In the beginning…

…the brain hurts. I just finished my first real day of studying, or I should say, thinking. My professor has ordered me to think–and only think–for the next 6 days. I’m supposed to sit in front of my computer and figure out exactly what I want to write this book on. I can use my computer to write out and organize thoughts, but I’m not supposed to be doing any research at this point. After the 6 days are up, I take another 6 days to figure out the precise structure of the book. This means coming up with chapter titles, subheadings within the chapters, and the overall title of the book. I put that on a page, get it approved by my professor, and I’m ready to write a book. Or say he says.

Anyway, I like working like this, because it prepares us for the world of publication, in which a publisher gives you a couple weeks to come up with a summary of the book, and then you write it. My professor says: writing good, everything else bad. He’s basically preparing us to write lots and lots of books. He’s got 18. He’s in his mid-40s.

All I know is my brain hasn’t hurt like this is a long, long time. Welcome to the PhD, Mr. Pitts.



  1. 1
    Jim Hibbert Says:

    What is the professor’s name, perhaps we should be reading his books!

  2. 2
    elcaballo Says:


    His name is Mario Aguilar. Not sure if a 9 volume (!) social history of the Catholic Church in Chile would interest you, but he’s also written more generally on theology and politics in Latin America. A book that he’s working on currently is about the relationship between religious contemplation and politics; I’m really looking forward to that. He is also (did I mention he’s busy?) starting a 10-year research project on religion and politics in Tibet, which should generate another long series of books. Pretty crazy…a good model to have as I start my career.

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