Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding Happiness

Everybody wants to be happy as we go into the New Year. Shopping and gift giving alone may not have done trick. New Years resolutions may simply not be enough to make us happy. So what does make us happy? Is it wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence? Dan Buettner, author of the bestseller THE BLUE ZONES, says we all have the keys within us. For his new work, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, Buettner circled the globe, traveling to four continents, to study the world's happiest populations and has spotted several common principles. What can we learn from this journey?

My conversation with Dan Buettner

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Hard Goals for the New Year

In just a few days time, hundreds of millions of you will be setting those New Years Resolutions. But so few of them will be kept. Why is it so hard to keep even the simplest of goals, even when brain science proves that by setting Hard Goals and executing them correctly we can accomplish great things? According to leadership and success expert Mark Murphy, by redefining how our brain focuses on our goals, we can truly change what we are capable achieving.

My conversation with Mark Murphy:

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Sports/Entertainment Complex

As we spend more and more of our Holiday time watching sporting events, as the business of sports continues to grow exponentially, the line between sports and entertainment continues to blur. In a nation besieged by seemingly insurmountable economic problems and the further fracturing of interpersonal bonds, sports with its simplicity, clarity and team identity, becomes stronger than ever. Along with all of this has come billions and billion of dollars to the sports/entertainment complex. Yet, how to maintain both the integrity of the business model and the purity and honesty of sport, in light of this kind of money, is an ongoing question.

Few have spent more time looking at this issue than David M. Carter, the Executive Director of the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute and Professor or Sports Business at the USC'S Marshall School of Business.

My conversation with David M. Carter, about his book Money Games: Profiting from the Convergence of Sports and Entertainment.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rebecca Solnit's San Francisco Atlas

Sometimes we live in places for years, without actually knowing them. To a real extent we live in a kind of "state of mind." Our connection to our City often has many layers of meaning, both personal and geographical. This is as true in a small towns as it is in the beautiful City of San Francisco.

National Book Critic Circle Award winner Rebecca Solnit, has created Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, a new kind of atlas of San Francisco, that allows us to see what really makes a place and examines the many layers of meaning inside a City like San Francisco.

My conversation with Rebecca Solnit:

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Got Milk?

Americans are some of the least healthy people on the planet. Despite great medical care and research and one of the highest standards of living in the world, one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 50 percent of US children are overweight. This crisis in personal health is largely the result of the choices we make AND the foods we eat, especially Milk!

Dr. Joseph Keon in his new book Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health cites ample evidence that milk is unnecessary for human health and in fact, may increased our risk of diseases.

My conversation with Dr. Joseph Keon:

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Next Generation Democracy

Tip O'Neil's famous maxim that "all politics is local," is as true today as ever. However the methods and techniques of that local political process are entirely different. To take on 21st Century global challenges like climate change, financial markets, housing, health care, banking and so many others, it's going to take a new kind of politics. One, global in thinking, but organized around the open source ideas that are impacting every aspect of our society. Jared Duval, in his book Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change, lies at the cutting edge of politics, democracy and technology.

My conversation with Jared Duval:

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Monday, December 13, 2010

A Kidnapping from Two Sides

The war in Afghanistan is, by most accounts, not going well. This month the administration will be conducting a full review of our Afghan policy. However any such review, to be effective, must assume a real understanding of what’s happening on the Afghanistan and in the tribal regions of Pakistan. There is no reason to assume we have that understanding.

However, two time Pulitzer Prize winning N.Y. Times correspondent David Rohde, had a unique view inside the Taliban "mini-state" within Pakistan, and of Pakistan's military and their continually turning a blind eye to Taliban activities. Unfortunately, Rohde had to be kidnapped and fear for his life in order to garner this view. He and his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, tell their story in A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides.

My conversation with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill:

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Imaginations of unreasonable men

If you believe that our future will indeed be better then our past, then you must believe in the imaginations of unreasonable men. For it is only ideas and imagination that can reshape the world. That the human mind and human spirit are capable of thinking something up, and in spite of any obstacles, making it happen, is as true for putting a man on the moon as it is for curing disease or starting a business. All are part of the rubric that defines hope and progress for civilization. Bill Shore has been guided by this idea and is the founder and Executive Director of Share of Strength, and is the author of The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men.

My conversation with Bill Shore:

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wall Street Grifters

Matt Taibbi is perhaps our most audacious financial journalist. In referring to Goldman Sachs as a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" he set a new bar in 21st century financial journalism. Now in his book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America he looks at the winners and losers in the current financial shell game what what impact their actions have had on us, our neighbors and our future.

My conversation with Matt Taibbi:

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Words & Money

Back in the early 80 it’s estimated that there were over 50 companies that controlled or influenced media in the US. Today that number is less than 6. In spite of the dramatic increase in blogs, the web, 24/7 cable, there is clearly a homogenization of our media.

More then the story of how this has happened, the real question is what impact has it had on our democracy and on the proliferation of new ideas, on debate and on the intellectual, creative destruction that is the very essence of a free society. Legendary publsiher Andre Schffrin has been on the barricades of these questions for over fifty years. Now he reexamines all of it in his new book Words & Money.

My conversation with Andre Schffrin:

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Where have all the leaders gone.........

Few Presidents, let alone few American, might justify a biography of three volumes and over one million words. Yet Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency and life, demand exactly that. Edmund Morris has captured the person and essence of Theodore Roosevelt in his three volume biography, of which he has just completed the final volume, Colonel Roosevelt. Morris won the Pulitzer Prize for his first volume The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and is the author of what is certainly the definitive biography of Ronald Regan, Dutch.

My conversation with Edmund Morris:

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Performance of Politics

Presidential power passes in our nation, as in no other democracy. Our process of electing leaders, what it demands from them to meet our expectations, is grueling. In fact, arguably the skill it takes today to get elected President, may not be the best skills for governing.

In 2008 a maelstrom of forces came together to redefine still further how we elect our Presidents. The campaign performances of John McCain and Barack Obama, both defined and reflected back our national psyche. This is is both the narrow and the broader areas examined by Jeffrey Alexander in his new book The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power
My conversation with Jeffrey Alexander:

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vampires and Angels and God, Oh My!

For over thirty years, Anne Rice has captivated us with her imaginative faction. She has become one of the most beloved novelists of our time. With each new book or series, she not only reinvents herself, but reinvents whole new arenas of fiction. From the Vampire Chronicles, to her Christ the Lord books, to a new series of metaphysical thrillers about the world of angels, including her latest Of Love and Evil, Anne Rice continues to redefine some of the very ideas about faith in America.

My conversation with Anne Rice:

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Monday, November 29, 2010

All the running he can do.....

As Republicans now face the reality of trying to govern and run congress with a rather diverse group of freshman legislators, so two years ago, the Obama administration came to office with real divisions within their coalition. Divisions between true believers, what MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe calls "revivalist" and those with a more practical, Washington based agenda, the so call "survivalists."

Amidst these divisions, the country faced problem unequaled since the 1930's, an opposition party set to "no" as its default position on everything, and in spite of it all, the new President accomplished an extraordinary amount. How did this play out and what price did the administration and the nation have to pay?  This is the backdrop for Richard Wolffe's new book Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House.

My conversation with Richard Wolffe:

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Take two aspirin and see a shrink....

What are the limits of the medical establishment? How can prejudice and sometimes just lack of answers from Doctors result in a patient suffering for over twenty years? And how resilient must someone be, to recover and not be angry for loosing two decades? This is the story and the journey of Chloe Atkins. Now a professor in the Law and Society Program at the University of Calgary she is the author of the memoir My Imaginary Illness: A Journey into Uncertainty and Prejudice in Medical Diagnosis.

My conversation with Chloe Atkins:

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The Journey of American Woman 1960 to the Present

While we talk a lot about dramatic and dynamic change in our society, it’s worth noting that much of that rapid change has happened in the past 50 years. As we look, in particular, at changes for woman, we find that while much has indeed changed in the past 50 years, prior to that, for literally thousands of years, nothing changed. Obviously their is a lot of catching up to do, and that process is still on going. This is detailed in a new book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by former NY Times Editorial Page editor Gail Collins.

My conversation with Gail Collins:

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A sixth crisis?

Since the end of WWII, argues Dana Allin, co-author of the book The Sixth Crisis: Iran, Israel, America, and the Rumors of War, there have been five distinct crises that have immersed the US deeper and deeper into the quagmire of the Middle East. Successive American Presidents have made decisions, good and bad, that have further exacerbated the tensions of the region.

Today, with two wars still ongoing in the region, the prospect of a nuclear Iran, a world more interconnected and moving more rapidly and with a President and Secretary of State determined to make progress in the region, the stakes could hardly be higher and risks could not be greater. Are we on the verge of a Sixth Crises in the Middle East?

My conversation with Dana Allin:

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The cradle of civilization...for now?

We study history not just to collect facts and dates, but rather to understand where we came from, to ascertain the patterns of human affairs. This is not just to tell us what to do, but also what to avoid. For it is the task of succeeding generations to try and escape history, that is, to remove from possibility the mistakes of other times. In so doing one improves and that improvement is necessary to growth and civilization. When we look at history, particularly since around the 14th century, we see the steady domination of the West even though both East and West began on a kind of level playing field. What happened and what do those patterns of success and failure tell us about the future?  This is the work of Stanford historian Ian Morris, as told in his new work, Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future.

My conversation with Ian Morris:

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Health Care...Solved

As the past year will attest, if we wait for Washington to solve the health care crises, we could be waiting a very long time. Yet in spite of Washington, or maybe because so little gets done there, their are some real world efforts going on at the business and grass roots level that are transforming health care into a cost-efficient, accountable system that actually empowers consumers.

John Torinus, the CEO of Serigraph, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is truly at the leading edge of this effort. His commitment, his passion and encyclopedic knowledge of the subject has created a model that companies all over can follow. He's even written a book, The Company That Solved Health Careto share his efforts.

My conversation with John Torinus Jr.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The information toll road?

The subject of net neutrality, the idea that everyone should have the same access to the web, is certainly the subject of much debate. But that debate, begs the larger issue. That is, that the history of innovation is the history of the concentration of power and control in the hands of a few. Sometimes even government has been complicit in that effort. From the printing press to the telephone to radio & television, individuals and monolithic enterprises have exercised central control. With the Internet and its lower barriers to entry, how will this historical economic and capitalistic trend play out? This is the central focus of the work of Tim Wu, the man who coined the term "net neutrality," and whose new book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, could well be the tabula rasa of our digital future.

My conversation with Tim Wu:

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