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Middlesex Graduation Speech 2015

I was incredibly honored to give the commencement address at this year’s Middlesex Graduation. Thank you Class of 2015—I hope my advice doesn’t ruin you.

Faster Than a Bobcat

bobcat-ebike-openerCheck out my latest article in Bicycling Magazine, in which I try to keep up with an expert racer and outpace a bobcat—all while under the influence of Napa Valley’s finest.

What I Saw as an NFL Ball Boy


Check out my op-ed, “What I Saw as an NFL Ball Boy,” which appeared in the October 10th edition of the New York Times.

The End Is Not Near


Bicycling Magazine sent me on a suicide mission that I kind of survived.

I wrote about it in their May issue. Check it out for a story about risk, failure, and goateed angels.

“That Book About Harvard” is a Boston Globe Bestseller!

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“Just in time for graduation season, Kester, a writer for, shares his hilarious and poignant misadventures during his often humiliating first year at Harvard…With self-deprecation and clear eyes, he deftly manages to dispel some of the Harvard mythos and his illusions as he learns to not take his achievements or himself so seriously.” – Publishers Weekly

“Even if you didn’t go to an ultra-competitive school, you will still enjoy this book. Eric does a great job of poking fun at himself, his school and just about everything, without being offensive. It’s a great humor book that would be perfect for any kid who is just entering college. ” – Second Bookshelf on the Right

“This is a very funny memoir. I loved Kester’s writing style. He writes like he’s talking to a friend. There are no bars held. This would be a great book for anyone who likes funny memoirs. It could also be a really funny book for anyone in college or who will be going to college. If the new college students have any fears, Kester will alleviate them by making the college students glad that what happened to Kester did not happen to them…Bottom line: Laugh out loud funny!” –A Bookish Affair

“It’s alright” –Eric’s Dad

It’s Like, The Most Important Word Ever

The cluster of freckles lightly powdering her cheeks made me hyper-aware of the gaggle of zits spattered across mine. So, subscribing to the theory that Amanda couldn’t see my face if I couldn’t see hers, I spent the majority of our conversation speaking to my shoelaces. Dirty and frayed and Nike, they were as loosely tied as the awkward connection of sentences spilling from my mouth. I knew what I wanted to say to my 12-year-old crush, but actually getting there was a major pain in the ass.

I knew that Amanda liked me; that much I surmised after my super stealth mission on AOL the week before. Employing a trick I had used on girls in the past, I IM’d Amanda using my alternative screen name. She THOUGHT she was talking to Kevin, a mysterious new boy who just moved to town from Idaho, but she was REALLY talking to Eric A. Kester, that sneaky genius! Read more

Kesha, Dunkaroos, and Immortality

I Love Music. Walk Away From Love. Love Hurts. These were a few of the songs on the Billboard Top 40 in 1976, when my father was the exact age I am now. Precisely 35 years later, top charting songs include Pink’s emotionally penetrating track, Fuckin’ Perfect, Enrique’s heartwarming love ballad, Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You), and of course Cee-Lo Green’s hauntingly poignant anthem, Fuck You.

So we’ve ushered in a new musical culture, one where F-bombs are the new L-bombs. The songs of my father’s youth generally had a distinct message. They encouraged people to let it be, go your own way, and love the one you’re with. This is a slightly different message than the soundtrack of my young adulthood, which insists that I raise my glass, get retarded, and superman dat ‘ho. Above all, the majority of contemporary pop songs urge –no, demand¬- that I a) go to the club, b) get my hands up, and c) get my booty low. I’m good at two of those three. Read more