Lavin Weekly: Pinker Urges Optimism, Post-Trump, Shukla Looks to Solve the Food Crisis, & Holiday Brings Stoicism to the Masses
Is the world as awful as we’re sometimes led to believe? Could a simple piece of paper solve some of our biggest food problems? Might stoicism be the answer to our deepest personal struggles? Find out in today’s Lavin Weekly.
1. Are We Seeing the End of Days? Steven Pinker Doesn’t Think So.
Fear not, says leading cognitive scientist Steven Pinker—we aren’t living in apocalyptic times. Doomsayers propelled the election of Donald Trump, name-checking rising global terrorism, slowed economic growth, and Washington corruption. But according to Pinker, one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature, violence has been waning for millennia, and in fact, we may live in the safest era in history. In a recent email correspondence with Motherboard, he wrote:
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for newsreaders to believe that apocalyptic picture. The news media give lavish coverage to violent incidents, seldom follow up on negative reportage in the past, and rarely put events in statistical or historical perspective. Worse, they allow themselves to be played by violence impresarios, namely terrorists and rampage killers, who correctly anticipate that they can attract the world’s attention by killing a number of innocent people at once. This is true not just of tabloids and cable news chasing eyeballs and clicks, but of high-quality outlets who feel that by highlighting what goes wrong, they are discharging their duty as watchdogs, muckrakers, and afflicters of the comfortable.
The full interview—too long and too multifaceted to summarize here—analyzes Trump’s linguistic patterns, theorizes on the inevitability of globalization, and considers whether America could ever fall prey to fascism. Pinker, one of the premier thinkers of our time, has unmatched insight into the complexities of human nature.
2. How a New Kind of Paper Is Helping Solve the Food Crisis
It’s Nobel Prize week in Stockholm, and Lavin speaker Kavita Shukla has been named a panelist for the Nobel Prize Dialogues. Shukla is the founder and CEO of Fenugreen, whose product FreshPaper is revolutionizing the way we store and preserve food. We lose more than 25 percent of the world’s food supply to spoilage. But FreshPaper—a simple, biodegradable, spice-infused paper that keeps food fresher for longer—looks to change this. Others are taking note, too: Shukla has been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” Fast Company’s “7 Entrepreneurs Changing the World,” and Time’s “Five Most Innovative Women in Food.” She’s spoken at the White House, the United Nations, SXSW, TEDx Manhattan, Harvard University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Johns Hopkins University—so Nobel Prize week seems like a logical next step.
For the inspiring story of how Shukla discovered FreshPaper (using an old home remedy from her grandmother), watch the video below.
3. Are You a Stoic? Ryan Holiday Thinks You Should Be.
Ryan Holiday cut his teeth as a savvy marketer and media strategist. In only his mid-twenties, he was the Director of Marketing for American Apparel, and his campaigns made waves with YouTube, Twitter, and Google. But now, his speaking and writing explore a very different avenue, as a recent New York Times Fashion & Style profile shows. Beginning with his 2014 book The Obstacle Is the Way, Holiday has focused on the benefits of stoic philosophy as a means of helping people improve, whether in business, sport, or life in general. The Daily Stoic, Holiday’s newest book (and an instant USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller) is a day-by-day collection of helpful aphorisms from Seneca, Epictetus, and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. And the philosophy is catching on: celebrities from Arnold Schwarzenegger to LL Cool J, NFL teams and Silicon Valley firms count themselves among Holiday’s fans.
Intrigued? Grab a copy of The Daily Stoic, or book Holiday for a keynote by reaching out to The Lavin Agency.
To hire Steven Pinker, Kavita Shukla, or Ryan Holiday as your organization’s next event speaker, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive speakers bureau.