May 26th, 2016
Whether we want to believe it or not, every relationship we have...with a friend, a spouse, a child or co-workers, has a power dynamic as a part of it. Power may shift and morph, but it’s a part of every relationship and often a force for good.
In understanding power at this most intimate level, we can better understand how it plays out, or should play out, on a more macro scale. It’s not something that comes from the barrel of a gun, or from bullying, but from empathy and social intelligence. As UC Berkeley professor Dacher Keltner points out, power is not something that’s won, but something that’s earned and given. The problem or paradox is that once we have that power, we act differently; often counter to the ways in which we earned it.
My conversation with Dacher Keltner:
May 25th, 2016
We throw around the word globalization without really thinking about all of its impacts. The instant and free flow of goods around the corner and around the world comes with a cost. The iPhone delivered overnight from China, the speciality coffee from around the world, the stores filled with goods from hundreds of countries.
Rarely do we stop to think how all of this gets to us. Sure we see or even complain about all the trucks on the road. But that’s only the end of the journey, sometimes the last mile. Many of items of daily life travel hundreds of thousands of miles to reach us. Think about all those container ships at every major port in the world.
Beyond this, the story of traffic and of our cars, only compounds the problem. What successful community is not dealing with the scourge of traffic?
My conversation with Ed Humes:
May 22nd, 2016
We live in a world of bombast and noise. Sometimes it seems the volume is turned up full blast, all the time. A quick look at our Presidential campaigns is ample evidence.
We forget that for leaders, or just average folks, sometimes quiet can have amazing power. The power of thoughtfulness, of creativity and competence
For young people, trying to find their place in the world, sometimes growing up amidst this cacophony of a boiler factory is not the healthiest thing.
This is the world that Susan Cain took us into in her bestselling book QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN’T STOP TALKING.
My conversation with Susan Cain:
May 19th, 2016
The poet William Blake talked about art as “seeing the world in a grain of sand.” I suppose that what he also meant was the ability to move in so tightly on something, that inside of it, we could construct an almost fourth dimension, through which to view the world and our experiences in it.
In a way that’s what New Yorker Staff writer, author and Pulitzer Prize winner William Finnegan has done with surfing.
Living the surfing life alongside the literary life, Finnegan has reached the apex of that duality in his autobiography Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
My conversation with William Finnegan:
May 16th, 2016
Not since the 1960’s have we lived in a time of more public anger. Today, issues of race, economic disparity, power imbalance and distrust of traditional institutions, have all conflated to bring us to what some believe is the brink of insurrection.
But should we be surprised? Insurrection, riots, strikes have long been an instrument of policy for the disaffected. It was a central form of protest in the 17th and 18th centuries and we saw our own examples in the 1970’s
But given the anger, given technology, given the immediacy of communication, what might riots look like today and are they on the horizon.
My conversation with Joshua Clover:
May 13th, 2016
A Scottish writer, back in 1915, coined the phrase “think globally, but act locally.” While it was about grassroots movements, it could just as easily have been about our understanding of the universe.
The fundamental laws of physics which govern the workings of the cosmos, are not some abstract untethered set of rules. They have a direct impact on how we live and on the very meaning of human existence. It has to. After all, it’s the only way we can look out on the vastness of space and time, and ask ourselves what’s it's all about, and what's my place in it.
My conversation with Sean Carroll:
May 12th, 2016
For better or worse, particularly for those of us here in the Bay Area, we have come to think of science in rather utilitarian terms. A better phone, a better app, or a better car.
In fact science, especially theoretical physics, is or should be the real lens through which we see the world. It is our understanding of the larger universe that shapes how we see our place in it and that more than the latest gadget, shapes our times.
My conversation with Christophe Galfard:
May 10th, 2016
Think about our built environment and how much of it is designed around safety and security. The gated communities, the numbers on top of office buildings, the entrances and exits, garages and elevators. eyes on the street.
Now imagine seeing our daily landscape through the eyes of someone that wanted to break into our homes and our offices. Suddenly architecture takes on a whole new dimension. One that my guest Geoff Manaugh conveys in his new book A Burglar's Guide to the City.
My conversation with Geoff Manaugh:
May 8th, 2016
Ask any of the 20 and 30 somethings working in tech in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and I assure they think they are inventing the world. But the fact is that most, including some that have become household names, are merely leaving footprints in the shadow of David Sarnoff.
David Sarnoff born in 1891, had a visionary understanding of everything from the telegraph to the future of the internet. And just as Steve Jobs had Wozniak, Sarnoff had Edwin Armstrong. Not surprisingly, that relationship ended in an even worse way.
My conversation with Scott Woolley:
May 5th, 2016
It’s hard to believe from the rhetoric coming from both sides of the campaign trail this year, but there once was a time when policy mattered. When candidates on both sides talked about programs and public policy.
Perhaps it was Reagan wanting to shrink the size of government and drown it in a bathtub, or Bill Clinton declaring that the era of big government is over. The fact is we have stopped looking to government as an institution of proactive change. While it still may have a role in crisis, as we saw in 2008 and 2009, its larger role, to shape the betterment of life in America, has long ago reached a kind of perigee.
My conversation with Randall Woods:
May 3rd, 2016
How many times have you experienced an even mild form of depression, or anxiety or obsessive fear and wondered “how you got this way.” It turns out the answer may have as much to do with your ancestry as with your circumstances.
While today with things like 23andme and the vast array of genetic testing and sequencing we can do, we look for every clue to our health. What diseases we may carry and what medical dangers we may face. However, we are yet to fully understand how family trauma, the trauma of distant ancestors, might actually impact our genetics in a ways that affect our mental health. This is the world that Mark Wolynn reveals to us in It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.
My conversation with Mark Wolynn:
May 1st, 2016
We hear it in all the loose talk about health care. About the wonders of medicine, about how we are living longer and about the advances of our doctors. The fact is we are mostly still in the dark ages. The standard treatment for cancer today, poisoning the body, is a little like how we once viewed leaching.
As for diagnostics, a huge percentage of today's sickest patient go through a multi year odyssey, just to discover what’s wrong with them… and that’s if they are at a world class medical facility.
But all of this is changing. We are on the cusp of the brave new world of genomic medicine. A time when treatment will be personalized, when the brutality of some treatments will be vastly refined and when medicine really will be worthy of the 21st Century and all the highfalutin rhetoric we hear
My conversation with Mark Johnson & Kathleen Gallagher:
April 28th, 2016
There is seemingly nothing in our society today that has not become politicized. From what bathrooms we use to the soda we drink, to the food we eat. Sometimes if feels as if common sense and good judgment have gone out the window.
We forget there are some absolutes. There are some facts that are irrefutable. Sometimes to ignore this, is to do irreparable damage. One of the areas where this is certainly true is with respect to the environment.
Where once protecting the natural environment was a conservative value, today for conservatives attacking those that seek to protect the environment has become an applause line.
For environmental activists, their extreme views, their disregard for business and property rights have helped to push the reaction on the other side.
In short there is plenty of blame to go around. However renowned lawyer Frederic Rich doesn't assess blame. Instead, in his book Getting to Green: Saving Nature, he looks for a bipartisan answer.
My conversation with Frederic Rich:
April 26th, 2016
American history shows us that amidst election season we are often divided. That partisan rancor is often high and it is a healthy part of the passion of democracy. But today we seem to have something worse. While we’ve been here before as a county, we are at one of those historical inflection points where the bitterness spills over into every aspect of life.
And while history shows us other bitter splits, today, the long tail of the Internet and technology has made us more tribal. More prone to confirmation bias and only associating with our own tribe. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said we are all entitled to our opinions, but not our own facts. Today, the proliferation of information, has made everyone feel empowered by their own facts, true or false.
We live in a world that William Butler Yeats writes about when he said that “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The best lack all conviction and worst are full of passionate intensity.”
My conversation with Mark Gerzon:
April 22nd, 2016
As they have done in so many other areas, the millennial generation has picked and chosen which parts of their social and sexual legacy they want to inherit. Particularly for millennial girls who were handed a legacy of sexual revolution, increased efforts to promote self esteem, Title 9, several waves of feminism and the ability to Lean In, they have made some interesting choices and compromises for themselves.
Nowhere is this more profound and more complicated than in their navigation of their own sexuality. How this plays out in our culture, how it impacts our daughters and what is says for the future of men women and sex is at the heart of Peggy Orenstein's new book Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.
My conversation with Peggy Orenstein:
April 19th, 2016
If I gave you all a quiz and asked you to name five tech visionaries and entrepreneurs in the US, you’d all pass. If I asked you to name even one visionary entrepreneur in China, the world's largest market, you’d probably come up empty. If you didn't, you’d probably name Jack Ma, the founder and leader of Alibaba.
The company recently went public in the largest IPO in history. It’s the largest virtual shopping mall in the world and it’s impact not just in China, but in the developing world, is profound and impactful both economically and politically.
My conversation with Duncan Clark:
April 17th, 2016
It’s funny how history often pokes its head out in the framework of contemporary events. Remember during the government shutdown a few years ago, commentators said that the radical elements of the GOP were acting like terrorists from the 60’s and 70’s? We heard similar criticism of occupy Wall Street years ago. And who can forget the President being accused of paling around with terrorist because of an acquaintance with Bill Ayers.
That fact is that the idea of direct action, grassroots support and commitment to ideas of social change, no matter how flawed, were an essential part of America in the 70’s
Inspired by the communist revolutions in Cuba and China and Vietnam, by the actions of the Nixon administration and the war in Vietnam, a radical group of revolutionaries sought to launch what they believed to be a 2nd American Revolution.
Today, to look back upon it, is to be shocked by the level of violence that the public came of accept as commonplace and how the efforts of law enforcement to stop it, were almost keystone cops like.
My conversation with Bryan Burrough:
April 13th, 2016
The debate that raged between Apple and the Federal Government was on the surface about security, privacy and encryption. However, in a larger sense it’s about the balance between our liberty and right to privacy vs. what some perceive as the greater good of the nation.
When we put up with the indignities of the TSA, we are agreeing that the greater good of security, check makes certain individual liberties. When we pass laws about personal vices, about speed limits or about guns or fundamental civil rights, the framework is the same.
In fact, when we look at the history of America, right on through our present day polarization, we see this struggle between individual liberty and the common good as a fundamental debate that links us directly with our founders.
My conversation with Colin Woodard:
April 8th, 2016
For most of us, the pressures of daily life in the 21st Century are intense. Emails, calls, social media, commutes, every changing technology, all on 24/7.
Regardless of the economic and social discussion from all of this, there is the question of the impact it’s all having on our bodies and on our psyche. Given how slow evolution moves, can human psychobiology cope with all of this?
he looks at the power of what he defines as enlightenment to truly remodel who we are.
My conversation with Andrew Newberg:
April 5th, 2016
T.S. Eliot wrote, in 1934. “Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” He might have written those words yesterday.
Certainly we’ve never had more knowledge, more information and seemingly less wisdom than we do today. What is the connection? How is it, that the more we know, the less we seem to understand and the less we seem to able to clearly and logically process it?
Does the fault lie in the technology, the speed at which information comes at us, or an evolutionary limitation to process information that has not yet caught up with technology? Or is it simply fear of the new, and fear of the future.
My conversation with Michael Patrick Lynch: