The Millions

Bulletproof Coffee to Bulletproof Vest: An Object Lessons Interview

As contributors to the Object Lessons series from Bloomsbury, Dinah Lenney and Kenneth R. Rosen each chose to investigate the deeper meaning and implication of a thing they encounter with some frequency—Dinah as a writer of memoir and personal essay, Ken as a war correspondent. 

Dinah’s book, Coffee, turns out to be a personal history in which she confides and confronts the challenges of the day-to-day. And in Bulletproof Vest, Ken grapples with an introspective journey into the properties and precisions of his object on a molecular level and on the world stage. 

The authors caught up to talk about not only coffee and bulletproof vests, but research and writing, process and metaphor, the things we can afford to take for granted, and the things we can’t and don’t. 

Dinah Lenney: I’m remembering my daughter once had a teacher who was all the time saying, “Everything is connected to everything else.” (She never mentioned she was quoting Da Vinci…) So can we connect our objects, you and I? Did you know there’s a brand of coffee called Bulletproof?

Kenneth R. Rosen: I do—I remember it from my post-graduate days of putting grass-fed butter into my coffee, or something like that—something about being bulletproof in the gym, or bulletproof under the stressors of cubical office life. 

DL: Says here on their site: “For the CEOs, the churners and burners, the parents, the dreamers, the people who want to be the best versions of themselves.” I’ve never tried it, though. And I know that’s done, butter and coffee—I haven’t tried that either,

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