Social Networks are contagious

October 30th, 2009

The work of Nicholas Christakis, physician, scientist and sociologist at Harvard has been cited in over two thousand media outlets in the past two years.  He is shining new light on how social networks drive and shave every aspect of ours lives.  He offers us a whole new understanding of these social networks and show how they influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behavior, politics and more.  In his new book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives he explains why emotions are contagious, and how such networked behavior spreads.  Time magazine named Nicholas Christaks one of the "100 Most Influential People" in 2009.

My conversation with Dr. Nicholas Christakis:

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Prime Minister Kim Campbell / Global Secuirty Institute

October 30th, 2009

Be it Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, Al Gore or Tony Blair, we are seeing many former national leaders devote their post political years to great causes and making the world a better place. Canada's first female Prime Minister Kim Campbell is such a leader.  Devoting her time to many causes including the Global Security Institute and the nuclear non-proliferation.

My conversation with The Right Honorable Kim Campbell:

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Deepak Copra

October 29th, 2009

Long one of the worlds most powerful advocates for the connection between health and consciousness, Deepak Chopra now takes the process a step farther, as he makes the case that the body is actually a reflection of the mind, "a symbol in flesh and blood of everything you think and feel."  In his new book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You Chopra walks us through a discussion of how energy affects spiritual and physical health and also explains how the expression of genes can be altered by lifestyle changes.  My conversation with Deepak Chopra:

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Who is Ayn Rand?

October 23rd, 2009

Know primarily for her bestselling books THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED, Ayn Rand is one of the 20th century's most controversial and scandalous figures. A champion of unfettered capitalism, she redefined what it means to be a libertarian and reshaped the very definition of conservatism.  Undergoing a resurgence of interest, because of her anti government views, University of Virgina History Professor Jennifer Burns, in her new book Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, gives us a full spectrum view of Rand's  philosophy and life.  My conversation with Jennifer Burns:

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Egos, Ambitions and World Trade

October 22nd, 2009

Though often maligned and misunderstood, the World Trade Organization, sits at the center of the global trading system and is arguable a key to successful global capitalism.  However, some argue that it actually threatens international politics and further exacerbates the differences between rich and poor.  Today, amidst our financial crises, is the WTO actually helping or hurting global trade?  Paul Blustein, Journalist in Resident at Brookings and for twenty years a business and economics writer for the Washington Post, in his new book Misadventures of the Most Favored Nations: Clashing Egos, Inflated Ambitions, and the Great Shambles of the World Trade System, helps to explain it all.  My conversation with Paul Blustein.

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The Fire That Save America

October 22nd, 2009

At a time when the terms "sustainability" and "green" are becoming a national religion, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Timothy Egan in his new book The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, examines their origins. Egan chronicles the story of the devastating forest fire that made Teddy Roosevelt's vision of conservation real in the American mind and that cemented his legacy as the President who saved our wild places.

It is also the story of a blaze still unmatched in the annals of American wildfires, the Big Burn lasted three days in August 1910 and decimated three million acres of forest in Washington, Montana, and Idaho.  At the time, no living person had ever seen anything like those flames, and nether the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them.  My conversation with Timothy Egan:

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Supply-Side Economics, R.I.P.

October 21st, 2009

When one of the architects of supply-side economics in the Reagan era, says that it should go out of business, you know the times are changing. Bruce Bartlett, in his new book The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, argues that while supply-side was good for the economy in the 1980's, it has no place in shaping current economic policy.  A Reagan official, a policy staffer for Jack Kemp in the 70's, he thinks the George W. Bush's tax cuts were "nuts" and that we need a return to Keynesian principals.  My conversation with Bruce Bartlett:

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Be not afraid

October 20th, 2009

Whether it is  fear of aging, of unemployment, of terrorism, of natural disasters, or simply of change,  fear has become the dominant paradigm of our times.  Obama came to office offering us hope, the opposite of fear, Roosevelt said " the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  Yet the reality and speed of 21st century life, coupled with fear mongers amongst us, give us a world that in the words of Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his new book Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World drains us of the joy and purpose of our lives. My conversation with Rabbi Harold Kushner:

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Wasp sting

October 13th, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald had said that their power came from "animal magnetism and money." Yet, they eschewed vulgar displays of wealth and were even considered to be thrifty.  They were the best and the brightest, but also refused to be considered "intellectuals."  They were the natural aristocracy, the ruling class of American society.  They were the Wasp elite and the last days of their rein took place during the last half of the 20th Century.  New Yorker writer Tad Friend, in his new memoir Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor gives us a very human and personal study of what happened when this culture collapsed and the personal psychological wreckage it left behind.  My conversation with Tad Friend

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Oil & Water Pt. 2

October 11th, 2009

Oil and Water don't usually mix.  But they do when we think about the two natural resources whose future scarcity could reshape our world.   Today oil is central to our world and has played a role in the violent conflicts and in the divisions between rich and poor. Peter Maas, distinguished journalist and author of Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oilrefers to it as the oxygen of the global economy.  And yet for years we have refused to talk about it honestly.

On the other hand, in the growing consensus over global warming and the cost of excess carbon, we are arguably overlooking the depletion of another precious resource: potable Water.  In Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought journalist and water expert James Workman travels to the direst place on earth to see how, against all odds and under brutal government repression, an indigenous people draws on ancient wisdom to survive on extreme scarcity of water, and what we not only might learn, but must learn.

My conversation with James Workman

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Oil & Water Pt. 1

October 11th, 2009

Oil and Water don't usually mix.  But they do when we think about the two natural resources whose future scarcity could reshape our world.   Today oil is central to our world and has played a role in the violent conflicts and in the divisions between rich and poor. Peter Maas, distinguished journalist and author of Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oilrefers to it as the oxygen of the global economy.  And yet for years we have refused to talk about it honestly.

On the other hand, in the growing consensus over global warming and the cost of excess carbon, we are arguably overlooking the depletion of another precious resource: potable Water.  In Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought journalist and water expert James Workman travels to the direst place on earth to see how, against all odds and under brutal government repression, an indigenous people draws on ancient wisdom to survive on extreme scarcity of water, and what we not only might learn, but must learn.

My conversation with Peter Maas:

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Nature vs. NurtureShock

October 10th, 2009

Suppose everything we think we know about raising children were turned upside down?  Po Bronson, author of the previous cutting edge books "The Nudist on the Late Shift, and "What Should I Do With My Life?" now, in his new book NurtureShock: New Thinking About Childrentakes us beyond the folklore of child rearing into the realm of modern science.  He reveals what decades of studies teach us and gives an intriguing analysis of conventional wisdom.  You will never approach your kids the same way again.  My conversation with Po Bronson:

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Half the Sky

October 8th, 2009

Without exaggeration, it may be one of the most important books of our time.  Two time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof of the N.Y. Times and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, a Pulitzer winner as well, have written a brilliant call to arms  that describe one of the great injustices in the world today, the brutal treatment of woman.  In Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide they show how facing up to and helping to solve these issues for woman have the ability to transform the world.  Addressing both the moral dimensions and issues of international security and stability, Kristof and WuDunn show how these brave woman might be giving us a road map to remake the world anew.   My conversation with Nicholas Kristof:

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Evolution & being good

October 7th, 2009

Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, and the author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life uses Darwin's work as a jumping off point to explain that human emotions, from spontaneous bursts of laughter to a sympathetic blush, are not only signs of evolution, but also the keys to understanding our ability to be happy and bring out the good in other.   My conversation with Dacher Keltner:

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It’s the science, stupid

October 6th, 2009

150 years after Darwin's "The Origin of the Species," in which he lays out the predicate for all of our understating of biological science, the very science that keep us alive, the reason we are worried about health care, some are still questioning his work.  In this new book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Richard Dawkins ameliorates those who would question evolution, and those who would argue the nonsense of intelligent design.  Written with Dawkins usual wit and passion, his work is both hard hitting and totally convincing.   My conversation with Richard Dawkins:

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Hawks, Doves and Friendship

October 5th, 2009

They were two of the Best and the Brightest. There 60 year friendship shaped the Cold War and American foreign policy.  Their story shows how the world is a better place and a safer place when the clash of idea and intellects, coupled with the bond of friendship, shapes the future.  In his dual biography of Paul Nitze and George Kennean, Nicholas Thompson, in his book The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War, gives us two remarkable men whose public lives defined our 20th century foreign policy.  It's a lesson we need now!     My conversation with Nicolas Thompson:

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The Barbaric Heart

October 5th, 2009

According to Curtis White, esteemed author of The Middle Mind, Michael Moore misses the point.  The problems of capitalism are not its moral failings, but its virtues.  The desire to win, the view of the world as a zero sum game lies, White believes, at the heart of our economic and environmental problems.  He explains all of this in his newest work The Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature.   My conversation with Curtis White:

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1400 years of violence

October 1st, 2009

Every day American troops are sent into harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect a people and a way of life we don't understand.  Car bombs, suicide attacks, assault on Mosques.  All of this violence is part of a centuries-old schism between Suni's and Shia's.  Yet few Americans, including senior policy makers, legislators and top counterrorism officials, understand the true cause of so much bloodshed.

Award winning journalist Leslie Hazleton, in her new book After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam lays out the 1400 year story behind this violence and explains why events that took place 14 centuries ago, are relevant to actions on the ground today!

My conversation with Lesley Hazleton

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