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 LifeWritten 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.
NYTimes review: “This book hums – with sorrow, outrage and compassion.”- #8 Best-seller
I’ll be talking with NADER about the critical ideas in his wonderful new book, THE 17 SOLUTIONS: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Learn more about RALPH NADER and SEVENTEEN SOLUTIONS at http://nader.org/
Some of the 17 solutions:
* Reforming the tax system
* Making our communities more self-reliant
* Reclaiming science and technology for the people
* Getting corporations off welfare
* Creating national charters for large corporations
* Reducing our bloated military budget
* Organizing congressional watchdog groups
* Enlisting the enlightened super-rich
* Use government procurement to spur innovation
RALPH NADER was recently named by the Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, one of only four living people to be so honored. The son of immigrants from Lebanon, he has launched two major presidential campaigns and founded or organized more than one hundred civic organizations. His groups have made an impact on tax reform, atomic power regulation, the tobacco industry, clean air and water, food safety, access to health care, civil rights, congressional ethics, and much more. He is the author of eleven books, including UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED; THE GOOD FIGHT; THE SEVENTEEN TRADITIONS; and his latest, THE SEVENTEEN SOLUTIONS: BOLD IDEAS FOR OUR AMERICAN FUTURE.
I do my best to question conventional wisdom, but I had heard and repeated the fact that the US had lost its manufacturing and it was never coming back so often that I assumed it must be true. But I pick up the December 2012 issue of the Atlantic magazine recently and two articles jump out at me – both declaring that manufacturing is re-emerging. James Fallows writes of US startups exploiting new technologies to speed up the process of design-to-product, and Charles Fishman writes about US corporations like GE moving production back to the US.
James Fallows’ article, Mr. China Comes to America, opens with these words: “For decades, every trend in manufacturing favored the developing world and worked against the Unites States. But new tools that greatly speed up development from idea to finished product encourage start-up companies to locate here, not in Asia.” That got my attention! Charles Fishman’s article The Insourcing Boom goes even a step further. It’s opening words: “After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone.”
I make no bones about the fact that I like to report good news, but I don’t want to make nice or play Pollyanna. This information from these reporters strikes me as the real thing and I’m only too glad to admit I may have prematurely buried “made in America”.
James Fallows www.jamesfallows.com
Charles Fishman www.thebigthirst.com
Q&A: DAVID GOLDHILL, AUTHOR- CATASTROPHIC CARE: How American Health Care Killed My Father And How We Can Fix ItWritten on October 31st, 2014
This week, my guest is DAVID GOLDHILL. After the death of his father, Goldhill, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost.
His September 2009 Atlantic cover story rocked the health-care world, and Goldhill has written a book expanding on the topic, Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father-And How We Can Fix It. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. He asserts Obamacare will not fix it, and offers his own radical solution.
* As a nation, we now spend almost 18% of our GDP on health care.
* In 1966, Medicare and Medicaid made up 1% of total government spending; now that figure is 20%.
* The federal government spends
– 8 times as much on health care as it does on education
— 12 times what it spends on food aid to children and families
— 30 times what it spends on law enforcement
— 78 times what it spends on land management and conservation
— 87 times the spending on water supply
— 830 times the spending on energy conservation.
* For every two doctors in the U.S., there is now one health-insurance employee-more than 470,000 in total. In 2006, it cost almost $500 per person just to administer health insurance.