Jon Mooallem’s “Serious Face” Asks Why We Are Not Better Than We Are

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Jon Mooallem's new book is "Serious Face." (Photo courtesy of Jon Mooallem)

John Mooallem became a magazine writer after realizing that “instead of thumping my head against the biggest questions of my own life” he could train his insights and inquiry on the world. “I’d been puzzling over myself, torturously trying to unlock the truth of who I was. The truth is, I am the puzzling,” he writes in the prologue to his collection of essays, “Serious Face.” In his wide ranging collection, Mooallem brings his "puzzling" to, among other things,  our relationship to nature and disaster, our concepts of evolution, a pigeon pyramid scheme and his own face.  Jon Mooallem joins Forum to talk about his new book and the question that he says binds the essays together: Why are we not better than we are?


Jon Mooallem, author, "Serious Face," "This is Chance!" and "Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America"; contributing writer, New York Times Magazine; writer-at-large, San Francisco's Pop-Up Magazine