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.
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.
Lois Jenson: A Silence Breaker’s Echo – Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines
Lois Jenson is a historic figure in the battle against sexual harassment – the lead plaintiff in the field’s first class action lawsuit. As one of the first four women miners in a northern Minnesota mine, Jenson shares what one judge called the “record of human indecency” that she and the other female miners endured for many years – extreme harassment, including one miner grabbing her crotch while other miners watched and laughed. As you’ll hear, it would get even worse than that. The company failed to act. Jenson decided it had to stop, so she took it to court. The years of harassment and seemingly endless legal battles left Jenson physically ill and suffering from PTSD. Yet, still, she recalls the good guys, who, she says, outnumbered the bad. How she regained her health is an inspiring story near the end of our conversation that can inspire so many others who are suffering.
Sara Seager: Preparing For Life Outside Our Solar System
Astrophysicist Sara Seager joins me for a conversation about her leading role in the search for earth-like planets outside our solar system. When she began her search as a graduate student – not just for any “exoplanets” as they’re called, but planets that may have just the right atmosphere to support life – she was greeted with plenty of “no’s.” Not anymore. Our conversation about her search led to insights on creativity, resilience, parenting, and the importance of sleep and free time doing nothing as key ingredients of success. Seager, a Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, also shares the details of a side project that could, one day, change the nature of space exploration: mining asteroids for precious metals. Her thrilling journey began as a child, when she noticed something in the night sky for the first time and asked herself: “Why hadn’t anyone told me about this?”
A Quest for Justice – Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines
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.
“Fresh Meat” – Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines
Professor Louise Fitzgerald is a pioneer in sexual harassment research. At this moment, when women who have broken their silence have led to the downfall of so many prominent men, I speak with Fitzgerald about how to assess the continuum of acts – ranging from bad to horrific – that have made the headlines. She also shares stories of harassment happening under the radar, including the extreme vulnerability of women in low-income housing to predatory landlords, and a case she is working on in which every new woman hired to work in a particular factory was greeted by chants of “fresh meat.” And, as usual on Wavemaker Conversations, we’ll hear our guest’s personal journey to success – which, for Fitzgerald, meant transforming from a college dropout with a 1.2 GPA to a university professor with a PhD. This is the first in a series of reports from the front lines of sexual harassment and assault – stories that don’t make the headlines.
Jack Gantos Returns with Writing Radar
This conversation will help make your children (and you, too) better writers. Last time Jack Gantos was on Wavemaker Conversations, he shared his unforgettable journey to a terrifying prison sentence in a federal penitentiary and then to a prolific writing career. Now, with his new book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, his goal is to help young writers who find the blank page terrifying. The book is written for 3rd grade and up. That includes all of us. All you need to begin is a blank journal, 15 minutes a day, and the willingness to “dump” some lines on a page. It’s that easy to start. The structure will come. How? Allow this Newbery Award-winning master raconteur to be your guide. And make sure to stick around for the end – when his mom realized he was hanging out with the wrong kids after discovering chicken-wire-shaped burn marks on the seat of his white underwear.
Will Schwalbe on Books for Living
Author Will Schwalbe is one of the funniest serious readers you’ll ever hear. In our conversation, before a packed house at The Nantucket Book Festival, Will and I talk about his latest work, Books for Living, in which he treats us to a tour of books we might love to read – but may have missed – and shares his perspective-changing takeaways for how to live a more meaningful life. Imagine: the hero Odysseus taught Schwalbe about the importance of mediocrity, exemplified by his story of getting a C on a high school paper and the unusually clever response from his teacher when Will objected; and the book Wonder taught him about how to increase his kindness quotient. Schwalbe also shares his unique insight on resilience, based on his conversations about books with his mother when she was dying of cancer, which led to his NY Times Bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club. He recommends a book that made it impossible for him to feel sorry for himself when he was at his worst, and explains why he’s “the last gay man in America who does not want children.” Finally, after touring the country, he has a special message about why the “tribe of readers” may help heal the divisions in our nation.
Ruth Reichl: From Her Secret Life as a Critic in Disguise To the Recipes That Saved Her Life
When Ruth Reichl became the restaurant critic for The New York Times, she learned there was a bounty on her – $1,000 for any worker who recognized this make-or-break critic when she sat down to eat. Reichl shares the backstory of her elaborate, yet necessary, disguise; her courageous first review of how New York’s most heralded restaurant treated her when they didn’t have a clue who she was; and what changed once they realized. Reichl also explores the connection between food and social justice, and how the act of cooking saved her (and could benefit us all) when she was at her lowest point in life. Plus the moving story of how her mother learned to live a meaningful life at age 80. The former Critic in Disguise engages in a thoroughly transparent conversation with Michael before a large audience at The Nantucket Book Festival.
Real American: Julie Lythcott-Haims
New York Times bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims says she is “so American it hurts.” Why so much pain in this American success story? How did this daughter of a prominent black physician and white teacher come to loathe herself despite her academic success as an undergraduate at Stanford and a law student at Harvard, followed by her professional accomplishments as Stanford’s Dean of Freshmen and a best-selling author? In our conversation about her new memoir, “Real American,” Lythcott-Haims reveals, with powerfully poetic transparency, how she came to internalize the often shocking stories of the racial prejudice she experienced growing up as a biracial black woman – how they became embedded in her, and how she, ultimately, became comfortable in her own skin. Featuring a conversation about “The Talk” that Lythcott-Haims and so many black parents give their children – the one designed to keep them safe without crushing their self-esteem.
Dr. Irvin Yalom Is Still Rippling
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.
A March Madness Special: Thriving in College Basketball & Living With Rare Disease
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.
Jack Gantos: Reading Saved His Life
You may be tempted to scream -- “don’t do it, Jack!” -- at the outset of this podcast. My conversation with author Jack Gantos, at the Nantucket Book Festival, begins with a choice he made in 1971 that led him to a horrifying year-and-a-half as an inmate in a federal penitentiary. He describes the crime and the time in unforgettable detail. Where did he find the resilience to survive prison, catapult himself to college, and become a prolific and acclaimed author? It begins with reading, which taught him how to “spelunk down” into the emotions. Gantos won the Newbery Medal for his book “Dead End in Norvelt,” and other honors for his young adult fiction and his riveting memoir, “Hole in My Life.” This is a long episode – 50 minutes. I believe you’ll agree that listening to Gantos tell his story is worth every second.
Learn or Die: Lessons From A Leader Who Listens
Bob Chapman turned a small, teetering 19th century manufacturing company that served the beer industry, into a 2.5 billion dollar enterprise. He owes his success to a traumatic experience, which forced him to find value that others couldn’t see. He figured out how to protect thousands of American jobs, rejecting the option of cheap, foreign labor. And he developed a new way of leading – focused on empathetic listening -- that he believes can help businesses, families, and our nation thrive. His journey as the Chairman of the Barry-Wehmiller companies is worth hearing and sharing. So is his book, "Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family."
How to Watch Super Bowl 51 Better Than Your Friends, featuring Coach Dan Reeves
Former NFL Head Coach Dan Reeves, who led the Atlanta Falcons to their only other Super Bowl (and the Broncos to three) takes us beyond the play-by-play. His 101 on the “silent count” – essential for the offense to communicate when the stadium noise is deafening – is a perspective changer. Plus – how to be ready for the Patriots’ master of surprise – Bill Belichick. Reeves shares what he learned playing under the Cowboys' legendary Tom Landry, including what Landry noticed watching game film that others would miss. Cameos from Georgia’s own Super Bowl champ Bill Curry and Nick Buonico.
Getting to Yes in Colombia - Featuring William Ury
After 52 years of war, on the eve of the signing of a peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC guerilla force, I speak with William Ury, author of a seminal book on negotiating, Getting to Yes. Ury was part of the Colombian President’s “kitchen cabinet” of peace advisers. He recounts a risky, secret move, deep in the jungle, that jump-started the peace process, and an exercise critical to the peace effort – in effect, writing your adversary’s victory speech, as well as your own. Ury speaks to us by phone from Cartagena, site of Monday’s historic signing.
Create With Crap (& Other Empowering Approaches To Success) — Featuring Cathy Salit
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.
The Late Bloomer Advantage In Sports
“The Sports Gene” author, David Epstein, joins me for a conversation that will empower young athletes, their parents, and coaches. Our launching point is the case of late blooming QB Carson Wentz, the number 2 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Did Wentz rise to the top despite the fact that he was a late bloomer, or because of it? The answer has profound implications for youth sports. Epstein’s superb synthesis of sports science studies (combined with his personal experience as an athlete) finds that, in most sports, specializing early puts young athletes at a disadvantage as they approach college age. What is the best approach to maximizing a person’s athletic potential? Epstein provides actionable intelligence on the key concept of “trainability.” And it does not depend on 10-thousand hours of practice.
The Comma Queen
Mary Norris tells me she prefers to be called a Prose Goddess. But Comma Queen has stuck. Norris, a copy editor at The New Yorker for more than 30 years, is author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen – just out in paperback. Mary Norris -- with her wonderful sense of humor – helps make us feel more secure in our use of language. She demystifies fine points of grammar and punctuation. She liberates us to break rules that were never really rules to begin with. Her journey -- from a teenager hired to check swimmers for foot-fungus at a public pool in Cleveland -- to published author -- is worth sharing. So is her experience, recounted 23:30 into our conversation, of learning that her brother was becoming her sister (a singer/songwriter known by many New Yorkers) – which leads us back to grammar and the debate over the correct pronoun for transgendered individuals.
Lang Lang (& Mom)
Backstage with the pianist who has been called “the hottest classical artist on the planet” – Lang Lang. Featuring a rare appearance by his mom, speaking in Mandarin with such emotion that her son’s translations are barely necessary. Michael first sat down with Lang Lang more than a decade ago, for CNN. Lang Lang had recently graduated from Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute via China and was emerging as a star. It was the very first international news profile of Lang Lang. Back then,he was not ready to reveal what he shares with Michael now about the struggles of his journey to the top. Lang Lang’s mom shares with us the painful sacrifice she made for the sake of her son’s future. And she movingly describes the piece she most loves to hear her son play and why. He honors her request, for a memorable musical ending to this episode.
Teaching Your Child To Lose with The Winningest Coach In College History
The Wavemaker Parenting Wisdom Tour brings you the compelling personal story of Trinity College squash coach Paul Assaiante. He entered a sport without formal training, and took a second tier team to 13 straight national championships. Along the way, through his "imposter syndrome" nightmares, he demonstrated what one can accomplish with single-minded determination, and the collateral damage that can ensue. Coach A shares the painful tale of his son's heroin addiction, and his insights of the young men and women entering college these days: "They look more put together than they’ve ever looked before. They just look perfect. And the first time they face adversity, the fall to pieces like a porcelain doll."
Coach Bill Curry: How To Watch Super Bowl 50 Better Than Your Friends
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.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Life, Death, Parenting and Chores
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.
“The Gift Of Failure” With Jessica Lahey
Jessica Lahey -- author of "The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed" -- joins Michael as he continues to tap into the most creative and respected thinkers addressing the growing phenomenon of over-parenting in America. Lahey, a middle-school teacher and the mother of two, realized she was making the same mistakes as the parents of many of her students -- which drove her on her quest for actionable intelligence to set her own kids up for success -- and ours too. On this episode she shares that intelligence, including some techniques that will require parents to step back in ways they never have before, in order to enhance their children's autonomy, competence, and confidence.
“How To Raise An Adult” With Former Stanford Dean Julie Lythcott-Haims
Julie Lythcott-Haims has emerged as a powerful new rudder for parents. As the Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, she recognized the first signs that overparenting was damaging our kids' abilities to function as independent adults. Then she realized, she was making the very same mistakes with her own children -- which led to her perspective-changing new book: "How To Raise An Adult: Break Free Of The Overparenting Trap And Prepare Your Kids For Success." In our conversation, @DeanJulie shares stories from the front lines, where high-achieving young adults are poorly equipped to handle the new struggles they face, and identifies the "critical mindset shifts that must take place in the head, heart, and soul of every parent."
Saying No To The Pope feat. Michelangelo and William Ury
Master mediator William Ury dissects Michelangelo's 500 year old letter to the Pope, a powerful example of how saying No can lead to a wiser Yes. The letter, recently circulated by the inspired Maria Popova of Brainpickings.org, contains wisdom that can be applied to our professional and personal lives today. Ury even ties its insights into his mediation of the longest-running war in South America. Get ready to say No more often in 2016 - Positively.
Daniel Pink on The Power of purpose (with a small p) …
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.
ISIS Briefing1: feat. Emma Sky
Emma Sky was U.S. General Odierno's chief political adviser during the the surge - building alliances with the Sunni leaders who would defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq. She also administered a key Kurdish area for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Her memoir of her time in Iraq is: "The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq." She now teaches at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. This is the first in an occasional series of Wavemaker briefings from leading authorities on ISIS and the region.
Investigating Pete Rose: The Journey of John Dowd (Part 2)
The author of The Dowd Report, which led to the banishment of Pete Rose from baseball, provides an exclusive, behind-the-scenes account of his investigation that concluded baseball's all-time hit leader gambled heavily on baseball and his own team. Dowd explains here why he told the leaders of the MLB: "organized crime has a mortgage on the manager of the Cincinnati Reds." Commissioner Rob Manfred says he will rule on Rose's request to be reinstated in baseball between now and the end of the year.
The Marines, The Mob & Pete Rose: The Journey of John Dowd (Part 1)
Well before The Dowd Report that led to the banishment of Pete Rose from baseball, John Dowd, Emory Law School grad, was a Marine, then a Justice Department prosecutor who lead the battle to bring down the Mafia. The investigation of Pete Rose brought him full circle back to the Mob. Part 1 of 2 on The Journey of John Dowd.
The Fay Vincent Sessions: Investigating Pete Rose
The former MLB Commissioner's exclusive behind the scenes account of the investigation that led to the banishment of Pete Rose from baseball. Part 3 of The Fay Vincent Sessions, a Wavemaker podcast special with the eighth Commissioner of Major League Baseball. A decision on whether to reinstate Rose is expected any time now.
The Fay Vincent Sessions: Baseball Brains
Former MLB Commish Fay Vincent, an oral historian of the game, shares stories that will help us watch the World Series smarter. Among the stories only Vincent can tell: 1) Two Hall of Famers debating who's dumber, pitchers or hitters? 2) The smartest baseball players and the calculations they make on every play; 3) The backstory of the Negro Leagues; 4) the 2nd African-American player to join the Majors, and the one white player on his team who agreed to play catch with him, changing the game. And more...
The Fay Vincent Sessions: The Accident
The 8th Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Fay Vincent, discusses the pivotal event in his life: the 4-story fall from his college dorm, which left him paralyzed for months from the chest down; his mother's advice, which guided him from life as a college football player to a life of the mind; & the factors that shaped his successes in law, business, and the pinnacle of the movie industry, where he made a fortune. All this before he became The Commish. Next episode - Vincent's behind the scenes account of the investigation into Pete Rose.
The Ted Kennedy Sessions
What was Ted Kennedy's first case as a young prosecutor? Why did he lose with so much evidence against the defendant? What advice did he get from his brother, John, when he prepared to enter politics? What did he learn from his maternal grandfather, a legendary Boston pol, that could help us all be more effective in our lives? And why was Ted Kennedy so good at building personal relationships in the Senate, even with those who despised his politics? Many answers emerge from the release of the Ted Kennedy Sessions -- the oral history project conducted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center. Schulder's guest, Miller Center Director of Presidential Studies, Barbara Perry, walks us through fascinating moments of 19 in-depth interviews that Senator Kennedy gave from 2005-2007. But first, the episode begins with one of the world's leading mediators, William Ury, weighing in on the massacre in Roseburg, Oregon.
Dr. Irvin Yalom: 50-Thousand Hours of Therapy
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.
The #Lesvos Episode
Emergency field director for the International Rescue Committee on the Greek island of Lesvos, Kirk Day, gives Michael Schulder a first hand account of the quickly escalating refugee crisis in Europe. 20 minutes into their conversation Kirk has to cut their talk short to pursue an urgent opportunity to get 6-thousand refugees on 3 ferries.
Fantasy Football For Real Life
A Fantasy Football episode with real life lessons. My guest is Joe Moglia - Head Coach of the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers football team. Why Joe Moglia? Because after many years struggling to support a family on the small salary of an Assistant Coach, Moglia pivoted, into the business world, and became a hugely successful CEO. He knows how to pick winning teams. He knows how to identify character. The two are connected. Moglia's life story demonstrates how.
Dot Earth Man
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."
Emerging Authors Rise
Meet three emerging literary stars. Three young authors, three highly acclaimed new books. All have insights for writers and for parents who would love their children to do more reading and writing. Justin St. Germain investigates the life, and violent death, of his mother in his memoir "Son of a Gun." LaShonda Katrice Barnett, historian & student of jazz, channels two path-breaking African-American women in the field of journalism for her novel "Jam on the Vine." Belinda McKeon shares her journey from growing up on a farm in Ireland to becoming the author of two highly acclaimed novels, "Solace" and "Tender," and is thankful the Nuns from her school showed up for her explicit reading.
Re-Introducing Harper Lee
Schulder speaks with Harper Lee biographer Charles Shields about the To Kill A Mockingbird - Go Set A Watchman saga. Shields, author of "Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee," relays captivating stories of Lee's life including her close friendship with childhood neighbor Truman Capote, her painful relationship with her mother, who suffered symptoms of bipolar disease, the real feelings about race and segregation of her father A.C. Lee, the inspiration for Atticus Finch and the challenge that English teachers now face as a result of the dark, new depiction of Atticus.
The Real Moby Dick (And Other Little Known Chapters from American History)
Michael speaks with best-selling historian Nathaniel Philbrick. Philbrick identified 14 year old boys at the center of two fascinating chapters in American history, including the sinking of the whale ship Essex in 1820 by a huge whale, a true story Herman Melville drew on for Moby Dick. Director Ron Howard has turned the dramatic tale of survival into a major movie, releasing in December. This episode, the back story, and more, live from the Nantucket Book Festival, is ideal listening for the whole family.
Ishmael Beah: Former Child Soldier
Michael speaks with former child soldier Ishmael Beah. His best-selling memoir, A Long Way Gone, led a New York Times book reviewer to wonder "how anyone comes through such unrelenting ghastliness and horror with his humanity and sanity intact." This conversation, at the Nantucket Book Festival, at times disturbing yet thoroughly uplifting, provides us with some answers.
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.
Schulder speaks with former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, for the National Women's Hall of Fame oral history project. Mrs. Carter shares stories from her active role in the women's rights movement, the resistance she encountered advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment, the backstory of the first federally funded National Women's Conference, the personal encounters that triggered her early advocacy of mental health coverage, the biggest disappointment in her life, her advice for young girls and boys, and her days growing up in Plains, Georgia. As you'll hear, Mrs. Carter's full immersion in the issues she cares most about continues, today, at the age of 87.
Stan Fischler: From Roller Skates to the Stanley Cup
In the run-up to the Stanley Cup finals, Schulder pays a visit to hockey maven Stan Fischler. When the 83 year old historian of hockey is not fighting city traffic on his bicycle, he is analyzing games for the MSG Networks and writing books on the sport -- the count is roughly 100. Fischler provides insights on speed versus power, the best players he's ever seen, and his own journey into the world of hockey, which began with a great disappointment, on a day in 1939, when he was 7 years old...
Miles O’Brien on Science, Risk & Resilience
Miles O'Brien shares inside stories of his 15 years as CNN's science, space and aviation correspondent, his passion for piloting, how close he got to flying on a space shuttle, the unusual sequence of events that led to the amputation of his left arm, and the childhood roots of the resilience which led him to belay 12 feet beneath the surface of a glacier so soon after the accident. Miles and Michael spoke together on the island of Nantucket before a live audience of conservation leaders from the Organization of Biological Field Stations: "NASA of the Earth."
Introducing Ben Sollee: Kentucky Native
Ben Sollee is a cellist/singer/songwriter whose music defies all categories. His unique sound, which you will hear during this conversation, is influenced by classical, bluegrass, and R&B, and was described by New York Times music critic Stephen Holden as "meticulous, fluent arrangements continually morph[ing] from one thing to another." Sollee loves to interact with audiences in small venues, which led to his "Ditch the Van" tours, where he straps his cello to his bike and pedals hundreds of miles from performance to performance.
A Commencement Address For Parents of 8th Graders
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.
Same-Sex Marriage: What Can Straight Couples Learn From Gay & Lesbian Couples?
As the Supreme Court considers whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry throughout the U.S., Schulder considers a different question. Is there something he and other heterosexual husbands and wives can learn from same-sex couples who already are married? Schulder explores dynamics unique to gay and lesbian couples -- including how they argue with one another, and how they talk about sex -- with guests Sam Garanzini, Executive Director of The Gay Couples Institute in California, and Deborah L. Hughes, President & CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House and American Baptist Minister. Hughes lived in the closet for many years, including the clergy closet, when gay and lesbian gatherings required communicating in code. Quite a journey to finding and marrying the woman she loves.
Jesus on Death Row
A Christian perspective on the sentencing phase of the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Not the only Christian perspective, of course. But one uniquely articulated by Schulder's two guests, Mark Osler and Jeanne Bishop. Osler is author of the book "Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment." Bishop is a Cook County public defender whose pregnant sister and brother-in-law were murdered in a Chicago suburb 25 years ago. Her new book is entitled: "Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy and Making Peace with My Sister's Killer."
China’s Wild Hearts with Evan Osnos
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.
Calling Candy Crowley
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.
College Fraternities: An Inside Look
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.
The Trevor Noah Episode
The man chosen to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is more than the sum of his tweets. How much more? Joining Michael Schulder to discuss Trevor Noah and the challenges faced by all comedians is standup comic Pete Dominick, Host of the radio show Stand Up With Pete Dominick. Special features: excerpts from Dominick's interview of Noah two years ago and from Director David Paul Meyer's film "You Laugh But It's True," which documents Trevor Noah's struggle to get a one man show off the ground, just before his meteoric rise in the comedy world. How's THAT for timing?
John Urschel: The NFL Mathlete (& His Mom)
My conversation with the only person qualified to use the Twitter handle @MathMeetsFball -- Baltimore Ravens' offensive lineman John Urschel. Urschel is getting major buzz this week after linebacker Chris Borland retired from the NFL to avoid the long-term health risks of football. Urschel weighed in on Derek Jeter's new website The Players' Tribune with a piece called "Why I Play Football." But that's not the question that drove me to call Urschel. What I set out to learn is how a man whose elementary school teachers considered him "mentally challenged" reached such a high level of achievement in sports AND academics. It was his mother. Once John Urschel gets started talking about his mother he has a a hard time stopping -- and it's hard to stop listening to the dramatic details.
Baseball As A Road To God: The Spring Training Episode
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.
Dr. Carol Dweck: The Woman Who Teaches Us To Struggle - And Love It
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.
Get Me Out of This Mess. A Conversation With master negotiator William Ury, author of the new book Getting to Yes With Yourself.
Schulder speaks with the man anyone would want on their speed dial, esteemed negotiator William Ury. Ury is co-author of the classic Getting to Yes. His new book, Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents) is about how we often unwittingly sabotage our own interests. Ury shares inside stories from his work with a Brazilian billionaire, Syrian commanders fighting for and against Assad, and families battling over inheritance. Schulder has Ury apply his insights to personal as well as global conflicts, including the struggle to deal with the Islamic State's wave of terrorism.
Does Honesty Pay?
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.
Breaking News on the Brain: From Parkinson’s to Parenting
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.
How To Watch The Super Bowl Better Than Your Friends.
Michael Schulder speaks with Hall of Fame Super Bowl Champion Linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who, at 5’11”, was almost overlooked in the draft. Former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg provides a behind the scenes view of the game. And NFL Special Teams veteran Rik Bonness describes his surreal experiences on the field. Listen to this episode and you’ll enter Super Bowl Sunday with the sharpest set of lenses in the room.!