Speakers' Forum Podcast
Summary: A collection of lectures from respected academics, writers, public radio personalities and activists.
French kids don't throw their food. They don't throw tantrums in the supermarket or in the park. And their parents seemed a lot happier than their American counterparts. This was what journalist Pamela Druckerman observed when she moved to France in 2003. She has since raised a daughter and twin sons in Paris, and she writes about the differences between French and American parenting styles in her new book, "Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting." Druckerman spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on March 5, 2012.
Molly Ringwald's career began not as the teen star of John Hughes movies, but as a jazz singer. At age six, she recorded an album of Dixieland jazz produced by her pianist father. In the 1980s, Ringwald starred in a series of John Hughes movies that made her a teen icon, including "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink." She has performed on Broadway and has most recently starred in the ABC Family TV series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Ringwald wrote a memoir in 2010, and this year released a book of interconnected short stories called "When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories." She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 7, 2012.
Shon Hopwood committed five robberies in rural Nebraska in the late 1990s. He spent 13 years in prison, spending most of his time in the law library learning to write briefs for other prisoners. He wrote his first petition for certiorari — a request that the Supreme Court hear a case — for an inmate on a prison typewriter. Now, Hopwood lives in Seattle with his wife and two children and attends law school at the University of Washington. He spoke about his journey from prison to law school at the University Book Store on August 23, 2012.
Can genetics explain some of history's greatest mysteries? Sam Kean's latest book is called "The Violinist's Thumb and Other Lost Tales of Love, War and Genius Written in our Genetic Code." He unravels our DNA to try to explain Beethoven's death, why the human race almost went extinct, and even why crazy cat ladies love their feline friends. Kean spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on July 19, 2012.
Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover were from opposing parties, but they became friends when Truman took office after Franklin Roosevelt's death and needed some advice. This was the start of the presidents club, a shadow organization that began as a joke. These private relationships — and rivalries — among the most powerful men in the country are documented in Nancy Gibbs' and Michael Duffy's new book "The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity." Gibbs and Duffy trace the evolution of the presidents club from the end of World War II to Barack Obama. They spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on May 11, 2012.
Can genetics explain some of history's greatest mysteries? Sam Kean's latest book is called "The Violinist's Thumb And Other Lost Tales Of Love, War And Genius Written In Our Genetic Code." He unravels our DNA to try to explain Beethoven's death, why the human race almost went extinct, and even why crazy cat ladies love their feline friends. Kean spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on July 19, 2012.
Aminta Arrington moved with her family from an army post in Georgia to a small town in China six years ago. She hoped to understand the culture and the country and for her young daughter, adopted from China, to understand it too. Tai'an was a shock at first — a place where supermarkets sell pigs' hooves and donkeys share the road with cars — but eventually, Arrington's family began to feel welcome. In this talk, given at the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 5, 2012, Arrington chronicles her experience living abroad and her attempts to find the "real China."
Nancy Mullane never thought she'd meet a murderer face to face. But when the radio reporter went to a state prison for a story, she found herself in a room with six convicted murderers. She was terrified, at first. What if they hurt her? These were dangerous men, she knew. So she turned on her tape recorder, thinking that if she died, at least there would be a record of how it happened. But then the prisoners started talking to her, telling her their stories. The conversation led to her book, "Life After Murder," which explores five men's personal journeys after prison. Mullane spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on July 10, 2012.
There were many mariners who made voyages before Columbus. In this talk, presented as a trip around the world, archaeologist and historian Brian Fagan chronicles various quests across the oceans, starting in Polynesia and moving to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, China and Europe. Fagan spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on July 12, 2012.
Frank Partnoy technically started developing his theory on procrastination when he was 8 years old. His mom asked him to make his bed because they were having company over, and he refused to do so until he heard a car pull up outside. Those thoughts evolved into a two–step analytic model to approaching procrastination. First: determine the maximum amount of time you can delay. Second: within that time frame, wait as long as you possibly can. Partnoy spoke about the art and science of procrastination on July 11 at Seattle's Town Hall.
At more than 200 years old, the Constitution is long overdue for a rewrite. So, in order to pen our country's new governing document, humor writer Kevin Bleyer traveled to the birthplace of democracy (Greece), bused to the home of independence (Philadelphia) and consulted with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The result was the book "Me The People: One Man's Selfless Quest To Rewrite The Constitution of the United States of America." Bleyer spoke about his parody book and shed light on the flaws of the original document on June 2, 2012 at Seattle's Town Hall.
A dog can be obese. A dolphin can have an STD. A wallaby can get addicted to opium. There are many links between animal and human health. Cardiologist Barbara Natterson Horowitz and journalist Kathryn Bowers explore those intersections in "Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing." Dubbed a species–spanning approach to medicine, zoobiquity draws on physician and veterinarian expertise to address human and non–human care, including heart disease, mental illness and sexual health. The two spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on June 25, 2012.
When Washington Mutual collapsed in 2008, Kirsten Grind wrote some of the first in–depth stories for the Puget Sound Business Journal. Grind's reporting made her a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, and now she writes about finance for The Wall Street Journal. Grind traces the rise and fall of Washington Mutual in her book "The Lost Bank." It's a story of a deluded industry, massive human error and the largest bank failure in US history. Grind spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on June 26, 2012 in a talk moderated by The Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton.
If you say you never lie, you're probably lying. We all lie, a little bit, even if it's just about very small, insignificant things: "Of course you look great in that dress!" or, "No, officer, I had no idea how fast I was going." Dan Ariely is a behavior economist whose new book is "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty." In this talk, recorded June 15, 2012 at Seattle's Town Hall, Ariely examines the opposing forces that drive us to lie while keeping us honest. He says this behavior is irrational, but entirely human.
Baratunde Thurston was in a bar in New York when a chatty woman next to him asked his job, where he lived and where he went to school. He answered succinctly: He worked for The Onion, he lived in Brooklyn and he went to Harvard. "Harvard?" she repeated. "You're the whitest black guy I've ever met." "How To Be Black" is Thurston's semi–memoir, filled with satire about race relations, politics and personal identity. Thurston spoke about the book and answered questions about race on May 15, 2012 at Seattle's Town Hall.