The gap between rich and poor is huge and growing…legislative stalemate paralyzes the country…corporations fight federal regulations…the influence of money in politics is greater than ever…new inventions speed the pace of daily life.
Sound familiar? Those headlines from the early 1900s set the scene for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book The Bully Pulpit-a history of the first decade of the Progressive era – a time when courageous journalists and an ambitious president took on the Robber Barons – the 1% of their day – and won.
Goodwin tells the tale through the long friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft – a relationship that serves both until it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that cripples the progressive wing of the Republican Party and helps elect Woodrow Wilson.
Getting equal billing in her account is the golden age of journalism led by the muckraking press at McClure’s magazine. Together a bold and progressive press and a strong and progressive president served the people of the US rather than the super wealthy and the corporations. What lessons can we learn to help us turn this country around a century later?
Free Forum Q&A – SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but DoesWritten on August 13th, 2013
This week we’re going to talk about happiness. So let’s start with a true-false test. I’ll tell you a supposed fact about happiness, and you decide whether you think it’s true or false.
1. Unexpected pleasures are the most rewarding. True or false?
2. Novelty in a relationship has similar effects on our brain as a high from drugs. True or false?
3. Daily hassles impact our well-being more than major life events. True or false?
4. When it comes to sex, women require more novelty than men. True or false?
5. The genes that underlie who gets divorced are passed down from parents to children. True or false?
6. A smoking habit is not a bigger risk factor for heart disease as a troubled marriage. True or false?
7. Renters are happier than homeowners. True or false?
Okay, let’s see how you did…It turns out, according to today’s guest, all seven statements are true. Yup, renters are happier and women want more novelty in sex than men. Where do I get off making those assertions? All based in science.
Today’s guest, SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, is one of the nation’s top students of happiness, and we’re going to talk today about the findings in her new book, THE MYTHS OF HAPPINESS: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t; What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does.
Originally from Russia, SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from Stanford University. Not too shabby. Her research has been awarded a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize, a Science of Generosity grant, a John Templeton Foundation grant, and a million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct research on the possibility of permanently increasing happiness. She is author of The How of Happiness, translated and published in 19 countries, and her newest, THE MYTHS OF HAPPINESS.
Free Forum Q&A – ORVILLE SCHELL and JOHN DELURY, Authors of WEALTH AND POWER: China’s Long March to the 21st CenturyWritten on August 6th, 2013
Some estimate China will surpass the US to become the leading economic superpower by 2016. On the other hand, July 19th Paul Krugman wrote, “China is in big trouble. …The country’s whole way of doing business, the economic system that has driven three decades of incredible growth, has reached its limits. You could say that the Chinese model is about to hit its Great Wall…”
This week’s guests, ORVILLE SCHELL and JOHN DELURY, have both devoted a lot of time to studying and writing about China, including co-authoring the new book, WEALTH AND POWER: China’s long March to the 21st Century. We’ll explore China’s current story on a number of fronts.
Schell and Delury believe that China’s character has become defined by its pursuit of national greatness to reverse generations of humiliation at the hands of its neighbors and the West. This quest for wealth, power and respect remains key to understanding many of China’s actions today. We’ll talk about China’s history, character, economics, politics, and more.
James Fallows, who’s spent a lot of time in China, writes of their book, “I’d suggest you read it if you’re at all interested in China. It’s both historical and current, and it does a better job than most other books of answering a basic question the rest of the world naturally asks…What does China want?”
Q&A w/ author, Carl Hart – HIGH PRICE: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and SocietyWritten on June 18th, 2013
This week’s guest, neuroscientist CARL HART grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, in his first book, HIGH PRICE, he explores how it is that he avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies.
Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences, Hart goes beyond disputing myths, falsehoods, and ignorance about drugs, drug users, and drug policy. He has been engaged in cutting edge research since the late 90s, testing individuals with actual drugs. His controversial work is redefining our understanding of addiction. He examines the relationships between drugs, pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. Hart’s findings shed new light on issues of race, poverty, and drugs, and help explain perhaps more clearly than ever why current policies are doomed to fail.
In the winter of 1417, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties plucked a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. The man was Poggio Braccionlini, the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His discovery was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
Stephen Greenblatt is John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Among his books are Will of the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, a Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award in Nonfiction and a New York Times best seller, and Hamlet in Purgatory. He holds honorary degrees from Queen Mary College of the University of London and the University of Bucharest.