Love Wins

June 27th, 2016
u34%252B1F%2521EVWH7ngw7NLVXIcKIKW2pmYA%Oliver Brown, the lead plaintiff in Brown v. the Board of Education was a parent of a child denied access to a Topeka Kansas School. Clarence Gideon changed the way poor defendant are treated in court. Ernesto Miranda and Jane Roe both, in their own ways, were part of cases that expanded the rights of individual citizens.

The latest name added to that pantheon is that of Jim Obergefell.  He was the named plaintiff in the Obergefell vs. Hodges which , just one year ago, enshrined the civil right of same sex marriage in all 50 states.  Jim has recently written about his experience in Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality

My conversation with Him Obergefell:

Who Started the War On Government?

June 23rd, 2016
Untitled-1_75.pngIn 1953 in his first Inaugural Address, Dwight Eisenhower talked about the positive impacts of government. Thirty years later Ronald Reagan castigated the role of government.  Twelve years after that we heard this from Bill Clinton that “the era of big government is over.”  

So what happened?  What happened to the partnership between business, the government and citizen that resulted in so much success and prosperity in the post war years?  What happened to the progressive agenda once embarrassed by Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt?  And what is the price we are paying today for the absence of that partnership?

Author and Professor Paul Pierson talks to me about all of this in on discussion of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.

My conversation with Paul Pierson: 

The Future is Inevitable

June 17th, 2016
The-Inevitable-HC.jpgIf there is one overriding meme today it’s about fear.  Fear of change, fear of a shrinking world, fear of the impact of technology; in short fear of an unknown future. Regardless of that fear, the future is inevitable.  It’s the place we are all going to be living.

Even for those that are afraid to embrace it, they should at least understand it.  Few see the future more clearly and are better able to explain it than WIRED founder Kevin Kelly. He lays out the agenda for future in The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future 

My conversation with Kevin Kelly: 

Before the Play, There Was the Book

June 15th, 2016

photo-flash-ny-historical-society-presenBefore Lin-Manuel Miranda, before the Play there was the book.  Miranda has talked about how his inspiration was Ron Chernow's 2004 book about Hamilton.  Here is my May 2004 conversation with Ron Chernow about HAMILTON.

The Power of Grit

June 13th, 2016
h_duckworthangela.jpgWe are a nation that believes deeply in the Horatio Alger story of hard work and pulling oneself up by their bootstraps.  In political terms this has translated into an ethos of individualism, which arguably has been corrosive to our body politic.

In part, it grew in response to the culture of monarchy and inheritance that America was founded in opposition to.  It is certainly far more egalitarian to believe that we are the masters of our fate.  In economic terms, the Right has taken this to the extremes.  But what does it mean in terms of learning, education and personal success.

In this context, we see how the classic argument about nature and nurture has been extrapolated to talent vs. perseverance. Or, in the words of MacArthur Fellow and Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth, into Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

My conversation with Angela Duckworth: 

What Really Helps Children Succeed?

June 10th, 2016
helping-children-succeed-title-image.jpgWe know that children living in poverty generally tend to do worse academically than middle class kids.  We also know that even some kids from wealthy backgrounds fail or breakdown. We’ve come to learn, in part through the writing of my guest Paul Tough, that it’s more than IQ or temperament. There is something else. Something that has to do with innate character, perseverance or just plain old fashioned grit.

But are these traits preordained? Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why.
Are children merely geographically and genetically predisposed to succeed or fail, or are these attributes of success something that can be multiplied, embedded and programmed into children in ways that increase the likelihood of success in school and in life?  This is part of what Paul Tough now writes about in

My conversation with Paul Tough: 

The Tribal Bonds of Soldiers

June 7th, 2016
0.jpg“We hear of of war and the rumor of war.”  We thank our soldiers for their service and we think that we are welcoming them back into society.  But what are actually welcoming back into? They return often with an experience we cannot really comprehend. An experience that often bonds them together into their own tribe.  One that makes them different from us.  

In fact as many of us work hard to breakdown the tribal bonds that divide us as a society, as globalization continues to homogenize us,  both domestically and internationally, the experience of war often forms new, personal and deeper such bonds among the soldiers. In so doing, it makes it so much harder for them to be among us. 

Sebastian Junger the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, A Death in Belmont and Fire takes a look at this phenomenon in Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

My conversation with Sebastian Junger:

The end of humans

June 6th, 2016
RobotAutoManufacturing.jpgIf anything represents the new new thing in our technological age, it's the arena of artificial intelligence.  From the factory floor to the glittering glass office of law firms, smart machine are doing job, after job, after job.

The conversation about jobs going offshore is so yesterday.  Today it’s robots and algorithms that are the threats.

Manufacturing is only the beginning.  Service sector jobs, clerical jobs, accounting, paralegal, are all starting to be done by machines.  Drones will soon do deliveries and driving,  perhaps the largest bastion of blue collar jobs, will, within 10 years, be replaced by the autonomous vehicles.

So what’s left for humans?  As machines start to program themselves, as we’ve seen with autonomous cars, as more and more higher level functions are done by machines, what’s a human to do?

That the subject of Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines, a new book by Julia Kirby.

My conversation with Julia Kirby: 

How to deal with conflict all around us

June 1st, 2016
dan-shapiro-feat.jpgLook around us. Conflict is everywhere. In our culture, certainly in our politics, in the broader world and in our interactions with institutions.  Sometimes, to try and seek shelter from that sea of conflict, we look into our own personal relationships for solace.  When we do, we place even more pressure on those relationships and often the seeds of more conflict are sown.  

So with all of this conflict how do we negotiate our way out of it?  How do we break the habits of pervasive conflict, prevent or dampen conflict with those we care about, and are those skills applicable to the large framework of conflict.

These are some of the issues that Daniel Shapiro, the founder of Harvard’s International Negotiation Program takes up in Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts.

My conversation with Daniel Shapiro:
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