Josh was born in Abington, Pennsylvania. When he was seven years old, he moved to Fishkill, New York and eventually lived in the city of Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended State University of Binghamton in upstate New York, studying history and psychology before going on to earn a PhD in Psychology from the University of Kentucky. He moved to Athens in 2005 with his wife Noel. Josh is Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia and specializes in the study of psychopathic and narcissistic personality disorders. Josh lives in Athens with wife Noel Miller, their children Nate and Claire, and two Doodle dogs Izzy and Lola.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
A dinner with or without the kids at Seabear Oyster Bar, where we eat a bunch of oysters and have some cocktails, and then finish the night (without the kids) with a show at The Georgia Theatre. That is sort of the ideal way to spend an evening in my opinion.
If you could see any band, any where, any time, dead or alive, who would you see and where?
I would see R.E.M. because they are one of those few bands of that formative period for me in the late 80’s/ early 90’s of my adolescence or early adulthood who I didn’t get to see. And, now I live in a town where they are from, and I never got to see them, which seems ironic. Ideally, I would see them somewhere in Athens because it would pull it all together but I’d be happy to see them anywhere!
If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it say?
Have you seen these political signs you can buy that say “Any Functioning Adult 2020?” That is probably what I would put. I would like to see the country return to an adult figurehead of either party. But, a mainstream politician with some impulse control and broad concern for the world.
Any advice you would give to your younger self?
Worry about things less. Kids are so worried about things they did that are embarrassing. My son asked me one night recently if I had a hard time sleeping at night because of something I did when I was young that I found really embarrassing. He was struggling with having some of those kinds of experiences. I explained that I don’t experience that anymore but remember that feeling when I was his age. So, I would wish for my younger self to be able to realize that embarrassing and upsetting things are ephemeral and you can move on from them and not be defined by them.
What is a book you find yourself re-reading, referencing or gifting most often?
I probably do not re-read books very often, but as a psychologist who studies personalities and personality disorders, this recent book called Wild Game is a book I just finished that I loved. It tells a true story of the author’s experience with her very charming and narcissistic mom and how the mom co-opted her daughter (the author) to help her carry on a decades long affair with a family friend. It was a captivating story of the insidious ways that a narcissistic parent can really damage their child’s life. My father gave it to my wife to read and I stole it and read it without putting it down from start to finish in about five hours. That is how compelling it was.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
I would love to see New Zealand just because I appreciate the aesthetic of outdoor beauty in many ways more than the beauty of man-made scenery. I would love to see New Zealand to get that small glimpse of what Earth would have looked like pre-humans. But, I would also love to see a place like Tokyo for the exact opposite reason – like this is how you cram so many people in one well-organized place. Plus, the food – of all kinds – is supposed to be incredible there. For example, I read that the best pizza is in Tokyo.
What is something interesting about you that most people do not know?
I am sure most people assume I am a tremendous athlete based on my physique alone (*sarcasm*). I have had six or seven sports-related surgeries and most were done by famous surgeons who worked for professional sports teams at that time. For instance, I had multiple surgeries from the person who was the New York Mets’ surgeon, one surgery by the physician for the New York Rangers’ hockey team, and one surgery by the main physician for the University of Kentucky’s sports teams. So I’ve had some pretty high profile doctors and yet I never really fully recovered from these injuries. I wonder if I could get a refund…
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Dead? Darwin might be sort of fascinating…the chance to talk to the creator of the most important scientific theory. That would be amazing. Alive? I would be interested in having lunch with Barack Obama. I think he is a very bright, charming, and fun conversationalist. Would be particularly great if it could take place over a few beers and everything was off the record.
What are three words or phrases that you think of when you think of the word “home”?
Family, safety–physical safety and psychological safety–and laughter. I love to laugh. I love to make other people laugh. I love to have someone else make me laugh. So, I think that is important. We laugh a lot in our home!