Free Forum Q&A – MICHAEL LEWIS MONEYBALL; THE BIG SHORT; THE BLIND SIDE BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World includes a profile of Greece post-global crash

Written on July 16th, 2015




Originally aired October 2011

As the two countries play a high stakes game of chicken, it’s a good time to see what Greece and Germany looked like in the aftermath of the global crash. Who better to be our tour guide than best-selling author MICHAEL LEWIS?

Lewis’s book, BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World is made up of articles originally published in Vanity Fair and picks up where 2010’s THE BIG SHORT left off. Governments are the focus of this book. Mostly because they have taken on the bad debts of the too-big-to-fail banks, so now they are themselves at risk. Now politics and culture become much more important as to how they will deal with that risk. The book also profiles Ireland, Iceland, and California.
Both Ira Glass and Malcolm Gladwell say today’s guest is their favorite storyteller. In his books and magazine articles, Lewis writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, fatherhood. Stuff that matters to a lot of people. He’s smart and he has a sense of humor. Once a trader at Salomon Brothers, he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR’S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street during the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with his last two books, a column for Bloomberg, and articles in Vanity Fair. We also talk about the twisted path taken to get MONEYBALL into movie theatres.

Free Forum Q&A – (1) ROKO BELIC director, HAPPY documentary (Originally aired January 2012) (2) RAFE ESQUITH American Teacher of the Year 30+ years, 5th grade, Hobart Elementary, LA author, REAL TALK for REAL TEACHERS (Originally aired September 2007)

Written on May 29th, 2015



Do you want to feel better? Listen to this week’s show. In the first half hour, I talk with Academy-Award-nominated filmmakerROKO BELIC about his documentary,HAPPY, and in the second half with award-winning LA school teacher and author,RAFE ESQUITH about his book,TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR’S ON FIRE. 

Are you happy? How often are you happy? What makes you happy? Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in an environment that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Do you expect you’re going to get happier? How?

ROKO BELIC’S HAPPY, a documentary that I think deserves to widely seen, explores these sorts of questions. It weaves the latest scientific research from the field of “positive psychology” with stories from around the world of people whose lives illustrate what we’re learning.

When the basic approach to the pursuit of happiness that’s been taken by many of us and by society in general isn’t delivering, this is a good time to ask some basic questions. It’s also a good time to do so because we know more than we ever have about what science can tell us about happiness. And we have access to more diverse models and worldviews than ever before.What’s getting lost in your daily shuffle? What toll is stress taking on your body?  How could you lead a fuller, happier life?

Teaching in Los Angeles at one of the nation’s largest inner-city grade schools, Hobart Elementary, RAFE ESQUITH leads fifth graders through an uncompromising curriculum of English, mathematics, geography and literature. At the end of the semester, every student performs in a full-length Shakespeare play. Despite language barriers and poverty, many of these Hobart Shakespeareans move on to attend outstanding colleges.


Free Forum Q&A – TEMPLE GRANDIN, one of the most accomplished adults with autism, designer of livestock handling facilities, author, ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN & (2) WALTER ISAACSON, head of the Aspen Institute, author, EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE

Written on April 9th, 2015





TEMPLE GRANDIN – Originally aired January 2010
WALTER ISAACSON – Originally aired May 2007

Two extraordinary minds: Interviews about a couple of individuals who, though slow learners as children, grew up to do amazing things.
In the first half, I’ll talk with Temple Grandin, PhD, probably the most accomplished adult with autism in the world. Now a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a designer of livestock handling facilities, Grandin, who didn’t speak until she was three and a half years old, has become a prominent author, speaker and advocate on the issues of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The 2010 HBO film based on her life won seven Emmys, including Outstanding Movie Made for Television, Outstanding Directing – Mick Jackson, and Outstanding Actress – Clare Danes.
In the second half, my guest will be WALTER ISAACSON, former managing editor of TIME magazine and Chairman of CNN, current head of the Aspen Institute, and the author of several bestselling books, including his biography of Steve Jobs. We’ll talk about his biography, EINSTEIN: His Life and Universe.

Einstein discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed. His contributions changed the way we conceive of reality. A new biography makes the point that his scientific imagination sprang from his rebellious questioning of authority – a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. In addition to his scientific genius, he was also noted for his social conscience Besides campaigning for a ban on nuclear weaponry, he denounced McCarthyism and pleaded for an end to bigotry and racism.

Free Forum Q&A – TIM RYAN Congressman, author, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, Recapture American Spirit & WINIFRED GALLAGHER RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life

Written on April 2nd, 2015





TIM RYAN (originally aired August 2012)
WINIFRED GALLAGHER (originally aired May 2009)

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” — William James

This week we focus on mindful attention – hailed by ancient spiritual traditions and modern neuroscience alike as one of the keys to the quality of our lives.

In the first half, I’ll be joined by Ohio Congressman TIM RYAN, who offers a radical solution to the stresses and problems that face Americans today — radical in its original meaning of having to do with roots of things. He has written a book, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. Ryan has a daily practice of mindful meditation and now he’s advocating that the spread of similar practices could help heal us, not just as individuals but as a nation. And his book is filled with examples of how mindfulness is already being successfully applied in education, healthcare, even the military.
Then I’ll speak with bestselling author, WINIFRED GALLAGHER about her book, RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life. In it, she argues that “”The skillful management of attention is the… key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience, from mood to productivity to relationships.” Gallagher came to appreciate this while fighting a fairly advanced form of cancer. Determined not to let her illness “monopolize” her attention, she made a conscious choice to look “toward whatever seemed meaningful, productive, or energizing and away from the destructive, or dispiriting.” Her experience of the world was transformed, and she set out to learn more about the science of attention as well as what we can do to cultivate it.

Here’s one big tip based on neuroscience: GALLAGHER recommends starting your workday concentrating on your most important task for 90 minutes. At that point, your brain may need a break But don’t let yourself get distracted by anything else during that first hour and a half, because it can take the brain 20 minutes to reboot after an interruption.

Free Forum Q&A – GANGA WHITE, YOGA BEYOOND BELIEF: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice & STEVEN PINKER, THE STUFF OF THOUGHT: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Written on March 20th, 2015





Ganga White (originally aired: July 2007)

Steven Pinker (originally aired: October 2007)

I’ve been practicing yoga since 1970, obviously long before it was a major cultural phenomenon. GANGA WHITE started a few years earlier. YOGA BEYOND BELIEF: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice speaks to the way I’ve thought about yoga. It’s about paying attention, lifelong learning, and discovering our own paths to growth, integration and presence. It talks about living life as a meditation – but not in the navel-gazing or guru-following way many may think about meditation. It also takes issue with many in the yoga world today who tend to make it a rigid strictly codified authoritarian practice. Why does the FCC get so riled up about salty language? How do lobbyists bribe politicians? Why do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating? And why is bulk email called spam? These are some of the everyday questions STEVEN PINKER tackles in THE STUFF OF THOUGHT: Language as a Window into Human Nature. We know language helps us communicate, but what can words tell us about ourselves? Harvard professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, PINKER explores how language illuminates the mind.