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Tommi Uschanov

Tommi Petteri Uschanov
Born March 27, 1975, Kontiolahti

Studies in Theoretical Philosophy at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Helsinki, 1995–

Non-fiction author, 2008–
Freelance translator and publishing editor, 2002–
Research assistant at the Academy of Finland, 2001–3
Content creator of electronic study material at WSOY, 1999–2001
Assistant at Muutostehdas Oy, 1997–9

Hätä on tarpeen: kulttuuripessimismin nousu 1965–2015 (‘Neediness is needed: The rise of cultural pessimism 1965–2015’ – coming Fall 2015)
Miksi Suomi on Suomi (‘Why Finland is Finland’), Teos 2012
Suuri kaalihuijaus (‘The great cabbage hoax’), Teos 2010
Mikä vasemmistoa vaivaa? (‘What’s the matter with the Left’), Teos 2008
Wittgenstein in Finland: A Bibliography, niin & näin 2003

Photo: Heini Lehväslaiho
Written by Tommi Uschanov and Tero Juutilainen (ed.)
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

The university is a tremendous place for making contacts

I feel embarrassed whenever I read any advice for success which states that one has to be proactive, methodical, and ready to push oneself forward. Practically nothing of what I have done in my career has been planned in advance. I have never got a job by applying for it. I have been given job offers and I either accepted them or I did not.

Almost all of my jobs have come, either directly or indirectly, through personal relationships established at the University of Helsinki. Of my old student friends, no less than three have jobs in the book publishing industry, each with a different company. I have worked with them and their colleagues in many different tasks: I have translated nine books into Finnish, edited books and translations, proofread, fact-checked, and written expert opinions.

Translating books into Finnish has also made me informally qualified to work in document translation, which is what I'm increasingly doing these days: annual reports, government documents, technical instructions, and art museum catalogues.

My ending up as a non-fiction writer is another thing that was both unintentional and related to the university. In the early 2000s, I was a research assistant for an Academy of Finland project at the Department of Philosophy. The leader of the project later went into politics and asked me to participate in his electoral campaign. This request aroused mixed feelings, which I initially tried to unravel in a short written reply. This expanded first into a magazine article, then into a book, and finally a trilogy of books.

Photo: Heini Lehväslaiho.​
Photo: Heini Lehväslaiho.​


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