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Distinguished: Steven Pinker & Blake Mycoskie At The UB Speaker Series
Motivation | November 15, 2012

Distinguished: Steven Pinker & Blake Mycoskie At The UB Speaker Series

What do Lavin speakers Steven Pinker and Blake Mycoskie have in common with the likes of the Dalai Lama, Al Gore, and Jane Goodall? Similar to what their prestigious counterparts, they will both be presenting at the University at Buffalo's Distinguished Speakers Series. Mycoskie will be speaking on Nov. 15, and Pinker on Mar. 27. Now in its 26th installment, the series has lent the stage to speakers of both national and international renown since it began in 1987. It features experts in a variety of fields coming together to speak about the most important issues of the day.

The series hosts one speaker per year that is a leader in public service and social change. This year, Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, will fill that role. He is the originator of the One for One movement, where for every item sold, his company donates one pair of shoes or one pair of eyeglasses to a child in need. His accomplishments earned him a spot on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and he also received the Secretary of State’s 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). Since then, he has written a book, Start Something That Matters, where he shares his personal success story and inspires others to incorporate the power of giving into their own business models. He tackles similar themes in his keynotes, using TOMS as a case study to support the importance of giving in a corporate world.

Pinker also addresses social issues, using his profound research to explain the nuances of human thought and action. One of the world's leading cognitive scientists, Pinker's work on violence and society, which he explores in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, shifts perceptions about the way our world has progressed over time. He also authored The Blank Slate and How The Mind Works—both bestsellers, and both finalists for the Pulitzer Prize—and has written groundbreaking articles for The New York Times and Nature. As a speaker, he has a knack for making scientific theory applicable to the masses. He mixes psychology and history together to present a complexly intriguing understanding of both the world—and the people—around us.
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