Meet the Author Monday: Scott Davis

Surf the Seesaw

It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Scott Davis, author of Surf the Seesaw: Unconventional Essays on Balance, Beauty, and Meaning in Life.

About Scott Davis:

Scott Davis has spent his adult life as a business leader, tech founder, ex-pat, adventurer, and essayist. Profiled by Forbes at 30 as a promising young executive, he ignored industry expectations and walked away from the executive suite to pursue a life off the beaten path. His adventures led him to remote shores in the South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean.

Today, Scott spends much of his time guiding friends on adventure travel, writing, playing with his granddaughter, and occasionally building something cool in his workshop.

Surf the Seesaw is his first published collection.

Learn more and connect with Scott at

About Surf the Seesaw:

To succeed in this world, you need to understand the rules of the game. In Surf the Seesaw, business leader, tech founder and adventurer Scott Davis reveals principles on how our world (and your brain) works, so you can live a better life with less drama.

Profiled in Forbes at age 30, Davis stunned the business world when he walked away from the executive suite to spend years exploring the world.

And, in Surf the Seesaw, Davis shares his unique life experiences through which he observes key concepts that drive the world in which we live—the common theme being active balance.

Inspired by his life and adventures, this collection of 30 thoughtful essays provides profound insight on a wide variety of topics including:

  • Human nature and in particular some common misconceptions about how our brains work
  • Relationships and how to cultivate healthy ones without losing ourselves in the process
  • Decision-making and a few bad assumptions at the root of many regrettable choices
  • Positive parenting to raise kids that will amaze you
  • The meaning of life and specifically how we can create meaning in a universe dominated by chaos

Each entertaining essay concludes with an invitation to put core concepts into action, so that you can work toward more effective behaviors. For anyone searching for lasting satisfaction and meaning in their life, Surf the Seesaw offers the essential toolkit needed to create balance, accountability, and greater happiness.

Author Interview with Scott Davis:

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  1. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

If an author simply wants to say something, ego is fine. If the author wants to communicate something, then they must recognize that communication is a collaboration between the writer and the reader. 

If the reader is not grasping what you are writing, that’s not entirely the reader’s fault. As authors, we owe it to our ideas to present them in ways that reflect an understanding of where our readers are coming from when they approach our stories. That requires a lot of empathy. In my experience, ego can really get in the way of such empathy.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite? 

Typing constrains my thinking because I am a lateral, integrative thinker. I need to think through a web of concepts and connected ideas without the constraint of linearly typing words onto page. I use a whiteboard to diagram the ideas related to a chapter or topic, then I go for a walk and use voice dictation to capture my verbal wanderings around those ideas. Then I return to the computer, use voice-to-text transcription, and begin a sort of scrapbooking process of cutting and pasting and rearranging the words into better flows. This forms the skeleton of a chapter, which I then work to refine into something that readers can consume easily.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? 

Writing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, is about sharing a truth you’ve seen about reality. Nothing could be more intimately revealing of who you are. All writing is confession. So, of course, there’s a natural fear…of judgment, rejection, mockery. That can understandably trigger the pseudonym urge.

But, my essays contain intimate details of my life, and it would reduce the whole thing to charade if I put another name on them.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Easy: a great editor. Why? Our brains are so capable of gap-filling that we often are not actually reading the words on the page, we are just replaying the words in our heads. So, we can easily gloss over punctuation errors, vague references, sloppy word choice, even words missing entirely. We need a very skilled person to work through those word-salad moments to help us find a way to communicate the idea in our heads in a way that readers will absorb easily and understand clearly. A good editor cannot save a bad story, but they can prevent a great one from being misunderstood or disregarded simply due to grammar.

  1. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

Let’s start with this truth: pain is not the enemy — unnecessary pain is. Why is that important? Because the best stories are topiary seeds that sprout in the mind of the reader, growing into things that the reader can shape into ideas that both fit them perfectly and reflect their unique selves. Only the reader can do that. That means there is always work for the reader to do in a great story. So, our goal as writers is to equip the reader to pick up and manipulate our ideas, without overly burdening them in the process with unnecessary work.

My goal is that the reader feels that something I write is true, remembers experiences from their own life that corroborate that principle, then tweaks that principle/experience combination into something they are enthusiastic to apply in their life going forward. In other words, I want them to make the idea theirs. 

  1. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

The World as I Found It, by Bruce Duffy. Somehow the author manages to bring lovely atmospheric prose to the world of one of the most brilliant, difficult minds in the history of western philosophy: Ludwig Wittgenstein. And, he conjures from whole cloth these imaginative story lines that remain true to the essence of the historical characters while still somehow feeling believable. That he could do this in the context of stunning complex philosophical concepts and debates, without losing either the gravitas of those debates or the emotional interest of the reader, is a stunning accomplishment. It fundamentally altered my notion of what was possible in the fusion of historical fact and imaginative fiction.

  1. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Of course. Denial of reality is never a good plan. As you find my essays, one of my foundational principles is “people differ and that is our species’ superpower.” Not everyone will see things from the same perspective, and that’s ok. I sometimes learn from my bad reviews, as they can show me a perspective from which I had not considered an issue. That is gold. So, even if it stings a little, I still want to understandwhat drives someone to write a bad review.

  1. What is your favorite childhood book?

The Time Machine, by HG Wells. As an adult, I marvel at his ability to craft a compelling, imaginative story in something like 100 pages. Unbelievable. Compare that to Hamilton or Gibson, and you really appreciate the genius and tenacity that were required to distill all of those ideas into such a small page-count. As a child with a limited attention span, that page count was essential for exposing me to my first truly great work of literature.

Now that I think about it, many of the books on my current “best” list are remarkably short when one considers their power. Heart of Darkness, Candide, Snowcrash, Robinson Crusoe, Fear and Trembling, The Old Man and The Sea, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies – all are less than 200 pages if my memory serves. And, every one of them contains treasures galore. 

  1. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

To be a good writer, you must see something true about reality, and you must find a flavorful way to present that truth. Whether the work itself is of fiction or non-fiction does not matter much. Great fiction is always built around a core idea the author is trying to convince us is true about life, humans, earth, technology, and so forth. And great non-fiction always wraps its truths in the appealing prose and hero’s-journey cadence of great fiction.

  1. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

Well, self-help is a pretty broad and ancient field. I’ll choose a relatively recent author, to keep things timely for the audience.

The greatest 20-ish pages of any non-fiction book I’ve read in the last 20 years is Alain de Botton’s introduction to a book entitled The School of Life. The book itself is very good, but the introduction is simply a masterpiece. His mind is a dagger, but his prose is perfectly poetic. It is rare to find such a clear grasp of reality, and when you do almost never does the author feel the necessity of refining and carefully crafting the verbal aesthetic of the presentation. Alain does not rest lazily on the truth of his words; he carves them into something as beautiful to observe as a marble bust. A singular talent.

  1. Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

To learn more about Scott Davis, here’s where you can find him:

Author Website:
Twitter: @surf_the_seesaw
Instagram: @surf_the_seesaw

Meet the Author Book Promotion

Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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