July 8, 2016 – Living in the World Beyond Your Head

My guest on this program is Matthew Crawford, senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. We’ll be talking today about his book, The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, which was recently released in paperback, in which he investigates the challenge of mastering one’s own mind. He argues that our current crisis of attention cannot exclusively be attributed to digital technology, but can be better understood in light of some Western cultural assumptions that are profoundly at odds with human nature.

June 24, 2016 – Ethical Life

My guest on this program is Webb Keane. He is the George Herbert Meade Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has written several books, and his most recent is Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories, in which he argues that ethics is neither entirely culturally relative nor solely a function of human nature, but arises at the intersection of human biology and social dynamics.

June 10, 2016 – Helping Children Succeed in School

My returning guest on this program is Paul Tough. We last spoke to him in 2012 for his book, How Children Succeed, which talked about the role character traits like grit and curiosity play in children’s learning. His new book is Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, in which he tackles pressing questions like, “What does growing up in poverty do to children’s mental and physical development?” “How does adversity at home affect their success in the classroom, from preschool to high school?” “And what practical steps can the adults who are responsible for them—from parents and teachers to policy makers and philanthropists—take to improve their chances for a positive future?”

May 27, 2016 – American Amnesia and Prosperity

My guest on this program is Paul Pierson. He is the John Gross Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and co-author with Jacob Hacker of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.They explore how America’s prosperity has long rested on robust capitalist enterprise, supported, supplemented, and regulated by government. This “mixed economy” channeled the powerful but volatile engine of capitalism into broad-based growth and healthy social development. But the anti-government advocates have undermined this productive and necessary relationship.

April 29, 2016 – Why Grow Up?

My guest on this program is philosopher Susan Neiman author of Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age. Drawing on thinkers such as Kant, Rousseau and Arendt, she shows that genuine adulthood, not permanent youth, is a subversive ideal worth striving for. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard, and was a professor at both Yale and Tel Aviv University. She is currently the director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, which presents innovative, international and multidisciplinary thinkers to the public in conferences, workshops, panel discussion, and presentations.

April 1, 2016 – Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

My guest on this program is bestselling author of over a dozen books Douglas Rushkoff. Named one of the world’s ten most influential thinkers by MIT, he has made documentaries for PBS Frontline, and he is a professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens College, City University of New York. We had him on the program about 2 ½ years ago with his book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He’s back this time with Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity.

March 18, 2016 – The Fight to Vote

My guest on this program is Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to improve the systems of democracy and justice. He was director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999 and has authored several books, including The Second Amendment, My Fellow Americans, and POTUS Speaks. His most recent book is The Fight to Vote, which takes a succinct and comprehensive look at a crucial American Continue reading

March 4, 2016 – The Way Forward

My guest on this program is social critic Curtis White, and author of the acclaimed The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers, and the bestselling The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves. His most recent book is We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data, which takes up the question, “Can technology really solve all of our problems?” to which he answers essentially, “No.” He offers us an insightful and incisive look into what it will take to alter course.

January 22, 2016 – How Do We Establish A Purposeful Life?

My guest on this program is Baylor University Associate Professor of Sociology, Paul Froese, author most recently of On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life. Professor Froese is also the Director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, and co-author of America’s Four Gods: What We Way about God—and What That Says about Us. The current book, On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life, mixes data and analysis with literary and historical examples to show not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that creating a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project.

September 25, 2015 – The Politics of Openness

My guest on this program is Nathaniel Tkacz, author of Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness. Few virtues are as celebrated in contemporary culture as openness. But what does openness mean, and what would a political theory of openness look like? On this program, we will analyze the theory and politics of openness in practice–and break its spell.