The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Lavin Speakers Wrote the Best Books of 2018

From an in-depth analysis of failure, to data-driven proof that the world is getting better, the biggest, boldest and best books of 2018 came from Lavin speakers.      

Andras Tilcsik and Chris Clearfield’s Meltdown, an analysis of why our systems fail and what we can do about it, landed on the Financial Times best books of 2018 list, described as “an excitig and insightful analysis of why things go wrong and how to avoid catastrophe.”


On Esquire, the New York Times, and NPR's best books of 2018, Steven Pinker's sweeping and fascinating Enlightenment Now argues that the world is getting better, not worse, but our media, politics and nature lead us to dwell on the problems instead of celebrate the advances.  


America is losing faith in democracy. The People vs. Democracy, written by celebrated political scientist and Harvard professor Yascha Mounk, explains why it's happening, and what we can do about it. It was named one of the best books of 2018 by the Financial Times.    


Eric Klinenberg's Palaces for the People, named one of the best of the year by NPR, argues that strong communities, and indeed a strong democracy, happen when a commitment is made to social infrastructure: libraries, parks, public pools, and other spaces that connect people. 


Kwame Anthony Appiah is one of America's leading public intellectuals. His latest book The Lies That Bind was named one of the best of the year by The Washington Post: “he brings insightful realism to the task of reexamining our restrictive and therefore divisive notions of who we are.” 


Molly Crabapple is an activist and artist whose work sheds light on injustice, and engages with rebellion and subversiveness. Her latest book, Brothers of the Gun, is a memoir of the Syrian War, and was named by the New York Times as one of their best of 2018: “Crabapple's abundant illustrations capture the chaos.”


Click here to book a Lavin speaker.  

Spring Reads: Retail, Labels, Lies and more

While spring flowers can’t be counted on, spring books stay true to their release dates. Several of our new and veteran speakers have titles hitting the shelves this month, so we’ve highlighted a few that make for good reading, April rain or shine:

1. Maureen Chiquet’s Beyond the Label:


Here, former Chanel CEO Maureen Chiquet charts her unlikely path from lit major to global chief executive. “Sharing the inklings, risks and (re)defining moments that have shaped her exemplary career, Chiquet seeks to inspire a new generation of women, liberal arts grads, and unconventional thinkers to cultivate a way of living and leading that is all their own. Through vivid storytelling and provocative insights, Chiquet guides readers to consider the pressing questions and inherent paradoxes of creating a successful, fulfilling life in today’s increasingly complex and competitive world.”—HarperCollins 


2. Chuck Klosterman’s X:

Chuck Klosterman’s tenth book anthologizes his most intriguing previously-published essays, featuring updated introductions and footnotes throughout. “Klosterman presents many of the articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena. This is a tour of the past decade from one of the sharpest and most prolific observers of our unusual times.”—Penguin Random House


3. Douglas Stephens’ Reengineering Retail


Following up on The Retail RevivalDoug Stephens’ Reengineering Retail explores the coming revolution in the global retail and consumer goods market, offering sales and marketing executives a roadmap to the future. “Infused with real world examples and interviews with industry disruptors, Reengineering Retail illustrates the vast opportunities at play for bold brands and business leaders. Stephens’ strategies will provide businesses with the foresight required to move quickly and effectively into the future.”— Amazon 


4.  Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s Everybody Lies


Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s Everybody Lies offers “fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women?”—HarperCollins 

To book Doug Stephens, Chuck Klosterman, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, or Maureen Chiquet, contact the Lavin Agency today.

NYT‘s 100 Notable Books of 2012: Paul Tough & E.O. Wilson Make The List!

The New York Times has announced its choices for their 100 Notable Books of 2012 list, and contributions by Paul Tough and Edward O. Wilson made the cut! Every year, the editors of The New York Times Book Review compile a list of books that have captured their attention, and the subject matter tackled in Tough's How Children Succeed and Wilson's The Social Conquest of Earth has certainly created a buzz.

Tough's book has been changing the conversation about the way we teach our children now, so that they are able to achieve great things in the future. His revolutionary approach combines in-depth and interdisciplinary research and case studies that showcase the important role that character building plays in the learning process. Cognitive ability, he argues, is not the sole measure of success, nor a definitive indicator of how capable a child will be in the future. Rather, focusing on the development of character traits such as curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit are essential to ensuring a child's success. This is a subject he also tackles on stage, where he proposes an overhaul of the education system to give all children an even chance to thrive.

In Wilson's book, the evolutionary biologist digs into the curious link that exists between humans and insects. He documents the evolutionary pattern of human beings and explains how these patterns and the way we interact with the other creatures in nature have attributed to our domination of the biosphere. In this sweeping account, Wilson tells us how we came to be where we are today, and where we can expect to go in the future. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner often uses his findings not only to explain evolutionary patterns, but also as a plea for government institutions to protect the diverse and wonderful world that we live in. His lectures span disciplines and proposes the merging of science and religion—for the Earth's destruction threatens us all, regardless of how we believe it was created.

Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday Slated For December Release

Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, will be releasing his first new book in almost 8 years this coming Decemeber. Titled The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?, the book takes a probing look into our past. In his books and his spell-binding keynotes, the scientist doesn’t shy away from examining the big questions about human civilization. He offers us intriguing insights into the world around us while opening our minds to new ways of thinking about society. The video above is the author's own preview of what to expect from the book, and below is a teaser to tide you over until the mass-release on Decemeber 31st!

Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday—in evolutionary time—when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.

The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years—a past that has mostly vanished—and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today. This is Jared Diamond’s most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn’t romanticize traditional societies—after all, we are shocked by some of their practices—but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. A characteristically provocative, enlightening, and entertaining book, The World Until Yesterday will be essential and delightful reading.

Margaret Atwood on Why People Love Giving Books as Gifts

Author Margaret Atwood needs no introduction. She’s simply one of Canada’s — one of the world’s — best-known champions of literary culture. In a recent op-ed for The Daily Telegraph, Atwood praises Unesco’s World Book Night and muses on the extraordinary power of books to connect people.

From The Daily Telegraph:

What is it that makes books things people love to give? Perhaps it’s because they’re so personal. “Tell me what you like and I will tell you who you are,” John Ruskin famously once said, and it’s true. We are what we eat, but we are also what we read.

Many a pick-up has been made through books – I know this because men shamefacedly tell me they’ve pretended to read my books in order to strike up relationships with ladies – and many a partnership has gone down in flames over the issue of what the significant other has been stuffing into his or her head via the printed page.

So when we give someone a book, we are also delivering a complex message. It may be: “I love this book and I love you enough to share it with you.” It may be, a little more bossily: “You need to read this.” It may be: “I understand you and know you will like this.” It may be: “I respect you.” It may just be: “I see you.”

Books are frozen voices, in the same way that musical scores are frozen music. The score is a way of transmitting the music to someone who can play it, releasing it into the air where it can once more be heard. And the black alphabet marks on the page represent words that were once spoken, if only in the writer’s head. They lie there inert until a reader comes along and transforms the letters into living sounds. The reader is the musician of the book: each reader may read the same text, just as each violinist plays the same piece, but each interpretation is different.

So when you give a well-loved book to someone else, it is above all an act of trust: you are trusting the recipient not to massacre the book in his or her interpretation of it.

Read more about speaker Margaret Atwood

Indisputable Proof (Sort of) That College Students Love Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs

Every year, designer John Gall asks his first-year students to design a book cover for their all-time favorite book. Unsurprisingly, Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs — which the Onion AV Club calls, correctly, “one of the brightest pieces of pop analysis to appear this century” — is the most popular book among the students. Going on anecdotal evidence, I have a feeling that similar polls would yield similar results. College kids love Chuck Klosterman; ‘nuff said. On a related note, here’s a New Yorker interview with the guy who actually designs Klosterman’s iconic book covers.

Photos above via John Gall’s Spine Out blog

Read more about keynote speaker Chuck Klosterman