exclusives | August 05, 2015

Lavin Weekly #1: Keynote Speakers Halpern, Coates, Kaufman, & Khan

1. Jake Halpern Meets Darren Wilson

In “The Cop,” author and exclusive Lavin speaker Jake Halpern spends several days with Darren Wilson, the now reclusive ex-police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August, 2014.

This New Yorker article is a must-read investigation of Ferguson police protocols (“characterized by deep-seated racism” by the US Justice Department), the mass protest movement outraged by “many examples of police brutality” (and by Wilson’s full exoneration), and of a suburb, city, and nation divided by a purportedly “corrupt and racist system.” 

2. Ta-Nehisi Coates' Top Picks

Ta-Nehisi Coates, NYT Bestselling author of Between the World and Me, has listed the top ten books he'd take to a deserted island over at The New York Times Style Magazine. The list is notable for including both famous American classics (works like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence) as well as lesser-known poetry titles by Carolyn Forché and Yusef Komunyakaa.

It’s also understandable that Coates heads off the list with James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time—Nobel laureate Toni Morrison claimed that Coates would “clearly” fill the “intellectual void that plagued [her] after James Baldwin died.”

3. Scott Barry Kaufman: “Now go and flourish!”

On the Scientific American blog, author and cognitive scientist Scott Barry Kaufman provides a convincing response to the question of “Which Character Strengths Are Most Predictive of Well-Being?" The answer? Gratitude and a love of learning.

Drawing from other landmark works of positive psychology, Kaufman proves that not only are the five fundamental components of well-being—Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment—“strongly correlated with each other,” but that the top three elements of character that correspond with well-being were “hope, gratitude, and love.” When he computed independent indicators of well-being, he came down to two: gratitude and a love of learning, with the former just ahead of the latter. 

So want more well-being in your life? Show a little gratitude!

4. Salman Khan Goes to Broadway  

Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy and author of The One World School House, will be giving a talk on the next big things in online education at a new series called “TEDTalks Live” this November. TED is teaming with PBS to bring six nights of intellectually stimulating talks, performances, films, and more to The Town Hall Theater in Manhattan. As the first two nights will be focused on “The Education Revolution,” Salman Khan’s transformative ideas should be a highlight of the event. 

“TEDTalks Live” runs from November 1st to 6th and will air on PBS in three one-hour specials in spring 2016. The event will be hosted by comedian and author Baratunde Thurston. 

To book Jake Halpern, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Scott Barry Kaufman, or Salman Khan for your event, contact the Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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politics | August 04, 2015