Anna Gát Reinvented Herself and Digital Intellectual Culture (The Pathless Path Podcast)

Anna is the founder and CEO of Interintellect – a global community of thinkers. She grew up in Hungary and emigrated to London at the age of 30, where she built her startup. She is passionate about staying curious as we age. While the late 20s are the end for some, she chose to treat it as the beginning.

Podcast Links: Choose Your Player

Conversation topics

  • Her diverse background, including being a published poet by age 19, writing lyrics for underground bands in Hungary, and being a screenwriter, playwright, and startup founder before creating InterIntellect.
  • Societal expectation of attending university, enjoying intellectual and artistic abundance, and being thrust into adulthood.
  • Reinventing herself multiple times and the importance of curiosity and exploration.
  • Her decision in 2018 to avoid engaging in culture wars, instead focusing on creating a space for intellectual salons, small groups where ideas can be explored without conflict.
  • The InterIntellect community, which hosts online and offline events where people can discuss ideas, books, and big questions of life.
  • The societal contract in the U.S., where effort and success are rewarded, particularly in cities like New York.
  • She mentions the surprising things that have emerged from InterIntellect, including people getting married to each other.
  • Her dream dinner party guests, including figures from Roman history, James Joyce and Elena Ferrante.
  • How the InterIntellect Fellowship, which financially supports independent researchers and makers.
  • On rooting for people and how a small amount of support can change someone’s life.

Key Quotes

  • Discussing the abrupt transition from education to adulthood (30:01): “The moment when you start getting good at it and start enjoying it they kick you out and they’re like well that was this thanks for your money now you’re an adult and now read newsletters you know buy a book at the airport.”
  • The illusion of needing gatekeepers (32:00): “The Gatekeepers are dead but we’re still pretending like we need to go through Gatekeepers.”
  • The privilege of attending prestigious universities (33:00): “I think I don’t know why it stimulates my mind today but Simon fry said this thing that the good thing about going to Oxford or Cambridge is that you don’t have to deal with not having to have gone there.”
  • The necessity of creating your own gatekeepers (34:00): “You have to create your own Gatekeepers because there are Gatekeepers and I have to create your own combination depending on where you want to get in.”
  • The realization of women settling too early in life (47:01): “I realized that oh my God a lot of these women that I knew at the age of 27 kind of stop or at least periodically and they say okay I’m 27. this is what I learned this is where I traveled this is why I slept with these are the internships that I did and from now on I’m going to live off of this.”
  • The joy of her job at InterIntellect (45:02): “I think it’s the most beautiful thing that people can do and I’m very happy to have this job.”
  • The problem of people not receiving good feedback (57:02): “I think it kind of goes back to a maybe an even more basic problem that we we have which is that most people never get good feedback.”
  • Encouraging people to acknowledge the talents of others (59:00): “If there are two people in your life right now who are just amazing at something please text them just tell them whatever it is any job well done from gardening to playing the cello to just being a good conversationalist that you can trust.”