The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

Beyond Bitcoin 101: New Speaker Michael Casey’s The Age of Cryptocurrency

In The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, new Lavin speaker Michael Casey gives bitcoin—a buzzword, headline, and wildly divisive topic—a rare form of clarity. Along with co-author Paul Vigna, Casey—Senior Advisor to the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and long-time columnist at The Wall Street Journal—provides the definitive answer to common questions: Why should anyone care about bitcoin and cybermoney? And what does it all mean, exactly, for the global economy?

The Age of Cryptocurrency is a must-have guidebook for anyone looking to understand and adapt. According to Fortune, Casey and Vigna “have produced more than a bitcoin 101: theirs is a smarter, more holistic take on not just bitcoin, but the potential of all digital currencies to change the way we send each other money.” The New York Times calls it a “thorough, timely and colorful book [and] a rewarding place to learn about it all.” And The Washington Post gives it a glowing review, praising the authors’ ability to:

“resist the common temptation to hype their trendy subject. They’ve written a reported explainer that patiently documents bitcoin’s rise, acknowledges its flaws and highlights its promise. Smart and conscientious, The Age of Cryptocurrency is the most thorough and readable account of the short life of this controversial currency.”

As a speaker, Casey makes this economic shift understandable off the page, as well. In his informative keynotes, Casey breaks down and demystifies “blockchain” technology and bitcoin’s disruptive applications, investigating its numerous implications for corporations, schools, and governments alike. Regardless of where we stand, it’s a subject that can’t be ignored or wished away. And with Casey’s accessible, lucid talks, every manager, official, and leader will learn exactly what they need to know to be ready. 

To book Michael Casey for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau. 

Review: The Unwinding By George Packer Is The “Defining Book Of Our Time”

America is coming undone. So says new Lavin speaker George Packer, in his essential New York Times bestseller The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. Weaving together the harrowing stories of real Americans—a factory worker, a Washington insider, and a Silicon Valley billionaire, among others—Packer has crafted an in-depth account of a superpower ready to split at the seams. No longer is “doing what you're supposed to” an assurance that you will claim your slice of The American Dream. If ever you have yearned to understand how the nation has become a place where so many are left to fend for themselves, Packer has provided a cohesive account of what it's like to live in America today. And, how we got here.

Packer's journalistic prowess and skillful handle on the narrative have made him both a bestselling author and gifted speaker. Here's what the critics are saying about The Unwinding:

The Unwinding is the extraordinary story of what’s happened to our country over the past thirty years. George Packer gives us an intimate look into American lives that have been transformed by the dissolution of all the things that used to hold us together. The result is an epic—wondrous, bracing, and true—that will stand as the defining book of our time.”    
—Dexter Filkins, author of
The Forever War

“As with George Orwell’s, each of George Packer’s sentences carries a pulse of moral force. The Unwinding is a sweeping and powerful book that everyone should read.” 
—David Grann, author of
The Lost City of Z

“[The Unwinding] hums—with sorrow, with outrage and with compassion…Packer’s gifts are Steinbeckian in the best sense of that term…[Packer has] written something close to a nonfiction masterpiece.”

“Exemplary journalism…A foundational document in the literature of the end of America.” 
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A broad and compelling perspective on a nation in crisis…An illuminating, in-depth, sometimes frightening view of the complexities of decline and the enduring hope for recovery.”
—Vanessa Bush,
Booklist (starred review)

The Unwinding [is] marked by intensive reporting and strong narrative drive. [John] Dos Passos would be proud.
 —Philip Marchand,
The National Post

“Packer’s is an American voice of exceptional clarity and humanity in a tradition of reportage that renders the quotidian extraordinary. When our descendants survey the ruins of this modern imperium and sift its cultural detritus, American voices like this will be the tiny treasures that endure.”
The Independent (UK)

Maria Konnikova: Unclutter Your Brain Like Mastermind Sherlock Holmes

“It's important to remember that Holmes wasn't born Holmes,” science speaker Maria Konnikova reminds us. “He learned, over time, to think like Sherlock Holmes.” That means that we all have the potential to learn his astute powers of observation, as Konnikova argues that the famous sleuth's intuition came from years of practice and constructive feedback. Author of the book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Konnikova is a psychologist who teaches audiences to master the ever-present mindfulness, careful observation and logical deduction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective. And, once you do, you can improve your ability to problem solve, increase your memory, and expand your creative abilities.

“To Holmes,” she says in this Big Think segment, “the entire thought-process is akin to a scientist who is doing a research experiment. For him, the mind is like an attic.” What this means, Konnikova says, is that you can only store a finite amount of information in your brain. What you store—and how you store it—is incredibly important. Through in-depth analysis of Doyle's fictional character and cutting-edge neuroscience, she has developed a strategy on how to carefully map, and fully utilize, your “brain attic.”

One of the most important ways to think like Sherlock, she says, is to prime yourself before you even begin delving into a problem. Decide what you hope to accomplish from a task before you tackle it, so that you can focus on the key components of it before you dig in. Our attention is finite, and we must be selective about which information we put into our “brain attic”, and what we leave out. Once you have composed your findings, she also advises that you step back before immediately coming to conclusions. Be imaginative, and try to see if you've missed anything. “The reason I stress [imagination],” she says, “is that people tend to forget it when they think about the scientific method.” In her breakthrough talks and her “Literally Psyched” column for Scientific American, Konnikova shows us what we can learn from literary legends like Sherlock Holmes. And, how we can all become masterminds.

Emily Bazelon, A Speaker on Bullying, Extolls the Virtues of Empathy

While it's commonly said that 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,' our new speaker Emily Bazelon begs to differ. A speaker on bullying, with a new book titled Sticks and Stones (playing off the popular saying, check out the book trailer here), Bazelon has become a leading authority on the impact that chronic verbal and psychological abuse has on children. She also has a secondary layer to her work. As she explained to us, the goal of her investigative journalism was not only to understand the impact of bullying on its victims—but also the mindset of those doing the bullying. It's important to understand both sides of the problem, she argues, in order to develop a culture of respect in social environments.

Her work is an important contribution to the conversation about how to deal with bullying in schools. As the New York Times says, Sticks and Stones is an “authoritative and important book [that] should not only be read by educators and parents alike, but should also be taught in law schools and journalism schools.” Not only that, but her 2010 Slate coverage of the suicide of Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince earned her several prestigious awards. Articulate and honest, Bazelon has spoken about the topic of bullying to students, parents, and teachers, and at the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Texas Bar Association, and at TEDxWomen, as well.

Able to tailor her talks to a specific audience, Bazelon uses her first hand experience researching the way bullying takes place in high schools to pinpoint how to react to bullying—and how not to. She also draws on her time as a legal scholar to address the legal ramifications of bullying both in schools and after class is dismissed. It's important to define bullying in a limited way, says Bazelon. While it is good practice to follow the “if it's mean, intervene” mantra, she says you also have to take into account that bullying typically involves repetitive abuse. Understanding the different types of bullies that exist and the ways that bullying has changed (with the advent of cyber bullying and what she calls “Facebook thugs”) is key to drafting a solution to the problem. Further, she says the development of character and empathy from a young age is a crucial component to developing tolerant and safe spaces for both kids and adults alike.

Mastermind: Maria Konnikova on How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

Is it possible to think like the world's most famous fictional sleuth? Yes, says The Lavin Agency's newest speaker Maria Konnikova. The psychology speaker and author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes has spent years researching the literary works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and has fused an in-depth study of the legendary character with cutting edge neuroscience to help her audiences adopt Holmes' techniques. Using the detective's strategies of ever-present mindfulness, careful observation and logical deduction, Konnikova argues that anyone can improve their memory, problem solving skills, and creative ability.

Here are some reviews of Konnikova's book, which she distills in her fascinating—and practical—talks:

“Based on modern neuroscience and psychology, the book explores Holmes’s aptitude for mindfulness, logical thinking and observation…shares strategies that can lead to clearer thinking…help people become more self-aware.”
Washington Post

“Those seeking to understand the neurological and psychological underpinnings of the great detective’s mind will find a knowledgeable guide in Konnikova.”
—Barnes & Noble Review

“A delightful tour of the science of memory, creativity, and reasoning, illustrated with the help of history’s most famous reasoner, Sherlock Holmes himself. Maria Konnikova is an engaging and insightful guide to this fascinating material, which will help you master your own mind.”
Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought

“‘You know my methods,’ Sherlock Holmes once said to Dr. Watson. ‘Apply them!’ Science writer Maria Konnikova has made those instructions the inspiration for what turns out to be a delightfully intelligent book. Using Holmes and Watson as both muse and metaphor, she shows us some of modern psychology’s most important lessons for using our minds well. I probably won’t be able to solve murders after having read Mastermind, but I will have much to reflect on.”
—Carl Zimmer, author of Soul Made Flesh and Parasite Rex

Eyal Press: Why Some People”Break Ranks” For The Greater Good

What happens when your moral stance clashes drastically with the norm? Who are the people that “break ranks” to follow their conscience—and disobey authority in the process? Eyal Press, our newest exclusive speaker, is seeking out answers to these probing questions. In his newest book, Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times, he profiles people who stood up for their moral convictions in the face of extreme consequences. In the book, he explores the fine line between doing what's right—and doing what you're told.

Born in Jerusalem and raised in Buffalo, Press is an award-winning journalist and author. He has written extensively on the intersection of morality and politics and has covered diverse topics spanning from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to urban poverty. He also covered the highly controversial topic of abortion in his book Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict that Divided America. In the book, he chronicles the anti-abortionist threats hurled toward his father—a local doctor—and examined how certain convictions polarize and divide the country. These are themes that he also unpacks in his talks. Combining historical analysis with revolutionary research by neuroscientists and moral psychologists, he sheds light on a truly intriguing part of the human psyche. Dramatic and resonant, Press asks us to consider what our own moral compass means—and how far we're willing to go to follow it.

The Do-It-Yourself Life: Molly Crabapple’s Creative Approach To The World

Molly Crabapple—a new Lavin exclusive speaker—is an artist whose work has appeared on CNN, in Vice magazine (for whom she covered the Spanish General Strike), and in the collections of esteemed museums worldwide. The New York Times calls her a “downtown phenomenon,” and she was one of the main artistic voices at Occupy Wall Street. (She even famously wrote about her arrest for CNN). Crabapple learned how to draw in a Parisian bookstore, and at age 22, she founded Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. It's a chain of alternative drawing classes that now has branches in 140 cities, and has produced events at venues including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Brooklyn Museum. With a multi-disciplinary, engaged and intellectually rebellious Do-It-Yourself attitude, Crabapple is making herself seen—and heard—around the world.

In lively and visually breathtaking talks, Crabapple explains how the old model of a creator or creative type—a person who does one thing well, and depends on institutions for support—is falling by the wayside. She talks about her own projects—like when she locked herself in a hotel room, covered the walls in paper, stretched herself to the limits of her endurance and filled 270 square feet of wall with art—and explores the future of art in an increasingly DIY-centric world.

Adam Alter: Small Environmental Cues Can Change How We Behave

The Lavin Agency is pleased to welcome our new exclusive speaker, Adam Alter. At NYU’s Psychology Department and Stern School of Business, Alter researches how external influences—such as the weather, geography, colors and location—have a deep impact on our consciousness. His forthcoming book, Drunk Tank Pink, focuses on the intersection between the psychology of judgement and decision making, and our marketing techniques and behavioural economics.

In fascinating talks, Alter describes how even the tiniest environmental cues affect our emotional, physical, and mental processes. He provides deep insight into the way our surroundings infiltrate our actions and reactions—right down to the names we assign to things, and the symbols and images we create on a daily basis. How we can use this information to work smarter, lead better and live more cognitively healthy lives? Alter provides an eye-opening look at the complex relationship between our inner monologue and the sights and sounds of the outside world, and gives tips on what needs to be done to our policies, our consumer tactics and even our infrastructures in order to bring more balance to our lives.