produce a manuscript, too. A book is a collaboration; it involves the creation of an intimate circle, a “scenius,” in which ideas are shared, refined, unpicked, and developed freely and without ego or judgement.
In the year and a half it took to write Global Natives, I learned an enormous amount about the craft of writing and about myself. I fear, however, that I was hell to live and work with throughout the process, from the beginning to the very end. Which makes me glad to have these final pages to issue some well-deserved thank yous.
Almost a decade ago, my friend John Dennehy gave me some simple but important advice: “Live like hell until you’re 30, then write about it.” Global Natives is what emerged from following his advice. While I don’t know which country we’ll be in, I’m certain John and I will still be facing off about words, ideas, and politics in a retirement home someday. I’d like to thank him for his friendship and guidance over the years, as well as for reviewing drafts of these chapters.
I’d like to thank Sarah Ronald, who many years ago came out with a comment that stuck with me: “The real value you bring to the table, Lauren, is your ability to see and express connections that others don’t.” When I was struggling with Global Natives, those words inspired me to prioritize connection and clarity over commentary, and to cut anything that felt like filler.
My husband, Jesse Onslow—always my first reader—held me to high standards of both thinking and writing throughout this project. Critic is a difficult and sometimes unforgiving role to play when you share a bed with a creative, but it’s also crucial to ensuring the best work gets made. I’m extremely grateful for Jesse’s patience and dedication to Global Natives, not to mention the many romantic dinners he surrendered to talking about the themes of the book.
Thanks to Annie Kelly and Paul Cooper for the evenings spent talking about creativity, ideas, and internet culture—the caliber of thought you bring to our conversations makes me think almost as much as it makes me laugh—and to my wise friends, early readers, and personal cheerleaders: Sabrina Faramarzi, Matthew Mottola, Ali Abdaal, Anna Codrea-Rado, Tiffany Philippou, and Jennifer Johnson. Thanks also to Hans Meyer, Veerle Donders, Niels de Wilde, and the whole team at Zoku Amsterdam, where Jesse and I stayed—as subscription living guests—while I wrote this book during the European lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
I’d like to thank my editor, Rachel Jepsen, for her endless patience, wisdom, and enthusiasm for Global Natives. At moments where I lost faith, she carried us both through. She taught me many important lessons during this process, including: “The book is the work, but the writing? That’s how you live your life.” I’d truly be lost without Rachel’s skill, guidance, and integrity, and this book truly would not have happened without her. I close this project as a better writer and a more confident human, and with a better sense of what matters, on and off the page.
Finally, I’d like to thank the many people I spoke to for this book, some of whom are quoted directly and some of whom are not: Xavier Damman, Lauri Haav, Karoli Hindriks, Steven K. Roberts, Alexey Komissarouk, Pieter Levels, Pia Mancini, Rafael Museri, Luke Poulson, Casey Rosengren, Santiago Siri, Jonathan Smales, Ben Stewart, Peter Thompson, Ruth Turner, Rob Wagemans, Alex Wellman.