February 19th, 2017
When we talk about the refugee crises in Syria, we are really only talking about a small fraction of the world's refugee crisis. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are affected by armed conflict and genocide. Refugee populations come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka and more.
It’s hard for most of us to even imagine the what these people are willing to endure and the grief and trauma they face. In a time of asymmetrical warfare, they are the new face of war.
Kenneth Miller is an international expert on the impact of armed conflict on civilians. He's a psychologist who been working with war affected communities as a researcher, clinician, and filmmaker. He’s a professor of clinical and community psychology and the author of War Torn: Stories of Courage, Love, and Resilience.
My conversation with Kenneth Miller:
February 15th, 2017
The only thing that may be more pervasive than talk of Russia today is music. Music is everywhere. It seems no space, public or private, is not in some way filled with music. Even sporting events are now enveloped in music.
In spite of music having been at the cutting edge of technological creative destruction and in spite of the fact that its business models no longer works, it is still omnipresent. One of the few things that has been with us through the ages and is as strong if not stronger today.
So why is music so much a part our lives and what is the seemingly magical power it has for so many people. John Powell explains in Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica--The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds.
My conversation with John Powell:
February 13th, 2017
We are in the midst of awards season. The Oscars, the Grammys, the Golden Globes. They are all about both content and popularity. But what is the nexus and separation of the two? To many people, if it’s popular, it can’t be “good.” To others, choosing anything other than the top movies or the top 50 songs on Spotify seems useless.
What this doesn’t tell us is what drives popularity. Can it be manufactured, or is it the proverbial lighting in a bottle? How real or artificial is popularity?
It’s seems like the perfect time to explore these questions. Senior Editor of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson takes us down this popular road in Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction.
My conversation with Derek Thompson:
February 10th, 2017
While there may be 63 million more cracks in the glass ceiling, the recent election brought into bold relief the challenges faced by women in leadership and in the workplace.
While electoral politics is not the perfect hothouse for understanding the issues of women and leadership, it certainly reflects back many of the problems, challenges and even opportunities that women face today.
It’s interesting to look at some of the statistics. Women account for a majority of college graduates, but only about a quarter of full professors and university presidents. Almost half of law school graduates are women, but only 17 percent of the equity partners of major firms. Women constitute a third of MBA graduates, but only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
So how might this change? Will it be by woman becoming more like men, or will it take a fundamental shift for woman to co-opt the rules and redefine the playing field?
Sallie Krawcheck, one of Wall Street’s most successful women, tells women that what they have to do is Own It:
My conversation with Sallie Krawcheck:
February 7th, 2017
It’s kind of amazing that we spent a whole Presidential campaign talking about jobs and outsourcing and immigration, when the fact is that all of that is yesterday’s news. The real impact on future jobs, income and how we conduct our lives is not coming from Mexico or China, but from Silicon Valley and from that 7 oz rectangular piece of glass in your back pocket.
We’ve already watched the disruption of the music business, the travel business and the retail business., Today disrupters like Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick have disrupted transportation and hospitality in ways that no one could have imagined as recently as just eight years ago.
But disruption has a price; for the disrupter, for society and for those that stand in the way by defending the status quo.
When that happens, it’s always a good story. And that's the story that my guest Brad Stone tells in The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World
My conversation with Brad Stone:
February 6th, 2017
Every day we hear what’s become today’s language of medicine. Time with patients, bending the cost curve, managed care, health saving accounts, primary care, etc. It’s all about medicine as a commodity.
And certainly it is an often finite and limited resource. But lest we forget that it’s also about flesh and blood human beings...both patients and doctors. Your connection to your doctor is simply not the same as your car's connection to it’s mechanic.
Arguably, in that difference lies the soul of the physician, that is true beating heart of health care and that can shape patient outcomes. Understanding this has been the life's work of Dr. Ronald Epstein. He takes us on a journey into that world in Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
My conversation with Dr. Ronald Epstein:
February 2nd, 2017
So how many Asians countries have we offended this week? This in spite of the fact that the 21st century may very well be, as many have predicted, the Asian century.
The rise of China and the strength of many other Asian economies take on greater significance as the US enters a period of what could well be political and economic chaos and isolation and Europe faces a rising tide of right wing populism. All of it points to Asia’s promise.
But does it? My guest AEI resident scholar Michael Auslin, a former history professor at Yale, argues not so fast. China and Asia overall face a set of real global and internal challenges that might change the conventional wisdom. He details this in The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region.
My conversation with Michael Auslin:
February 1st, 2017
In business we often hear those meaningless four words, “this time it’s different.” Usually it means that it isn’t. That it’s just a delusional way to look at the same old problems.
In the current political landscape, it certainly seems things are really different. But from what? It’s different from political norms, certainly. But is it all that different from the early 1930’s, as we watched the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and the populism and racism of Huey Long here at home?
Originally published in 1935, It Can't Happen Here by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Sinclair Lewis, is a satirical and dystopian look at the rise of fascism in America. It has new and profound relevance today. Sales of this prescient and 82 year old book have skyrocketed as we learn more about it from Dr. Sally Parry, the Executive Director of the Sinclair Lewis society.
My conversation with Dr. Sally Parry:
January 26th, 2017
Every day scientists go to work and make discovers, or at least observations, that help make the world a better place.
The ongoing expansion of our knowledge of chemistry, of physics and of biology should be the holy grail that we look to to make all of us better.
Yet as an overlay to this ideal notion of pure science there are the prejudices, constrains, shames, and social covenants, which to some seem more important than truth.
Author, lawyer and mother Ayelet Waldman recently threw off those constraints to use science and chemistry to make her life better.
She shares that story in A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life.
My conversation with Ayelet Waldman:
January 23rd, 2017
Contrary to recently misplaced words from the President, cities like Detroit and other places in the industrial heartland are not places of carnage. They are and will continue to turn around. Not by dystopian rhetoric, but by the love and hard work and commitment of people like Amy Haimerl and her husband.
They took their life savings, moved from a gentrifying expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn and bought an abandoned 1914 Georgian Revival in a troubled Detroit neighborhood. What they accomplished is the brick by brick way that Americans have always and will continue to improve neighborhood life. Their story is America's story. Amy tells that story in Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home
My conversation with Amy Haimerl:
January 17th, 2017
Amidst all the noise of politics, especially on the national stage, we forget that it's still made of up of real people with real lives; complex relationships and evolving marriages
Someone once said that the key to political success was learning how to fake authenticity. One thing we came to learn over the past eight years, is that the Obamas were very real. They were authentic, even if the nature of their lives and yes, even their authenticity changed over the first four years and perhaps even more so during the full eight years.
NY Times correspondent Jodi Kantor in her book The Obamas takes a look inside the Obama family, the Obama marriage and the complexity of a modern professional marriage inside the crucible of the White House. The book has just been updated and is now out in paperback.
My conversation with Jodi Kantor:
January 12th, 2017
Fear is a funny thing. In our personal life, it often holds us back from things we know we should do. In our nation's collective life, fear often makes us do crazy things...to have a kind of national emotional and moral breakdown that feeds on the sum total and power of individual fears.
Such has been the case lately in our election and in our discussions of immigrants and our fear of the other, amidst a rapidly changing world. To better understand where we are, we need only look back to the spring of 1942. A time under FDR, when we rounded up over one-hundred thousand residents of Japanese ancestry, living along the West Coast and sent them to detention centers for the duration of the war. Each lost part of their lives and some would argue that our nation lost a part of its soul.
Richard Cahan captures the sadness of that moment in Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II: Images by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Other Government Photographers.
My conversation with Richard Cahan:
January 8th, 2017
More and more of us are moving to cities. Look at any demographic map and it’s clear we are becoming a more urban nation. Cities are the vital link in our cultural, social and economic well being. And no one knew more, or understood cities better than Jane Jacobs.
100 years after her birth, her work, her insights and her chronicle of cities is the gold standard by which we judge both the good and bad policy and planning decisions we make.
Robert Kanigel gives Jacobs the biography she has needed in, Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs.
My conversation with Robert Kanigel
January 4th, 2017
While Rural America may have made its voice heard in our recent election, the numbers show that more and more Americans, as well as citizen around the world, are moving to cities. Look at any demographic map of the US and it’s clear that we are becoming a more urban nation. As such, cities are the vital link in our cultural, social and economic well being.
But they also are, by virtue of their density, laboratories for so many of the larger problems that face the society. Problems of inequality, education, race, class and creative disruption are all playing out in our cities.
Cornell professor William Goldsmith thinks they are also target rich in opportunities. He lays out his ideas in Saving Our Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America.
My conversation with William Goldsmith:
January 1st, 2017
It would be very easy these days to have contempt for where celebrity culture has taken us. Nonetheless, sometimes celebrities just by virtue of their talent, their fame and their own ambition are able to make change in the world.
Whether it's making cracks in the glass ceiling, having us look at things we might not have seen or simply modeling a very public life with lessons for us all...celebrities do sometime provide us a window into ourselves.
Such was the case with Joan Rivers. Whether in business, in comedy, or in life she was a trailblazer. And now journalist Leslie Bennetts gives her the biography she deserves in Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers
My conversation with Leslie Bennetts:
December 29th, 2016
When we talk about the homeless, especially in our major cities, we imagine those that are visible on the streets and sidewalks. We don’t see the two million plus children who are homeless. The children and families living in cars, or motel rooms, or emergency shelters. They constitute an Invisible Nation: Homeless Families in America
How did this happen in a country and in cities as rich as San Francisco, or New York or Washington? Journalist Richard Schweid takes us deep into the bottom of a homeless economy that should shame us all.
My conversation with Ricahrd Schweid:
December 28th, 2016
Long before NAPA's Hidden Figures of the 1960’s space program, there were the The Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars.
When Sally Ride blasted off as the first American woman into space back in 1983, she may not have know it at the time, but she stood on the shoulders of dozens of woman who, beginning in the 1940's, helped America compete in the space race and the Cold War.
Based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, these woman essentially provided the computational power that made rocketry viable. They shattered not only glass ceilings, but helped free us from what poet John Magee call the “surly bonds of earth.”
Nathalia Holt, trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, takes us back to a seminal time for woman and America in space.
My conversation with Nathalia Holt:
December 27th, 2016
Parenting has gone from something natural to something that has become a job with many specific rules, fears and requirements. In fact it’s both more than than and less than sum total of all those rules.
It should be a partnership with our kids, a kind of collaboration that makes both parent and child stronger. That a large part of the approach of Dr. Ross Greene lays out in Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child. It’s an approach that will be critical as we rely more on future generations to rescue us from our current folly.
My conversation with Dr. Ross Greene:
December 19th, 2016
Listening to our political discourse today, vis a vis Russia, it brings back powerful reminders of the Cold War. A time when spies and covert action existed in what Le Carre called “a moral twilight.”
And yet when we think about people like Kim Philby or Alger Hiss or Aldrich Ames, is the way that they turned on their country any different than what we are seeing today?
We look at one of these instructive Cold War stories, True Believer: Stalin's Last American Spywith best selling author, and award winning journalist Kati Marton.
My conversation with Kati Marton:
December 18th, 2016
In these troubled and uncertain times, it seems that the only thing we can take comfort from is history. Civilizations, empires and nations come and go. But how it happens and why is where we find lessons that may comfort us and maybe save us.
Few periods are as instructive as Pax Romana (Latin for "Roman peace.") It was the long period of relative peacefulness and minimal expansion by the Roman military force after the end of the Final War of the Roman Republic and before the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century.
This is the story that famed historian Adrian Goldsworthy tells in in Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World. It’s a story particularly instructive today.
My conversation with Adrian Goldsworthy: