The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

The Lavin Weekly: An Atlantic Interview, Fake News, Robot-Proof Kids, and What Really Caused the Agricultural Revolution

In this Lavin Weekly, Nikole Hannah-JonesAtlantic Interview; Derek Thompson talks fake news; Martin Ford is asked if a person can robot-proof their kid’s future; and Reza Aslan breaks down the agricultural revolution. 

1.“Whether you have integrated communities or segregated communities, you have school segregation.” 

The Atlantic Interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones came out this week. It’s enlightening and devastating and candid. Hannah-Jones asks, “is there a single place in this country where black kids are getting the same education as white kids? No. Not one. I challenge any listener, if you know of a place, and you can send the data, send it to me.” 


2. “The mere exposure of any stimulus to you, biases you toward that stimulus.”

“This is called the ‘mere exposure effect,’” says Derek Thompson in Big Think this week. And “it’s one of the big reasons why it’s difficult to myth-bust on television or myth-bust in journalism.” It’s a brain quirk. And sites like Facebook have an ethical responsibility not to exploit it. 


3. “The most vulnerable jobs in the robot economy are those involving predictable, repetitive tasks.”

However even some creative fields are at risk, says Martin Ford in the New York Times this week. In May, Google’s AlphaGo software defeated a 19-year-old Chinese master at Go—considered the world’s most complicated board game. “If you talk to the best Go players, even they can’t explain what they’re doing. They’ll describe a it as a ‘feeling.’ It’s moving into the realm of intuition. And yet a computer was able to prove that it can beat anyone in the world.” 


4. “The agricultural revolution might have been a net negative for humanity.”

Why did we stop hunting and gathering, and planting and harvesting instead? Reza Aslan suggests in Big Think this week that religion is the culprit: “In order to feed the workers who built massive temples over the course of many decades, and the thousands of people who would come to the temple, it was necessary to come up with food surplus options … but we’ve discovered now that the process of farming actually created a whole range of new disease and social problems.” 


Lavin speakers are some of the best in the world. To book one of these keynote speakers for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency. 

The Lavin Weekly: Broken Glass, Brain Software, A La Carte Reality, and Contagious Violence

In this Lavin Weekly, Teju Cole explores the role of broken glass in photojournalism; David Eagleman asks about the brain’s basic cognitive software; Jelani Cobb talks about what it’s like to be a journalist in the Trump era; and Derek Thompson explains how mass shootings are infectious. 

1. “The images that have stayed with me from the Las Vegas massacre are of broken glass.”

Because photojournalists can’t print photographs of the dead, when something like the tragedy in Vegas occurs, broken glass if left to tell the story: “An intact window is interesting mainly for its transparency. But when the window breaks, what intrigues us is the brittleness that was there all along.” Read Teju Cole’s full article, which made the cover of The New York Times this week.


2. “What is it that’s special about the human brain that allows creativity to happen?” 

“What is the basic cognitive software that’s running in the human brain that takes things in and spits out ideas?” Asks neuroscientist David Eagleman in a Big Think video this week. That’s the fundamental question that drove Eagleman (and co-writer, composer Anthony Brandt) to write their new book The Runaway Species, a moving examination of human creativity, as well as a practical guide to maximizing innovation at work and at home.  


3. “We have the echo chamber effect.”

“There’s this a la carte approach to reality, where if you want to view the world in a particular way you can find the information that justifies you having that point of view,” says Jelani Cobb in an insightful interview with the Columbia Journalism Review about race and journalism in Trump’s America. 


4. “Mass shootings in America are spreading like a disease.” 

“Each murderous event normalizes, or encourages, new participants to join the movement,” says Derek Thompson in The Atlantic this week, citing a 2015 study that says that mass shootings can spread like diseases “through the vector of mass media.” And male outcasts are most vulnerable to infection. He also talked to CBS news about the phenomenon. 


To book Teju Cole, David Eagleman, Jelani Cobb or Derek Thompson for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency

The Lavin Weekly: America Is Guns, The Origins of Creativity, Disrupted Mayonnaise, and How to Raise Pro-Athletes

In this edition of The Lavin Weekly, James Fallows’ defeated take on the tragedy in Las Vegas; Edward O. Wilson’s colorful description of humanity; Bianca Bosker profiles a Silicon Valley superstar; and Karl Subban explains how he raised three NHL stars. 

1. “This is who we are.”

In the immediate wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas, James Fallows’ Atlantic piece (and video) is not a plea to reform gun laws; it’s a defeated sigh that nothing will change. “No other society allows the massacres to keep happening. Everyone around the world knows this about the United States. It is the worst aspect of the American national identity.” 


2. “When we address human creativity, what we’re dealing with from the start is what makes us human.”

Big Think talks to the father of biodiversity Edward O. Wilson about his new book, The Origins of Creativity: “Modern humanity is distinguished by paleolithic emotions and medieval institutions, like banks and religion, and god-like technology. We’re a mixed up, and in many ways still archaic species, in transition. We are, what I like to call, a chimera of evolution. We walk around and exist in this fairly newly made civilization that we created, a compound of different traits, different origins, and different degrees of forward evolution.” 


3. “Hampton Creek offered idealism that could scale.”

In The Atlantic this week, Bianca Bosker profiles Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick, whose fast ascent in Silicon Valley is being matched only by his descent. “It’s difficult to resist being charmed by Tetrick,” Bosker says of the brain behind Just Mayo. But the question remains: what exactly is the “tech company that happens to be working with food” selling?


4. “Practice mattered to me more than games.”

Karl Subban is the father of three NHL players, including all-star defenceman P.K. Subban. This week the Toronto Star excerpted his new book, How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life. “When you feed a dream, you make it stronger and more likely to happen. That is what Maria and I did as parents … over time, I realized the importance of not only feeding the hockey dream but also building those life skills associated with being a good person.” 


To book a speaker like James Fallows, Edward O. Wilson, Bianca Bosker, or Karl Subban, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive speakers bureau.   

The Lavin Weekly: Europe’s Populism Problem, Personalizing Politics, Disaster Warning Systems, & Digital Age Breakups

In this Lavin Weekly, Yascha Mounk warns of the populist rise in Europe; Angie Thomas interviewed for PBS; Derek Thompson asks why the U.S. doesn’t have warning systems in place for natural disasters; and Esther Perel explains all the different ways we can be dumped in the digital age. 

1. “It would be a mistake to assume that the AfD’s rise will prove to be short-lived.”


“Today, the Islamophobic, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party [took] over 13 percent of the vote and established itself as the country’s third biggest party,” says Yascha Mounk in Slate this week. The professor, author and political theorist documents the disturbing rise of far-right populism across the globe.


2. “I wanted to take things that are made political, and I wanted them to feel personal.”


This week, PBS profiled Angie Thomas, author The Hate U Give, the young adult novel that’s swept the New York Times’ bestseller list, and is now a finalist for the National Book Award and a Kirkus Prize. “I think that some of the greatest work that’s being done right now in our society is through young adult books,” she says.


3. “We’re at a period right now where people don’t want to act to prevent catastrophes until they happen.”


The deadly earthquake in Mexico this week could have been even worse without the country’s early warning system. Why doesn’t the U.S. have one? Atlantic Senior Editor Derek Thompson asks on CBS News. “Even as we’re seeing the benefits of these early warning systems all over the world, the Trump budget for 2017 actually zeros out further development of the West Coast early warning system.” 


4. “Most of history, happiness belonged to the afterlife. You suffered on earth. For god sake’s when did people start seeking bliss on earth!?” 


Ghosting, simmering, icing: author, couples therapist, and consultant on the show The Affair, Esther Perel explains all the different ways you can be dumped in the digital age on WNYC’s Note to Self. “People are bringing consumer mentality to relationships,” she said. “And are caught by the paradox of choice: we relish the freedom of so much choice, but we’re gripped by the tyranny of the self-doubt and uncertainty that comes with it. How do I know that you’re the one? That there’s not a better one?”


To book a speaker like Yascha Mounk, Derek Thompson, Angie Thomas, or Esther Perel for your next public speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive, premiere speakers’ bureau.  

The Lavin Weekly: Instagram’s Hate Filter, Cracks in the Administration, A First for Marvel, & a New Innovator in Residence

In this edition of The Lavin Weekly, Nicholas Thompson explores the ethics of Instagram’s hate speech filter; Matt Taibbi questions the president’s sanity (for real this time); the latest issue of Gabby Rivera’s America is out just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month; and Jer Thorp is the 2017 Library of Congress Innovator in Residence.

1. “Humans are boiling stews of biases and contradictions, and computers don’t have emotions.”

The CEO of Instagram has rolled out a filter that protects users from hate speech and negative comments. Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, questions the ethics of such an algorithm on CBS News and in his Wired feature: “what happens if genuine arguments and thoughtful criticism start to appear less frequently?”  


2. “Can a country be declared unfit?”

Matt Taibbi visited Trump’s campaign rally in Pheonix. “Is this man losing his mind?” he asks in Rolling Stone this week. “Even his followers are starting to look sideways at one another…we’ve never had a chief executive who barked at the moon or saw ghosts—at least, not one who was so public about it.” These cracks in the veneer are disturbing to every American, says Taibbi. Because “now, the mask of respectability is gone…[our] sickness is showing.”


3. “I realized I could build worlds where…I had a right to exist.”

“I get to infuse into [America] my lived experiences of being a brown human in the world; what’s funny to me, what’s exciting to me, what my love relationships are like, I can share that.” Gabby Rivera is the outspoken creative force behind America Chavez: Marvel’s first queer, Latinx superhero that’s catching buzz and praise from the likes of The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NPR and Vogue. Issue #7 is out now.  


4. “As the Library of Congress is a fundamentally public institution, I’m going to make my time there as Innovator in Residence as public as I can.”

Jer Thorp’s work is about making sense of data: giving it meaning, context, narrative; turning it into art so it becomes truly visible to the people who it represents. Starting this week, he will begin his run as the 2017 Library of Congress Innovator-in-Residence. For the next six months he’ll be “exploring the Library’s digital collections and creating an art piece that will be displayed in the Library’s public spaces.” 


The Lavin Agency is premier speakers’ bureau. We proudly represent innovation speakers, creative speakers, and diversity speakers at the forefront of their fields. If you’re looking to book a speaker for your next public speaking event, contact us today.  

The Lavin Weekly: Undercover in North Korea, The DACA Decision, Neoliberal Problems, and Why It’s Okay to Not be Famous

In this Lavin Weekly, Suki Kim tells us how to deal with North Korea; Derek Thompson breaks down the disasterous DACA repeal; Douglas Rushkoff talks about Google’s latest controversy; and Emily Esfahani Smith serves up some hard but important truths. 

1. “The Great Leader can’t be moderated. You can’t be a little bit less god.”

Suki Kim went undercover in North Korea. She disguised herself as a teacher, taught the sons of North Korea’s elite, and got to know the country like no other American citizen has. This week she talked to The Intercept about handling North Korea as a nuclear power. “It’s the center of the universe,” she says. “The rest of the world doesn’t exist. They’ve been living in a complete cult for 70 years.”


2. “The DACA decision, and similar immigration policies, make the entire country worse off.”

This week President Trump repealed DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)—a program that protected more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. Not only is this repeal cruel, unethical, and legally questionable, it’s also, according to Derek Thompson’s article in The Atlantic, economically dangerous.


3. “The space for genuine, independent work is getting smaller and smaller.”

“This is the problem with neoliberalism. Whoever is paying for your bread ends up having some say in what happens,” says Douglas Rushkoff in his interview with Vox on the latest Google controversy. New America Foundation scholar Barry Lynn was a vocal supporter of antitrust regulations against Google. Then he was fired. A series of emails suggests that Google put pressure on New America to fire Lynn, suggesting that even scholarly thought is sullied by corporate influence. 


4. “We all have a circle of people whose lives we can touch and improve—we can find meaning in that.”

“Most young adults won’t achieve the idealistic goals they’ve set for themselves, but that doesn’t mean their lives will lack significance and worth.” And research shows that fame and fortune doesn’t ensure meaning anyway, says Emily Esfahani Smith in The New York Times. It’s the small things that give purpose; the sense of contributing to and connecting to something outside of yourself. “A good life is a life of goodness,” says Esfahani Smith. And that’s something anyone can achieve.  


To book Suki Kim, Derek Thompson, Douglas Rushkoff or Emily Esfahani Smith for your next event, contant The Lavin Agency, their exclusive speakers’ bureau. 

The Lavin Weekly: American Violence, Problem Prosecutors, A Talk With Teju Cole, Women in STEM, and How to Live Longer

The Lavin Weekly is a round-up of our favourite speaker stories of the week. Sometimes our Lavin Speakers are the writers, sometimes they’re the subjects, but always they’re making the world a smarter place. 

This week Rich Benjamin weighs in on Charlottesville; Emily Bazelon exposes a disturbing ethical apathy in American prosecutors; Teju Cole talks about his much-lauded book Blind Spot; Scott Barry Kaufman makes a moving plea for a new theory of human intelligence; and Susan Pinker asks whether loneliness is the public health risk of our time in her newly released TED2017 talk. 


How can the Charlottesville protesters be a “fringe” group of “radicals” when their policies to dismantle affirmative action and restrict immigration are backed by the most powerful man in the country? Rich Benjamin asks in Esquire this week. 


Noura Jackson spent nine years in prison for killing her mother, despite the fact that the prosecution had evidence that would have exonerated her. In her latest New York Times feature, Emily Bazelon uses this story to examine the long history of prosecutorial misconduct in the U.S. 


“The invention of the camera was the invention of a kind of time travel,” says novelist, photographer and critic for The New York Times Teju Cole. In this Signature Reads interview he discusses his latest book Blind Spot, a hybrid of his singular photographs and lyrical prose that’s already been named one of TIME’s best non-fiction books of 2017 so far. 


Why aren’t there more women in STEM disciplines? Because they feel like they don’t belong. The way Scott Barry Kaufman breaks down the psychology of belonging in last week’s Scientific American is so persuasive it becomes undeniable, not unlike the moving TEDx talk he delivered this week calling for a new theory of human intelligence. 


Is isolation the public health risk of our time? Susan Pinker, psychologist and longevity expert examines a remote Italian island on which there are ten times as many centenarians as there are in North America in her newly released TED talk


To find out more about Rich Benjamin, Emily Bazelon, Teju Cole, Scott Barry Kaufman, or Susan Pinker contact The Lavin Agency today.