Eighty Years Ago, Paperback Books Were Considered “Creative Destruction”

July 30th, 2015

Today when we think about the publishing industry, we usually think about the ways that it is changing to accommodate the digital world.  E-books, E-readers, cloud storage and white backgrounds dominate the conversation.

But believe it or not, there have been other times when the publishing industry has been rocked by fundamental change and when that change was met with fervent resistance.  One of those times was eighty years ago when an executive name Allen Lane, had this idea for something called “paperback books.”

Books that would be more accessible to the masses. Available not just in bookstores, but in train stations, newsstands and and even the corner grocer.

That fundamental idea by Lane, has been a part of all our lives and of our reading and learning experience.  It also became the basis for the company that he started,  Penguin Books.  One of the most iconic names in publishing today.  An imprint that today is the flagship of Penguin Random House and on this very day marks its eightieth anniversary.

Looking back and looking forward at the publishing industry is Patrick Nolan, VP, Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher at Penguin Books.

My conversation with Patrick Nolan:

Is Water the Sine Qua Non of “red” and “blue” America?

July 30th, 2015
bluemind.jpgI’m often the first to criticize the way in which we are too quick to put things in political terms.  Too often the rush to label “red” or “blue” America gets us into trouble.  But one aspect seems to hold.  We are bluer politically as we get closer to water.  Look at any map and coastal America seems to have a different mindset.  

Perhaps it is because water and proximity to water make a difference.  That it impacts us in profound ways that stem from our evolutionary biology and extend to health, happiness and a more holistic view of the world.

Wallace J. Nichols has devoted himself to understand man's connection to the water.  He explore it in Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.
My conversation with Wallace J. Nichols:  

The New Science of Criminal Injustice

July 28th, 2015
Benforado-Slide_0.jpgWe are told, almost from childhood, that we have a legal system and a government of laws and not of men.  Yet it is a system created by man and subject to the biases, frailties and inherent actions of human behavior.

Yet from such a system we often dispense the most draconian of punishments in the name of all of us.

At a time when even member of the Supreme Court of the United States talk of the Founders intent, and of originalism, a whole body of modern scientific evidence suggests that we need to be looking at our criminal justice system in whole news ways...

Law Professor Adam Benforado thinks we essentially need to bring “creative destruction” to one of the foundations of a free society. He outlines the problem and his plans in Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

My conversation with Adam Benforado:  

Are you ever surprised that you are being lied to?

July 21st, 2015
8058_d800b_Ethan_B_New_Brighton_Beach_ApTo about the same degree that Captain Renault was “shocked, just shocked” to find gambling going on Casablanca, that’s how shocked many of us are to find that politicians and business leaders lie to us.

Whether it’s the latest candidate promising to make the world a better place, or Coca Cola offering the Real Thing,  the idea of marketing and even misrepresentation has been around before spin doctors, and long before  Don Draper.

From the days on the Savanna when the caveman may have allowed his buddy to be eaten by a lion, because he coveted his woman, to the endless promise of the Apple Watch...we know we are often lied to.

But does matter?  Isn’t the idea of a free society the ability to allow us to have the information to be informed, to make our own decisions?  And today, with creative destruction everywhere, when buyers know more about the price of a car than the salesman, when transpiration can be ordered and altered with the click of a mouse, aren't we better off?

Talk radio host and author Ethan Bearman, whose new book is Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours,
is not so sure.

My conversation with Ethan Bearman: 

Big Science and The Launch of the Military Industrial Complex

July 16th, 2015
big-science-9781451675757_hr.jpgWe all remember Ben Franklin flying his kite, or Alexander Graham Bell calling for Watson, even Jonas Salk working quietly in his laboratory.

Today science, or at least big science, is a global effort. It involves governments, private enterprise, universities and vast institutional support.  Think about the International Space Station, the Large Hadron Collider, and even before all of that, the Manhattan Project and even the development of the Internet itself.

All are part of what Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Hiltzik writes about in Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex.

My conversation with Michael Hiltzik: 

Baseball’s Endless Season - Is it too long?

July 13th, 2015
51-f1ST534L._SY344_BO1%252C204%252C203%2As we hit the half way mark in the Baseball season, how many players are injured, how many are burnt out already?  Are we creating a softer group of players or is 162 games in 180 days, just too many games? Washington Baseball writer Barry Svrluga explores this in The Grind: Inside Baseball's Endless Season.

My conversation with Barry Svrluga:  

Primates of Park Avenue

July 10th, 2015
primates.jpgWe have always studied other cultures so that perhaps we could better understand our own. The realm of cultural anthropology has provided us keen insights into our evolutionary nature and why we do the strange things we do, as human beings.

Wednesday Martin, has used the tools of cultural anthropology to zero in on one very narrow subgroup.  The tiny percentage of the “One Percent” that reside in and around Park Avenue, on the Upper East Side of New York.

Her book Primates of Park Avenue, has gotten a great deal of attention, both for its subject matter, its research and its authenticity.  But there is no question that broadly, it accurately reflects a time, a place and a culture that says something about our collective character in 2015.

My conversation with Wednesday Martin: 

How to Keep Listening When the World Wants a Fight

July 5th, 2015
download.pngListen to any of the Republican candidates and it’s clear that the culture war issues that have driven so much political debates over the past 50+ years, are still going on.

Our political discourse is has polarized as ever.  Even to the point where we’ve come to accept that you are never going to change anyones mind about social issues.  So when we do talk, when we do try and debate, we simply talk past each other.  It’s as if complicated personal issues are being discussed in a boiler factory. For no other subject is this more true, than the subject of abortion.

My guest Aspen Baker, thinks there is a better way.  A way to discuss perhaps the most contentious of all issues, the the subject of abortion, and use that discussion as a model to discuss other contentious issues.  Her organization EXHALE has adopted Pro-Voice as its point of view.

My conversation with Aspen Baker: 
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