The Wavemaker Podcast -- for the Insanely Curious

In-depth conversations with the most creative thinkers, respected leaders, and preeminent authors in a wide variety of fields including sports, the arts, business, history, politics, parenting, psychology and medicine. Subscribe for free on ITunes or Podbean

Rachel Held Evans: The Girl With A Magic Book
This is my conversation with Rachel Held Evans – RHE – from 2012, after the publication of her A Year of Biblical Womanhood, a provocative and entertaining account of her experiment living the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible. Evans died on May 4th, 2019 at the age of 37. Through her blog, books, and conferences, she built a large following challenging conservative evangelical thought on issues of women in church leadership, LGBTQ inclusion, and more. In our conversation, she opened up about the empowering example set by her parents, the driving question that shaped her reading of the Bible, what she learned from Jewish tradition, and her use of humor. #BecauseofRHE The Bible Belt meets The Borscht Belt.

Introducing the Feminist on Cellblock Y
This is the story, and backstory, of a workshop on feminism, led by men, for men, in an all-male prison. The Feminist on Cellblock Y is an immersive and memorable CNN documentary shot inside a California state prison. In this episode, we speak with the two inspired journalists behind the doc – CNN’s Emma Lacey-Bordeaux and Cocomotion Pictures founder Contessa Gayles. With a cameo from President Obama, who made news last week on the very subject at the heart of Cellblock Y.

Calling All Leaders Part 2: From Zero to Hero
What is your superpower? Is it writing, speaking, communicating with power? It could be if you listen to this conversation with Joseph Romm, author of How To Go Viral and Reach Millions: Top Persuasion Secrets from Social Media Superstars, Jesus, Shakespeare, Oprah, and Even Donald Trump. This episode is like a short master class. If you want to get the most out of it, I advise you start by listening to my October 29th episode, featuring one of the greatest speeches you’ll ever hear: Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 University of Texas Commencement Address. You’ve already done that? Now listen to Romm walk us through some of the highlights of McRaven’s speech – to point out what makes it so powerful and teach us techniques we can employ the next time we want to write or say something that matters.

How to Watch Super Bowl 53 Better Than Your Friends (feat. Terez Paylor)
@YahooSports Senior NFL Writer and Hall of Fame Voter Terez Paylor joins me in Atlanta for a Super Bowl seminar and Football 101 combined – making it the perfect prep for those across the football spectrum: from super-novices to those who follow the NFL all year – all in under 25 minutes. Paylor’s show on Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio & Radio.com has been a destination for Chiefs fans.  Even though his Chiefs missed this Super Bowl by one drive, Paylor got over the heartbreak long enough to give us a primer on the Patriots v Rams.  His crystal clear guidance might make us the smartest people in the room this Sunday.

Yoka Verdoner & The Child Separations
Yoka Verdoner was separated from her parents when she was only 8 years old. Now 84, her life story is a window into the trauma that has been inflicted on so many migrant children separated from their parents at the southern border of the U.S. I spoke with Yoka over the summer, at the height of those separations, after she'd published a piece in The Guardian that was widely shared. Her story has urgency again, following last week's news that the Trump Administration's "zero-tolerance" policy has led to the separation of many more children than we believed – perhaps thousands more. This is Yoka's journey from her childhood in The Netherlands to the United States and the trauma that follows her to this day.

Charlottesville (feat. Prof. Henry Abraham)
A Charlottesville, VA jury today convicted a white supremacist of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer. He intentionally drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors at the “Unite the Right” rally for neo-Nazis and white nationalists. A week after that rally, in August 2017, I visited Charlottesville to speak with Henry Abraham. Abraham, now 97, spent his Jewish boyhood in Nazi Germany. He tells stories of anti-Semitism and how his mother made his survival and life in the United States possible. Armed with her optimism and his love of teaching, he became a scholar of the U.S. Constitution and an esteemed professor at the University of Virginia. We spoke about his life’s journey and the déjà vu he experienced during the rally. He has much to teach us.

Calling All Leaders (feat. Admiral William McRaven)
America is hungry for the voice of an honorable leader. So Wavemaker brings you the voice of Retired Admiral William McRaven, former Navy SEAL and Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. He was the architect of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. This episode features McRaven’s viral University of Texas commencement address: 10 memorable lessons from Navy SEAL training for those “who want to change the world” – aka the “Make Your Bed” speech. It’s 20 minutes of uninterrupted inspiration that parents can be proud to share with our children. My thanks to the Texas Exes, the University of Texas alumni association, for permission to post the speech.

The Environmental Voter Project (feat. Nathaniel Stinnett)
Environmentalists don’t vote. At least not nearly as much as the general population. They have a turnout problem. By Nathaniel Stinnett’s estimate, 10.1 million registered voters who consider climate change or the environment as one of their top two priorities, sat out the 2016 presidential election. An even larger number stayed home for the 2014 midterms. But for Stinnett, those big numbers mean a big opportunity. Right now, his Environmental Voter Project is targeting 2.4 million environmentalists in Georgia, Florida, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – registered voters who are considered unlikely to vote. Stinnett employs an unusual messaging strategy to get them to the polls – which he explains in our conversation. If he succeeds, he believes no candidate will be able to get their name on a ballot without talking about the environment.

Jane Alexander: Live @ The Nantucket Book Festival
Jane Alexander’s illustrious acting career was launched in 1968 by her breakthrough performance in the Pulitzer Prize winning play (and later movie) The Great White Hope. She then took the political stage as Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, when the NEA was on the political right’s hit list. She and her husband had virtually all their money stolen by an accountant who did a convincing job acting like their friend. And now, after dozens of movies and TV shows, including Kramer vs. Kramer and All the President’s Men, and some one hundred plays, she puts the spotlight on the men and women leading the conservation battle in her book Wild Things, Wild Places. So much fascinating ground to cover in this conversation, which was recorded live at the 2018 Nantucket Book Festival, courtesy of @NCTV17. We begin with an angry outburst…

Punching Up (feat. Pete Dominick)
Standup comic Pete Dominick joins me to dissect Michelle Wolf’s routine at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Why now? Because this Sunday, May 27th, Wolf’s new series, The Break, debuts on Netflix. That’s just as good an excuse as any. Dominick, with Wolf as a launching point, helps make us all more astute observers of the art of comedy. Among the issues we discuss: using the P word, punching up versus punching down, and what it was like being in the room during Wolf’s speech. Pete also takes a swing at my tennis coach in Georgia, who didn’t like Wolf’s routine. I gave Coach Ross air time to swing back. Is that punching up or down? Warning: contains some explicit language.

Michelle Wolf: Raw
Here is Michelle Wolf’s entire performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Most people have only heard clips. Here is all of it – 19 minutes and roughly 50 jokes – unedited. This is the beginning of a broader mission on Wavemaker: exploring the deeper significance of comedy – from ancient Greece to the 2018 mid-term elections and beyond. What’s funny? Why? Can comedy enable Americans of divergent political perspectives to laugh – together? Should that even be its goal? Those are just a few of the questions I’ll be pursuing with future guests (one of whom you’ll get to sample at the end of this episode) from my perspective as both a journalist and the son of a standup comic. Warning: the language in this routine gets very explicit.

Boots on The Hill (feat. Jeremy Teigen)
There’s a new surge of military veterans running for Congress. And they’re split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Do veterans have a competitive edge over those who have not served in the military? Are they better equipped for the job? Can they help bridge the hyper-partisan divide? This Wavemaker episode begins looking for answers with Jeremy Teigen, veteran, professor, and author of the new book Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016.

Paper Ballots, Or Else… (feat. Barbara Simons)
Some people recognize potential threats to our democracy before others. My guest, Barbara Simons, is one of those people. 15 years ago, not long after the infamous “hanging chads” threw the Bush v Gore vote count into turmoil and computerized voting became the new rage, Simons, a computer scientist, and some of her colleagues, concluded that in order to protect the integrity of the vote count, we would have to move to paper ballots – everywhere. Simons became a co-founder of VerifiedVoting.Org, which is racing to inoculate America’s voting systems against hackers. In the beginning, Simons got nowhere. But she persisted. With 228 days until the mid-term elections, her voice and message need to be urgently spread. And for those of you who may not find your calling early in life, Simons will share her journey from college dropout to Ph.D.

Arming Teachers: A Good Guy With A Purple Heart Weighs In
Introducing former Army Sergeant Matt Martin, author of “I’ve Been Shot In Combat. And As A Veteran, I’m Telling You: Allowing Teachers To Be Armed Is An Asinine Idea.” Since writing it two weeks ago for his new hometown’s website, CharlotteFive.com, Martin’s story has been viewed more than 2-million times on Facebook. “When I saw the news flash of another school shooting,” he said of the Parkland massacre, “I couldn’t help but think of the firefights I had been involved in and how these students and teachers just encountered their own version of Afghanistan.” Listen to Matt Martin share the insights he drew from those firefights in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and why he believes they’re so relevant as Americans assess how to move forward after Parkland, Florida.

"Show More Cleavage" – Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines
Introducing Saru Jayaraman. Millions of Americans caught a glimpse of her at this year’s Golden Globes, where she was Amy Poehler’s guest – recognized for her role in the battle against sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Jayaraman, who was accepted to Harvard at the age of 16 and said no thanks, is the co-founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. Her organization's extensive research into the restaurant industry has documented pervasive sexual harassment. It often begins with managers insisting waitresses show more cleavage. As you’ll hear, it often does not end there. Saru’s solution? Listen on.

Podcast Archive

A Commencement Address For Parents of 8th Graders

2015-05-07

Fellow Parents: May is the month of the inspired college commencement address. But many of us need inspiration for a different age. With college admissions mania bathing entire families with anxiety, I’m seeking commencement address wisdom for parents whose children will soon be heading to high school. My guest is Michael Thompson, a psychologist and author who has been embedded in the world of high-achieving schools and parents for several decades. Thompson is author of many must-reads including “The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success In School And Life.” That’s what he’s going to do for us, in this episode.

A March Madness Special: Thriving in College Basketball & Living With Rare Disease

2017-03-29

6’2” Carey Kauffman, a March Madness veteran of the Duke University Blue Devils, couples her insights from a life in basketball with her experience as the mother of two children born with rare diseases.  Kauffman, the daughter of an NBA all-star. will help make you one of the most insightful people in the room during the Final Four – and help give your kids an edge if they play the game.  But it’s her mission in life, which she pursues through her company WellSelf 360, that will inspire you.  She applies what she learned on the court to empowering those who suffer from rare and chronic health conditions.  If you listen to the entire episode, I think you’ll find Carey Kauffman’s resilience is contagious.

A Quest for Justice – Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines

2017-12-27

Mary Koss has been on a 40-year quest for justice – “to understand why women are hurt and how we can stop it.” As a young professor, with a PhD in clinical psychology, Koss was asked by a more senior male colleague to join him on a study that proposed “to have women that he employed sit and wear different sizes of padded bras, while they interacted with male college students.”  What that colleague proposed to do afterwards, which you’ll hear at the beginning of this episode, would have made some women run in the other direction.  Not Mary Koss.  Koss has never run from controversy.  That helps explain why, during her own personal battle against sexual harassment, which she shares in this episode, she was willing to withstand “an entire year when no one spoke to me.”  And it helps explain why this University of Arizona Professor is pursuing a mission to spread an approach to justice that, instead of fighting in the criminal court system, has victim and perpetrator come to an understanding about the wrong that has occurred and the appropriate consequences.

Arming Teachers: A Good Guy With A Purple Heart Weighs In

2018-07-07

Introducing former Army Sergeant Matt Martin, author of “I’ve Been Shot In Combat. And As A Veteran, I’m Telling You: Allowing Teachers To Be Armed Is An Asinine Idea.” Since writing it two weeks ago for his new hometown’s website, CharlotteFive.com, Martin’s story has been viewed more than 2-million times on Facebook. “When I saw the news flash of another school shooting,” he said of the Parkland massacre, “I couldn’t help but think of the firefights I had been involved in and how these students and teachers just encountered their own version of Afghanistan.” Listen to Matt Martin share the insights he drew from those firefights in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and why he believes they’re so relevant as Americans assess how to move forward after Parkland, Florida.

Azar Nafisi

2015-06-23

Schulder speaks with Azar Nafisi, Iranian-American author of the number one New York Times bestseller "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and "Republic of Imagination: America in 3 Books," in front of a live audience at this summer's Nantucket Book Festival. Nafisi insists that remaining in Iran after the Islamic Revolution and teaching the works of great western authors in ways the rulers of the Islamic Republic would consider subversive, was not an act of courage. Listen and judge for yourself.

Baseball As A Road To God: The Spring Training Episode

2015-03-14

With Spring Training in full swing, Schulder goes to the top -- to the President of New York University, John Sexton. Sexton is the author of "Baseball As A Road To God," based on his popular class of the same name. Baseball watched properly, he insists, can help develop skills that enable us to reach a higher spiritual plane. The sport has its saints and sinners. We name names, and debate who deserves to be on the dream lineup. Joining the conversation is fellow believer, former Harvard Law Professor Arthur Miller, now Director of NYU's Tisch Sports Institute. They have provocative advice for baseball's new commissioner. These men are two of the nation's leading educators. So we'll also get their take on today's students.

Boots on The Hill (feat. Jeremy Teigen)

2018-04-27

There’s a new surge of military veterans running for Congress.  And they’re split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans.  Do veterans have a competitive edge over those who have not served in the military?  Are they better equipped for the job?  Can they help bridge the hyper-partisan divide?  This Wavemaker episode begins looking for answers with Jeremy Teigen, veteran, professor, and author of the new book Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016.

 

Breaking News on the Brain: From Parkinson’s to Parenting

2015-02-05

A perspective changing conversation with one of the leaders in the world of brain plasticity -- best selling author Dr. Norman Doidge. His new book, The Brain's Way of Healing, provides the latest insights from the frontiers of brain science on how to better address conditions ranging from Parkinson's Disease, to chronic pain, to anxiety disorders. Doidge is joined by pain medicine leader Dr. Michael Moskowitz, whose own excruciating accident and study of neuroplasticity led him to create new treatments for chronic pain that do not involve drugs. We also learn precisely why vigorous walking is one of the best things you can do for the plasticity of the brain and its high functioning well into old age. And we get insights for parents on how to help children create habits by which brain plasticity works in their favor instead of against them.

Calling All Leaders (feat. Admiral William McRaven)

2018-10-29

America is hungry for the voice of an honorable leader. So Wavemaker brings you the voice of Retired Admiral William McRaven, former Navy SEAL and Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. He was the architect of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. This episode features McRaven’s viral University of Texas commencement address: 10 memorable lessons from Navy SEAL training for those “who want to change the world” – aka the “Make Your Bed” speech. It’s 20 minutes of uninterrupted inspiration that parents can be proud to share with our children. My thanks to the Texas Exes, the University of Texas alumni association, for permission to post the speech.

Calling All Leaders Part 2: From Zero to Hero

2019-02-08

What is your superpower? Is it writing, speaking, communicating with power? It could be if you listen to this conversation with Joseph Romm, author of How To Go Viral and Reach Millions: Top Persuasion Secrets from Social Media Superstars, Jesus, Shakespeare, Oprah, and Even Donald Trump. This episode is like a short master class. If you want to get the most out of it, I advise you start by listening to my October 29th episode, featuring one of the greatest speeches you’ll ever hear: Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 University of Texas Commencement Address. You’ve already done that? Now listen to Romm walk us through some of the highlights of McRaven’s speech – to point out what makes it so powerful and teach us techniques we can employ the next time we want to write or say something that matters.

Calling All Leaders Part 2: From Zero to Hero

2019-02-08

What is your superpower? Is it writing, speaking, communicating with power? It could be if you listen to this conversation with Joseph Romm, author of How To Go Viral and Reach Millions: Top Persuasion Secrets from Social Media Superstars, Jesus, Shakespeare, Oprah, and Even Donald Trump. This episode is like a short master class. If you want to get the most out of it, I advise you start by listening to my October 29th episode, featuring one of the greatest speeches you’ll ever hear: Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 University of Texas Commencement Address. You’ve already done that? Now listen to Romm walk us through some of the highlights of McRaven’s speech – to point out what makes it so powerful and teach us techniques we can employ the next time we want to write or say something that matters.

Calling Candy Crowley

2015-04-17

One of America's most esteemed political reporters gives her first in-depth interview since leaving her position as CNN's Chief Political Correspondent. Candy shares with Michael her early impressions of the new campaign season as well as her personal experiences with Hillary, the Bushes, and other major political figures. And she reveals why she enjoyed covering losing candidates more than winning candidates. Of course, Candy Crowley's life has been about more than politics. And so is this Wavemaker Conversation.

Charlottesville (feat. Prof. Henry Abraham)

2018-12-07

A Charlottesville, VA jury today convicted a white supremacist of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer. He intentionally drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors at the “Unite the Right” rally for neo-Nazis and white nationalists. A week after that rally, in August 2017, I visited Charlottesville to speak with Henry Abraham. Abraham, now 97, spent his Jewish boyhood in Nazi Germany. He tells stories of anti-Semitism and how his mother made his survival and life in the United States possible. Armed with her optimism and his love of teaching, he became a scholar of the U.S. Constitution and an esteemed professor at the University of Virginia. We spoke about his life’s journey and the déjà vu he experienced during the rally. He has much to teach us.

China’s Wild Hearts with Evan Osnos

2015-04-21

Schulder speaks with The New Yorker's Evan Osnos. This week Osnos was named a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his book "The Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China." Ambition in Mandarin means "wild heart." The wild hearts of China are driving that country's 24/7 economic growth. In his conversation with Michael in front of a live audience at last summer's Nantucket Book Festival, Osnos relays the stories of individual Chinese who have taken grit to a new level. Now, if you're worried about China, Osnos says his book may help you sleep better at night. Let's see.

Coach Bill Curry: How To Watch Super Bowl 50 Better Than Your Friends

2016-02-05

Bill Curry played center in three of the first five Super Bowls, winning with the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Colts. One of the great head coaches in college football and an inspiring leader, Coach Curry shares memorable stories of the mind-boggling mental processing that goes on before each snap, the training it takes to withstand the violence of the game, and lessons from football that transcend the sport, including his first huddle with African-Americans and how Vince Lombardi's refusal to tolerate racism helped make the Packers a great team. This episode will help make you the smartest football fan in the room on Super Bowl Sunday.

College Fraternities: An Inside Look

2015-04-09

This is the inside story of life at college fraternities and sororities. In the aftermath of a wave of scandals and the Rolling Stone debacle, Michael Schulder speaks with University of Kentucky Professor Alan DeSantis -- a veritable Fraternity Anthropologist. DeSantis wrote the book Inside Greek U. In addition to the good, he paints a picture of "breeding grounds" for dangerous ideas about gender, race and character. But he still roots for the success of “Greek” life and provides a model for fraternities and sororities to get their houses in order.

Create With Crap (& Other Empowering Approaches To Success) — Featuring Cathy Salit

2016-05-20

Introducing Cathy Salit -- a master of improvisation. Salit started improvising young. When she was only 12, she was so miserable at school, her mother convinced her to drop out and create her own school.  She has been improvising ever since.  Like any great improviser, when Salit sees a “crappy” situation, she sees an opportunity to create something better.  Do you know what happens when you take that improvisational mentality out of the theater and into almost any other workplace? That’s what Salit reveals in her new book, “Performance Breakthrough:  A Radical Approach to Success at Work.” What she shares during our half-hour conversation will, I believe, help make your work life a more satisfying production – and your home life too.

Daniel Pink on The Power of purpose (with a small p) …

2015-12-09

Daniel Pink, put on the spot, begins writing his living obituary -- and more. Pink is author of the best-sellers "Drive," "A Whole New Mind" & "To Sell Is Human." His "Puzzle of Motivation" is one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks ever. Michael explores Pink's powerful "basket of ideas" on motivation, innovation & leadership, including his latest insights on the often neglected importance of purpose in life -- not Purpose with a Big P ... purpose with a small p.

Does Honesty Pay?

2015-02-13

The latest wave of stories about cheating and lying and cutting corners - from the Patriots' deflated footballs to Brian Williams' inflated war story - led my teenage son - who is passionate about fair play - to wonder: Can you still play by the rules and win? I'm seeking answers from two guests who have an international reputation for their work on what makes some people do the right thing while others do the wrong thing. Joining me is one of the deans of social psychology, Stanford Professor Emeritus Philip Zimbardo, who designed the Stanford Prison Experiment of the 1970s and is now building up the Heroic Imagination Project to prime kids to step up when so much is on the line. Also, Duke University's Dan Ariely, whose revealing experiments tempting people to cheat provides a unique take on how people like Brian Williams can embellish a story that becomes a lie which gets cemented into one's life narrative. Despite what they've learned both explain why they are still optimists.

Dot Earth Man

2015-08-10

Andrew Revkin, of the NY Times Dot Earth blog, captures "the history of our love affair with fossil fuels" with a memorable performance of his song Liberated Carbon. As for breaking news, will President Obama's latest initiatives to battle global warming move the needle? Revkin shares his nuanced take informed by nearly 3 decades of his original reporting. Recorded live, by @NCTV18, before leaders of the Organization of Biological Field Stations, the "NASA of the Earth."

Dr. Carol Dweck: The Woman Who Teaches Us To Struggle - And Love It

2015-02-27

Fellow Parents, Teachers, Coaches: Why do some children avoid tough challenges while others thrive on working through them? Why does failure cause some children to fall apart and others to become more motivated? Psychologist Carol Dweck has unlocked the secrets and shares them here with Michael Schulder. Dr. Dweck is the author of Mindset. Her Ted Talk has been viewed nearly 2 million times. In this podcast, she provides actionable intelligence on how to foster what she calls the Growth Mindset at school, in sports, at work – at any age.

Dr. Irvin Yalom Is Still Rippling

2017-10-02

Michael visits one of the most influential and beloved figures in the field of psychotherapy on the eve of the release of his memoir:  Becoming Myself.  At 86, after a recent health scare, The Atlantic magazine wrote:  "As a psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom has helped others grapple with their mortality. Now he is preparing for his own end."  Not quite.  Yalom's legions of fans will be gratified to hear his impassioned response to that analysis in this intimate Wavemaker Conversation.  He is still actively creating ripples, a therapeutic concept he explains here and which any of us can apply to our lives. He also shares a never-before-heard story about a recent patient who believed she was "beyond repair."  In Dr. Yalom's orbit, it's hard to imagine that anyone is beyond repair.

Dr. Irvin Yalom: 50-Thousand Hours of Therapy

2015-09-25

Schulder speaks with 84 year old psychiatrist & best-selling author Irvin Yalom about the healing value of staring death in the face, increasing one's fulfillment through "rippling," falling in love v standing in love, humor, and, finally, the essential question: what is the more effective way to cope with existential anxiety: sex or writing? Cameo appearances from Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Carol Dweck.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Life, Death, Parenting and Chores

2016-01-21

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon & CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, weighs in on over-parenting, the unforgettable chores that shaped his childhood, his transformation from unmotivated to driven high school student, and the legacy he hopes to leave. That plus the latest on how physical exercise impacts the brain -- and advice to kids who might want to try marijuana.