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The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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

Black History Month is More Important Now Than Ever Before. The 12 Top BHM Speakers on The Past, Present, and Future

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES

The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of ‘The 1619 Project’—the #1 NYT bestseller which has now been adapted into a six-part docuseries on Hulu—says that Black history is American history. Nikole Hannah-Jones was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her work in uncovering the real origin story of Black Americans, and with it the true history of democracy.

 

HEATHER MCGHEE

Racism doesn’t just harm people of color—it harms us all. Heather McGhee traveled across the country, speaking with ordinary people nationwide, to reveal how racism has an economic cost for everyone, and how, by fighting it, we can all prosper together. Drawing on her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Usas well as the Young Readers edition and podcast of the same name—she offers vital stories of hope and solidarity across lines of division.

JELANI COBB

In the fight for racial justice, we must face the past to forge a better future, says Columbia Journalism School Dean and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb. As a long-time staff writer at the New Yorker and editor of the magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black LivesJelani explores the complexities of race and inequality, while offering guidance for the future.

 

CLINT SMITH

Our understanding of Black American history has been incomplete for a long time, says Clint Smith. As the author of the #1 NYT bestseller How the Word Is Passed, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was named to The NYT’s 10 Best Books of the Year, Clint offers a compelling exploration of the legacy of slavery. He travelled to nine sites across the country and beyond to show how the marks of our past continue to shape our cities, our policies, and the stories we tell—and how we can work towards a fuller, more equitable story for everyone.

 

MINNIJEAN BROWN-TRICKEY

Making history as one of the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown-Trickey faced down angry mobs and armed guards at only 15 years old to become one of the first Black teenagers to attend what had previously been a whites-only school. This fiery activist’s role in desegregating public schools, as well as her years of work as an award-winning teacher, writer, and community worker, has made her a civil rights legend.

 

ANNETTE GORDON-REED

The first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, Annette Gordon-Reed played a crucial role in helping Juneteenth (a day that commemorates the end of slavery) gain national recognition. Drawing on her acclaimed book On Juneteenth, this MacArthur Genius shows us how the legacy of this holiday continues to influence us and our fight for racial justice today, and how we can keep striving for progress together.

 

TITUS KAPHAR

Art has the power to reframe our history. When you dislodge history from its status as the “past,” you unearth its contemporary relevance, says award-winning artist Titus Kaphar. This MacArthur Genius, whose powerful artwork on the Ferguson protests appeared on the cover of TIME, works with history and his own story—familial and personal—to offer a stirring portrait of the here and now and tell the stories that have long remained untold.

 

GEORGE M. JOHNSON

An award-winning non-binary author and activist named to the TIME100 Next, George M. Johnson is the author of the NYT bestseller All Boys Aren’t Blue, one of the most banned books in the country. A powerful story of growing up as a young Black queer boy, their memoir was called “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but clear-eyed love for its subjects” (New York Times).

 

ANNA GIFTY OPOKU-AGYEMAN

Co-founder of the only non-profit organization addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in fields of economics, finance, and policy, Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman aims to forge a path forward. Drawing on her book The Black Agenda, which features Black voices across diverse fields of policy, Anna offers practical and surprisingly simple ways to fight discrimination in the workplace and beyond, ensuring that everyone—especially Black women and our other marginalized communities—has what they need to thrive.

 

KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD

Almost every company nationwide believes in the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. So why are many organizations still struggling to hire and retain diverse talent? Harvard Kennedy School professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad, award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness, explores the history behind our failure to implement true DEI. And he explains the three barriers—efficiency, color-blindness, and investment—that we must overcome if we want the best ideas and talent for our companies today.

 

RACHEL L. SWARNS

“Slavery is more than just history,” says Rachel L. Swarns. “It lives with us, all of us, now.” As author of The 272—an acclaimed addition to our understanding of our national story that’s been widely discussed, from NPR’s Fresh Air to The New York Times—Rachel reveals the compelling story of the families that were enslaved and sold by Catholic priests to build Georgetown University and the Catholic Church itself. She offers audiences a fuller picture of slavery’s contemporary legacy—and gives us hope for one day transcending it.

 

MARGOT LEE SHETTERLY

The story of NASA’s “human computers” was mostly untold—until Margot Lee Shetterly published her #1 NYT bestseller, Hidden Figures. Now a hit film, Hidden Figures illuminates the stories of the Black women mathematicians who were instrumental in getting humans to the moon. In sweeping, dramatic detail, Margot sheds light on a forgotten but key chapter in our history, inspires us to seek out diverse talent and stories, and instills in us a sense of wonder and possibility.

 

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month is a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the significant contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. Every February, this month provides a focused period to reflect on the struggles, successes, and persistent spirit of Black communities. A BHM event is a chance to learn more about the rich cultural heritage, the relentless pursuit of civil rights, and the influences of Black people in America.

 

What makes this month significant?

Black history has shaped the social, political, and economic fabric of society. By spotlighting the stories and legacies that are often overlooked, Black History Month fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of Black history as an integral part of the collective human experience.

 

Why book a Black History Month speaker?

Booking a Black History Month speaker is key for fostering education and awareness about the pivotal role of Black individuals in history. Black History Month speakers inspire audiences, bolster effective diversity and inclusion efforts, initiate important dialogues on racial justice, and strengthen community bonds. Our top BHM keynote speakers go into the many facets of Black history and life—uncovering realities that have remained hidden in the public.

BHM speakers offer a dynamic and personal approach to understanding and appreciating a vital part of our shared human story.

Watch a short highlight reel featuring these speakers and more:

Top 10 AI Speaker Radhika Dirks: AI Is Revolutionizing Possibility Itself

What does Radhika speak about?

Radhika is one of the world’s foremost voices on the human implications of AI—what this technology means for us, and how we can turn it to our advantage. In powerfully hopeful talks, she illuminates the limitless possibilities of generative AI in every field, then breaks down the strategy and tactics that every business leader needs to gain an edge in the AI future.

Every moonshot needs stepping-stones, Radhika says—you don’t get to Mars in one leap. You have to try different paths and pick up expertise in different fields, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process. But with generative AI, which draws from diverse sources of information across the internet, you can achieve these stepping-stones almost for free. “What used to take billions of dollars now takes thousands of dollars, or even hundreds,” Radhika says. “And most people don’t realize that. They’re still looking at what productivity tools they can use. But generative AI is so much bigger than that.”

Radhika draws on her wealth of experience in AI (from fintech to healthcare to data management) to show you and your organization how to navigate this new landscape of possibility. She’s worked in tiny startups and massive corporations, which makes her uniquely positioned to offer tailored solutions for any organization. Incorporating AI isn’t one-size-fits-all, Radhika says. But with her experience, she can help your organization develop a plan and take advantage of the opportunities of today (and tomorrow).

Who is Radhika?

This visionary AI innovation speaker has been a vital part of the conversation around AI since 2014, when her AI program predicted the rise of ISIS before The New York Times even coined the term. She’s been named to Forbes‘s 30 Women in AI to Watch and Deloitte’s top women in the AI world. She co-founded XLabs, the world’s first AI moonshot factory, where her technology found potential cures for 11 cancers within its first 1.5 years.

She was also a founding member of Shell’s $1.5B venture capital group and was COO of Rotary Gallop, a game theory-based fintech firm. Her work on quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence has been cited hundreds of times, and she’s been featured everywhere from Fast Company to the BBC.

How do I learn more about Radhika?

Interested in learning more about this top AI innovation speaker? Get in touch with us at our Contact Us page, read more about Radhika and our other top AI speakers, or watch a short video about how generative AI is changing the core of who we are as humans:

Top 10 AI Speaker Kate Crawford: Artificial Intelligence Is “Neither Artificial nor Intelligent”

What does Kate speak about?

Artificial Intelligence is already playing a powerful role in our everyday lives—from the AI voice assistants like Alexa and Siri that we use every day, to the generative AI tools like ChatGPT that are already revolutionizing everything about our workplaces, homes, and even our identity. But despite that, we often think of AI as abstract and opaque.

Kate has been at the cutting edge of AI research for two decades and is uniquely positioned to help us understand what goes into the technology we use every day, what’s at stake if we don’t take control of it today, and how to forge a path towards a better future.

“We urgently need more forensic investigation that will reveal the fuller picture of how AI is designed, and the longer implications of these technical infrastructures,” Kate says. “Because the AI tools that we use today have profound implications for how we’re terraforming ourselves, our culture, and the Earth itself.”

In her smart yet accessible talks, Kate shows us how AI is “made” in the fullest sense: from data, human labor, and environmental resources. She draws from her 20 years of AI research around the world, as well as her journeys to field sites—from lithium mines to Amazon warehouses to Jeff Bezos’ rocket base. She reveals how AI is amplifying discrimination and inequality, and offers paths forward for research and policy that address the political, social, and economic effects of AI.

Who is Kate?

This top AI ethics speaker is a professor at USC Annenberg, a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in New York, and the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Her wide experience from two decades at the cutting edge of tech has made her one of the world’s leading AI researchers.

She’s the author of the award-winning Atlas of AI, a unique and grounded behind-the-scenes look at the complex topic of artificial intelligence. It was named to The Wall Street Journal‘s Five Best Books to Read to Get Smart About AI, and Nature called it “meticulously researched and superbly written.” She has also created award-winning collaborative projects with major artists around the world, like her “Anatomy of an AI System” with Vladan Joler and her viral app ImageNet Roulette with Trevor Paglen.

How do I learn more about Kate?

Interested in learning more about this top AI ethics speaker? Get in touch with us at our Contact Us page, read more about Kate and our other top AI speakers, or watch an exclusive Lavin video about why rethinking the “infrastructure of AI” is so important:

Top 10 AI Speaker Nicholas Thompson: Behind the Scenes of the Silicon Valley Giants’ AI Strategy

What does Nick speak about?

Now that generative AI can write and draw—and do so many other tasks—as well as any human, what opportunities present themselves? What hazards need to be addressed? What parts of your work can be outsourced to Artificial Intelligence, and is that necessarily bad? And do creativity and the “human factor” matter even more in the face of increasing automation?

Nick Thompson has the answers. There’s no one more qualified than him to help you understand not only what generative AI is, but also how it affects you—and what’s next. “We’re driving 160 miles an hour with this technology and trying to make ethical decisions—which is a lot harder than when you’re driving 20 miles an hour—but they’re not going to slow down because of all of the money and power that’s at stake right now,” Nick tells Lavin.

In vital and inspiring talks, he maps out where we’re going for the next weeks, months, and years, showing us what we can be doing today to gain an edge, and how to make sense of the changes that are already underway.

Who is Nick?

Nick’s years of experience covering tech make him a leading analytical voice in the field, where he uncovers how each new development will impact us all. As CEO of The Atlantic, he’s led the team to National Magazine Award wins for unprecedented coverage of the Covid-19 Pandemic, new perspectives on 9/11, the case to return the national parks to Native American tribes, and more. Previously, as editor-in-chief of WIRED, he broke massive stories about Facebook’s hidden flaws, cyber-warfare, the Robert Mueller investigation, and numerous other topics, and oversaw work that won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and has even led to Oscar-winning films. He’s also one of the top influencers on LinkedIn, where he has 1.7 million followers and posts a video every day about the most interesting thing in tech.

How do I learn more about Nick?

Interested in learning more about this top AI business speaker? Get in touch with us at our Contact Us page, read more about Nick and our other top AI speakers, or watch an exclusive Lavin video about incorporating ChatGPT into your company:

Why Empathy Is a Vital Ingredient for True DEI: Stanford Psychologist Jamil Zaki

Jamil Zaki is one of the brightest lights in psychology. He shows that kindness is not a sign of weakness but a source of strength.”Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

Empathy is the greatest tool for leaders who want to encourage teamwork, well-being, and innovation in their organizations. There are even different kinds of empathy that we can use strategically to achieve different goals. “For instance, diversity and inclusion training is more effective if it’s coupled with training in cognitive empathy: trying to step into the perspective of someone who is different from yourself,” says Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness and a top mental health speaker. But how do you actually implement it in the day-to-day?

Good news, says Jamil: empathy is a skill that anyone can learn and strengthen. And when we develop this skill in ourselves and our cultures, we’ll build workplaces where employees and leaders are not only happier, but also more innovative and effective.

In practical talks, Jamil offers research-backed strategies for leaders to strengthen their empathy. He speaks without blame—one of the most compelling aspects of empathy, he says, is that it allows you to engage in meaningful conversations about inclusion without feeling like you have to wade through a “muddy river of guilt” first. He demonstrates how you can put different kinds of empathy into practice, using tools like “precision listening” to ensure people from all backgrounds and perspectives feel seen, heard, and understood.

Is a Narrow Focus on Group Identity Making It Harder for Us to Get Along? Yascha Mounk on Saving Our Democracy

The Identity Trap brings vital context to some of the most fraught and divisive debates of our time.Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard’s Alphonse Fletcher University Professor

“Group identities will always be a part of a diverse democracy. That’s perfectly fine and perfectly healthy,” Yascha tells Lavin. But when we start to see those identities as the only thing that defines us—that’s when we fall into what the Johns Hopkins professor calls “the identity trap.” When we’re in this trap, we wall ourselves off in our own echo chambers, convincing ourselves that politics is an “us vs. them” game, and we lose our ability to meet in the middle and make progress together.

But there is a way out. In his urgent and timely new book, The Identity Trap, Yascha “proposes an alternative to the ceaseless combat between ‘woke’ and ‘anti-woke’ extremes—one that takes seriously the enduring malignant legacy of systemic discrimination yet correctly identifies that universal values, not group solidarity, offer the surest path to justice, fairness, and enduring social peace” (New York Times columnist David French).

In compelling talks, Yascha shows us how to get out of the identity trap and come together for a future where we aren’t defined solely by the groups we’re in, but rather by the tastes and quirks that truly make us unique. He offers strategies for promoting healthy discussion without falling into extremism on either end—for example, “engage the reasonable middle rather than the loud extremes”—and shares practical takeaways that can help us move forward together.

“To build a better society, we must overcome the prejudices and enmities that have for so much of human history boxed us into the roles seemingly foreordained by our gender, our sexual orientation, or the color of our skin,” Yascha says. “We should keep striving for a society in which categories like race, gender, and sexual orientation matter a lot less than they do now because what each of us can accomplish—and how we all treat each other—no longer depends on the groups into which we were born.”

Why Does Everything Seem Slightly Off These Days? Naomi Klein on Reclaiming Our Politics—and Ourselves

Extreme conspiracies taken as fact. Uncannily lifelike AI-generated content. A democracy so divided it’s impossible to know who we can trust. How do we find our way back from a landscape rife with doubles and confusion?

Naomi Klein knows how. A legendary activist and critic described as “one of the few revolutionary public intellectuals of great integrity and vision” (Cornel West), Naomi examines this Mirror World in her new book, Doppelganger. She begins by discussing her own doppelganger, Naomi Wolf—author of The Beauty Myth and once a liberal feminist icon, now turned “an industrial-scale disseminator of vaccine-related medical misinformation”—and what being confused for the “Other Naomi” did to her sense of self. She then turns to the other doubles and sources of disorientation that we’re all experiencing, offering us not only a look at how we got here, but also a way to get ourselves out.

In empathetic talks, Naomi shows us how we can navigate the overlapping crises that have “taken humanity somewhere we have not been before, a place close but different—everything so familiar and yet more than a little off.” Author Judith Butler says that Naomi “moves her reader toward the truer grounds of solidarity in these times, letting ourselves be upended by what we thought we could not bear to see so that we can face and build an affirmative future.”

“Our world has changed but, as if we’re having a collective case of jet lag, most of us are still attuned to the rhythms and habits of the place and selves we left behind,” Naomi says. “It’s past time to find our bearings.”

Watch Naomi explain how to escape the Mirror World and get back to what really matters:

Eight Speakers for Your World Mental Health Day Event: From Finding Purpose to Leveraging Your Anxiety

Self-Compassion Is Your Secret Superpower

How do you boost motivation, persevere longer, and become a better performer? The answer is simple, says Kristin Neff: be kind to yourself. The UT Austin professor, who pioneered the field of self-compassion, shares simple and actionable strategies from her bestselling books to help you harness this superpower. Her science-based guidance shows you how to bolster resilience and transform how you work and live.

Watch Kristin’s TEDx talk on self-esteem and self-compassion.

 

The Skill of “Deep Curiosity” Is Your Key to Connection and Creativity

“Deep curiosity” is our compass to navigating differences, sidestepping negative behaviors, and controlling anxiety, says Scott Shigeoka. Drawing from his research at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and his eagerly awaited book Seek, Scott shows us how to practice transformative curiosity and develop better workplace teams and personal relationships. When we harness the power of curiosity, we can bridge the disparities we encounter and foster a more inclusive world.

Watch Scott explain how “deep curiosity” differs from shallow curiosity.

 

 

Leading Others Starts with Leading—and Talking to—Yourself

The voice inside your head can be your worst critic—but it can also be your best coach, says Ethan Kross, bestselling author of Chatter and University of Michigan professor. In talks, the award-winning psychologist reveals practical steps to becoming your own coach, taking control of the conversations you have with yourself, boosting motivation, overcoming impostor syndrome, and gaining an edge.

Watch Ethan talk about how to stop your inner voice from being cruel.

 

 

Anxiety Feels Bad, but It’s Actually Good for You

Anxiety is uncomfortable. But it’s also a vital tool that helps us plan for a hopeful future, says psychologist Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, author of Future Tense. Through a new framework for anxiety, real-world examples, and groundbreaking research, Tracy helps us see anxiety (which is just a natural response to uncertainty!) as a tool we can leverage rather than be overwhelmed by—sparking boundless change.

Watch Tracy break down the three steps to using anxiety to your advantage.

 

 

The Four Pillars of Meaning Can Help You Find Purpose

Finding our purpose can be transformative, and Emily Esfahani Smith is on a mission to show us how. Drawing from her book The Power of Meaning, she reveals the “four pillars” that can help you develop motivation and grace. In her inspiring talks (like her popular TED Talk with over 5M views!), she offers actionable strategies that help you find meaning in your day-to-day and thrive at work and beyond.

Watch Emily’s viral TED Talk on the power of finding meaning.

 

 

In the Story of Your Life, Are You a Side Character—or the Hero?

Don’t let your story be told for you—take control of it, says Lori Gottlieb. The instant New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and renowned psychotherapist, Lori offers a unique perspective on how we navigate our mental health. If the story you’re telling about your life, your relationships, or your purpose is keeping you stuck—then it’s time for a change.

Watch Lori’s TED Talk on how changing your story can change your life.

 

 

Happiness, or Success? Good News: You Don’t Have to Choose

You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness when chasing success, says Dan Lerner. In fact, putting your well-being first helps you do better at work and in life. Dan is a positive psychologist and creator of NYU’s most popular elective, “The Science of Happiness.” His electric talks spark real change in how we see the world, proving that we must prioritize our well-being to unlock our full potential.

Watch Dan talk about how “harmonious passion” is the key to a happier life.

 

 

Music Isn’t Just Art. It’s a Tool for Hope and Healing

Music is medicine, says Vijay Gupta—it’s a powerful tool for human well-being. A MacArthur Genius and TED mainstager, Vijay is the founder of Street Symphony, an organization bringing music and art to America’s most disadvantaged communities. “A riveting speaker” (The New Yorker), Vijay shows us the creative ways to revitalize our sense of hope and belonging even in the face of inequality.

Watch Vijay’s TED Talk on how music can spark hope and change the world.

 

 

A Top-Ten Apple Podcast: The Brain, Our Daily Lives and AI on David Eagleman’s Inner Cosmos

David Eagleman has been called “the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun” by The New York Times. He’s a popular TED mainstage speaker. He’s been profiled in the New Yorker. He hosted the Emmy-nominated PBS series The Brain. And he’s the national bestselling author of several books, including Incognito and, most recently, Livewired, a look at brain plasticity that Kirkus called “outstanding popular science.” In talks, David offers unique and accessible insights into everything from neuroscience and creativity, to our future in an AI-dominated world, and beyond.

In Inner Cosmos, David employs captivating storytelling, meticulous research, dynamic interviews, and exciting experiments—helping us understand ourselves, and others, better.

Among many topics, he answers the questions:

  • Is AI truly intelligent? And is it intelligent in the same way humans are? Traditional intelligence tests are ineffective, so David proposes a new test to help us better answer this question.
  • Will writers, artists, and musicians find themselves replaced by AI? (Hint: they won’t!) What are the new capabilities and opportunities emerging instead?
  • How does your brain decide what to buy? How is your decision-making influenced by price, emotions, or your friends? (Turns out, all three play a huge part!)

This podcast is more than just a reflection of David’s expertise—it’s a testament to his exceptional ability to narrate the wonders of the human brain.

Making the Most of Your Most Limited Resource (Time!): Bestselling Author Cassie Holmes

If you’ve ever complained about not having enough hours in the day, Cassie Holmes has good news for you: you already have all the time you need. You just need to rethink what you’re investing it in.

Cassie’s bestseller Happier Hour, which was named to Amazon’s Top 20 Business Books of the Year, is a research-backed guide to building a schedule that is both full and fulfilling. It’s a much-needed antidote to the over-filled schedules that many of us face. We don’t have to sacrifice our wellbeing for productivity, Cassie says—we can actually have both, if we use our time well.

In talks, Cassie draws on her book to give you scientific strategies for making the most out of your time. She’ll show you how to make the time you spend on chores or commuting actually enjoyable, how to “time craft” your schedule around the things that really matter, how to use a “purpose filter” to identify what’s most important, and much more. Her insights are vital—both for individuals looking to become more productive and find purpose, and for leaders who want to get the best out of the people they lead.

“My research has revealed that happiness has agency,” Cassie says. “Happiness is a choice. Every hour of every day.”

How to Get Unstuck: Adam Alter’s New Book Is a Roadmap to Creativity and Success

Everyone feels stuck, whether you’re wrestling through a difficult project or trying to mend a friendship. “People believe that stuckness is inevitable,” says Adam Alter. “And it is—but it turns out to be surmountable.” A New York Times bestselling author and TED mainstage speaker, Adam has spent the past two decades learning how to overcome the forces that keep us stuck, escape our inertia, unleash our full creative potential, and reach our long-term goals.

Adam’s highly anticipated new book Anatomy of a Breakthrough is already winning critical raves and media attention. “I loved it,” says Malcolm Gladwell. In the book, the NYU marketing professor weaves together scientific studies and practical strategies to show how we can flourish in the face of friction. Along the way, he draws lessons from the soccer player who sacrifices the first few minutes of a game in order to win the rest, the “black sheep” method that Pixar uses to boost the innovation of an entire team, the “real-life Dr. House” whose checklists bring him 75% of the way to a breakthrough, and much more.

“Getting stuck and searching for breakthroughs feels messy and unpredictable,” Adam tells Lavin. “But just like building a house or putting together a jigsaw puzzle, there’s a series of steps that together enable you to manufacture breakthroughs and to shrink periods of friction. Anatomy of a Breakthrough is that roadmap.”

Read about Adam’s book in The New York Times: “A wonderful concept. Anatomy of a Breakthrough tackles the internal factors that keep you mired in the mud [and] provides a primer on changing ingrained habits.”

Listen to Adam on Harvard Business Review‘s IdeaCast: “Small bursts of action, even if they’re not themselves directly productive, are great unsticking mechanisms. Just the act of acting itself is one of the best unstickers.”

And watch an exclusive Lavin interview with Adam where he explains how ChatGPT can serve as an “agent of chaos” and help you unlock your best ideas:

The Surprising Secret to High Performance? Talking to Yourself. Ethan Kross, Psychologist and Bestselling Author

Ethan Kross isn’t just a world-renowned scientist, he’s an expert storyteller too. Chatter is the groundbreaking and transformative book the world needs now.
— Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet

We spend up to half our waking hours talking to ourselves. Our inner voice can be unhelpful or downright cruel, but it can also help us work through difficult problems and tap into high performance and innovation at work. Ethan Kross—an award-winning psychologist and University of Michigan professor—calls our inner voice “the Swiss Army knife of the mind,” and shows us how to make it work for us rather than against us. When you turn your inner voice from a critic into a coach, he says, you can avoid burnout and anxiety, and lead yourself (and others) better.

Drawing on his bestselling book Chatter, which grit pioneer Angela Duckworth calls “a masterpiece” and “required reading for all,” Ethan gives you the tools you need to boost motivation and hone your mental fitness. He explains the “2 a.m. chatter strategy” that he’s already taught to executives across the country, and reveals the secrets to breakthrough creativity that everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Microsoft is talking about. (For example, giving yourself a pep talk using your own name is an incredible performance tool!) His surprisingly simple and incredibly practical tools have widespread appeal for leaders and employees at every level.

“Getting lost in negative thought loops is one of the big problems we face as a species,” Ethan tells Lavin. “The good news is that science reveals countless tools that allow us to not just manage chatter, but transform it into an asset rather than a liability.”

“A Master Class in Resilience”: Laurel Braitman’s Stunning New Memoir on Loss, Change, and Growth

“Just as Eat Pray Love and Wild inspired millions, this book will send countless readers on a different — yet no less life-changing or profound — pilgrimage, as it did for me.”— Samin Nosrat, New York Times bestselling author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Laurel is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time TED speaker, as well as the Director of Writing and Storytelling at the Stanford School of Medicine. She helps doctors and medical students tap into the power of storytelling, and proves that telling our own stories can help us communicate better, work through negative emotions, and build community—for healthcare workers, and for everyone else.

In her new book, What Looks Like Bravery, Laurel tells her own story of overcoming loss and learning how to live meaningfully. Laurel’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was three years old. She spent her childhood learning the skills she’d need to survive without him, and inherited his conviction that denying pain is a sign of bravery. But at 36 years old, she realized she needed to stop running from her own negative feelings and finally work through the loss she endured as a child. In her memoir, she takes us on her journey of learning how to navigate change and become more resilient in the process.

In talks, Laurel shows you how to transform loss—both personal and institutional—into opportunities for growth. Whether you’re an executive looking for a path forward through instability, or an educator helping students learn how to deal with change, Laurel’s powerful story and unique perspective will help you not only survive but benefit from the disruption you’re facing. Her talks are a must-listen for anyone wondering how to move forward, develop resilience, and adapt to our new, transformed world.

Watch Laurel’s TED Talk on how telling our own stories can bring us together and improve our mental health:

AI, Human Creativity, and Racial Justice: Five Highlights from Lavin Speakers at SXSW 2023

Heather McGhee

Listen to Heather talk about how racism doesn’t only affect people of color—but impacts everyone. If we can come together across lines of race, we can make a positive impact on society. Heather is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us. She offers us an actionable roadmap during one of the most critical—and most troubled—periods in history.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Nita Farahany

Listen to Nita discuss the growing use of AI and neurotechnology in criminal justice and how technology could have the potential to help us transform our justice system to better serve the people it is meant to protect. Nita is the author of the newly released The Battle For Your Brain, she offers us a much-needed map to navigate today’s fast-changing technological landscape.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

John Maeda

John Maeda talks about how Large Language Model AIs like ChatGPT are providing new hazards and opportunities for the next wave of tech products and services. John is the Microsoft VP of Design and Artificial Intelligence. He champions the necessary role that artists and designers play in the new creative economy. 

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Michael Casey

Michael Casey talks about how new technologies like AI and VR are changing events and our interactions with one another. They offer new experiences and help us to engage in different ways. Michael is the Chief Content Officer of CoinDesk, an award-winning crypto media outlet. He helps leaders prepare for the coming golden age of creativity and collaborative problem-solving.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here.

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff shared his insights on how tech elites are shaping the world in their image—and how, with collective human action, we can still fight for a society we want to live in. He is the bestselling author of Survival of The Richest, and was named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT.

Find more info, and listen to the recording here. 

Juneteenth: Lavin Speakers on the Holiday’s History and Legacy, and Our Continued Fight for Racial Justice

ANNETTE GORDON-REED

The first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, Annette Gordon-Reed played a crucial role in helping Juneteenth gain national recognition. Drawing on her acclaimed book On Juneteenth, she shows us how the legacy of this holiday continues to influence us and our fight for racial justice today, and how we can keep striving for progress together.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES

“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones. She’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Project, the hit anthology that became a #1 New York Times bestselling book and Hulu docuseries. She offers us not only a fuller understanding of our history, but also the tools to make real change today.

 

KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness, says that Juneteenth reminds us that we all have a role to play in challenging oppression. “Juneteenth gives us a chance to look at the twin legacies of slavery and freedom, side by side,” he says, “and helps us to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still must go.”

 

JELANI COBB

Jelani Cobb has spent his whole career investigating inequality and how the past continues to affect us today. As the Dean of Columbia Journalism School, a New Yorker staff writer, and co-editor of that magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black Lives, Jelani shows us why Juneteenth still matters today, and how we can learn from history to create a better future.

MICHELLE COLES

Although freedom was promised to the enslaved Black people over a century ago, Michelle Coles says that Black Americans continue to be “left out of that full promise.” Michelle is the award-winning YA author of Black Was the Ink, as well as a former Department of Justice civil rights attorney. She shows us how we can make the promised freedom a reality for everyone.

AI That Can Read Your Thoughts? It’s Already Here. Nita Farahany on This Technology’s Enormous Potential—and Its Dangers

Nita is the director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. She’s one of the world’s most essential and trusted voices on the rise of these technologies—she even spoke about “cognitive liberty” (the right to freedom of thought) at the recent New York Times DealBook Summit, alongside leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and Volodymyr Zelensky.

A device that tracks your brainwaves can have immense advantages, Nita says. For leaders, it can signal when stress levels are high in the workplace and help you keep morale up; and for workers, it can make you more productive so you have more time for the things that really matter. But we’re at a pivotal moment for these emerging technologies. We need to act today to make sure that we can still maintain our right to freedom of thought and self-determination. “Now is the time,” Nita tells Lavin. “Neurotechnology can transform our lives. I don’t want us to run from it. I want us to figure out a way where the narrative we’re telling five years from now is not surveillance capitalism, but that that was a path we could have gone down—and we chose the other way.”

In this exclusive Lavin video, watch Nita explain how neurotech can boost workplace morale and productivity.

 

Pride Month and LGBT History Month: Celebrate Diversity and Joy with Our LGBTQ+ Speakers

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GEORGE M. JOHNSON

George M. Johnson says true freedom comes from imagination. As the New York Times bestselling author of All Boys Aren’t Blue, their memoir of growing up Black and queer, as well as one of the 2022 TIME100 Next, George shows us how our imagination helps us resist oppression and fight for a hopeful future. “As long as I can continue to imagine a future greater than this one,” George says, “you can’t take my joy from me.”

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GABBY RIVERA

Gabby Rivera is a queer writer on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever. With her solo comic series about America Chavez, a queer Latina superhero, Gabby became the first Latina ever to write for Marvel Comics. Her story of embracing her identity inspires us to transform our differences into sources of strength, resilience, and joy.

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JAMES KIRCHICK

James Kirchick is the instant New York Times bestselling author of Secret City, a sweeping history of the gay powerbrokers and politicians in 20th century Washington, D.C. James tells the story of the unsung heroes who fought tirelessly to create a world where no one has to hide, and shows that it’s in our power as ordinary citizens to make real social change.

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CAS HOLMAN

Award-winning toy designer Cas Holman uses her queer identity to design outside the mainstream. She shows how valuing our different perspectives makes us more creative and curious, and encourages LGBTQ people to lean into their difference. “Your perspective as an outsider is an asset,” she says. “Be confident in the value of the creative work you’ve done just to be who you are.”

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DAVE FLEISCHER

You can reduce prejudice with a single conversation. Dave Fleischer can show you how. He’s the pioneer behind “deep canvassing,” an empirically proven method where one 10-minute conversation reduces prejudice in a long-lasting way. He’s used it to help voters become more accepting of gay and trans people, and he can show you how to change minds, wherever you are.

The Psychological Safety Playbook: Minette Norman’s How-To Guide for Building Successful Teams

Psychological safety is the often-overlooked element that allows groups to take advantage of their diversity. But how do we actually implement it in our organizations?

“Powerful ideas, generously shared. Simple, actionable, and urgent. This book is a must-read for anyone who cares enough to lead.”
— Seth Godin, bestselling author of This Is Marketing

Minette Norman has the answers. Minette joined the male-dominated tech industry as a liberal arts major with no STEM background, and rose through the ranks to become Autodesk’s former VP of Engineering Practice, leading 3500 software professionals with empathy and compassion. Now, she’s condensed the lessons she learned from decades of leadership to create The Psychological Safety Playbook, along with co-author Karolin Helbig. “The world of work could be so much better for everybody,” Minette says. “But that’s only possible if people feel safe to speak up and to be themselves.”

The Psychological Safety Playbook is a simple, practical guide to the how of psychological safety. Designed to bridge the gap between research and practice, the playbook offers 25 specific tools—from normalizing failure to committing to curiosity—that you can use to lead in your work and everyday life. In talks, Minette draws from her book to give you actionable, tried-and-true strategies for becoming a better leader and building more successful teams.

 

Read five of Minette’s essential tools for building psychological safety.

 

And watch Minette explain why psychological safety is the foundation for diversity, equity, and inclusion:

A New Generation Tackles Inequality: Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us, Now Adapted for Young Readers

Heather McGhee says that racism is profoundly damaging for us all, not only for people of color — which means that when we tackle inequality, we create a better future for everyone. In The Sum of Us, she laid out the devastating costs of inequality and charted a hopeful path towards a better future. She continued her work with her The Sum of Us podcast — produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground — in which she travelled America, uncovering stories of everyday people coming together across division to make tangible change in their communities.

Now, she’s bringing her message of solidarity to a new audience — the thinkers, activists, and leaders of tomorrow — with The Sum of Us: Adapted for Young Readers, now on shelves. This accessible book, based on her New York Times bestseller, challenges young readers to fight against inequality and dream of a world in which we can all thrive together. Condensed and equally brilliant, the Young Readers version empowers a new generation of leaders to find strength and hope in each other.

Your Fall ’23 Events: Our Top Diversity and Culture Speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month

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Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa made history as the first Latina in space—but she didn’t stop there. Instead, she became the first Hispanic director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where she transformed its company culture to welcome diverse voices like her own. Today, she uses her story to encourage young women and Latinx people to make change and reach for the stars.

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Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a feminist icon and the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author. Her books, including The House of the Spirits and Eva Lunahave sold over 70 million copies in more than 40 languages. Her talks and advocacy work are a testament to her powerful story, through which she inspires young people to follow their passion and speak out for a better world.

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Jamil Zaki

We tend to think of empathy as an innate trait, but Jamil Zaki says it’s actually a skill that can be learned—and when we practice it, we become not only kinder, but also more creative and successful. As Director of the Stanford Neuroscience Lab, Jamil draws on his research to show how the Hispanic community can use empathy to build bridges and fight for true diversity.

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Ellen Bennett

Ellen Bennett was a 24-year-old line cook when she took her savings and started her own apron brand—which became the largest gourmet apron manufacturer in the world. Now a multi-million dollar brand, it’s beloved by the likes of Martha Stewart and has been featured in Forbes. This half-Mexican powerhouse inspires young Hispanic people to dream big.

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Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera has spent her life telling stories that celebrate queer Latinx joy. She’s the first Latina ever to write for Marvel Comics. She penned the solo series AMERICA about the superhero America Chavez: a queer Latina like herself. Through her wildly fun and dynamic projects, Gabby encourages us all to embrace our differences and tell our own unique, joyful stories.

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Andrea Elliott

Andrea Elliott is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Invisible Child, her decade-in-the-making masterpiece on inequality in America. Drawing on her book, a sweeping saga that follows a girl named Dasani growing up in a Brooklyn homeless shelter, Andrea reveals how we can work together to build a kinder and more just world for every child.

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Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple fights injustice with beauty. She uses her Emmy-nominated, award-winning artwork to illuminate the issues we face today, and the hopeful future we can have if we take action. She shows us how to make change by using art to shift the narratives we tell about marginalized communities, and how to use our creativity to find both joy and solidarity.

Your Fall ’23 Events: Lavin Speakers for Orientation and Welcome Week

As the school year winds down, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your events for the Fall 2023 semester. Lavin’s speakers explore topics that matter to college audiences—from pop culture to inclusion to working through your climate anxiety—and inspire people of all ages to think more deeply. Drawing on their unique expertise, our speakers make the most crucial topics of today accessible to everyone, sparking conversation and helping us look at these ideas in a new way.  

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Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges us to look beyond the boundaries that divide us, and find a common ethical ground in a world of division. Drawing on his work as The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine, he shows us how to develop a new morality that celebrates our common humanity while still embracing our differences and diverse identities.

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Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is our most insightful and hilarious guide to culture—pop culture. He’s investigating the biggest pop culture phenomena of our time, showing how pop culture is actually a conversation that anyone can engage in. In his instant New York Times bestselling books and brilliant talks, Chuck both entertains and informs audiences on our unique cultural moment. 

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Britt Wray

Britt Wray knows that our anxieties around climate change have never been more overwhelming—but she argues that they’re also the key to saving the planet. In her talks, Britt draws on her scientific research and her book Generation Dread to show us how we can work through our emotions to find purpose, avoid burnout, and fight for a more sustainable future.

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Heather McGhee

Heather McGhee says that racism is profoundly damaging for us all, not only for people of color — which means that when we tackle inequality, we create a better future for everyone. Drawing on her New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us, plus her Young Readers edition and crucial podcast, she charts a hopeful path towards a better future and challenges us to fight for justice.

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Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world’s foremost thinkers, acclaimed by the likes of TIME and Bill Gates. In his latest book Rationality, he rejects the idea that humans are inherently irrational. We all possess reason, he says, which is why the world is actually getting better, not worse. He shows how we can leverage this rationality to find hope and continue creating a better future.

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Megan Phelps-Roper

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised within the infamously intolerant Westboro Baptist Church. But she left when she realized another world was possible: one where empathy overcomes hate. In talks, she draws on her book Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church to show how we can bridge divides and expand our worldviews through compassion.

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Anthony Jack

Anthony Jack says that getting into college is only half the battle. Once students enter college, we need to make sure that they have the support and inclusion they need to really succeed. A Harvard professor and author of The Privileged Poor, Anthony shows how we can break down the barriers to success on campus and make sure everyone has the same chance to thrive. 

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Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says that for life’s biggest questions, we can’t trust our often-flawed instinct. When we look at the data instead, we can make better decisions—and even get happier. Seth is a New York Times bestselling author and former Google data scientist. He shows us how developing a data-driven mindset can help us use all the information we have at our fingertips.

Asian-American Heritage Month: Our Top Speakers on Diversity, Storytelling, and Leadership

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HUA HSU

Hua Hsu is the author of the hit memoir Stay True, which follows his university friendship with another Asian-American student. The New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year, and Vulture called it “an evolutionary step for Asian-American literature.” In talks, Hua shows how we can not only accept but embrace our messy, complex cultures and identities.

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JEFF CHANG

Jeff Chang has long been a crucial voice for racial solidarity in AAPI circles. He’s a key commentator in the PBS series Asian Americans and the author of several books, including the highly anticipated Water Mirror Echo: Bruce Lee and the Making of Asian AmericaThe New Yorker calls Jeff’s quest for multiracial community both “urgent and passionate.”

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LAURA HUANG

Laura Huang says that although Asian-Americans face systemic biases and inaccurate perceptions, you can use even that to your advantage. A Harvard professor and the author of Edge, Laura explores the research that’s been done on AAPI experiences in the workplace, and proves that by being your authentic self, you can turn your unique background into a unique advantage.

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WAJAHAT ALI

Wajahat Ali grew up the son of Pakistani immigrants, never seeing Asian-Americans like himself as the heroes of the story. Today, in his talks and his memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, he urges the AAPI community to tell their stories and help create a multicultural coalition of the willing, where hope and true equity will ensure we can all be the heroes of the American story.

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STEPHANIE MEHTA

Stephanie Mehta has her finger on the pulse of the business world. She was the editor-in-chief of Fast Company, the most influential business magazine of our generation, before being promoted to CEO of its parent company. Her experience on the cutting edge of business gives her a unique perspective on discussions of diversity, leadership, and AAPI issues.

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EDDIE HUANG

Eddie Huang is the New York Times bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat, his memoir of growing up Asian-American that became the longest-running Asian-American sitcom ever. He’s also a celebrity chef, director, producer, and so much more! Eddie’s uproarious, inspiring talks show how you can chase your dreams by making your own rules and being fully yourself.

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MIRA NAIR

Mira Nair is the Oscar-nominated Indian-American director of Salaam Bombay!, whose incredible films explore culture, race, and the importance of diverse stories. From her hit film The Namesake (starring Kal Penn) to her critically acclaimed Monsoon Wedding, she proves that art can challenge stereotypes, amplify diverse voices, and bring us together.

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ANAND GIRIDHARADAS

Anand Giridharadas, New York Times bestselling author of The Persuaders, has developed a new art of persuasion. He offers tools that Asian-Americans can use to build communities of racial solidarity and make real change even in a time of deep division. By getting better at communicating and bridging divides, he says, we can find hope together and forge the future we want.

Black History Month 2023: Celebrating Black Stories and Our Speakers’ Contributions to Racial Justice

For Black History Month this February, we’d like to celebrate a few of the many Lavin speakers whose work year-round shows us how to honor the legacy and history of Black communities across America. These leading voices empower us to fight for racial justice and equality, and learn more about the history of this country.

ANGELA DAVIS

“One of the iconic faces of Black politics in 1970s America” (Huffington Post), Angela Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. In her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public sphere—has always emphasized the importance of building communities for economic, racial, and gender equality.

 

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of ‘The 1619 Project’ — the #1 New York Times bestseller which has now been adapted into a six-part docuseries on Hulu. She was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her work in uncovering the real origin story of Black Americans, and with it the true history of democracy.

GEORGE M. JOHNSON

George M. Johnson is a non-binary award-winning author and activist, their memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue was a New York Times bestseller. A powerful story of growing up as a young Black queer boy, their memoir was called “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects” by the New York Times. They’re listed as one of Out’s 100 Most Influential LGBTQ People.

 

HEATHER MCGHEE

An expert on the American economy, Heather McGhee is one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers on racial justice today. In her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us — as well as the Young Reader’s edition and podcast of the same name — Heather reveals how racism costs everyone, and how, by fighting it, we can all prosper together.

 

ANNA GIFTY OPOKU-AGYEMAN

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is the co-founder of the only non-profit organization addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in fields of economics, finance, and policy. In her book The Black Agenda, Anna features Black voices across various fields, all speaking to the question “What’s next?” as it pertains to centering Black people in policy matters in our country.

 

JELANI COBB

Against the backdrop of a renewed push for racial justice, Columbia Journalism School Dean and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb emerges as a clear voice in the fight for a better America. As a long-time staff writer at the New Yorker and editor of the magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black LivesCobb explores the complexities of race and inequality, while offering guidance for the future.

Women’s History Month 2023: Lavin’s Top Speakers on Gender Equality and Beyond

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the amazing progress in women’s rights over the years, as well as the work being done today. With so many facets of gender equality to explore, Lavin can help you book the right speaker for your event to inspire leadership, growth and resilience. We’re proud to represent many of the world’s most prominent Women’s History Month speakers. The speakers below share the stories they’ve gathered and the work they’ve done around gender equality, honoring this year’s theme of Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood has long been a literary titan. Her novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments and Alias Grace—plus the 15-time Emmy Award-winning Handmaid’s Tale TV series—have cemented her as a leading voice on women’s issues, not just in North America, but all over the world. Today, her sharp eye is more crucial, and more prescient, than ever. 

 

Margot Lee Shetterly

Margot Lee Shetterly is the author of the massively successful Hidden Figures, the instant #1 New York Times bestseller which was adapted into the hit film that dominated box offices worldwide. Her talks show us the surprising ways that women and people of color have contributed to innovation in this country while pursuing the American Dream.

 

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a literary legend, social activist, and feminist icon. Her powerful books—including The House of the Spirits and Daughter of Fortune—have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold over 70 million copies. She was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., and her extraordinary life is now the subject of a three-part HBO miniseries.

 

Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin Neff is the world’s leading expert on self-compassion—the first person to ever empirically study it, and the woman responsible for making it a topic of conversation in corporate America and beyond. Kristin explains how women can use fierce and tender self-compassion to succeed in the workplace, excel without burning out, and tap into deeper creativity and collaboration. 

 

LAURA HUANG

Laura Huang, Harvard Professor and author of Edge, teaches us how to use everything, even systemic biases, to our advantage. She explains how women can guide and redirect those very stereotypes which hold them back, sharpening them into a unique and sustainable edge.

 

Laurel Braitman

Laurel Braitman, bestselling author and Stanford professor, helps doctors and medical students learn storytelling and integrate it into their work. She proves that the simple act of telling our own stories can help build community, improve mental health, and help make a real difference for those around us. 

 

Sarah Kaplan

Sarah Kaplan, Director of Rotman’s Institute for Gender and the Economy, shows us that, like any problem, gender inequality should be treated like an innovation challenge. Like investing in innovation, investing in equality makes our organizations stronger, more creative, and more resilient.

Roe v. Wade Helps Us Understand Our Current Moment: Mary Ziegler’s Roe Is a “Must-Read” (Publishers Weekly)

As one of our foremost authorities on the Constitution and our reproductive rights, Mary argues that the effects of Roe v. Wade don’t just end at the abortion debate. Instead, Roe has taken on meanings far beyond its original purpose. Its repercussions have affected us all, in many different areas of our lives—from women’s rights to shifting political lines, and from LGBTQ+ issues to the place of religion in America. Understanding Roe’s effects helps us understand our current political climate and polarization, which equips us to fight to maintain our democracy and protect our rights. “This isn’t a women’s issue,” Mary says. “It’s a democracy issue.”

Mary is the author of six critically acclaimed books on the law, history, and politics of reproduction and healthcare. She’s widely recognized as one of our best nonpartisan experts on the legal history of Roe v. Wade and how that decision has affected many other areas of our lives. She is also the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis.

Watch this exclusive Lavin interview where Mary explains how Roe is helping people come together across dividing lines to fight polarization:

Fostering Dialogue in a Polarized World | Mary Ziegler

Johann Hari’s New York Times Bestseller Named Porchlight’s Business Book of the Year

How To Fix Your Focus & Stop Procrastinating: Johann Hari | E114

Out Today! The 1619 Project Hulu Docuseries, Based on Nikole Hannah-Jones’ #1 New York Times Bestseller

Congrats to Lavin exclusive speaker NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, whose highly anticipated 1619 Project Hulu docuseries is out today! Based on Nikole’s #1 New York Times bestselling book—which includes her Pulitzer Prize-winning essayThe 1619 Project docuseries gives us a fuller understanding of our country’s past and present, and inspires us to join the fight for racial justice and a better future.

“The release of Hulu’s The 1619 Project to highlight the landmark work of Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times could not have come at a better time.”

— Forbes

“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones. A Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of TIME‘s most influential people in the world, Nikole has spent her career proving that when we understand the history of Black America, we understand the history and the future of all America—which makes us better equipped to fight for racial justice today.

Nikole is the creator of The 1619 Project, the hit anthology which garnered international recognition and acclaim. She turned the anthology into a #1 New York Times bestselling book, and now she’s hosting and executive producing the 1619 Project docuseries—which debuts today!

 

The docuseries weaves Nikole’s own story with the story of our country. Each episode is based on an essay from the original anthology, exploring concepts like democracy and music. Nikole talks to real people—from workers to musicians to mothers—whose compelling stories give us a larger picture of Black America and America as a whole. She offers us the chance to gain not only a better understanding of our past, but also the tools to make real change in the present. “The 1619 Project is not a history,” Nikole says. “It really is talking about America today.”

 

Watch the trailer for the 1619 Project series below:

 

Approaching Diversity with Humor and Storytelling: Wajahat Ali’s Memoir Out in Paperback Next Week

It’s easy to give up on the fight for true diversity, but TED speaker WAJAHAT ALI says we can’t give in to cynicism — if we remain resilient and invest in hope, we can still create the future we want. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, a funny and deeply personal look into his experiences as a Pakistani-American Muslim, is out in paperback on January 24. In his talks, Waj merges inclusion with storytelling and laughter — “because boring an audience is a sin, I think, in all world religions!”

Wajahat Ali, a contributor to The New York Times, recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion can be hard to talk about, no matter how important it is. “People have seen the data and stats,” Waj says, “but storytelling, and specifically using an effective story, makes it real. It personalizes it. It connects with the audience.” Through his charismatic and thought-provoking talks, Waj offers practical advice on how leaders, organizations, and communities can create a diverse and inclusive culture that isn’t just mandatory diversity day initiatives. It’s advice that engages and demands for real, genuine connections and change. With time, he says, we can create not just a community, but a country where we can all be the superheroes of our own stories.

In this Lavin-exclusive interview, Wajahat shows why diverse stories are more important than ever in 2023.

Taking Control of Your Inner Voice: Psychologist Ethan Kross Featured in The New Yorker

For leaders, overthinking and negative self-talk can lead to decreased productivity. This is something that Ethan Kross, bestselling author of Chatter, is a leading expert in. He offers proven methods to take control of your inner voice, helping you transform your thinking to one that works for you, not against you. Last week, Ethan Kross, who teaches at the University of Michigan, was featured in The New Yorker article “How Should We Think About Our Different Styles of Thinking,” for his groundbreaking research on how to turn your inner critic into your inner coach.

Ethan’s national bestselling book Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness it looks at how our internal conversations shape us, and how taking control of harmful thinking helps every aspect of our lives. His work continues to help leaders all over the world learn how to talk to themselves constructively, ultimately improving their physical and mental health and deepening their relationships.

In the article’s exploration of Ethan Kross book, The New Yorker sums up one of Ethan’s many methods to improve your thinking:

“Kross’s bottom line is that our inner voices are powerful tools that must be tamed. He ends his book with several dozen techniques for controlling our chatter. He advises trying “distanced self-talk”: by using “your name and the second-person ‘you’ to refer to yourself,” he writes, you can gain more command over your thinking. You might use your inner voice to pretend that you’re advising a friend about his problems; you might redirect your thoughts toward how universal your experiences are (It’s normal to feel this way) or contemplate how every new experience is a challenge you can overcome (I have to learn to trust my partner). The idea is to manage the voice that you use for self-management. Take advantage of the suppleness of dialogue. Don’t just rehearse the same old scripts; send some notes to the writers’ room.”

How to Be a (Young) Antiracist: Bestselling Author Nic Stone Empowers the Next Generation

Nic Stone, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, is a long-time champion of diverse stories in the fight for racial justice. She makes her nonfiction debut this month with How to Be a (Young) Antiracist: a Young Adult adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s groundbreaking work, and a crucial guide to social justice for young readers.

Nic has brought her message of social justice and solidarity to young people not only across America, but across the globe. Her books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, have garnered widespread acclaim for their unflinching portrayal of systemic racism as well as their clear-eyed hopefulness. As an author and speaker, she brings her message of equity and equality to audiences of all ages.

Now she’s breaking into the nonfiction sphere with How to Be a (Young) Antiracist (out January 31). This brilliant and accessible guide to antiracism for young readers reframes the concepts from Ibram X. Kendi’s #1 New York Times bestseller How to Be an Antiracist, centering young adulthood. Nic empowers teen readers (and everyone else!) to dismantle inequality and create a more just society. In talks, she draws on her book to give us essential context and practical tools for the fight for racial justice, helping us to be powerful forces for real change in our school, work and everyday life.

Watch Nic explain why sharing our own stories is so crucial:

Why We Need to Share Our Stories | Nic Stone

Real Change Starts with Changing Minds: Lavin Welcomes Anand Giridharadas, Author of The Persuaders

“While the world seems to counsel despair, The Persuaders is animated by a sense of possibility.”

— The New York Times

In an age of division, it seems impossible to change people’s minds—but Anand GiridharadasNew York Times bestselling author of The Persuaders, says we can persuade others without having to compromise either side’s values. Anand provides us with methods that we can use to come together as a team, find hope in an age of polarization, and save democracy. In other words, learning how to change minds is the first step to changing everything.

Anand Giridharadas is one of our foremost voices on democracy, overcoming division, and how humans make, resist and grapple with change. In his work—as an author, a journalist, and a regular political analyst for MSNBC—he points us toward real, meaningful change, wider human solidarity, and hope. Whether you’re wrestling with how to improve society or build a more cohesive team, his message has never been more crucial.

 

Whether it’s in the context of our workplaces, campuses, and communities, his talks are pivotal for anyone looking to become a better leader, build stronger company cultures, bring diverse people together, or protect democracy. Anand offers proven strategies that the world’s most prominent change-makers use to revolutionize entire systems and conversations — and shows us how to use these tactics in our everyday lives.

 

Anand explores how people and movements are changing minds by practicing a new art of persuasion for an age of extremes and refusing to write off those who don’t agree. In his talks, he shows you how to stand bravely for what you believe in while staying open to other viewpoints; how to distinguish those you can and need to win over from those you can’t and don’t; how to draw out and make use of the complexity of those who disagree with you, and many other skills in the art of persuasion.

 

Anand has inspired audiences around the world with his clarion call for real change and democracy in more than name only. His first New York Times bestseller Winners Take All was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, NPR, and Financial Times and won 1-800-CEO-READ’s Business Book of the Year Award.

 

Anand makes it clear that to forge a path to a brighter future, “we simply cannot give up on changing minds. We cannot give up on changing things. We cannot give up on each other.”

A Sneak Peek at the First Half of 2023: Major Releases from Lavin Speakers

Happy new year from your Lavin family! Our speakers have some incredible new releases and projects lined up for 2023. You’ll be hearing about them everywhere in the culture and in the news, but for now, here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect in the next six months from the brilliant speakers we represent.

 

NIKOLE HANNAH JONES
THE 1619 PROJECT HULU DOCUSERIES

Out January 26

When we come to terms with the legacy of slavery, we gain a fuller understanding of our history—and become better equipped to fight for a fairer future. This eagerly-awaited Hulu docuseries is based on The 1619 Project, the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller. Its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and is among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.

 

NITA FARAHANY
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR BRAIN

Out March 14

Imagine a world where employers can see into your brain, your thoughts can be tracked through AI, and you can peer into your own mind to cure addictions. Neuroscience has already made all this possible today. Leading neuro-ethicist Nita Farahany offers us a map to navigate this changing technological landscape, avoiding the dangers of lost privacy and rights while taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities.

 

LAUREL BRAITMAN
WHAT LOOKS LIKE BRAVERY

Out March 14

In her poignant and evocative new memoir, New York Times bestselling author Laurel Braitman explores how working through grief can transform us into the people we want to be. As the Director of Writing and Storytelling at the Stanford School of Medicine, Laurel helps doctors and medical students—and everyone else—tap into the power of storytelling, which can help us communicate better, avoid burnout, and build community.

 

ADAM ALTER
THE ANATOMY OF A BREAKTHROUGH

Out May 16

We all feel stuck at some points in our lives, which keeps us from tapping into our full creativity at work. But New York Times bestselling author Adam Alter has good news: there’s a formula to getting unstuck. He’s spent the last two decades studying how we get stuck, and how we can free ourselves to thrive. By tackling the three different types of friction—heart, head, and habit—we can reach our full potential, at work and in life.

 

HEATHER MCGHEE
THE SUM OF US: ADAPTED FOR YOUNG READERS

Out February 21

With her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee proved that when we fight inequality, we all win. Now, she’s bringing her crucial message to a new generation with The Sum of Us: Adapted for Young Readers.

 

WAJAHAT ALI
GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM (PAPERBACK)

Out January 24

Wajahat Ali’s brilliant and witty memoir, from one of our funniest public intellectuals, offers indispensable lessons on how we can stand up for one another, become our own superheroes, and build the America we all want to live in.

The Top Happiness & Wellness Speakers of 2022

Good health, both mental and physical, isn’t just nice to have in the workplace—it’s the key to increased productivity, motivation, and creativity for workers and leaders in every context. Our TOP HAPPINESS AND WELLNESS SPEAKERS offer innovative, practical strategies that you can use to help everyone in your organization perform at their highest level, all the time. If you want your employees to develop resilience and dodge burnout, these speakers’ insights are must-haves in this year and the next.

KRISTIN NEFF

There’s a secret superpower that can help you thrive in high-stress, high-stakes environments—and it’s as simple as being kind to yourself. Kristin Neff was the first person ever to empirically research self-compassion. A pioneering scientist in inner strength training, she has created an actionable guide that’s scientifically proven to increase motivation, boost resilience, and improve mental health. Her talks are full of practical exercises that everyone in your organization can use to tap into the power of self-compassion.

 

CASSIE HOLMES

We often think we don’t have enough hours in a day. But superstar UCLA professor and bestselling author Cassie Holmes says we don’t need more time—we just need to make the most of the time we have. Drawing on her original research and her book Happier Hour, Cassie gives you practical ways to rethink and restructure your schedule, helping you find more motivation and happiness, while giving you time for the things that really matter. Her insights are vital for the busy world of 2022 and 2023.

 

JOHANN HARI

If you’re finding yourself distracted and unfocused, Johann Hari can help. In his New York Times bestseller Stolen Focus—named Amazon’s top nonfiction title of the year—he reveals why we can’t seem to pay attention anymore, and how we can reclaim our minds and our ability to think deeply again. In his talks, Johann can show you how to take back your flow state and be more present at work and in everyday life—crucial for anyone who wants to become more focused, productive, and creative.

 

EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH

Work doesn’t have to be a slog. Emily Esfahani Smith says that we can find purpose in the workplace and become more motivated, engaged, and fulfilled—and it all starts with finding meaning. Drawing on her book The Power of Meaning, as well as her popular TED Talk and viral Atlantic article, Emily shows leaders how to create a culture where people find purpose in what they do, and she shows employees the tangible changes they can make to become more fulfilled at work.

 

VIJAY GUPTA

In moments of crisis, we can find creative ways to spark connection, healing, and belonging. Vijay Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony, an organization bringing music and art to America’s most disadvantaged communities. He shows us how to infuse creativity into everything that we do—from leadership to teamwork—and create a culture where everyone can belong. Vijay’s unique insights can help you build creativity and innovation into your organization at every level.

The Top 5 Corporate Culture Speakers of 2022

More than anything else, culture is what makes organizations great. A good workplace culture empowers people at every level to learn from their mistakes, collaborate with people who are different from them, and bring their authentic selves to work. Lavin’s TOP CORPORATE CULTURE SPEAKERS—from psychologists to the C-suite—have hands-on experience in creating resilient, healthy organizations. They’ll give you the tools your company needs to achieve balance, develop adaptability, and find success.

ANGELA DUCKWORTH

The best indicator of success isn’t IQ or talent. It’s grit: the combination of perseverance and passion that helps us to get ahead and stay ahead in today’s fast-paced world. Angela Duckworth is the pioneering scientist who wrote the book on grit—literally! In her practical talks, she draws on her #1 New York Times bestseller Grit to prove that, unlike IQ or talent, grit can be learned. She shows you how to build a gritty company culture, developing these skills in yourself and your employees at every level.

 

SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY

We often try to minimize risk in our organizations, but we can never really get away from it. That means our biggest opportunity lies in getting better at taking risks. Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected leaders. As the founder of theBoardlist and former StubHub president, she shows you how to practice your risk-taking skills and build a culture where risk isn’t something to be feared, but something to be faced and mastered for lasting success.

 

JAMIE FIORE HIGGINS

What does it look like to recognize—and improve—a damaging workplace? Jamie Fiore Higgins spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, one of the most cutthroat organizations in the world. It gave her firsthand experience in what it looks like to break out of a toxic system and change it for the better. Today, as the author of Bully Market and one of Financial Times’s most influential women of 2022, Jamie shows you how to avoid toxic workplace environments, and build a healthy culture where everyone can thrive.

 

ALEXANDRA SAMUEL

The past few years have offered us an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the way we work. In this new world of work, Alexandra Samuel argues that the most successful organizations will embrace hybrid work, reaping the benefits of the office and the benefits of working from home. Drawing on her crucial and practical book Remote, Inc., she shows you how to strengthen collaboration and embrace individual focus and flexibility, building a strong workplace culture and rhythms in a new era of work.

 

JAMIL ZAKI

Empathy is the greatest tool leaders and changemakers have at their disposal. And it isn’t a fixed trait that you either have or don’t have—Jamil Zaki, director of Stanford’s Social Neuroscience Lab, says that we can all grow our empathy through practice. As the author of The War for Kindness, Jamil proves that empathy strengthens your company’s collaboration, inclusion, and creativity, and he gives you tried-and-true strategies for helping everyone in your organization tap into this hidden superpower.

The Top 5 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Speakers of 2022

Diverse perspectives in the workplace make your ideas better, your teams stronger, and your company far more successful. Our TOP DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION SPEAKERS don’t just show you how DEI can benefit you—they give you practical strategies for implementing true belonging in the workplace. If you’re looking to leverage the power of diversity, build a more cohesive culture, and create an environment where everyone performs to their full potential, look no further than the speakers below.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES

If we want to achieve a truly just future, we need to understand the long history of race relations in our country — and nobody is better equipped to help us than Nikole Hannah-Jones. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Projecta MacArthur Genius, and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Nikole can show you how race factors into every aspect of our lives, and empower you to take steps towards real equity and flourishing in your workplace and beyond.

 

HEATHER MCGHEE

Racism has a cost for everyone — which means that when we come together and take steps to fight it, we can all prosper together. Heather McGhee, the instant New York Times bestselling author of The Sum of Us, proves that diversity benefits all of us. Whether you want to build stronger teams or develop an inclusive workplace culture, Heather’s accessible talks will show you how to help everyone in your organization come together across racial, social, and cultural divides.

 

HUA HSU

Diversity can be amorphous and difficult to define. But New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author Hua Hsu says that’s actually a good thing. Telling complex stories about different communities can help us figure out who we are and open up new worlds of possibility for everyone. Hua’s bestselling memoir Stay True—which turned him into a “literary phenomenon” (New York Times) — touches on the immigrant experience and Asian-Americanness, diversity, grief, and pop culture, among many other themes.

 

GABBY RIVERA

As the first Latina to ever write for Marvel Comics, Gabby Rivera proved that authenticity and joy come from embracing our lived experiences, celebrating our differences, and fighting for a world in which everyone is welcome. She wrote the solo series America about Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero, drawing on her own experiences as a queer Latina writer. Gabby will show you how to empower people of diverse backgrounds to tell their own stories — and open a radical space for creativity.

 

LAURA HUANG

People from marginalized communities often face barriers and biases in the workplace. But Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge, says that we can actually flip these biases around and use them to our advantage — that’s the “edge” that gives us an upper hand. We can use our diverse backgrounds to make a real difference in our workplace culture, at any level. In her practical talks, Laura shows you how to foster an environment where everyone can bring their unique edge to work.

Stay True Named to New York Times Top 10 Books of 2022: Lavin Welcomes Author Hua Hsu

We need to tell diverse, messy, complicated stories—not only to achieve crucial representation in media, but also to help us figure out who we are and what is possible. In his bestselling memoir Stay True, named a Best Book of the Year everywhere from TIME to PitchforkHua Hsu explores Asian-American identity and the importance of storytelling, plus grief, pop culture, and how friendship helps us discover who we are (among many other themes).

“Both a coming-of-age story and an evolutionary step for Asian American literature.”

— Vulture

Our identities—as individuals and as communities—are ambiguous and difficult to define. But Hua, whom The New York Times called a “literary phenomenon,” says that’s actually a good thing. We need to tell diverse stories about ourselves and our communities, because storytelling broadens the scope of what we believe is possible. We can find community in people who are different from us, and open up new futures to build together.

 

Hua’s memoir Stay True is a national bestseller that tells the story of Hua’s university friendship with Ken, another Asian-American student. It touches on culture, the immigrant experience, and figuring out who we are. It has been named a Best Book of the Year on virtually every list that matters (TIMEKirkusNew York TimesPitchfork). New York Times bestselling author Jia Tolentino called it a “once-in-a-lifetime book.” In talks, Hua draws on his memoir to show us how we can embrace diversity, find community, and achieve true inclusion.

 

“We should all feel welcome to belong, and we should also dwell on spaces of unbelonging,” Hua tells Lavin. “But we aren’t alone, and we never have been.”

 

Watch Hua explain why Asian-American identity is always changing—and why that’s actually good for us:

 

Building a Workplace You Want to Be a Part Of: Lavin Welcomes Bully Market Author Jamie Fiore Higgins

What does it really look like to recognize—and improve—an unhealthy workplace? Jamie Fiore Higgins, author of the acclaimed memoir Bully Market, has firsthand experience from her 18 years at a toxic Wall Street company. Today, Jamie draws on her experience to show us what it takes to change our workplace cultures, promote inclusion and diversity, and ensure that everyone at our company can not only belong, but flourish.

Jamie spent almost two decades at Goldman Sachs, climbing from a nervous intern to Managing Director, a title that only 8% of employees earn and one of the most elusive roles on Wall Street. Its work environment did serious damage to her morale and health until she broke out of it. Now, she’s using her years of experience to show us what a truly healthy company cultures look like, and how we can all work together to build them.

 

Jamie’s memoir Bully Market is a “brave and vivid portrait” (Booklist) of her time at Goldman Sachs. She recounts in stunning detail the toxic workplace practices that she encountered, offering a look at the damage that unhealthy workplaces can do, as well as reimagining what a better future for our companies could look like. “With Goldman in my rearview mirror,” Jamie says, “I want employees to learn from my experiences, and feel empowered to help create workplaces they want to be a part of.”

 

Watch Jamie discuss her experience and memoir on TODAY:

 

Meet The Woman Shining A Light On The Dark Side Of Wall Street

Anxiety Is Actually Good for You: Lavin Welcomes Psychology Researcher and Author Tracy Dennis-Tiwary

Drawing on her original psychology and neuroscience research, Tracy makes the case for embracing this secret superpower. She’s the bestselling author of Future Tense: Why Anxiety is Good for You (Even Though It Feels Bad). In it, she argues that anxiety is our brains’ response to uncertainty: it arises when there’s potential for bad, but also great potential for good.

By embracing anxiety as a feature, rather than a bug, of being human, we can use our worries to imagine, plan, and persevere through our uncertain (but hopeful) futures. “Anxiety is actually a useful part of being human,” Tracy told Lavin. “We can build skills in a virtuous cycle of anxiety—it just takes practice.”

Watch Tracy explain three steps that we can take to leverage our anxiety:

Simple Ways to Add More Happiness to Your Daily Life | TODAY Show

https://www.today.com/video/-happier-hour-author-lays-out-simple-ways-to-make-most-of-life-149761605597

Taking Control of Your Time | Hidden Brain

Taking Control of Your Time

Author and Researcher Cassie Holmes on How to Find More Happiness and Fulfillment | CBS Mornings

Bestselling Author George M. Johnson Named to TIME100 Next List of Rising Stars

George M. Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of All Boys Aren’t Blue, is on a mission: to confront bigotry, create a better future, and forge a path so youth around the world can “be themselves unapologetically.” George was named to the 2022 TIME100 Next list for their compelling writing and activism. As TIME’s annual compilation of rising stars, the list honors 100 inspiring individuals and their “extraordinary efforts to shape our world—and to define our future.”

In TIME, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writes that George is urgent, “because urgency implies spark and pulse. It connotes importance and immediacy, and in George’s case, a personal constitution that propels them toward the melee of hate and censorship, not to oxygenate the fearmongering, but to stand in the love they have for the children they serve through their writing and advocacy.”

In addition to their acclaimed young adult books, All Boys Aren’t Blue and We Are Not Broken, George is an award-winning journalist who has written for Vice, Teen Vogue, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, and more. They also advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, illuminating issues of racism, homophobia, and toxic masculinity, among others, and they’re an HIV activist who raises awareness about healthcare and social justice.

 

 Watch George speak about how imagination frees us from oppression:

 

Finding Joy in the Midst of Oppression | George M. Johnson

Ordinary People Make Extraordinary Change: Lavin Welcomes James Kirchick, Bestselling Author of Secret City

There has never been a book like Secret City. Lauded as the most important work of gay history in decades, it surveys the broad sweep of 20th century American politics through a gay lens. The Washington Examiner said that “It is, in many ways, one of the most human works of history written this decade so far. Secret City has raised the bar for the genre.”

James expertly brings the era and the characters to life with vivid anecdotes and meticulous research, introducing us to ordinary people who fought for acceptance out of the public eye. He shows us how to stand up for our right to express ourselves freely, and how to use freedom of expression as “the greatest tool oppressed minorities have to secure their equal place in society.”

James is an award-winning journalist and essayist, whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a columnist for Tablet Magazine and a contributing writer for Air Mail.

Watch James discuss the historical contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans on Good Morning America:

Why Strangers Are Good for Us | The New York Times

A Better Infrastructure for AI: Leading Expert Kate Crawford on Rethinking AI More Equitably

In her powerful and essential book Atlas of AI, which came out in paperback last week, Kate reveals the costs that are usually hidden from public view and offers paths forward towards a more just future. For two decades, she’s been at the cutting edge of technology research—uncovering what really goes into making artificial intelligence. She’s a Professor at USC Annenberg, a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in New York, and the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Kate sat down with Lavin’s Charles Yao to explain why we need to work together towards a more equitable technological landscape. Watch here:

Why We Need to Rethink the Infrastructure of AI | Kate Crawford

Don’t Let Cynicism Undermine Your Workplace | Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2022/09/dont-let-cynicism-undermine-your-workplace

Innovate for Communities, Not Individuals: David Robertson on How Cherokee Values Help You Innovate Better

Nobody lives in a vacuum. Our behaviors, needs, and desires are highly influenced by the people around us. So why does so much of our innovation center solely around the individual? MIT innovation expert David Robertson knows that if we can tap into the communities we serve, we’ll be able to develop a framework of innovation that draws people in instead of shutting them out. David is a member of the Cherokee nation, a very egalitarian and communal culture, and he’s showing us how Cherokee values can help us design for what our customers really want.

Drawing from 12 of the Cherokee Values, such as finding something “sacred” to admire about a person or living in a unified way, David helps us develop a dialogue around what matters to the communities we serve. He follows in a long-standing tradition: Cherokee innovators throughout history, from Jesse Chisholm to Sequoyah, have used these values to bring people together and design new inventions that made life better not only for individuals, but also for the communities that housed them.

 

David is an innovation expert and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He’s the author of Brick by Brick and The Power of Little Ideas, which provide fresh and practical approaches to innovation. Watch David discuss some of the Cherokee values—and what they can provide to your business—below.

 

Why You Should Innovate for Communities, Not Individuals | David Robertson

Mapping the Landscape of Artificial Intelligence: Lavin Welcomes Leading AI Scholar Kate Crawford

Artificial intelligence is already playing a powerful role in our lives, whether we realize it or not—from the devices we use every day or facial-recognition software trained on internet databases. It may seem nebulous, but it’s crucial that we understand it so that we can regain control. A world-renowned scholar of AI and its social impacts, Kate Crawford knows that although AI can be used to exploit people and resources, we can still use it to lay the foundation for a better world.

Kate is the award-winning author of Atlas of AI, a uniquely grounded look at the processes and resources that give AI form. In it, she maps out the physical landscape of AI, as well as its future, to help us understand what’s at stake and how we can take control of this fast-developing technology. Like a physical atlas, the book helps us understand the landscape of AI, the pathways that connect it, and where we fit into this vast technological world.

 

For over two decades, Kate has been on the cutting edge of research into large-scale data systems, machine learning, and the context in which our technology operates. She’s travelled the world to investigate the places and people that make AI what it is, from lithium mines to Amazon warehouses to Jeff Bezos’s rocket base. She’s also advised policymakers from the White House to the United Nations, and has created award-winning collaborative projects with major artists around the world.

 

Watch Kate explain why she uses the visual of an atlas to map out the landscape of AI:

 

Mapping the landscape of artificial intelligence | Kate Crawford

Our Climate Anxieties Can Actually Help Us Save the Planet: Stanford Fellow Britt Wray on Lavin’s The Big Idea

If the thought of the climate crisis fills you with dread and fear, you’re not alone. Climate anxiety is becoming more and more widespread, but Stanford Fellow Britt Wray has good news: these difficult feelings are actually the key to finding hope and fighting for the future of our planet. Britt sat down with Lavin’s Charles Yao to discuss her new book, her research, and practical steps we can take to stay sane and find purpose.

Britt has spent years researching the emotional toll of the climate crisis, and in her vital book Generation Dread, she shows us how we can work through these feelings and emerge on the other side ready to act. Naomi Klein, award-winning author of On Fire and This Changes Everything, said, “If you are ready to feel through eco-anxiety, grieve what’s lost, and imagine what comes next, read this courageous book.”

In her insightful interview with Lavin, Britt reveals the scope of climate anxiety (it’s more widespread than you think!), explains how we can make meaning out of suffering, and provides us with practical steps to find purpose in an age of anxiety. “It’s possible to develop more flexible ways of relating to the crisis that aren’t about splitting it off into doom vs. naively optimistic,” Britt says. “That gray zone is where the most strength can be mined from.”

Watch Britt on Lavin’s The Big Idea here:

 

The Big Idea | Britt Wray | Episode 1

Unrestricted Play Sparks Unrestricted Creativity: Lavin Welcomes Award-Winning Toy Designer Cas Holman

Play isn’t just for kids. Rather, Cas Holman says it’s the spark that ignites our creativity and imagination, throughout our lives. Featured in the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design, Cas creates open-ended toys that have no set function or objective, letting kids play and create without fear of failure. And she knows that play is as valuable for adults as it is for children—it encourages us to indulge our curiosity, work together, and learn without fear of failure.

For two decades, Cas has been producing innovative toys that are designed for open-ended play. As the founder and principal designer of independent toy company Heroes Will Rise, she’s created interactive play spaces that encourage people of all ages to explore, imagine, and collaborate. And play doesn’t have to be restricted to the playroom. “Curiosity is playful; ideas can be playful; asking questions can be playful,” Cas says. “If we can play together, then we can live together.”

As a consultant, Cas has worked with the leadership and design teams at Nike, Ford, Disney Imagineering, and MIT. She helps the world’s biggest companies integrate the benefits of play, open-ended processes, and new ways of thinking into their ethos. She’s dedicated her life to challenging conventional ideas about how we learn, and reimagining our systems for play.

Watch Cas explain what it means to design for play:

 

8. Professor Cas Holman - Rhode Island School of Design & Heroes Will Rise

Making Science Fun for Kids: Jennifer Gardy’s Kids’ Book Wins International Literary Association Award

What goes in must come out—but how? The wacky and wonderful processes of your digestive system are illuminated in It Takes Guts, a new children’s book by science writer and presenter Dr. Jennifer Gardy. A deputy director on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Malaria team, Jennifer reveals the secrets and quirks of the digestive system and microbiome for young readers. It Takes Guts won the International Literary Association’s 2022 award for Intermediate Nonfiction, which recognizes newly published authors with exceptional promise in children’s and young adult literature.

It Takes Guts: How Your Body Turns Food Into Fuel (and Poop) is a charming, eye-catching journey through the digestive system, bound to delight young readers with the science behind our bodies. It Takes Guts is a “lively anatomical odyssey” (Booklist) and a “fascinating, sometimes funny read that goes well beyond the scatological” (Kirkus).

Dr. Jennifer Gardy has spent her career instilling a love of science in people of all ages. She’s the deputy director of surveillance, data, and epidemiology at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and has guest-hosted CBC’s show The Nature of Things. She’s also made frequent contributions to the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, which demystifies science news and technical advancements. Onstage and off, she’s charismatic and enthusiastic about ensuring everyone can understand and love science.

Lavin’s George M. Johnson also received an International Literary Association honor for their memoir We Are Not Broken, in the Young Adult Nonfiction category. An “intensely emotional, stunning read” (Publishers Weekly starred review) that chronicles George’s experience growing up as a Black queer boy alongside their cousins, We Are Not Broken celebrates Black boyhood and brotherhood in all forms.

Learn Jennifer Gardy’s top three facts about the gut below!

How One Community Fought Racial and Environmental Injustice: LaToya Ruby Frazier’s New Photobook

In a city grappling with poisonous water, award-winning photographer and MacArthur Genius LaToya Ruby Frazier found hope. She first travelled to Flint, Michigan in 2016 to document how the city’s water supply was contaminated and poisoning the residents. There, she teamed up with community members to document not only the injustice and environmental racism, but more importantly, the hope and resilience that Flint’s residents displayed. Six years later, her new book Flint is Family in Three Acts tells the story of a community banding together to confront inequality. 

LaToya’s Flint photography was featured in The New York Times, which said, “The words, portraits and actions in this book place an ongoing disaster in broader context: American, humanitarian, human.”

This photobook is the most recent project in LaToya’s long history of ground-breaking social documentary work. Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz called her “one of the strongest artists to emerge in this country this century.” LaToya proves that creativity has power, and that we can be the architects of our own futures—even in the worst of conditions. “No matter how dark a situation may be,” she says, “a camera can extract the light and turn a negative into a positive.”

Watch LaToya’s TED Talk on the Flint water crisis, which has over two million views: 

 

A creative solution for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan | LaToya Ruby Frazier

Rebellion Done Right is Vital to Success: Lavin Welcomes Award-Winning Psychology Professor Todd Kashdan

If we want to innovate and develop fresh ideas, we need to break out of the same conventional mold—but not just any rebellion will do. Psychologist and author Todd Kashdan has a scientific manual for how to rebel the right way: with principle and conviction. His new book The Art of Insubordination is a guide to using principled dissent for creativity and new ideas. Kirkus called it “a useful primer for those determined to make waves for a good cause.”

Todd is an award-winning psychology expert whose work has been cited more than 35,000 times. With over 200 published scientific articles, he received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions to Psychology. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review and National Geographic, among others, and his research is featured regularly in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and TIME

 

Todd is also the author of four other books in addition to The Art of Insubordination, including The Upside of Your Dark Side and Curious?, which Arianna Huffington called “one of those rare books that can make you rethink how you see the world.” 

Watch this exclusive interview with Todd, where he outlines how the principled dissent of the 1960s/70s gay rights movement made them effective activists, and how we can learn from their example to make real change. 

 

Good Activism Needs Principled Rebels | Todd Kashdan

Finding Purpose Amidst Our Climate Anxiety (and Our Other Anxieties!): Stanford Fellow Britt Wray’s New Book

How do we stay sane and find purpose in the climate crisis? Dynamic TED Speaker and New Yorker-acclaimed science writer Britt Wray has the answer. Her revolutionary scientific research, outlined in her brilliant new book Generation Dread, reveals that wrestling through our climate emotions helps us find purpose and fight for the future of our planet. 

Britt shows us how the grief we face daily can mobilize us to take action, fortify our mental fitness, and collectively build the world we want. With critical scientific research and insights from therapists and activists, she moves us from anxious stasis to sustainable flourishing. In the context of the climate catastrophe (not to mention Covid, war, bitter political division, economic uncertainty, and mass violence), she sees a way forward to the other side. “Hope is very much about rolling up your sleeves, getting clear-eyed, being convicted and courageous and doing something with others,” Britt says. “And once you do that, you create the conditions to have real hope.”

Britt is a writer, broadcaster, and creator of the weekly climate newsletter “Gen Dread,” whose original research focuses on the mental health impacts of the climate crisis. She’s also a TED Resident and Stanford Human and Planetary Health Fellow. 

Britt joined us at the Lavin Agency to provide us with practical steps that we can take to find purpose and meaning in an age of anxiety. Watch this exclusive interview here:

 

Finding Purpose Amidst Climate Anxiety | Britt Wray

Roe v. Wade and the Future of Democracy: Lavin Welcomes Legal Historian and Justice System Expert Mary Ziegler

Roe v. Wade was overturned last week — and the ripple effects will be enormous for the country, the justice system, and democracy as a whole. “I can’t think of anything bigger than this Supreme Court decision in my lifetime,” Mary Ziegler says. As one of the foremost nonpartisan authorities on the Constitution and our reproductive rights, Mary is uniquely positioned to make sense of this moment of great uncertainty, and give us a realistic way out of deepening polarization. 

Mary is a law professor at the University of California, Davis, as well as the author of four books on the history of Roe v. Wade, and how it’s affected our laws, our justice system, and our politics. She has a thorough understanding of the tangible consequences of the fall of Roe, like inter-state politics and data privacy concerns, as well as the intangible consequences such as how Americans view our institutions. 

Mary believes we can still move beyond polarization to build a kinder, more nuanced dialogue around our democracy. “More people are talking across differences on this issue,” she says. “That’s often the way you begin to get to a less polarized, potentially more promising, solution.”

Watch Mary discuss how this moment of instability is pushing people to create a better dialogue for us and our future: 

 

Fostering Dialogue in a Polarized World | Mary Ziegler

40 Years Capturing Our Impact On The Planet: Acclaimed Photographer Edward Burtynsky’s New Project

Humanity’s impact on the planet, the urgency of the climate crisis, and our quest for positive change: award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky has spent more than 40 years documenting and bearing witness to our legacy on the earth. In his most ambitious project yet, he invites audiences to journey through images and films from his acclaimed career, enveloped by 30-foot screens and accompanied by a striking original soundtrack. 

In the Wake of Progress, Edward’s epic half-hour career retrospective, premiered outdoors at the Luminato Festival on June 11. It moves indoors this weekend, and is complemented by a gallery show of Edward’s photography and augmented reality works. In the Wake of Progress reveals humanity’s stark impact on the earth, and our quest to create a better future—in the spirit of positive change, it will be accompanied by a Change Station, where audiences will be presented with simple, tangible, and engaging calls to action from organizations that are answering the question of what we can do right now

Edward’s career has long focused on documenting large-scale social, political, and economic issues: his global industrial landscape photographs are included in the collections of over 50 major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He challenges us to have a conversation about our legacy on this planet and the future implications of sustainable life on Earth. 

 

Edward Burtynsky's In the Wake of Progress | Luminato Festival 2021 | Trailer (1 min)

Imagination Is Where Black, Queer Freedom Resides: Lavin Welcomes Bestselling YA Author George M. Johnson

The simple act of telling your story can create radical change. George M. Johnson knows that better than anyone—their powerful memoir-manifesto All Boys Aren’t Blue, a New York Times bestseller about growing up as a Black queer boy, has inspired readers worldwide to “be themselves unapologetically.”

George’s powerful YA memoir sits alongside titles by Toni Morrison and Lavin speaker Angie Thomas as among the 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021. Called “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects” by The New York Times, All Boys Aren’t Blue confronts bigotry and celebrates love of all kinds. 
 
Through their writing and activism, George proves that even in the midst of oppression, we can still find pockets of beauty and joy. “As long as we can continue to imagine a future greater than this, I’m going to find a way to find happiness, even in the midst of my worst moments,” George says. With honesty and deep love, they encourage young people to find their identity, embrace their joy, and tell their own stories. 
 
Watch George speak on the power of imagination here:
 

Finding Joy In The Midst Of Oppression | George M. Johnson

Protecting Democracy is Our Greatest Challenge—Diversity Is the Key! Yascha Mounk’s New Book

Never in history has a democracy succeeded in being both diverse and equal—and yet this is the central goal of democracies around the world today. At a time of rising political tensions, Yascha Mounk’s crucial new book The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure reveals the key to building democracies that work. 

As an author, Johns Hopkins professor, and Atlantic contributing editor, Yascha enables us to create connections and work toward a society for all to feel safe and seen. “That scenario is not easy to achieve,” he says, “but democracy is never easy to achieve—something our Founding Fathers were very aware of—so I think it’s within our power to fight for that.” With his international expertise and unwavering optimism, he brings new insight to an age-old problem, giving us fresh hope for the greatest experiment of our time. From the rise of populism to the powerful role of diversity in strengthening democracy, Yascha is “a convincing, humane, and hopeful guide” (bestselling author George Packer).

Watch Yascha explain the path to a better democracy here:

 

How To Save Democracy | Yascha Mounk | TEDxBerlin

Use Your Personal Story For Radical Creativity: Nike’s Former Chief Marketing Officer Greg Hoffman

During his decades-long career at Nike, Greg Hoffman defined the brand’s identity through innovative storytelling. 

As Nike’s former Chief Marketing Officer, Greg pulled from his personal life to create strong emotional attachments between people and products. Named one of Business Insider’s most innovative CMOs, he refused to stay within his comfort zone—instead, embracing creativity and innovation. Now, he’s showing us how to do the same. 

Greg recently spoke to Steven Bartlett on the podcast Diary of a CEO, revealing key marketing strategies from his almost three decades at Nike. Steven said, “Greg’s knowledge, experience, and wisdom in this area are second to none.” 

Watch the podcast here:

 

The Marketing Genius Behind Nike: Greg Hoffman | E150

In the Midst of Crisis, We Can Still Reclaim Our American Dream: Climate Activist Bill McKibben’s New Book

Like so many Americans, Bill McKibben—activist and bestselling author of the first book to introduce climate change to general audiences—grew up fully believing that the United States was the greatest country on earth. But fifty years later, he found himself in a nation and on a planet strained by overlapping crises. What happened? And how do we recover?

In The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon, Bill takes an incisive look at the tumultuous America of his past and present, and charts a course towards a fairer future. With his trademark honesty and clarity, he combines his personal memoir with the story of a nation at war with itself. He reflects on the most important dynamics and crises in our history, which are playing out on a national and even international scale, to show us how to hope and act fiercely for a better world. Heather McGhee, bestselling author of The Sum of Us, calls the book “a clarion call for a generation to understand what happened to their American Dream, and to fight for our common future.”

Watch Bill discuss The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon here:

 

Bill McKibben | The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

For Happiness and Answers to Life, Follow the Numbers: Data Scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s New Book

How do we find happiness? We tend to follow our gut, which often leads us astray, but Seth Stephens-DavidowitzNew York Times bestselling author and former Google data scientist—says we can use data to choose more wisely and get happier. 

When we make big personal decisions, we consult friends, Google it, or just do what feels right. But Seth says we should instead be following the numbers. In his new book Don’t Trust Your Gut, Seth provides us with science-backed answers for some of life’s biggest questions. Among many other things, he proves that we’re looking for the wrong traits in our romantic partners, that the fanciest schools don’t matter much in raising kids, and that the most boring-sounding jobs are often the most lucrative. With his much-lauded research skills and trademark deadpan humor, Seth shows us how data is the key to making our lives better, more decisive, and happier. “When you know the data on how the world really works,” Seth says, “you are prepared to make better life decisions.”

Watch Seth talk about living the perfect data-driven life here:

 

Live The Perfect Life, Using Data - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz | Modern Wisdom Podcast 474

History is Prologue: Lavin Welcomes Civil Rights Attorney Turned YA Novelist Michelle Coles

As we grapple with big questions about inequality, and racial justice, Michelle Coles says we can find strength, inspiration,  and answers from the heroes who’ve come before us. 

Michelle is both an accomplished civil rights attorney with a focus on social justice and the author of an award-winning YA novel on the forgotten heroism of Black Americans after the Civil War—she knows better than anyone how coming to terms with our past will help us to understand our present and fight for a better future. In her eye-opening talks, Michelle gives us a larger awareness of how oppressive systems are created and upheld, and inspires us to fight for justice no matter who we are.

Michelle is the author of Black Was the Ink, which Kirkus calls “a dynamic look at how the past informs the future.” The book follows a Black teenager who travels back in time to Reconstruction-era America and witnesses the achievements of Black statesmen fighting for freedom, after a traumatic experience of being racially profiled in the present day. Michelle wrote the novel to help her young sons make sense of the America they’re growing up in, and to show us that when we take ownership of our actions, we have the ability to be a powerful force for change. 

Watch Michelle explain how forgotten heroes leave their mark here: 

 

Black Was the Ink: Forgotten Heroes Still Leave Their Mark

Edward Burtynsky Shares His Major New Award with Ukraine’s Photographers

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky was awarded a Sony World Photography Prize for outstanding contribution to photography, and he dedicated the award to the Ukrainian photographers diligently documenting the war launched by Vladimir Putin.

At the event, Edward said: “As a Canadian-Ukrainian, I would like to share this award with the artists of Ukraine, many of whom are bravely documenting the desecration of both their people and lands. Photography embodies truth in a way that transcends language, culture, borders, and time. In the face of fake news and Putin’s vicious disinformation campaign, Ukrainian photographers are using this moment to show the world the truth.”

 

Edward—who is also the winner of the TED prize for his brilliant, timely and eye-opening talks about the relationships between humanity, art, and climate change—studies the environmental implications of this new era through the lens of his camera. The Guardian calls him “the great chronicler of eco-atrocities”: his remarkable photographs of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  

 

His life and work are the subjects of numerous magazine profiles, including The New Yorker, and the award-winning documentaries Watermark, Manufactured Landscapes, and Anthropocene, all of which he co-directed. Anthropocene was recognized by Variety as one of the Best Documentaries of the Year, and Watermark was awarded the Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. 

 

 

Andrea Elliott Wins Lukas Book Prize for Invisible Child

It’s the latest prestigious honor for the powerful true story of a strong and remarkable young girl, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and dynamic Lavin speaker.

Andrea Elliott’s Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City is the winner of the coveted J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for an outstanding nonfiction work of “American political or social concern.” Invisible Child is an incredible saga of survival and hope. It follows young Dasani Coates in New York City, as she leads her seven siblings through the struggles of hunger, drug addiction, and poverty. Dasani faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning the family you love? The New York Times called Invisible Child one of the best ten books of 2021 and a “vivid and devastating” true story.

 

Andrea’s brilliant fellow Lavin speaker Jessica Nordell was also shortlisted for the Lukas Prize; her book The End of Bias is a groundbreaking and deeply researched exploration into how we can eliminate bias—even the unconscious and unexamined biases that we don’t realize we have. New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant called the book a “breakthrough” in how we confront bias and prejudice.

 

We’re so proud of Andrea’s award and Jessica’s nomination, and honored to represent them and their incredible achievements. 

 

Book an award-winning author for your next speaking event. Contact  The Lavin Agency  today.

Lavin Speakers at SXSW 2022

The legendary South By Southwest conference—an essential collection of film fests, conferences, sessions, and networking opportunities that spotlight creativity globally—is back for 2022, and Lavin’s speakers are showing up in a big way. Here’s a who’s who of the groundbreaking Lavin talent you’ll find on the SXSW stage:

Jessica Nordell’s brilliant career as a science and culture journalist led her to tackle one of the biggest issues that divides us today: bias and all the ways that it keeps us from living in a fair, just society. Her work in The End of Bias was shortlisted for the Lukas Prize for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Royal Society Science Book Prize, and it was named a Best Book of the Year by the World Economic Forum, Greater Good, AARP, and Inc.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is the head editor of The Black Agenda, the first book of its kind: it brings together three dozen Black experts in disciplines from economics and climate change to education, fighting for bold solutions to our big problems. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be Antiracist, lauded that Anna’s book “will challenge what you think is possible.”

Wajahat Ali is the warm, funny, bitingly incisive New York Times writer, TED Talk hero, and author of Go Back to Where You Came From—his heartful, honest, uproarious memoir that bestselling author Timothy Snyder said “belongs on your bookshelf next to Mark Twain and James Baldwin.”

Deepa Purushothaman was the first Indian-American woman to make partner at Deloitte and she knows what it means to be the rare woman of color in a team or company. Now she’s teaching us what she learned from her journey in The First, the Few, the Only, an urgent, warm guidebook for women of color who want to rediscover their unique power in the workplace.

Alexandra Samuel wrote the book about hybrid work—some days at the office, some days remote—giving us a prophetic road map to the future of professional life. Arianna Huffington called Alex’s brilliant and practical strategies in Remote Inc. a “timely guide to how we can recharge, reset, and bring our full attention to work”, no matter where we are.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman Unites Bold and Brave Voices to Uplift Black America

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is the editor of The Black Agenda: the first ever book to bring together dozens of Black writers, scholars, and leaders to solve today’s most pressing social issues, from economics to education to climate change. The Black Agenda “will challenge what you think is possible” (Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author).

America needs help. We’re confronting police brutality, the resurgence of white supremacy, and COVID’s disproportionate effect on Black communities. What’s next? How do we fix this?

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman decided to bring together some of the country’s brightest, most engaged Black voices to figure out the solutions. The result is The Black Agenda (out now!), a profound and fearless vision for how we can reckon with and root out centuries of oppression.

Anna’s book tackles the big problems we face today, from economics and healthcare, to education and climate action: she asks radical questions and draws out dramatic and courageous answers that reveal how all of these problems are related to racism—and what we need to do to solve them. It’s an “inclusive, edifying, often fiery assembly” (Kirkus Reviews) of new thoughts that point the way to a new America.

Anna Unites Bold and Brave Voices to Uplift Black America

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is behind The Black Agenda: the first ever book to bring together dozens of Black writers, scholars, and leaders to solve today’s most pressing social issues, from economics to education to climate change. The Black Agenda “will challenge what you think is possible” (Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author).

America needs help. We’re confronting police brutality, the resurgence of white supremacy, and COVID’s disproportionate effect on Black communities. What’s next? How do we fix this?

 

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman decided to bring together some of the country’s brightest, most engaged Black voices to figure out the solutions. The result is The Black Agenda (out now!), a profound and fearless vision for how we can reckon with and root out centuries of oppression.

 

Anna’s book tackles the big problems we face today, from economics and healthcare, to education and climate action: she asks radical questions and draws out dramatic and courageous answers that reveal how all of these problems are related to racism—and what we need to do to solve them. It’s an “inclusive,  edifying, often fiery assembly” (Kirkus Reviews) of new thoughts that point the way to a new America.

To book diversity speaker Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with one of our sales agents.

Wajahat Ali’s Memoir Is “Hilarious, Fearless, Humane”

Wajahat Ali was just an ordinary Muslim kid in Husky jeans—but after 9/11, he was called a terrorist. Ali’s new book is a funny, emotional, insightful dive into what happened to America and what we need to do if we want to trust each other again.

Twenty years ago, Muslims replaced communists as America’s public enemy #1. Wajahat Ali, then a student—in love with sports, comic books, and Winona Ryder—suddenly became an “accidental spokesman and ambassador” of all things Muslim. Ali’s Go Back to Where You Came From (out now!) is the story of what happened next and where we are today, offering a deeply personal and human story alongside sharp commentary about the growing danger of Islamophobia and white supremacy we see all around us.

But more than anything, Ali wants to give us hope. We’ve all got to help each other, he says, and his book shows us the power of immigrants and people of color coming together in community. Filled with “brazen wit, rigorous analysis, and searing insight” (Suleika Jaouad, New York Times bestselling author of Between Two Kingdoms), Ali’s inspirational storytelling points the way to a brighter and more inclusive future for his beloved country.

Isabel Allende Says That Pandemics Can’t Crush Our Spirit

Violeta tells the epic story of a woman who bears witness to modern history’s greatest upheavals, starting with the Spanish flu and ending with the coronavirus.

Violeta is one of the most anticipated books of 2022 because Isabel Allende brings her uniquely magical voice to our most pressing modern problems—while dealing with the weight of history that we all feel on our shoulders. “My intention was to use the pandemics as bookends to the century that Violeta lives through, which is the century my mother lived [through],” explains Allende, who cites her mother’s death two years earlier as her inspiration for writing the book. “My mother was a wonderful person but she didn’t have an extraordinary life. Violeta lives in a way I wish my mother could have done.”

Violeta’s heroine is shaped by all the big events that defined the past hundred years: wars, the rise and fall of tyrants, economic depressions, the fight for women’s rights, and yes, pandemics. But Violeta refuses to be defined or defeated by the world’s ups and downs. She remains passionate and determined through it all, using her humor to ride the waves of heartbreak, joy, poverty, and loss that she faces in her inspiring journey.

Violeta is the latest masterpiece by a true literary icon, and it’s widely available January 25th.

Johann Hari’s Essential New Book Helps Reclaim Our Focus

If you’ve ever experienced the ‘mental jet-lag’ that comes from juggling too many devices, tabs, and social networks—Johann Hari’s new book Stolen Focus is for you.

Your ability to pay attention is broken—but it’s not your fault. Your attention is slipping because its profitable for powerful companies, argues New York Times bestselling author Johann Hari in his masterful book Stolen Focus. He traveled all over the world, from Miami to Moscow, interviewing the leading experts about our diminishing ability to focus, and what it means for our future. Daring and visionary, Johann’s findings reveal how we can fight back against the dangers of this attention crisis on our humanity.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant writes: “Stolen Focus won’t just capture your attention—it will keep you thinking and rethinking long after you’ve finished it.”

Stolen Focus is available everywhere you buy books on January 25th.

Honoring the Legacy of Edward O. Wilson, Pioneering Harvard Biologist

Upon hearing of the passing of immensely influential biologist Edward O. Wilson, Lavin joins the multitude of world leaders, prominent scientists, and distinguished environmentalists in recognizing his abundant contributions to the study of the natural world.

“A wonderful friend and client for over 30 years,” writes our founder and CEO David Lavin, “Ed was a treasure in every sense of the word. The world has lost a unique soul.”

 

A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, beloved Harvard professor, author of over 30 books, and one of the world’s leading authorities on natural history and conservation, Edward leaves behind a profound legacy of inspiring others to care for the natural world as he did. His significant scientific contributions made him a visionary on multiple fronts, from the study of biological diversity and entomology, to the evolution of behavior and the discovery of hundreds of new species—leading to his citation as Charles Darwin’s greatest 20th century heir. Later in life, Edward also took up the cause of environmentalism, highlighting the need to preserve our rich biodiversity.

 

“Ed’s holy grail was the sheer delight of the pursuit of knowledge,” shared Paula J. Ehrlich, CEO and President of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. “A relentless synthesizer of ideas, his courageous scientific focus and poetic voice transformed our way of understanding ourselves and our planet…His gift was a deep belief in people and our shared human resolve to save the natural world.”

 

As Edward ​​once said, “You are capable of more than you know…Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”

 

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TIME‘s ‘100 Must-Read Books’ Features Three Lavin Speakers

TIME magazine selected non-fiction books by Heather McGhee, Andrea Elliott, and Annette Gordon-Reed for  their must-read list of 2021. Read their excerpts below.  

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
Heather McGhee draws on a wealth of knowledge about the economy to show how racism is harmful to everyone in The Sum of Us. In the book, which was long-listed for a National Book Award, she uses economic data to make a cogent case that laws and practices in the U.S. that discriminate against the Black community also hurt white people, and may be the root of some of society’s most taxing issues. McGhee’s engrossing explanations come with solutions, too—she proposes that the way we can solve this inequality gap is to come together in solidarity, across racial lines, to accomplish what we can’t achieve alone.”

 

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City
“In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott’s first book, a family is tested by poverty, housing and food insecurity, racism and addiction as they attempt to survive in New York City. The book centers on Dasani, a brilliant young girl—who, when we meet her, lives with her parents and six siblings in a Brooklyn shelter—and the challenges she encounters after she enrolls in a boarding school. Based on over a decade of reporting, Invisible Child is a heartbreaking and honest look at inequality and the power of a family’s love.”

 

On Juneteenth
“Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Texas native Annette Gordon-Reed tells the origin story of Juneteenth with incredible depth and warmth in her book, On Juneteenth. Combining deep historical research with personal anecdotes, Gordon-Reed outlines the background of not only the new federal holiday, which celebrates the day the last enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, but also the broader history of Black people in the state and country, as well as the continuing fight for racial justice today.”

 

Check out the full list here.

 

Book an award-winning author for your next speaking event. Contact The Lavin Agency today.

The New York Times Selects Four Lavin Speakers for Its 100 Notable Books of 2021 List

The editors of the New York Times Book Review select the year’s notable fiction, poetry, and non-fiction reads. This year, four Lavin speakers made the list: please join us in celebrating Andrea Elliott, George Packer, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Eyal Press

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott is an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality.

 

Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by National Book Award-winning author George Packer is a frank and bracing meditation on America’s discontents, offering a path forward to restoring unity.

 

On Juneteenth by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and bestselling author Annette Gordon-Reed is the essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history.

 

Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America by journalist Eyal Press is a groundbreaking, urgent report from the front lines of “dirty work”: the work that society considers essential yet would prefer not to see. 

 

Book an award-winning author for your next speaking event. Contact The Lavin Agency today.

Lavin Speakers on Amazon’s Best Books of 2021

​​Congratulations to the host of Lavin speakers who have triumphed in Amazon’s best books of 2021 lists.  

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott’s Invisible Child is the top pick for Best Non-Fiction Book of the year. This is a riveting, unforgettable story of a girl whose indomitable spirit is tested by homelessness, poverty, and racism in an unequal America.
 
Also recognized in this category:
Award-winning psychologist Ethan Kross for Chatter—helping us change the most important conversation we have each day: the one we have with ourselves.
 
Literary legend Isabel Allende for The Soul of a Woman—a meditation on power, feminism, and what it means to be a woman.
 
In other categories…
 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-JonesThe 1619 Project: A New Origin Story  is one of the Best History Books—offering a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.
 
Acclaimed author Steven Pinker’s Rationality is one of the Best Science Books—promoting “…better thinking through the cultivation of that rarest of rarities: a sound argument.” (Kirkus Reviews).
 
Award-winning chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry’s Black Food is one of Amazon’s Best Cookbooks—offering a heartfelt tribute to Black culinary ingenuity.  
 
New York Times bestselling author Angie ThomasConcrete Rose is one of the Best Young Adult Books—challenging the norms of masculinity while celebrating the full humanity of Black youth.

Book an award-winning author for your next speaking event. Contact The Lavin Agency today.

 

Nikole Hannah-Jones Releases the Book Version of Her Landmark ‘1619 Project’

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story is an expanded version of The New York Times’ project, with longer essays, new fiction and poetry, and writing on topics like the Haitian Revolution. 

An eye-opening account of the relationship between slavery and modern capitalism, the original ‘1619 Project’ was met with praise, critical acclaim, and sold-out vendors upon its release in 2019. Nikole Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her opening essay, and the project as a whole became part of an important national conversation.

 

The book builds on the original series, including new contributions from historians, journalists, poets, novelists, and cultural critics. “Just like the original project, the book relies heavily on historical scholarship, but is not a conventional history,” Hannah-Jones writes. “Instead it combines history with journalism, criticism, and imaginative literature, to show how history molds, influences, and haunts us in the present.”

 

A Booklist starred review writes: “Readers will discover something new and redefining on every page as long-concealed incidents and individuals, causes and effects are brought to light by Hannah-Jones and seventeen other vital thinkers and clarion writers . . . each of whom sharpens our understanding of the dire influence of anti-Black racism on everything . . . and how Black Americans fighting for equality decade after decade have preserved our democracy.”

 

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story is available everywhere you buy books today. It is accompanied by an illustrated young reader’s version, titled The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, also out today.

To spark a vital conversation on race and inequality at your next event, book speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones. Contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau, for more information.

Lori Gottlieb Adapts Her New York Times Bestselling Memoir Into a Practical Guide

Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb captured the hearts and minds of millions with her smash hit Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: a memoir revealing powerful stories from inside her therapy room. Today, she releases its groundbreaking companion guide—a step-by-step process for discovering our most authentic life stories.

“Part of getting to know yourself is to unknow yourself—to let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you can live your life, and not the stories you’ve been telling yourself about your life,” explains Lori Gottlieb. With the release of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: The Workbook, she offers readers new concepts, thought-provoking exercises, and compelling writing prompts, all in the service of helping us become the editors of our own lives.

 

“An experience, a meditation, and a practical toolkit” combined into one, the Maybe You Should Talk to Someone workbook offers a revolutionary method for understanding which stories to keep and which to revise.

 

Available everywhere you buy books today.

To book speaker Lori Gottlieb for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.  

Beloved Comedian Rick Mercer Reflects on His Career in New Memoir

In Talking to Canadians, Rick Mercer finally turns the spotlight on himself—revealing how he went from “highly unpromising schoolboy” and aspiring actor, to one of the nation’s most popular comedians and political satirists.

In turns hilarious and deeply moving, Rick Mercer’s memoir offers a glimpse into both his youth and his rise to TV fame, written in his usual and widely cherished anecdotal style. Fans will also be treated to a wealth of behind-the-scenes revelations about the origins and making of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, and Talking to Americans.

 

Margaret Atwood, the legendary author of The Handmaid’s Tale, offers her praise for this entertaining and action-packed chronicle of Mercer’s life. She writes, “Talking to Canadians [is a] funny, pitfall-strewn, no-holds-barred memoir from the ranting TV uproarist, edge-walker, envelope-pusher and pot-stirrer.”

 

Talking to Canadians is available everywhere you buy books today.

 

To book comedian Rick Mercer for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency and speak to one of our knowledgeable agents.

A Reckoning of Racist Ideologies: The Lavin Agency Welcomes Psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl

We are only just beginning to understand the deep impacts of racial resentment—including its fatal consequences on public health. In the era of Donald Trump, many lower- and middle-class white Americans were drawn to politicians who pledged to make their lives great again. But as Lavin’s newest speaker physician JONATHAN METZL shows in his explosive book Dying of Whiteness, the policies that resulted actually placed those voters at ever-greater risk of illness and even death, and harmed everyone’s well-being.  

As a professor, psychiatrist, and prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness, Jonathan Metzl makes sense of the urgent issues of our time: healthcare reform, education policy, guns, politics, American race relations, and diversity. Through these lenses, he exposes the tremendous harm that racism and other forms of prejudice pose to our society’s well-being (read his latest for the Boston Review here).

 

But why do people so often vote against their own interests? And how can we build a movement towards justice and compassion, rather than chasing false ideals of supremacy? Metzl answers these necessary questions in groundbreaking and empathetic talks—based on his critically acclaimed book—proving “that policies promising to bolster white Americans’ status have instead made life ‘sicker, harder, and shorter’ for all…” (Publishers Weekly). If we want to “build back better” in a post-pandemic world, Metzl’s insights will drive our collective efforts toward a society that’s healthier for everyone.

 

Discover how we can extinguish the fire of racial resentment in public health with speaker Jonathan Metzl at your next event. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau, today.

Historian Kathleen Belew Presents: A Field Guide to White Supremacy

In this non-fiction anthology, co-edited alongside Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Kathleen Belew reveals how the ideals of white supremacy operate in American life.  

A Field Guide to White Supremacy is a remarkably far-reaching book featuring the work of brilliant writers, scholars, and commentators. It covers everything from colonialism to the patriarchy to racial violence and police brutality, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant policies. This collection, with nuance and sophistication, connects these topics to white supremacy—arguing that it is perhaps the most dominant ideology in the history of the United States.

 

A leading expert in the white power movement, Kathleen Belew hopes that understanding the history of organized hate could have “a utility in confronting the present and imagining a different future.” Jelani Cobb, staff writer at the New Yorker and professor at Columbia University, writes: “A Field Guide to White Supremacy is as urgent an intervention as the problem it addresses. Incisive, erudite, and driven by a relentlessly democratic ethic, these essays are crucial to understanding a cruel, metastatic doctrine that looms among our most pressing national concerns.”

 

A Field Guide to White Supremacy is out today and available everywhere you buy books.

 

To book historian Kathleen Belew for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency and speak with a qualified agent.  

Celebrated Essayist Teju Cole Offers Hope and Meaning During Dark Times

In his new book Black Paper, Teju Cole explores what it was like to be a Black man in America between 2016 and 2019, through the lenses of art, literature, politics, and activism.  

How do we sustain our humanity during times of darkness? And what does it mean to bear witness to the humanity of others? These are the central questions in Teju Cole’s latest collection of essays. Searing, provocative, and written with his signature precision, Cole’s commentary strikes a balance between personal and universal; scholarly and compassionate; and honest yet hopeful. “Black Paper had a long gestation period because it includes essays from a span of many years,” explains Cole. “Ultimately, these are all essays that emerged in response to Donald Trump’s presidency. But they’re not about Trump. They’re about what you do when the world is knocked upside down.”

 

In their review, The Guardian writes, “To read this book is to enjoy the generosity of his thought, to be invited into a contemplation of your inner life, to embrace the complexity of others, and to see in the darkness not only despair but also understanding and even refuge.”

 

Black Paper is available everywhere you buy books.

To book speaker Teju Cole for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Acclaimed Chef Bryant Terry Celebrates Black Food and Culture in His Latest Book

For his sixth book, renowned chef, author, and food justice advocate Bryant Terry turned to his friends and colleagues. Black Food: Stories, Art & Recipes From Across the African Diaspora is a heartfelt celebration of Black culinary ingenuity, featuring the work of countless influential contributors.

Described by Bryant Terry as a “communal shrine,” Black Food encompasses cuisines from the Caribbean, the U.S., and across the African continent. Far from a collection of recipes, though, the book also includes essays, poems, playlists, and illustrations, all offered in loving tribute to the Black diaspora. More than 100 contributors were involved in the project, the first publication under Terry’s new imprint, 4 Color Books. Chefs, artists, scholars, activists, and journalists gracefully entwine their practical know-how with rich histories and ancestral memories passed down from generations. Beautiful and inspiring, Black Food will not only nourish you, but make you think deeply about issues such as food insecurity, community, and radical self-care.

 

“These pages offer up gratitude to the great chain of Black lives, and to all the sustaining ingredients and nourishing traditions they carried and remembered, through time and space, to deliver their kin into the future,” writes Terry.

 

Black Food is available everywhere you buy books today.

Book chef Bryant Terry for your next event. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau, for more information.

Books to Read This Fall

Fall is upon us, so we here at Lavin wanted to bring you a selection of our favorite reads to grace your bookshelves this season. From riveting non-fiction that will change the way you see the world, to practical guidebooks for finding success in an unpredictable climate, there’s something here for everyone.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy’s Choose Possibility: Take Risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail)
Already a Wall Street Journal bestseller—from one of the most well-respected female tech executives in Silicon Valley—this is a fresh approach to risk-taking that helps us take charge of our lives and careers to achieve lasting success.

 

Jessica Nordell’s The End of Bias: A Beginning
When it comes to uprooting our prejudices, we still have far to go. To help catalyze our progress comes a transformative, groundbreaking exploration by an acclaimed science journalist. This book reveals concrete steps for how to eradicate uninetentional bias and discrimination—arguably one of the greatest challenges of our age.

 

Jonathan Brill’s Rogue Waves: Future-Proof Your Business to Survive and Profit from Radical Change
Learn from a renowned business futurist about how to survive and thrive in times of radical disruption (caused by the convergence of economic, technological, and social change). This is a must-read business survival guide to help you take advantage of randomness, turn chaos into profit, and control your future.

 

Loran Nordgren’s The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas
For anyone who wants to introduce a new idea into the world, this award-winning behavioral scientist and Kellogg School professor offers an indispensable resource. Rather than rest on the power of persuasion, this book teaches us how to overcome the powerful forces of human nature that resist change in the first place.

 

Martin Ford’s Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything
A technology of such scale and power that we will one day compare it to electricity—AI is set to remodel all aspects of our human experience. This bestselling author brings us today’s most compelling look at AI’s advance, its revolutionary opportunities, and its most dangerous challenges.

 

Andrea Elliott’s Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City
The debut from this Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist reveals an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality—all through the lens of one remarkable young girl in Brooklyn.

 

Eyal PressDirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America
An engrossing read that reveals the urgent and fundamental truths that are missing from our national conversation on inequality—shedding light on the jobs that society considers essential yet morally compromised, and which are often left to those most vulnerable.

 

Bryant Terry’s Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes
In a groundbreaking new cookbook, this award-winning chef, critically acclaimed author, and food justice activist offers a gorgeous and heartfelt tribute to Black culinary ingenuity, featuring contributions from 100 Black cultural luminaries from around the globe. (Forthcoming, available Oct. 19th.)

 

Kathleen Belew’s A Field Guide to White Supremacy
Drawing explicit lines across time and a spectrum of violent acts, this historian provides the definitive field guide for understanding and opposing white supremacy in America. This is an urgent resource for anyone who wishes to recognize and defy the cruel violence that looms among our most pressing national concerns. (Forthcoming, available Oct. 26th.)

 

Jelani Cobb’s The Essential Kerner Report
A woefully neglected government report shines again when we need it most. Discover what inequality could look like in the post-pandemic landscape, as one of the nation’s preeminent historians and scholars contextualizes our ongoing battles with economic inequality, race, and policing.

 

Steven Pinker’s Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters
The newest New York Times bestseller from this acclaimed cognitive scientist inspires and empowers us by revealing why rationality matters and how we can use it to make better choices in our lives and in the public sphere.

 

To book an acclaimed author for your next speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency and speak with one of our knowledgable agents.

The Lavin Agency Welcomes John List, Chief Economist at Lyft

The ideas that change the world are those that reach the largest number of people, says John List: a leading economist at The University of Chicago, and the Chief Economist at ride-share giant Lyft. But how can we make sure our best ideas reach our desired audiences? Thankfully, there are vital attributes that all “scalable” ideas possess—and List is uniquely equipped to share them, as one of Lavin’s newest speakers.  

In his upcoming book The Voltage Effect (Penguin Random House, 2022), John List distills years of hands-on experience in both behavioral economics and 21st century business to help us understand why some ideas take off while others fall flat. One of the foremost economists working in the world, List has had the opportunity to work with brands like Facebook, Google, and both Uber and Lyft — where he held permanent positions as the companies’ Chief Economist.

 

Scaling an idea is not just for tech start-ups: it’s essential for every business that wants to make an impact, explains List. The trouble is, most organizations have a vague idea of what it means and how to get there. When is a business ready to expand its geographical footprint? How can you tell whether a new product is the right fit? List answers these questions and many more, offering a unique, science-backed roadmap for how anyone can grow their next idea.

Book leading economist John List to boost innovation at your organization, today. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau, for more information.

Overcoming Barriers to Change: The Lavin Agency Welcomes Loran Nordgren

At the heart of creating change lies a deep and often destructive assumption that can thwart our best efforts at innovation: it’s the conventional belief that the best way to get people to embrace our idea, is to increase the appeal of the idea itself. However, this approach neglects the psychological “frictions” that hold us back, despite all of the benefits. Helping us demystify the forces that propel and prevent innovation is LORAN NORDGREN, professor at the Kellogg School of Management and Lavin’s newest speaker. 

As an award-winning organizational psychologist, Loran Nordgren offers us a new way of thinking about change—helping us move from a “fuel-based mindset” that focuses on persuading our audience, to a more balanced approach that also considers how we can help them overcome their natural resistance. Friction, unchecked, is the reason why even our strongest ideas face rejection (despite their clear value). But, as Nordgren reveals, friction itself can be forecasted and transformed into a catalyst for propelling our innovation forward.
 
In captivating talks and his brand new book The Human Element, Nordgren teaches us to disarm the forces of resistance that act against change. His paradigm-shifting frameworks—particularly timely in a society facing momentous upheaval—will help leaders, entrepreneurs, and everyone else improve their odds of success. Fellow Lavin Speaker Francesca Gino, an award-winning Harvard Business School professor, innovation expert, and author, calls it: “Insightful and engaging, […] a must read for anyone who wants to successfully launch a project, a product, or an idea.” 

Bring your best ideas to life with speaker Loran Nordgren at your next event. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau, today. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Andrea Elliott Tells a Riveting Story of an Unequal America in Invisible Child

An investigative reporter for The New York Times, Andrea Elliott chronicles the life of a young girl facing poverty, homelessness, and racism in this astonishing and unforgettable book.

Based on ten years of in-depth reporting, Invisible Child illuminates critical issues in America today, from structural racism to class warfare, through the remarkable coming-of-age story of Dasani Coates. Guiding her siblings through a city riddled by hunger, violence, drug addiction, and homelessness, Dasani becomes a fierce fighter to protect the ones she loves. When she finally has the opportunity to trade city life for boarding school, she comes face-to-face with an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family, and yourself?

 

Deeply moving and inspiring, Invisible Child explores the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality. Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies, writes, “This book is so many things: a staggering feat of reporting, an act of profound civic love, an extraordinarily moving tale about the fierceness of family love, and above all, a future American classic.”

Invisible Child is available everywhere you buy books today.

To book author Andrea Elliot for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, and speak to one of our agents.

Cognitive Scientist Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Rationality in His New Book

It seems like rationality today is in short supply. On one end of the spectrum, scientists are achieving medical break-throughs—like developing the COVID vaccine—in record time. Yet on the other end, lies misinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories bordering on hysteria. How can this be? And what can we do about it? Steven Pinker explores in his new book Rationality

Human beings are not irrational. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself, explains Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now (one of Bill Gates’ favorite books). Unfortunately, it also happens that rational pursuits of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology, can add up to crippling irrationality in a society—if they are not balanced by norms designed to promote objectivity and truth.

 

Here, Pinker helps us take advantage of the powerful tools of reason at our disposal: logic, critical thinking, probability, and correlation and causation—showing us how to use them to update our beliefs and make better choices, both personally and societally.

 

Brimming with Pinker’s customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower. Available everywhere you buy books September 28th.

Book science speaker Steven Pinker for your next event. Contact The Lavin Agency today and speak to a knowledgeable agent for more information.

The End of Bias: Lavin Welcomes Science Journalist Jessica Nordell

We see the detrimental effects of unconscious bias and discrimination everywhere: in our schools, our workplaces, our hospitals, and beyond. Yet change is possible, says acclaimed science journalist Jessica Nordell. In her debut book The End of Bias, Lavin’s newest speaker shows us the science-based approach for uprooting our deepest prejudices.

Unconscious bias is the persistent, unintentional, and prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. Try as we might to build healthy and diverse organizations—if we don’t do the deep work of overcoming our biases first, we’re doomed to repeat past mistakes. Thankfully, Jessica Nordell’s brilliant book goes beyond lip-service, providing concrete steps for eliminating bias and helping audiences across all industries create more equitable teams, organizations, and communities. Captivating and direct, Nordell offers a combination of state-of-the-art science and real-world stories to facilitate lasting and meaningful transformations.

 

“Despite revolutions in our understanding of bias, we’re still much better at documenting the problem than solving it. When it comes to prevention and cure, Jessica Nordell’s powerful book is a breakthrough,” declares Adam Grant, the bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife.

 

The End of Bias is available everywhere you buy books today.

To book speaker Jessica Nordell for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

Philosophy Chair and Award-Winning Author John Kaag Joins The Lavin Agency

We’re moving towards the post-pandemic world, but the collective grief, trauma, and suffering of the last two years still lingers. New Lavin speaker John Kaag, the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, shows us how we can process our feelings post-crisis, find hope and strength to move on, and actively pursue a life worth living.  

It’s possible to live meaningfully, not in spite of suffering—but by virtue of it. In his award-winning books American Philosophy, Hiking with Nietzche,  and his most recent release, Sick Souls, Healthy Minds, John Kaag introduces us to “the philosophy of everyday life”: the ideas, concepts, and therapeutic techniques that can help us flourish, even in the face of hardship. Following in the path of William James—the founder of modern psychology—and a host of other great thinkers, Kaag shows us how to respond to our challenges while staying hopeful for the future. It’s impossible to avoid struggle, explains Kaag. The key is to struggle in the right way.

 

Since its timely release in early 2020, Sick Souls, Healthy Minds has received tremendous praise from the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post Book Club, which writes, “This is a tough, honest book that offers no easy answers. . . . Kaag acknowledges that our passage through life is fraught with risks, but those risks always include the chance of happiness.”

Discover how to live a meaningful life by booking speaker John Kaag for your next event. Contact The Lavin Agency for more information.

Rule of the Robots: Martin Ford Explores How AI Is Altering Every Dimension of Human Life

From the smartphones in our pockets to the diagnostic tools used by doctors, AI has taken over every facet of our lives. But in his new book Rule of the Robots, New York Times bestselling author Martin Ford argues that the true revolution has yet to come.  

In this sequel to his prescient New York Times bestseller Rise of the Robots, Martin Ford presents us with a striking vision of the very near future. Artificial intelligence is a powerful technology, says Ford, giving us unique capabilities to do extraordinary things, like fight climate change or the next pandemic. However, it also has the capacity to cause profound harm. From deep fake videos circulating online to authoritarian regimes, AI can be deeply biased and exploited for social control. If we are to thrive in the twenty-first century, we need to embrace AI—there’s no turning back now—but proceed with caution. Ford’s Rule of the Robots offers us an essential guide to how the technology will influence our economy, our politics, and our lives in the coming years.

 

James Manyika, Chairman and Director of the McKinsey Global Institute, calls it “Probably the most compelling single-volume book so far on AI’s advance and the opportunities and challenges associated with its multifaceted impact on the world.”

 

Rule of the Robots is available everywhere you buy books on September 14th.

 

To book speaker Martin Ford, an expert in artificial intelligence, for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

 

Lavin Welcomes Google’s Chief Measurement Strategist Neil Hoyne

Data in the twenty-first century is ubiquitous and essential, helping marketers learn about their customers with target precision. But what if we’re thinking about data all wrong? Having led over 2,500 engagements with the world’s biggest advertisers, Neil Hoyne shows us how to get the most out of our analytics by focusing on a long-term strategy.

What if, instead of collecting copious amounts of information on every potential customer, we used data to understand who our best customers are and then build around them? This is the central question in Neil Hoyne’s upcoming book Converted: The Data-Driven Way To Win Customers’ Hearts. Eighty percent of revenue comes from cultivating just 20% of the consumer base, says Hoyne. Unfortunately, too often leaders and organizers focus on a transactional, short-term strategy, revolving around the point-of-purchase moment, rather than the customer themselves. This approach is not only short-sighted—it’s quickly becoming obsolete, especially in a post-pandemic landscape that has seen consumers dramatically alter their shopping behavior. In sharp contrast with that approach, Hoyne shows audiences how to build stronger, more direct relationships with their 20%, putting them on a better path than their competitors.

 

In addition to his role as Google’s Chief Measurement Strategist, Hoyne is a senior fellow at Wharton. And though his sessions are packed with information, he has an accessible, non-technical presentation style that audiences can easily grasp and put into practice. Book him today to discover a new way to gather, interpret, and apply data to push growth in the twenty-first century.

To book speaker Neil Hoyne for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Jay Van Bavel Offers a Revolutionary Understanding of Identity in The Power of Us

In his new book The Power of Us, Jay Van Bavel explores the dynamics of our social identities: What causes people to develop social identities? What happens when they define themselves by the groups they belong to? And under what conditions does the human tendency to divide the world into “us” versus “them” become toxic and devastating? These questions and more are answered in The Power of Us, which offers a page-turning exploration of how we can use our shared identities to increase collaboration, performance, and social harmony. 

In this provocative and well-researched book, NYU professor Jay Van Bavel and his co-author Dominic J. Packer, use a combination of social psychology and cognitive neuroscience to explain how our identity is shaped by the people around us. Groups are central to how we define ourselves, says Van Bavel. And they can have profound effects on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can be a positive and a negative: shared identities provide the foundation for a great deal of human coordination. Yet they can also make people overly loyal to their own groups, even going as far as to harm those who don’t belong.

 

The Power of Us explains how identity really works, and how we can harness it for our benefit: helping us lead more effectively, boost collaboration and productivity, overcome bias, break political gridlock, foster (healthy) dissent, mobilize for change, and address persistent global problems. Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit, declares it “a practical, entertaining and, above all, vital guide to human behavior.”

 

The Power of Us is available everywhere you buy books September 7th.

To book speaker Jay Van Bavel for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Futurist Jonathan Brill Reveals How to Turn Chaos Into Profit in Rogue Waves

Radical changes are hitting businesses harder, faster, and more often than ever before. And though everyone will face them at some point or another, some companies will fare better than others. In Rogue Waves, Jonathan Brill, an expert in resilient growth and decision-making in times of uncertainty, reveals an actionable plan for “driving change, instead of becoming blindsighted by it.” (Adam Grant).

At this moment, rogue waves are forming under your business. Emerging technologies, changing demographics, the data economy, automation―the undercurrents of radical, systemic change―are crashing into each other. When they converge, they’ll produce sea changes that sink companies and wash away entire industries overnight. The good news is that you can future-proof your business to survive, and even profit, from radical change, says innovation expert Jonathan Brill.

 

The evidence-based frameworks in his new book Rogue Waves are already being used by tens of thousands of executives at organizations like HP, Zoom, Samsung, and the United States government. Safi Bacall, fellow Lavin speaker and author of the international bestseller Loonshots, calls it “an indispensable guide for staying ahead.” In his new talks based on the book, Brill teaches you The ABCs of Resilient Growth: helping you maximize foresight, risk, and opportunity in a turbulent world.

 

Rogue Waves is available everywhere you buy books on August 17th.

Book speaker Jonathan Brill today and learn how to turn chaos into profit. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau, for more information.

Redefining Power and Profitability: The Lavin Agency Welcomes DEI Leader Deepa Purushothaman

In her deeply personal book The First, the Few, the Only (forthcoming), Deepa Purushothaman reveals her experience as an Indian-American woman in the corporate world. Joining The Lavin Agency as a new speaker, she offers this real-world experience as a guiding light for organizations looking to evolve—creating diversity, equity, and inclusion measures that actually work. 

Despite being one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, women of color remain underrepresented—often among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. In fact, WOC make up only 18% of entry-level positions and just 3% of the corporate C-suite. The first Indian-American woman to make partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman experienced her share as a “first, few, and only.” But instead of bringing her down, it inspired her to fight for radical change in the corporate world.

 

For too long, corporate structures have left WOC feeling underestimated, dismissed, or pressured to conform. In her upcoming book, as well as her passionate talks, Purushothaman offers a call-to-action for women of color to find power within themselves, join together in community, and champion a new kind of corporate environment. “There’s so many things happening in our political world and in general society that this feels like a growing moment for women of color,” says Purushothaman.

 

It’s long overdue that we expand our definition of what a leader looks like. Audiences will walk away from Purushothaman’s talks with actionable strategies for finding, retaining, and advancing POC in the workplace—as well as learn how to unapologetically advocate for themselves at work.

 

Discover how work can be truly inclusive for all. Book speaker Deepa Purushothaman today by contacting The Lavin Agency today.

Eyal Press Explores Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America

Before the COVID-19 pandemic drew attention to essential workers and our utter dependence on them, there were countless ethically troubling jobs being performed out of sight. Imprisoning criminals. Slaughtering animals. Fighting wars. In his masterful new book Dirty Work, Eyal Press explores jobs that are both essential and, at the same time, morally compromised.  

Most citizens are shielded from seeing America’s “dirty work” because it’s performed by less privileged people: low-income workers, undocumented immigrants, women, and people of color bear the brunt of these jobs. In this beautifully probing investigation, Eyal Press explores the psychological and emotional hardships associated with them, such as stigma, shame, PTSD, and moral injury.

 

Celebrated author Rebecca Solnit, writes “This is a scathing and thoughtful book about labor and principles—or, rather about when the former sabotages the latter, in the brutal industries that prop up American life, from our appetite for cheap meat and fossil fuel to mass incarceration to remote killing as part of our foreign policy to the tech industry’s amoral profit seeking. Though the moral injury impacts the workers first, it belongs to us all. Eyal Press brings this home in a series of powerful portraits of workers, and through considerations of both their industries and the ways we look away or are prevented from seeing what they do. Ultimately, Dirty Work is a book about human sacrifice and the forces that disguise it.”

 

Dirty Work is available everywhere you buy books on August 17th.

To book speaker Eyal Press for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau. 

The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb Contextualizes a Historic Study on American Racism

A new look at a shocking 1960s government report on systemic racism, edited by Lavin Speaker Jelani Cobb, reveals how we’re tragically repeating history. 

In The Essential Kerner Commission Report, Columbia professor and New Yorker correspondent Jelani Cobb, and his co-editor UC Berkeley historian Matthew Guariglia, offer a condensed version of the 1968 historic study, released shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. In the 53 years since its initial publication, awareness of the report’s findings have “ebbed and flowed in the public consciousness,” writes The Los Angeles Times, noting that the groundbreaking exploration of economic inequality, racism, and policing seems especially relevant after George Floyd’s murder last year. “Cobb’s and Guariglia’s edits draw attention to misconceptions regarding the key players in civil unrest then and now: police, protestors, and the media.”

 

As the movement for racial justice continues to grow, Cobb’s version of the report—including an enlightening introduction—contextualizes it for a new generation.

To book speaker Jelani Cobb for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Choose Possibility: Former StubHub President Sukhinger Singh Cassidy Joins The Lavin Agency

One of Silicon Valley’s most successful and well-respected leaders, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is no stranger to risk. In her upcoming book Choose Possibility, Lavin’s newest speaker reveals how the many personal and professional leaps she took along the way led her to where she is today.  

In her 25-year career, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy has served as president of StubHub, helped scale companies like Google and Amazon, and founded theBoardlist: a premium talent marketplace for diverse leaders. What she’s come to realize—through countless mistakes and a lot of trial-and-error—is that success doesn’t come from making one singular “correct” or “big” decision. It comes from the willingness to face risk repeatedly in our much smaller, everyday choices.

 

In her book Choose Possibility, alongside her accompanying talks, Singh Cassidy shows us a risk-taking framework that can help each of us have a healthy, proactive, and ongoing relationship with risk. In a volatile, unpredictable world, it’s the best thing we can do to optimize our future success, says Singh Cassidy.

 

Choose Possibility is available everywhere you buy books August 17th.

To book speaker Sukhinder Singh Cassidy for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today.  

Embracing Change to Kickstart Innovation: The Lavin Agency Welcomes Jason Feifer

This past year has taught us that sudden, unexpected change may always be just around the corner. And although this might sound scary, success is waiting for those who can let go of protecting yesterday’s status quo. Helping us find the courage to do just that is Jason Feifer—the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine and Lavin’s newest speaker. Immersed in dialogue with some of the world’s most influential change-makers, Feifer teaches us how to get out of our own way and embrace the future.  

In 2022, Jason Feifer will release his first book, Build for Tomorrow, Not for Yesterday (Penguin Random House): a guide explaining how we predictably move through the stages of change, in order to help us do it better. “The future is not optional, which means we really only have two choices: We can help shape it ourselves, or we can stand still and let everyone else pass us by,” says Feifer. A storyteller by nature and profession, Feifer’s electrifying, high-impact talks will both entertain and educate us on how to pursue the benefits of change so that we don’t get left behind in a world that’s currently rethinking everything.

 

Feifer is also the host of two podcasts: Build For Tomorrow—a show looking to history for clues on how we can shape our future—and Problem Solvers, which invites high-profile business guests to share how they overcame unexpected challenges. With insights coming directly from some of the greatest minds in business, Feifer reframes our relationship with change and reveals how to future-proof ourselves, our teams, and our businesses.

Learn how the future can be yours with Jason Feifer. Contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Kristin Neff: Fierce Self-Compassion Can Change Your Life, and the World

Long before self-compassion had become common parlance, DR. KRISTIN NEFF was leading pioneering research in the field. Countless studies have been published since her first groundbreaking book Self-Compassion, and today, she reshapes our understanding once more with her new release: Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive. 

With the rise of movements like #MeToo, and the guidance of leaders like Kristin Neff, we are gradually learning to acknowledge that our self-compassion must be fierce as well as tender. “When we hold our pain with fierce, empowered truth, we can speak up and tell our stories, to protect ourselves and others from being harmed,” explains Neff. By balancing both sides of our compassion, we can unlock the rewards of lasting happiness and a healthier society.
 
Ensuring our own needs are met will also make us better leaders, employees, and caregivers by boosting productivity, tackling burnout, and tapping into our full potential. Although Neff’s messaging is geared toward women, Fierce Self-Compassion offers actionable insights for how everyone can celebrate their inner voice and liberate the fierceness of their true nature.
 
“The authoritative guide to self-compassion for women by the field’s pioneering founder and leading spokesperson. Through her science and compelling personal story, Kristin Neff shows us how and why to be kind to ourselves.” —Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit
 
Fierce Self-Compassion is now available everywhere you buy books.

 

Learn how to claim your power and thrive with Kristin Neffcontact The Lavin Agency today. 

An Ode to Black Joy: Angie Thomas and Nic Stone Collaborate on Blackout

The pandemic brought its share of hardships, but also enabled the most beloved writers in young adult literature to collaborate on a new novel. Blackout features six award-winning, Black, female authors—including two Lavin Speakers: New York Times bestselling authors ANGIE THOMAS and NIC STONE

Blackout proves to be a groundbreaking book—not only thanks to the influential clout of its authors, but because of its revolutionary focus on Black joy. Standing in uplifting contrast to today’s news headlines and narratives of police brutality, both Angie Thomas and Nic Stone bring a celebratory tone to their contributions. Together, their message validates the Black youth experience—reminding young readers that they deserve to see themselves reflected in stories of joy. “We, Black people, are more than struggle or hardship,” says Thomas. Stone adds, “There is no fiercer form of rebellion than telling love stories about kids who are often told they’re unworthy of them, at a time like the one we’re living in.” In the midst of a world that inundates youth with narratives of adversity, Thomas and Stone offer a hopeful, urgent message—that life fuels art, art mirrors life, and books can change lives.
 
In addition to Thomas and Stone, Blackout features authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon, who together, bring “a necessary elation to stories of Black love, queer love, and alternative forms of affection, all of which are all tenderly highlighted in these narratives” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review).
 
Blackout is available everywhere you buy books on June 22nd. 

Address social injustice with speakers Angie Thomas and Nic Stonecontact The Lavin Agency today.

Acclaimed Author James Ellroy Returns With Tiltiltating Tabloid Thriller

James Ellroy is the author behind L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, and some of the most epic crime novels of our time. In Widespread Panic, his latest novel, he weaves a dark story of 1950’s Hollywood, punctuated by secrets, blackmail, extortion, and prowlers—making it what NPR calls “the most Ellroy novel he’s ever written.” 

In Widespread Panic, James Ellroy follows the fictional escapades of LA’s real-life man-about-town Freddy Otash. An infamous police officer and private investigator, Otash became known as a “Hollywood fixer” — working closely with Confidential, the premier gossip rag of its time, to report on the scandals of celebrities and politicians. (He was reportedly the inspiration for Jake Gittes, the detective played by Jack Nicholson in the film Chinatown). NPR writes, “Otash was running the show, and Widespread Panic chronicles his rise and eventual fall as he becomes an informant while following a series of plots that include finding Rock Hudson a fake wife to hide his homosexuality and covering Kennedy’s misdeeds to protect his political career.”

 

Anyone who’s ever been intrigued by Ellroy’s distinctive brand of noir fiction will delight in this titillating new adventure, which echoes his most iconic work while continuing to stay fresh.

Book speaker James Ellroy for your next event by contacting The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

A Force for Social Change: The Lavin Agency Welcomes New York Times Bestselling Author Nic Stone

To build an anti-racist society, we must first recognize our shared humanity, says #1 New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. In her vivid and timely novels, Stone lays bare the systemic racism in our nation, teaches us to recognize our shared experiences, and creates the foundations necessary for dismantling oppression. The Lavin Agency is proud to welcome her as one of our newest speakers.  

Called “an unforgettable tour de force of social-justice and activist literature,” Nic Stone’s debut novel Dear Justyce is taught in classrooms across the country today. She expertly balances messages of economic and racial hardship with levity—offering humor and hope alongside crucial lessons about accountability. Recently, Stone crafted a Marvel series inspired by the blockbuster hit Black Panther, and her latest book Fast Pitch is slated for release in August of this year. Her body of work is widely acclaimed, counting The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas among her many fans—she calls Stone’s debut a “must-read” and describes her writing as “honest and gut-wrenching.”

 

In her down-to-earth talks, Stone draws on themes from her work, revealing how empathy and human connection motivate us to act as a force for social change. Audiences will come away from her talks enlightened, empowered, and armed with the tools they need to effectively address social injustice.

 

Become inspired to work toward an equitable future. Book speaker Nic Stone today by contacting The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau. 

George Packer Examines Modern America in Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal

2020 was a year of confusion for America, but ultimately clarity—further exposing the nation’s blatant inequalities and deepening societal rifts. The year left Americans across the country in despair about what was next for their country and its democratic ideals. In his new book Last Best Hope, acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author GEORGE PACKER offers a timely diagnosis of this descent into a failed state, and illuminates a path toward overcoming these injustices, paralyses and divides. 

As we move towards national renewal post-pandemic, Packer offers a vibrant and trenchant analysis of the narratives that will define our path forward. Pointing a more hopeful way forward, Packer speaks to Americans seeking to understand our current moment. Weaving together stories from the country’s  centers of power, as well as its forgotten places, this book goes on to suggest a powerful equation for how we might restore unity. For a nation at war with itself, Packer challenges us to consider a new path toward equality and overcoming our divides—ultimately redefining the heart of the American experiment. 
 

Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal is available everywhere you buy books on June 15th.

 
Discover an original perspective on what it feels like to be alive and in America at this moment. Book speaker George Packer by contacting The Lavin Agency today.  

The Power of Creative Leadership: The Lavin Agency Welcomes Former Nike CMO Greg Hoffman

There is perhaps no one more qualified to advise you on the ins-and-outs of creative leadership than new Lavin speaker Greg Hoffman. Throughout his 20+ years at Nike, Hoffman helped lead the sporting giant’s most innovative branding, marketing, and design efforts—from the Emmy Award-winning Colin Kaepernick campaign to the most remembered ad of the 2016 Olympics. His talks teach you how to use creativity to lead stronger teams, produce better work, and leave a legacy that changes the world. 

Embodying values of curiosity, risk-taking, and radical collaboration is what allowed Hoffman to climb the ranks at Nike, from design intern to Chief Marketing Officer to VP of Global Brand Innovation. His unforgettable work, driving social and cultural change through the lens of sport, was informed by his position as both an African American brand leader, and a champion of the Nike Black Employee Network. Diversity is the oxygen that breathes life into the creative process, Hoffman says. A creative dream team must embrace the non-linear thinkers, the quiet introverts, and the unique lived experiences of each and every contributor. Hoffman’s presentations show you how to harness creativity at every level, building the type of brand legacy that transcends product categories and makes a positive impact on the world around us.

 

In his forthcoming book, Hoffman gathers insights from his decades-long career and fashions them into an actionable guidebook for the post-pandemic future. Emotion by Design promises to be a “masterclass in creativity,” from one of the most accomplished leaders in the field: Hoffman has been named one of Fast Company’s ‘Most Creative People in Business,’ one of Business Insider’s ‘50 Most Innovative CMO’s’ and one of AdAge’s Power Players.

 

To book speaker Greg Hoffman for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers’ bureau.  

Luke Burgis’ Wanting Reveals the Power of Mimetic Desire

The billion-dollar question of business, politics, even the foundation of society itself—why do we want the things that we want? It is both shocking and revealing that everything we desire, do, or create is powerfully influenced by those around us. In his new book,Wanting, serial entrepreneur LUKE BURGIS makes a startling case about the hidden forces that shape our desires—mimetic theory: the truth about the human condition, your job, and your life.

Few have yet heard of mimetics—the concept that desire is a social construct—but it is simultaneously a tool to build unity and the fuel for cycles of conflict. The more we want the same things, the more we compete for them. For leadership, the key to overcoming this conflict is developing intentional, rather than blind, desire—understanding hidden rivalries and rethinking motivations to unlock innovation and collaboration.
 
In Wanting, Burgis also goes beyond theory to offer a valuable toolkit for freeing ourselves from chasing unfulfilling desires. When we realize that desire is contagious and malleable, we gain control over the things we want, finding meaning and independence. Until we gain that insight, we are all vulnerable to mimetic’s destructive power and those who exploit it.
 
Wanting is available everywhere you buy books on June 1st. 

 
Find out how to feed life-giving desires with speaker
Luke Burgis by contacting The Lavin Agency today.

Insights for Building a Positive Workplace Culture in 2021: Download Lavin’s Report

In 2020, our world changed overnight—and so did our workplaces. The Lavin Agency’s 2021 WORKPLACE CULTURE REPORT explores the lessons we’ve learned since the pandemic began, and how to apply them to our organizations in a proactive way. Informed by industry-leading experts and trailblazers, this report will provide you and your team with the right tools to reinvent your work culture for the post-pandemic era. 

Every business, both big and small, has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, its severe economic fallout, and the growing, worldwide movement for racial equality happening alongside it. If last year was all about weathering the storm, this year is more about reimagining the workplace and, more specifically, management culture. Organizations can either continue as they have been, assuming their culture is “good enough” to engage and motivate their employees. Or they can build a superior employee experience from the ground up, making sure to nurture, appreciate, and uplift their teams and put them on a path towards meaningful success.

 

Learn how to adopt fresh practices and accelerate meaningful change within your organization by:

  • — Cultivating authentic employee experiences
  • — Investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • — Offering opportunities for leadership and development
    — Bridging the gap between remote and in-person teams

Make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to grow. First, download our 2021 Workplace Culture Report. Then, check out a full list of speakers who have championed workplace culture change in some of the most established organizations in the world.

 

To book a culture speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with a skilled agent.  

Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg: Geometry is Your Missing X-Ray Vision

We lost an essential toolkit for solving today’s challenges when most of us left geometry behind in the back of a high school classroom. In his new book, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy and Everything Else, New York Times bestselling author JORDAN ELLENBERG explores the subject’s surprising relevance and its power to reimagine the foundations of our society. 

As Jordan Ellenberg uncovers, geometry can help us better understand practically everything, both in our personal and professional lives. If we look back to its roots, we find that the term “geometry” comes from the Greek word for “measuring the world.” But, surprisingly, even this idea sells the concept short. Geometry doesn’t just measure our lives— it shapes them. The common geometry we’ve been taught only brushes the surface—upon deeper consideration, it can answer some of the most important philosophical, political, and scientific dilemmas in the world today. As Ellenberg says, “Knowing mathematics is like wearing a pair of X-ray specs that reveal hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of the world.”
 
Written with fresh curiosity, compelling anecdotes, and jargon-free language, Shape exposes profound truths from one of the oldest branches of mathematics. Ellenberg approaches the subject with genuine enthusiasm—deftly exposing geometry as an extension of common sense by other means. From the predictability of randomness to the nature of distance, you’ll learn how an understanding of geometry can help us tame uncertainty in today’s upside-down world.
 
“Serious mathematics at its intriguing, transporting best…[a] humorous, anecdotally rich dive into numerous mathematical theories.” — Kirkus
 
Shape is available everywhere you buy books on May 25th. 

 

Unlock the power of geometry for yourself, your team and your business with Jordan Ellenbergcontact The Lavin Agency today. 

Data Artist Jer Thorp Examines the Invisible Systems that Shape Our Lives

To live in data is to be incessantly extracted from; to be classified and categorized, statisti-fied, sold and surveilled. Our data is mined and processed for profit, power and political gain. Our clicks, likes and virtual footsteps feed new digital methods of control. In his new hit book Living in Data: A Citizen’s Guide to a Better Information Future, Jer Thorp asks a crucial question of our time: how do we stop passively inhabiting data, and become active citizens of it?

Jer Thorp brings his work as a data artist to bear on an exploration of our current and future relationship with data, transcending facts and figures to find new, more visceral ways to engage with data. Threading a data story through hippo attacks, glaciers, and school gymnasiums; around colossal rice piles and over active minefields, Living in Data keeps humanity front and center. Thorp reminds us that the future of data is still wide open; that there are stories to be told about how data can be used, and by whom.

 

Living in Data not only redefines what data is, but re-imagines how it might be truly public, who gets to speak its language, and how, using its power, new institutions and spaces might be created to serve individuals and communities. 

 

Living in Data: A Citizen’s Guide to a Better Information Future is available everywhere you buy books. 

 

Looking for a speaker to help examine our ongoing dynamic with the data that defines us? Find out how to book Jer Thorp by contacting The Lavin Agency today. 

Historian Annette Gordon-Reed Explores the Long Road to Juneteenth in Her New Book

On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in Galveston, Texas—the state where award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed was born and raised. In her new book On Juneteenth, she explores the holiday’s integral importance to American history, both from the perspective of a historian and a Texas native.  

Annette Gordon-Reed weaves together stories of her family’s deep Texan roots into the backdrop of a much wider investigation. Poignant and searing, this book not only reveals the historical origins of Juneteenth; it also tells the horrors that African-Americans have endured in the century since—powerfully reminding us that the fight for equality is long from over.

 

“One of the things that makes this slender book stand out is Gordon-Reed’s ability to combine clarity with subtlety, elegantly carving a path between competing positions instead of doing as too many of us do in this age of hepped-up social-media provocations by simply reacting to them,” writes The New York Times. “In On Juneteenth she leads by example, revisiting her own experiences, questioning her own assumptions—and showing that historical understanding is a process, not an end point.”

 

On Juneteenth is available everywhere you buy books on May 4th.

 

Looking for a speaker to commemorate Juneteenth? Find out how to book Annette Gordon-Reed by contacting The Lavin Agency today. 

Remote Work & The Hybrid Office: Mastering the Post-Pandemic Workplace with Alexandra Samuel

After a year in which many of us plunged into remote work overnight, we finally have a chance to make thoughtful choices about how to combine remote and office work. In her new book Remote Inc., Alexandra Samuel—a tech journalist and remote work professional of 25 years—reveals how to adopt the mindset and habits of people who flourish while working outside the office. 

As companies begin reopening their offices, many are deciding how to factor remote work into their long-term plans. The flexibility of the hybrid office is certainly appealing, to both employers and employees —but how to put it into practice is another story. How can leaders manage teams working in different locations? And how can employees make the most of their time at home and at the office?

Remote Inc. by Alexandra Samuel (and productivity guru Robert Pozen), offers a roadmap for this unprecedented moment in history. In it, she’ll show you clear, actionable strategies for how to overcome communication barriers and collaborate effectively online; prioritize your time to achieve a healthy work-life balance; and deliver on objectives by adopting the habits of a small business owner.

Remote work can be satisfying and productive, says Samuel. Once you craft a strategy that taps into its unique benefits.  

 

Make remote work a valued part of your working life with speaker Alexandra Samuel by contacting The Lavin Agency today.  

Founder & CEO Ellen Bennett Explains Why You Don’t Need All The Answers To Start Your Next Big Idea

In her new book Dream First, Details Later (out April 27th), Ellen Bennett—the founder and CEO of multi-million-dollar kitchen wear brand Hedley & Bennett—shows you why you don’t need the perfect plan to make your next big idea a reality. You just need to start.

If you’ve ever had an idea and thought “that’s impossible” or “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” then Ellen Bennett’s debut book is for you. Colorful, aspirational, and highly motivating, Dream First, Details Later  uses Bennett’s own journey from line cook to CEO as an inspirational guide. “Sometimes you don’t have all the details ironed out, but you have to show up anyway and figure it out,” Bennett explains. Her go-getting attitude is also what allowed her to swiftly pivot in the wake of the pandemic, manufacturing protective face masks when there was a shortage (and even donating half-a-million to essential workers).

 

Dream First, Details Later captures Bennett’s enthusiasm and hard-won insights, teaching you how to squash your reservations, get out of your comfort zone, and eventually, transition from the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” stage, to the “well-oiled-machine” stage. Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth describes it as, “the true story of a true heroine for our times–bold, brash, and entirely honest about the downs and ups of making dreams come true.”

To book motivational business speaker Ellen Bennett for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency for more information.  

Retail Futurist Doug Stephens Weighs In on the Crash of an Industry — and Prepares For Its Rebirth

In Resurrecting Retail (OUT TODAY!), internationally renowned futurist and bestselling author Doug Stephens not only explores the massive upheaval happening in retail today; he also outlines an inspiring and actionable plan for its future in the post-pandemic world.  

A gripping exploration, researched in real-time from inside the crisis, Resurrecting Retail offers a comprehensive view of how COVID-19 and its aftermath will reshape every aspect of consumer life. That includes the very essence of why we shop, explains author Doug Stephens. Those who are resilient, committed, and remember the core principle of modern business—‘Every company is an experience company’ —will find a way to thrive inside our newly transformed reality. Ian McMilan, the Global Retail Marketing Lead at Nike, declares the book, “Prophetic, inspiring, and entertaining. Paints a clear picture of the post-COVID world we are entering and how retailers must adapt to thrive.”

 

Join us for our live Q&A with Doug on Thursday, April 22nd. Register here for FREE.

To book retail speaker Doug Stephens for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau. 

How to Change by Katy Milkman Is Set to Be One of the Most Revolutionary Reads of 2021

The Lavin Agency is giving you the opportunity to incite actionable change with behavioral scientist and Wharton professor Katy Milkman. You’ll receive FREE copies of her eagerly anticipated book How to Change, as well as special speaker pricing, when you book her for your next event. 

If you’ve ever tried to change something in your life, then you know there are thousands of books, apps, and YouTube videos promising to make it happen. However, these solutions tend to rely on common-sense wisdom and universal platitudes—that is not the case with Katy Milkman’s trailblazing book How to Change. Whether you’re a manager, coach, or teacher encouraging change in others, or aiming to change yourself, Milkman’s science-based blueprint offers concrete solutions to help you achieve your goals, once and for all. Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, says, “If you want to master tailored, science-based strategies for overcoming obstacles, read this engaging book.”

 

How to Change features a foreword by pioneering grit researcher Angela Duckworth and is available for purchase everywhere you buy books on May 4th.

 

On May 5th, Katy will join The Lavin Agency for a live Q&A. Register for free today.

 

To take advantage of this exclusive offer and receive special speaker pricing for Katy Milkman, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers’ bureau. 

New York Times Bestselling Author Paul Tough Explores the Glaring Injustices of Higher Education

How did American colleges and universities go from being a powerful engine for social mobility, to a mighty force against it? In his explosive book The Inequality Machine, Paul Tough combines deep, authoritative reporting with the vivid stories of students themselves, to reveal where higher education went wrong.  

For a long time, the relationship between higher education and social mobility was straight forward. “Going to college was the single best way for young Americans to improve their station in life,” explains author Paul Tough. Unfortunately, there are many signs that show us this is no longer the case. In The Inequality Machine, Tough considers why higher education no longer works the way it used to, and how we can return the system to its lofty ideals.

 

He spent six years and travelled to twenty-one states investigating this question, from flagship state universities to community college math classes to the Ivy Leagues. Everywhere he went, Tough talked to young people, hoping to understand the lived experience of a young person trying to go to college todayespecially those from families without a ton of money. “We have created immense challenges at every stage of the college process for students from working-class and low-income families,” says Tough. “They face obstacles in applying to college. They face obstacles in paying for college. If they do make it to highly selective institutions, they often experience an intense culture shock when they arrive on campus and find themselves surrounded by wealth and privilege.”

 

The result of his in-depth reporting is The Inequality Machine: a book that not only paints a picture of the current state of higher education, but outlines the innovative reforms we’ll need to improve. Join Tough in a live Q&A with The Lavin Agency on Thursday, April 8th where he’ll answer your questions on the future of higher education (in a post-pandemic era, no less). Register for FREE today, limited spots available.

 

To book education speaker Paul Tough for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Adam Bryant Shows You How to Master Critical Leadership Challenges in The CEO Test

The demands of the corner office are notoriously difficult: impossible decisions, sleepless nights, the expectation to perform consistently at a high-level. It’s no wonder that the average CEO today rarely lasts longer than five years. In his new book The CEO Test, leadership expert and New York Times bestselling author Adam Bryant covers the seven key challenges that befall leaders at every level—and shows you how to conquer them to come out on top.

Before he was the managing director of executive mentoring firm Merryck & Co., Adam Bryant interviewed CEOs for his landmark New York Times column The Corner Office—over 600 of them, in fact. He shares his abundance of knowledge on leadership in his new book The CEO Test: How to Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders, co-written with Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer.

 

Engaging, well-written, and jam-packed with insight, this guidebook covers the essential challenges of leadership, whether it’s setting a strategy, shaping a culture, or handling a crisis (a challenge that we all felt in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic). The CEO Test was selected as one of the Financial Times books to read for March. They write, “The authors practise what they preach, simplifying complexity (a leadership “superpower”), steering clear of cookie-cutter truisms, and preferring readable common sense to ideological waffle or textbook dryness.”

 

The CEO Test is available everywhere you buy books, and Bryant will join The Lavin Agency for a live Q&A on March 24th, answering some of your most critical leadership questions. Register for FREE today!

 

To book leadership expert Adam Bryant for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers’ bureau. 

Out Now—Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us “is a book we all need.”

The Sum of Us is a must read for everyone who wants to understand how we got here, but more importantly, where we can go from here—and how we get there, together,” says Alicia Garza, author of The Purpose of Power and co-founder of Black Lives Matter. In talks based on her highly anticipated book, economics and public policy expert Heather McGhee has crafted a blueprint for not only a more prosperous country, but also a more just, powerful, and humane one. 

More advanced praise for McGhee’s newly released book comes from #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert: “The Sum of Us is a powerhouse of a book about the deep, enduring, cross-cultural, multi-generational, and real-life cost of racist policy-making in the United States. With intelligence and care (as well as with a trove of sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes heart-opening true stories) Heather McGhee shows us what racism has cost all of us, as a society. And that cost has been brutally high, across the board. This is a book for every American, and I am grateful for McGhee’s research, her humanity, and her never-more-important teachings.”

 

As well as Supermajority co-founder and former Planned Parenthood president Cécile Richards: “What would it be like to live in an America where we embraced diversity as our superpower? Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us challenges readers to imagine a country where we are more than the sum of our disparate parts. Through the stories of fast food workers in Missouri, community organizers in Maine, and more, McGhee illustrates the power and necessity of multi-racial organizing. Hopeful, inspiring, and timely, The Sum of Us makes the case for the radical notion that ‘we the people’ means all of us.”

 

The Sum of Us is out today and available wherever books are sold. To learn more about booking Heather McGhee for a speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency

 

The Inauguration and the Future of America

Now that the election cycle is complete, the peaceful transfer of power came to pass, and President Biden settles into his role as commander-in-chief, what happens next? And what can we expect from this new administration? These Lavin Speakers help us make sense of today’s most vital political news.

Speaking to the cautious hope he has towards the current future of America, Jelani Cobb says, “I have the optimism of a boxer going into the late rounds,” while on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
 
In a message to act on behalf of the American people, Heather McGhee joined MSNBC to discuss ending the minority veto. She explains, “The best thing you can do to not be in the minority again is kill the minority veto, get things done for the American people.”
 
Yaël Eisenstat writes about regulating social media for The Harvard Business Review. “While the blame of Donald Trump’s incitement to insurrection lies squarely with him, the biggest social media companies—most prominently my former employer, Facebook—are absolutely complicit.”
 
“Healing is not just about ending the spread of this virus. It also has to be about makig the spread of the next one less likely.” Abdul El-Sayed writes in Newlines Magazine about American’s preexisting conditions and a path forward as we continue to deal with the fallout of COVID-19. 

 

Interested in learning more? Check out the Politics & Society page, or contact The Lavin Agency for more information on booking a speaker for a virtual event. 

The Life-Changing Power of Breath: Introducing New Speaker James Nestor

The way we breathe has changed dramatically over the course of human evolution—and not for the better. Fortunately, acclaimed science journalist James Nestor has undertaken the task of restoring our most vital function, starting with his instant New York Times bestseller Breath

It’s rare that we can say that a book is for everyone, but James Nestor’s spellbinding new release Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, truly is. Though it may seem simple and rather intuitive, our breathing has changed so much over the last few hundred years. Today, poor breathing habits can be linked to a laundry list of chronic health problems, from autoimmune disorders and gut issues, to anxiety and sleep apnea. Medical professionals rarely recognize or discuss the importance of proper breathing, and as a result, we tend to spend more time on things like improving our diets or getting more exercise. But none of those things matter if we’re also not breathing properly, says Nestor.

 

In his book—described as “part scientific quest, part historical insight, part Hero’s Journey”—Nestor takes readers through his own thrilling, years-long exploration to discover where we went wrong with our most basic biological function—and how to fix it. Upon its release, Breath became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, and will soon be translated into 30 languages. Kirkus Reviews has dubbed it a “welcome, invigorating user’s manual for the respiratory system.” No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, your life will be tranformed by this page-turning scientific adventure.

 

Nestor has spoken about the importance of proper breathing everywhere from Stanford Medical School, to the United Nations. He is now available to book for virtual events and speaking engagements in 2021.

 

To book speaker James Nestor for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.  

Mastering Your Self-Talk: Introducing Award-Winning Psychologist Ethan Kross

The most important conversation we have each day is the one we have with ourselves. In his debut book Chatter, acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores how to make our inner voice work in our favor—helping us boost our productivity, make wiser decisions, and generally lead more satisfying lives. 

When it’s at its best, our inner voice can motivate, inspire, and support us through life’s many challenges, whether that be gearing up for an important presentation at work, or having a difficult conversation with someone close to us. But when it’s at its worst, our inner voice can act as a self-saboteur—that nagging voice in the back of our head that says we can’t do it, no matter how hard we try. Pioneering psychologist Ethan Kross refers to this type of negative self-talk as “chatter,” which, if left unchecked, can have very real and damaging effects on our lives. Thankfully, in his debut book of the same name, Kross offers us a science-backed solution. A blend of cutting-edge behavioral research and real-world stories, Chatter is a cogent guide for mastering our runaway self-talk and, in the process, transforming our lives.

 

Kross’ accompanying talks break down the science in a way that’s both captivating and immediately applicable. The results, for readers and listeners alike, are astonishing: increased productivity, greater self-control, wiser emotional decision-making, and even an improved ability to perform under pressure (to name a few). Chatter is available everywhere you buy books on January 26th, and Kross is available to book for your upcoming virtual presentations.

 

Curious about booking Ethan Kross for your next virtual event? Contact The Lavin Agency today to learn more.  

YA Sensation Angie Thomas Returns With a New Book

Concrete Rose, the prequel to Angie Thomas’ wildly popular novel The Hate U Give, will hit shelves on January 12th

In her explosive follow-up to The Hate U Give, which has spent nearly 200 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, Angie Thomas revisits the fictionalized neighborhood of Garden Heights—seventeen years before the events of the first book. Concrete Rose tells the story of Maverick Carter, a seventeen-year-old who is taking care of his family in the only way he knows how, while his dad, a former gang legend, is in prison. But Maverick’s world is soon upended when he finds out he is a father. Now, with a young child who depends on him for everything, Maverick is forced to reevaluate his life.

 

While writing the book, Thomas was inspired by stories of young men. “I started talking to young, real-life Mavericks. Young men who are trying to still find their way and are often written off and seen as troublemakers,” she told PEOPLE. “They have stories and they deserve […] the opportunities to be seen as someone beyond their circumstances.”

Thomas’ third book is one of the most anticipated titles of 2021, and much like her two previous novels, it’s a lush and multi-layered story that gives voice to those who are often ignored and marginalized in our communities. Concrete Rose is currently available for pre-order, and will be widely released on January 12, 2021.

Want to book speaker Angie Thomas for your next virtual event? Contact The Lavin Agency to speak to a skilled sales representative.  

Lavin’s Holiday Gift Guide: A Book for Everyone on Your List

Is there any better way to spend the holidays than curled up with a good book? As this year comes to a close, we’ve rounded up the reads that have inspired, motivated, challenged, and moved us. So, whether you’re shopping for a history buff or a poetry lover, or even a gift for yourself, there’s something here for everyone on your list!

Abdul El-Sayed: Abdul El Sayed’s debut Healing Politics is an exciting blend of memoir, science, and public policy. From his unique perspective as both an epidemiologist and a rising voice in progressive politics, El-Sayed diagnoses the challenges facing America and lays out a bold path forward.   

 

Margaret Atwood: Fans were treated with not one, but two books from the inimitable Margaret Atwood recently: the Booker Prize-winning sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments; and her first poetry collection in over a decade, Dearly. While the former speaks for itself, the latter is a beautiful and haunting selection of poems touching on love, loss, humanity, nature, and even the supernatural.

 

Salman Rushdie: Described as “an epic Don Quixote for the modern age,” Salman Rushdie’s 14th novel Quichotte is a brilliant, multi-layered satirical work. Though released in pre-COVID times, this sharp and wickedly funny novel—named one of the best books of the year by both TIME and NPR—somehow perfectly reflects the absurdity of 2020.

 

Laura Huang: One of America’s top business professors, Laura Huang knows that other people’s perceptions of us can make or break our success. In her book Edge, she reveals how we can leverage our strengths and our flaws to develop a unique “edge” that will set us apart from the rest.

 

Erin Meyer: While many businesses struggled during the pandemic, a few notable outliers shined. Netflix was one of them. In No Rules Rules, co-founder Reed Hastings teams up with business mastermind Erin Meyer to break down the streaming giant’s famously radical work culture. Intelligent and compulsively readable, No Rules Rules is a no-brainer gift choice for the entrepreneur in your life.

 

Gabby Rivera: Gabby Rivera’s queer coming-of-age story Juliet Takes a Breath occurs over one magical summer in Portland, Oregon, and explores important themes of race, identity, and self-love. Most recently, the bestselling YA book was adapted into a graphic novel that fans of comics and Rivera’s other work (which includes penning Marvel’s first queer, latinx superhero America Chavez) will love.

 

Peter Mansbridge: Iconic broadcaster Peter Mansbridge returns to his specialty—intimate, one-on-one interviews—for his new book Extraordinary Canadians. The inspiring collection features stories from remarkable citizens across the country, including an essential worker on the frontlines of the COVID crisis. It is a book filled with kindness, compassion, and heart, reminding us all what it really means to be Canadian.

 

James Nestor: One of Lavin’s newest speakers, James Nestor is an acclaimed science journalist and contributor for the likes of Scientific American, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. The last few years, he’s been investigating an often overlooked and misunderstood, but definitely essential, pillar of health: breathing! The result is his instant New York Times bestseller Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. Fascinating, funny, and intriguing, this well-researched book not only reveals how humans lost the ability to breathe properly, but how even slight adjustments to our breathing habits can profoundly improve our lives.

 

Lori Gottlieb: Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb’s smash hit Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a book that every single human being could read and learn something from. Both deeply personal and universally relatable, this beautiful memoir chronicles Gottlieb’s journey as a therapist undergoing therapy. The lessons she learns about herself and her patients along the way are humorous, humbling, and touching. Beyond spending an astonishing amount of time on the New York Times bestseller list, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone was named one of the 100 Must-Read Books of the year by TIME and will soon be adapted for television.

 

Margo Lee Shetterly: If you watched the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures but somehow missed the #1 New York Times bestselling book it was based on, now is the time to catch up. Margot Lee Shetterly tells the sweeping story of three African American women who were crucial for realizing some of America’s greatest achievements in space. The book is a triumphant (and true!) story of overcoming obstacles and challenges in the pursuit of excellence.

 

Jeremy Gutsche: As the CEO of the world’s largest trend-spotting platform, Jeremy Gutsche is  skilled in finding patterns and moments of opportunity where others see only chaos. His latest book, Create the Future, helps us break our path dependency and innovate during one of the most unpredictable years in recent history.

 

Janna Levin: For the science lover in your life, there is no better book than Janna Levin’s Black Hole Survival Guide. A gifted astrophysicist and writer, Levin takes readers on a visceral tour of space, including into one of the most mysterious and popular modern phenomena: the black hole. But forget the jargon—with her poetic and absorbing prose, Levin allows even non-scientists to appreciate the never-ending magic of the cosmos.  

 

Shoshana Zuboff: Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism is less of a book, and more of a tome: a lengthy and spectacular exploration of how the modern giants of capitalism are using technology to possess, alter, and commodify human behavior. A brilliant and critical thinker, Zuboff maps out the sprawling systems that work together, often hidden in plain sight, to gradually encroach on our free will in the name of profit and consumerism. Named one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019, Surveillance Capitalism is a must-read for anyone concerned about how their data is being used.

 

Interested in booking one of these talented authors for your next virtual event? Contact The Lavin Agency and speak with one of our knowledgeable sales agents.

Thrive While Working Remotely: Introducing Lavin Speaker Alexandra Samuel

Love it or hate it, remote work isn’t going anywhere—at least not anytime soon. So why not learn how to thrive while doing it? Lavin’s newest speaker, Alexandra Samuel, is a technology strategist, data journalist, and author who has spent the past two decades working from home. In her talks, as well as her new book Remote Inc., she reveals the secrets and habits of remote professionals that will transform the way you approach your work. 

The companies and organizations that are trying to replicate the physical “office” in this new era of working from home are setting themselves up for failure. Instead, new Lavin speaker Alexandra Samuel encourages us to discover the many different benefits of remote work. Her upcoming book Remote Inc., co-written with productivity expert Robert Pozen, reveals how an entrepreneurial approach can make remote work both productive and enjoyable. By embracing the habits and independence of a small business owner, readers will learn how to focus on their goals rather than a 9-to-5 schedule; prioritize their time in an efficient way; make online meetings purposeful and engaging; and build great relationships through online collaboration.

 

Equal parts entertaining and actionable, Samuel’s must-listen talks synthesize years of remote work experience to help audiences find a balance between work from home, and life at home.

 

To book speaker Alexandra Samuel for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speaker’s bureau.  

Centering the Black Experience: Introducing Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

If we want to achieve an inclusive economy that works for all, we must begin by giving Black women a seat at the table, says Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman. An activist and emerging researcher, she specializes in data-driven solutions that address the future of work and its implications for Black people in both corporate and academic spaces. Today, Opoku-Agyeman joins The Lavin Agency as a new speaker—shining a light on the importance of structural change that centers Black experiences and voices.

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, and the recent election, there has never been a more crucial time to dismantle the power structures that no longer serve us. Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman has been leading the charge in this arena for years. As the co-founder of The Sadie Collective, she is tackling the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in fields where they have historically been absent: economics, data science, finance, and policy.

 

In her recent op-ed for the New York Times, Opoku-Agyeman teamed up with Dr. Lisa Cook—a former White House aide for President Obama, who is now part of Biden-Harris transition team—to explore the lack of representation of Black women in economics, and the discrimination they face within the profession. And in the latest Teen Vogue, Opoku-Agyeman reflects on why Dr. Cook’s place on Biden’s team is a huge win for Black girls everywhere. “The administration can now show how they will make good on rhetoric around centering Black women in economic policy, considering how critical we were to the Democrats’ success in the 2020 election.”

 

Forthright, candid, and authentic, Opoku-Agyeman’s talks touch upon many of the issues we need to urgently reform, from economic inclusion and diversity within organizations, to anti-Black racism and sexism in college campuses and corporations. She is set to release two books: THE BLACK AGENDA (St. Martin’s Press, 2022), a collection of essays featuring leading Black voices across policy, healthcare, and technology; and Knock Those Doors Down (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2023), a children’s book about Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander, America’s First Black Economist.

 

To learn more about speaker Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman and how to book her for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau. 

The Election, its Aftermath, and the Future of America

Everything about this election—from the global pandemic ravaging the nation, to the president’s claims of voter fraud—has been unusual, to say the least. And though the peaceful transfer of power will begin, Trump continues to contest his defeat and several lawsuits remain in motion. What happens next? And what can we expect from a Biden presidency? These Lavin Speakers help us make sense of today’s most vital political news. 

If Joe Biden learns one thing from Barack Obama, let it be that moderation won’t save him, says Jelani Cobb. The New Yorker writer joins MSNBC to discuss what role the former president will have in Biden’s administration, and the looming importance of Georgia’s senate race.

 

Curious about what Trump is really trying to achieve with all those challenges to the election? New York Times bestselling author Emily Bazelon discusses the president’s motivation to create trouble in a special episode of Slate’s Political Gabfest.

 

Here’s a frightening thought: Donald Trump still has the power to launch nuclear weapons at any time! In his new piece for WIRED, journalist Garrett Graff reveals why the nation’s hair-trigger alert system—a relic from the Cold War-era—desperately needs to be reformed: “We shouldn’t have to worry whether presidential whims endanger our world and human civilization.”

 

Joe Biden is inheriting a very different America than his predecessor. In a segment for The Hill, The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill warns of the long-term damage Trump has already done—and why it will be difficult to undo.

 

After 4 years of a Trump presidency, we finally have the opportunity to move the needle on climate action again. But if activists are to get anything done, they’ll need to aggressively make their case—without alienating the people they must work with, says Bill McKibben. His latest article details the best way to push the climate agenda forward in the Biden era.

 

This election definitely revealed how divided America really is. But that divide has less to do with race, and more to do with where you live. Derek Thompson’s piece in The Atlantic dissects the crucial factors that influenced the election’s outcome.

 

“A great many people did not vote for Joe Biden, they voted against Trump, because they recognize the tremendous threat that he represents,” writes Naomi Klein in The Guardian. Her new piece outlines why Biden—the “safe” choice—still represents a risk to the country.

 

On a new podcast, former Demos president Heather McGhee (author of the forthcoming book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together) discusses the racist scams that undergird the American electoral system. Listen to hear her respond to the “I voted for Trump because of my 401k” excuse.

 

Interested in learning more? Check out the Politics & Society page, or contact The Lavin Agency for more information on booking a speaker for a virtual event.

Reckoning with White Supremacy: Introducing New Speaker Kathleen Belew

The Lavin Agency is proud to announce its new speaker and white supremacy historian, Kathleen Belew. Author of Bring the War Home, Kathleen shows us that with a sustained attention to the white supremacist violence of our past, we can avoid future terrorist attacks designed to undermine American democracy.

The Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 was the largest deliberate mass casualty on Amercian soil between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Yet unlike those actions, most people don’t understand what that attack was, and what it meant. It was not the work of “lone wolves,” but rather the crescendo of a string of violent attacks perpetrated by a broad, deeply networked social movement: the white power movement. This was a movement that brought together an array of Klan, neo-Nazi skinhead, and militia activists in outright war on the federal government.

 

We are now decades, if not generations, into this activism, which has killed Americans, damaged infrastructure, and represents the single largest terrorist threat to the United States. And we still don’t fully understand it. As a white supremacy expert, Kathleen decodes the movement’s worldview, actions, and planned attack on America, and teaches us how to prevent it from destroying the democracy we so cherish. 

 
To book speaker Kathleen Belew for a virtual keynote, contact The Lavin Agency today. 

Liberty & Justice for All: A Lavin Exclusive

The United States has historically been a nation in deep denial of its own past. But today, the country—indeed, the entire world—is facing a racial reckoning of epic proportions. Between a global pandemic that disproportionately affects Black communities, the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and a growing White Power movement, the staggering depths of racial injustice in this country have never been clearer. This Black History Month, The Lavin Agency is honored to introduce ‘Liberty and Justice for All’: A virtual program featuring three incredible Lavin speakers—a civil rights legend, an award-winning academic, and a critically acclaimed novelist. Together, they’ll provide a unique perspective on the fight for racial justice, equity, and liberty for everyone.

Minnijean Brown-Trickey:  On one fateful day in 1957, Minnijean Brown-Trickey changed history forever. Part of the Little Rock Nine—the first group of African-American students to attend an all-white school—Minnijean braved an onslaught of ridicule, abuse, and even death threats from angry, racists mobs, in order to exercise her right to learn. Today, Minnijean speaks about the conviction it took to take those steps and the values she learned along the way: What does it mean to stand up for civil rights? To be an activist? And how can one nurture a fierce commitment to justice over the course of a lifetime?

 

Anthony Jack:  For low-income students, getting into an elite college is only half the battle. What happens once they’re there? In his award-winning book The Privileged Poor, named an NPR Favorite, Anthony Jack reveals the minefield these students must navigate—from insidious campus culture to institutional policies and structures that harm, rather than help. An associate professor of education at Harvard, Anthony’s book is backed by years of research, as well as shaped by his own experience as a first-generation college student.

 

Angie Thomas: The #1 New York Times bestselling novel The Hate U Give continues to reflect the reality of Black Americans, who are disproportionately threatened, intimidated, and killed at the hands of police. Author Angie Thomas not only helped further an important conversation around police brutality for a younger audience; she also strongly believes in the ability of books to empower the next cohort of leaders. “If my legacy is that I inspired the next generation of activists then I’m happy with that,” she revealed to TIME. “It’s an honor.”

 

Want to learn more about this virtual Black History Month event? Contact The Lavin Agency today for more information.

Finding Your Grit During COVID-19: Tips from Angela Duckworth

Psychologist Angela Duckworth is the world’s leading expert on grit—the coveted quality that’s a better indicator of success than talent, or even IQ. Defined by Duckworth as a blend of passion and perseverance over the course of long-term goals, grit has enormous benefits that go beyond just performance. Below, she shares how it can help us cope—and thrive—during COVID-19.

As we grapple with the ongoing, collective trauma of the pandemic, we could all stand to cultivate more grit. Why? Because when bad things happen unexpectedly, part of having grit is being able to navigate those stormy waters, explains #1 New York Times bestselling author Angela Duckworth. Another bonus? Really “gritty” people tend to look for opportunities to learn and grow during challenging times. That means that when the crisis is over, they won’t be where they were before it all started—they’ll actually be better off. Best of all, it’s never too late to develop grit, or gritty qualities like self-control, tenacity, and stamina, because people never stop developing.

 

So while the future is uncertain, and things are to a large extent outside of our control, we can take a cue from those gritty people, and frame our adversity in what Duckworth refers to as an “optimistic, resilient way.” Meaning that we can choose to focus on the things we can change, and the elements of our situation that are temporary. In her engaging, inspirational, and actionable talks, Duckworth reminds us that there are still things in our life we do have control over, and that it’s in our best interest to spend the majority of our time on those things as we continue to weather this storm.

 

Check out our Surviving COVID-19 page, or contact The Lavin Agency for more information about booking a speaker. 

Lavin Speaker Round-Up: Decoding the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime

This year has been an unforgettable one, to say the least. Marked by a global pandemic, a worldwide call for racial justice, and the worst economic recession we’ve seen since the Great Depression, 2020 also happens to fall on an election year. Soon, we will decide on the next President of the United States—a decision that will no doubt impact all of our futures. With less than a week to go, we’ve rounded up what our brilliant Lavin Speakers have been saying, writing, and doing to prepare for arguably the most important election of our lifetimes.

Heather McGhee: Recently, public policy expert and political commentator Heather McGhee sat down with Complex and Vote Save America for a segment called “How Your Vote Will Impact Your Money.” Listen in for a clear and open discussion about the election and the economy.

 

Abdul El-Sayed: Abdul El-Sayed is an epidemiologist, a former public health official, and a progressive leader lauded by the likes of Bernie Sanders and AOC. On his must-listen podcast America Dissected, he breaks down everything from organizing against pandemic fatigue, to preparing for the upcoming election in the midst of a public health emergency.

 

Jelani Cobb: Journalist, historian and New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb examines whose vote counts—and whose might not—in a new Frontline documentary. The film focuses on voter disenfranchisement characterized by long lines, unfounded claims of voter fraud, and the legal fights over mail-in ballots during the pandemic, particularly in the State of Wisconsin—the state in which the last presidency was essentially decided, says Cobb, who describes voter suppression as “a fire that has spread across the country.”

 

Annie Lowrey: “The election may determine whether states and cities need to raise additional revenue at all: Democrats and Republicans have been squabbling for months over whether Uncle Sam should keep filling local budget gaps.” A staff writer for The Atlantic who covers economic policy, Annie Lowrey has written many articles leading up to the election, including her most recent ‘If You Soak the Rich, Will They Leave?’—an exploration of how the pandemic recession is affecting local governments.

 

David Wallace-Wells: Climate columnist David Wallace-Wells (author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Uninhabitable Earth) has spent considerable time vetting each candidate’s policies on climate. He notes that, at $2 trillion, Biden’s plan “would mark by far the biggest commitment ever proposed not just by a presidential nominee but any major political figure in the country’s history until about a year ago.”

 

Garret Graff: Journalist, bestselling author, and director of the Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program, Garrett Graff has approached the election from a variety of angles, whether it’s how the media should be covering hacks and leaks, or more recently, a day-by-day guide to what could happen if the election goes bad.

 

Daron Acemoglu: In his landmark book Why Nations Fail, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu uses the framework of our political and economic institutions to help us understand prosperity and success. Leading up to the election, he’s also offered some healthy critique on how those institutions have been operating under the Trump administration. Read his latest, ‘The Democrats Should Fight Fire with Water,’ on Project Syndicate.

 

Yaël Eisenstat: As a former CIA officer, U.S. Diplomat, and special advisor to Vice President Biden, Yaël Eisenstat has over two decades of experience in national security and government. But after noticing that it was easier to talk to suspected terrorists than it was to talk to fellow Americans, she became concerned about the role platforms like Facebook were playing in our democracy. Eisenstat even took a job as the Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations at Facebook, a post that lasted only 6 months when she discovered that change would not come from within. This wild journey is chronicled in Eisenstat’s new TED Talk, a must-listen as the election looms nearer.

 

Further Reading:

Yascha Mounk: Trump Is the Best Candidate for the Illiberal Left

James Fallows: The Media Learned Nothing From 2016

Nicholas Thompson: WIRED editor Nicholas Thompson introduces ‘American Hustle’—a special edition of the magazine dedicated to the upcoming election.

Graeme Wood: He Won’t Concede, but He’ll Pack His Bags

Eyal Press: Trump’s Labor Secretary is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers

Diane Francis: Trump getting increasingly desperate and erratic as election nears

Derek Thompson: Do Trump’s Taxes Show He’s a Failure, a Cheat, or a Criminal?

 

Interested in booking a Politics Speaker for your next virtual event? Check out our Politics & Society Speaker Page or contact The Lavin Agency for more information.  

Never Stop Learning: Introducing the Lavin Book Club

If you’ve landed on this page, it’s probably because you’re a thinker, a reader, and a do-er who cares about making the world a better place. We do too. That’s why we’re proud to introduce the Lavin Book Club: an online community for people who never want to stop learning, powered by ideas that change the world.  

Last month, we invited Stanford neuroscientist David Eagleman for a live Q&A to celebrate the launch of his most recent book Livewired. For those of you who missed it (or those of you who wanted more!) we’re happy to announce that Livewired will also be our first book club pick for the month of October. 

 

About the book: “The magic of the brain is not found in the parts it’s made of but in the way those parts unceasingly reweave themselves in an electric, living fabric.” — In Livewired, Eagleman tells the story of how our brains constantly adapt to the world around us, and answers some pretty mind-blowing questions along the way: from the surprising reason we dream at night, to the likelihood that we might some day control a robot with our thoughts.

 

About the Author: David Eagleman is not only one of the most influential neuroscientists alive today—he’s also one of our generation’s best scientific teachers, demystifying concepts from sensory substitution and time perception, to brain plasticity. Dubbed “the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun” by the New York Times, Eagleman has served as an advisor on HBO’s Westworld, hosted the Netflix documentary The Creative Brain, and written several New York Times bestselling books.

 

Join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook, or Goodreads, and use the hashtag #LavinBookClub as you follow along with us. 

To book speaker David Eagleman for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau. 

Decoding the Future of Events: A Message From Our Founder

What will become of in-person events, now that the business world is acclimating to the affordability and accessibility of virtual events? The Lavin Agency’s Founder and CEO David Lavin considers the future of the industry he’s so passionate about. 

There’s an interesting parallel between what’s happening in the events industry today, and the digital disruption the music industry faced in the early 2000s. “Back then, Napster was the early adopter. It may not be in business today, but it certainly changed everything about the industry, from the way music was consumed, to the way it was distributed, marketed, and sold,” writes David Lavin in his latest Linked In article.

 

Today, Zoom is the early adopter when it comes to event tech. Whether it will be around in another 15 years is hard to say, but what’s truly significant is the way it’s changing the landscape of the global events industry right now. It helps companies offer free or very cheap virtual events; allows for precise online targeting; and cuts down on business travel. Some might argue, because of this, the events industry is toast.

 

 “The incumbents of an industry historically resist its digital transformation and oftentimes, even go as far as to mock the insurgents. They do this because they hope for a return to normal, or a shift to back to the status quo. But once the genie is out of the bottle, it never goes back in,” David notes. Still, asking whether the events industry is past its peak is the wrong question to be asking. In-person events will always have a place in the industry, because of the social nature of business itself. “The right question is how can we adapt and innovate to include this new knowledge of what’s possible into our current offerings? How can we, as event professionals, imagine a hybrid future?”

 

No matter what side of the events industry you’re in, constant reinvention will be key for survival. Check out David’s full Linked In article for some questions to ask yourself — guaranteed to kickstart creativity and innovation for navigating the transition ahead.

 

Interested in booking a speaker for a virtual event? Contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with a skilled sales agent.

 

The Awesome Power of Chance: Introducing New Speaker Sean B. Carroll

The Lavin Agency is proud to announce its new speaker and one of the most masterful science storytellers of our time, Sean B. Carroll. An internationally recognized Evolutionary Biologist and award-winning writer, film producer, and educator, he is a thriller raconteur and renowned scientist. 
 
Carroll’s pioneering scientific research centers on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity. Author of the hotly anticipated new book A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You (release date October 6th, 2020), Carroll explores the awe-inspiring science behind the power of chance in our lives and world. 
 
Why is the planet the way it is? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for a millennia, but were it not for the most improbable collision—of one unique sperm with one unique egg, you would not be here. In his thrilling and illuminating talks, Sean B. Carroll speaks to the mother of all accidents, the accident of all mothers, and much more on the surprising power of chance in our lives.
 
To book Sean B. Carroll for a keynote on Biology, Chance, and his fascinating new book A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You, contact The Lavin Agency today. 

No Rules Rules: Erin Meyer Shares the Behind-The-Scenes of Netflix’s Culture

In her latest book No Rules Rules, Erin Meyer teams up with Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings to reveal, for the first time ever, the unorthodox culture that made the streaming giant what it is today.

We’re all familiar with the story. In the year 2000, Blockbuster turned down the chance to purchase a fledgling DVD rental company with its sights set on the future. Unfortunately for Blockbuster, that unknown upstart grew to become the streaming giant we all know and love: Netflix. What’s less obvious is how a plucky start-up like Netflix transformed itself into a billion-dollar company—one that revolutionized the entertainment industry, and captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe.

 

In No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, co-founder Reed Hastings joins forces with influential business professor Erin Meyer to answer that question. Together, they break down the unorthodox principles—then unknown and untested—that propelled Netflix to such extraordinary heights. This is a company with no vacation or expense policies. A company that values performance above hard work, and rewards it accordingly. A place where employees don’t try to please their boss, but instead feel empowered to give their candid feedback. Needless to say, it’s not your average organization.

 

Once named one of the top 30 HR professionals in the world, Meyer lays out the controversial ideologies learned at Netflix for leaders hoping to generate more speed, agility, and innovation in their own organizations.

 

To book speaker Erin Meyer for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.

Reimagining Higher Education in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history. Not only that, but this crisis is exacerbating pre-existing education disparities for many of the most vulnerable students. How are higher education institutions carrying on with teaching during this socio-economic, cultural and health crisis, and what do we know about the future of education?

 

Luckily, The Lavin Agency’s Education Speakers are here to highlight up-to-the-minute innovations within the education sector. As schools develop innovative approaches in support of education and distance learning solutions, these experts are on the frontline of the current challenges facing our students and educators. 

 

With more and more diverse and disadvantaged students accepted into elite colleges, Assistant Professor at Harvard and author of The Privileged Poor, Anthony Jack explores how poor students are often failed by the top schools that admit them. In fascinating and critical talks, he details how class divides on campus create barriers to academic success—and shares what schools can do in-step with their COVID-19 strategies to truly level the playing field.

 

In his illuminating talks, leading expert in the psychology of persistence David Yeager goes beyond typical “student success” programs, and instead takes a social-psychological perspective during a crisis, asking: what does it look and feel like to worry about whether you belong? David shows us a framework for engaging in continuous improvement of the psychological environment that supports student persistence during the pandemic.

 

In a constantly shifting educational landscape, who gets to thrive, and what are the deciding factors? New York Times bestselling author Paul Tough makes a mind-changing inquiry into modern higher education. Will colleges provide real opportunity for young people to improve their prospects and social mobility during the pandemic? In talks drawn from his years of research, Paul challenges the status quo, revealing how higher education and social mobility really work, and what we can do to make it more equitable for all.

 

Learn more about The Lavin Agency’s Education Speakers.

 

A Beautiful Life: LaToya Ruby Frazier Photographs Breonna Taylor’s Family for Vanity Fair

Acclaimed photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier took portraits of Breonna Taylor’s family for the cover story of Vanity Fair’s September issue (guest-edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates, with words by Breonna’s mother Tamika Palmer). Below is LaToya’s powerfully moving statement on the project.

I can’t stop thinking about Breonna Taylor, her murder and unjust criminalization made me so upset that I risked my life and broke quarantine, knowing I am highly susceptible to COVID-19 due to having Lupus, an autoimmune disorder. This is how much it meant to me to reclaim a visual justice and humane dignified representations of Breonna and her family members. My mother was a nurse, my niece is an aspiring nurse, Breonna Taylor wanted to be a nurse, not a piece of legislation or another slain statistic at the hands of law enforcement in America. Since Breonna worked as an EMT this would mean that the LMPD are her colleagues. To be brutally murdered at home, in the middle of the night, by the very people you work with within your community is the most offensive and heinous crime against humanity.

 

If you look up the very definition of the characteristics and attributes of an EMT worker or a nurse, it provides the proof and evidence of Breonna’s character. My portraits are a call for justice and the unwavering steadfast endurance of Black women in America regardless of the persecution we face on a daily basis. Breonna Taylor is a hero, a frontline essential worker, and I demand justice now. Lastly, the way the LMPD portrayed her loving boyfriend and fiancé Kenneth Walker was inexcusable. These portraits serve to restore Kenneth's humanity and to honor his love for Breonna, as he was about to propose to her. It is abundantly clear that as time goes on and more details are revealed and there are still no arrests of the police officers and detective that murdered Breonna, that in America Black people have no constitutional rights, and therefore all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter!

 

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Learn more about LaToya Ruby Frazier and The Lavin Agency’s  Social Justice Speakers.

Your Brain is Plastic: A Live Q&A With Neuroscientist David Eagleman

On August 26th, world-renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman will join The Lavin Agency for a stimulating Q&A session discussing his latest book Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain.  

How can a child function with only one half of his brain? What does drug withdrawal have to do with a broken heart? And can a blind person really learn how to see using his tongue? The answer to those questions—and many more—lie in David Eagleman’s hotly anticipated book Livewired. Combining decades of research on brain plasticity with new scientific discoveries coming from his own lab, Eagleman shatters the text-book model of the brain we’ve all been taught to reveal a system that is dynamic, interwoven, and most importantly, self-modifying.

 

As one of the world’s best scientific translators, Eagleman masterfully takes readers and audiences alike through the leading edge of neuroscience—and best of all—applies his insights to our own lives. Join us on Wednesday, August 26th from 1pm—2pm EST (10am—11am PST) to learn more! You’ll never think about your brain the same way again.

 

Register for this one-time session HERE and you’ll immediately be entered to win a copy of the book!

 

To book speaker David Eagleman for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

How To Have Better Conversations About Race At Work

We, as a society, haven’t been the same since the horrifying video of George Floyd’s death circulated the Internet earlier this year. Beyond the international protests against police brutality, this tragic incident has sparked a wider conversation about racial bias in all areas of our lives—including at work.

A new report by The Society for Human Resource Management finds that 49% of Black professionals feel that discrimination based on race or ethnicity exists in their workplace. They write, “Despite years of financial and strategic investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion, U.S. companies have notable numbers of workers who express concerns and discomfort about fundamental issues of racial equality in the workplace.”

 

Good intentions aside, it’s clear that diversity initiatives are lacking. They fail to create real change that translates into the lived experience of employees. What’s missing? And how can we change it? Below are a few resources from Lavin exclusive speakers who have been spearheading real change in this arena for years.

 

Gain a Clear Understanding of the Concepts
The words equity, inclusion, and diversity are often used interchangeably. But what do they really mean? Lavin Speaker Ritu Bhasin has been teaching these concepts for decades in an effort to help nurture people’s authentic selves at work. In this short video, she helpfully explains the differences between these terms as a starting point for having truly informed conversations about race at work.

 

Be Willing to Have Difficult Conversations About Race (No Matter Your Race)
The SHRM report found that “more than one-third of U.S. workers don’t feel comfortable engaging in candid conversations about race at work.” But for real change to occur, having a hands-on experience that involves everyone—especially white people—is absolutely vital. It’s not enough to invite an expert to lecture your team on the importance of diversity as an abstract concept. In this CSPAN video, watch as Heather McGhee takes a question from a caller who openly admits his own prejudice. What ensues is a fruitful and powerful conversation about race in America. It’s conversations like these that are most uncomfortable, but are most essential for transformation.

 

Acknowledge Systemic Racism
Leaders need to acknowledge the racism happening both inside and outside of work on a deep and systemic level. This free, downloadable book released by Harvard University Press is not only for college students. It’s a fantastic resource for everyone who wishes to learn more about anti-black racism in this country, featuring work by Lavin speakers Anthony Jack, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, and Kwame Anthony Appiah. Historian Annette Gordon Reed—recently named a Harvard University professor—wrote the book’s forward: “The United States is, apparently, living through one of those punctua­tion points in history that, seemingly out of the blue, arrive to spur societal change.”

 

To book a Diversity and Inclusion Speaker for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with one of our qualified speaking agents.

Silicon Valley, Reinvention, and the Future of Tech: Introducing Lavin Speaker Alex Kantrowitz

In Always Day One, tech reporter Alex Kantrowitz explores the industry’s unique culture of innovation. More than just a catchy slogan, the book’s title refers to the bedrock principle employed by one of the largest, most successful companies in the world: Amazon. The logic being that failure to invent like a start-up will eventually lead to irrelevance and decline. Kantrowitz builds upon this principle, along with other tools and tactics, used by the tech giants to propel their growth and dominance at the stage when most big companies begin to fail.

Though these companies do receive a fair amount of criticism, Kantrowitz argues that we must extract the most useful tactics in their playbook in order to level the playing field. “The tech giants are successful largely because they’ve reimagined how we approach work. With the assistance of automation and collaboration software, they’ve figured out how to maximize the time their employees spend coming up with new ideas and minimize the time they spend supporting existing products,” Kantrowitz says. In other words, by not becoming overly attached to their flagship products, companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are able to continually reinvent. And it’s time that other organizations started taking note. The economic hardship presented by COVID-19 leaves no other choice.

 

In a post-pandemic world, the leaders who cling to their legacy assets and protect them at all costs won’t get very far. But the leaders who build cultures like the ones modelled by the tech giants—cultures that prioritize invention and reinvention—will have more than a fighting chance.

 

To book speaker Alex Kantrowitz for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

The Top 10 Social Activist Speakers Changing the World Today

Lavin’s Top 10 Social Activist Speakers are the thought-leaders and advocates pushing for a better world. Whether it’s through art, history, education, or humanitarian efforts, these speakers are not only calling for change, but actively making it happen. 

LaToya Ruby Frazier: LaToya Ruby Frazier treats art as activism. With her powerful images of post-industrial towns and cities across America, the acclaimed photographer and MacArthur “Genius” shows us the troubling reality of life for working-class Black families. Whether it’s the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, or the effects of plant closures in her native Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier’s work shines a light on the racism, economic erosion, and environmental degradation that make the American dream unattainable for Black people.

Titus Kaphar: In his work, Titus Kaphar explores the intersection of art and history as a way to propel social change. During the Ferguson protests, Kaphar created a powerful oil painting titled, ‘Yet Another Fight for Remembrance,’ which appeared in a 2014 issue of TIME. Six years later, and Kaphar’s work is once again featured—this time, following the death of George Floyd, another unarmed black man, at the hands of police. Titled ‘Analogous Colors,’ the new painting, which graces the magazine’s cover, depicts an African-American mother holding her child—who has been cut out of the canvas. “In her expression, I see the black mothers who are unseen, and rendered helpless in this fury against their babies,” writes Kaphar. “As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against black people, I paint a black mother … eyes closed, furrowed brow, holding the contour of her loss.”

Marcus Bullock: Marcus Bullock knows the painful, isolating, often hopeless experience of being incarcerated first-hand. At the age of 15, he was sentenced to eight years in an adult maximum security prison for stealing a car. After his release, Bullock began his own entrepreneurial venture—an app called Flikshop—as a way to help prisoners stay connected with their loved ones throughout their sentence. Today, more than 140,000 inmates use the app, not only to keep in touch with family and friends, but also get assistance from nonprofits.

 

Angela Davis: A political activist, scholar, author, and leader in the civil rights movement, Angela Davis has been fighting injustice in the United States her entire life. As a young person, she spent eighteen months in jail after being placed on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted List’ for a crime she did not commit. Today, 76-year-old Davis continues to speak out about systemic racism, intersectional feminism, and topics that were once considered too radical, such as defunding the police or prison abolition, which have now been pushed to the mainstream thanks to renewed mobilization of the Black Lives Matter movement. The size and scope of the movement may be unprecedented, but the struggles themselves are not new. “The struggles have been unfolding for a long time,” Davis reminds us. “What we are seeing now bears witness to the work that people have been doing that has not necessarily received media attention.”

Minnijean Brown-Trickey: Minnijean Brown-Trickey is a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement. In 1957, she made history when she took her place in what had previously been a whites-only public school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Television crews documented Brown-Trickey as she walked past armed guards, not to mention an angry mob, in order to enter the school—and kick off America’s journey towards desegregation in education. Today, the lifelong activist speaks about her experience from that fateful day in 1957, to her appointment as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior for diversity, and beyond.

Gabby Rivera: Queer activist and creative Gabby Rivera is smashing stereotypes with her incredible, boundary-pushing work. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story starring a queer puertorriqueña, she’s also responsible for creating Marvel’s America Chavez: a comic featuring the franchise’s first queer, Latinx teen-girl superhero. Beyond representing—and empowering—marginalized communities through her work, Rivera serves as a Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN, a leading education organization focused on providing LGBTQ students with a safe experience at school.

 

Negin Farsad: Negin Farsad has an unusual career as a “social justice comedian.” What does it mean? Well, essentially, she uses her wicked sense of humor to bridge the racial, religious, social, and cultural gaps that divide our society. Farsad is the acclaimed writer, director, and star of The Muslims are Coming!, a documentary that followed American-Muslim comics on a tour around the nation in an effort to combat prejudice and islamophobia. She is also the author of How to Make White People Laugh, a memoir revealing what it was like growing up Iranian-American in a post-9/11 world. As intelligent as it is funny, Farsad’s body of work is a glowing testament to how laughter can change the world.

Ashton Applewhite: What makes getting older so difficult? Well, it’s not necessarily the passage of time, says age activist Ashton Applewhite. Instead, it has more to do with how we view aging as a society: something to be dreaded, feared, and avoided at all costs. In her work, Applewhite imagines a different reality; one where we embrace aging and take advantage of the untapped possibilities of later life. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.” Her book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, as well as her social activism talks, offer a powerful guide for dismantling what she calls the “last acceptable prejudice.”

 

Bill McKibben: Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature—published in 1989—is widely regarded as the first book on global warming. Since then, McKibben hasn’t stopped fighting to save our planet from the cataclysmic effects of climate change. He founded the grassroots climate movement 350.org—now the biggest in the world—to secure a better future for us all. And in his latest book, McKibben, who has been called “perhaps the planet’s best green journalist,” by TIME, offers a rousing call-to-arms, thirty years after his earliest warning. 

 

Kimberley Motley: Kimberley Motley is an advocate for global justice. She is the first and only Western litigator to work in Afghanistan, where she spends nine months out of the year navigating a punishing legal system and fighting for the freedom of its countless victims⁠—whether that be a six-year-old child bride, or a foreign soldier falsely accused of a crime. In her talks around the world, including one at TEDGlobal, Motley shares her knowledge and expertise on international law, as well as her hands-on experience approaching criminal, commercial, civil, and human rights issues.

To book one of our Social Activist Speakers for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, and speak with a representative.  

Lavin Speaker Tarah Wheeler Selected for the Prestigious Fulbright Cyber Security Scholar Award

In her mission to create a safe and secure Internet for everyone, cybersecurity expert Tarah Wheeler has won the US/UK Fulbright Cyber Security Scholar Award.

The Internet has undoubtedly improved the lives of people all over the world; however, as it’s grown, its vulnerabilities have also become more obvious. Today, corporations, government agencies, and individuals all run the risk of being cyberattacked. Tarah Wheeler, who joined New America as a Cybersecurity Policy Fellow in 2017, is set to embark on a new research appointment at Oxford University to explore the dangers of cyber war crimes. Supported by Fulbright, Wheeler will conduct research in conjunction with the UK National Health Service on defining cyber war crimes, and mitigating civilization bystander harms in nation-state sponsored cyberattacks.

“I’m elated to have been selected for the US Fulbright Scholarship,” Wheeler said. “Often, the hidden victims of cyberwarfare are civilians, uncounted in the toll taken by state-sponsored cyberconflict, and it will be an honor to help shine a light on how ordinary people are personally affected by distant conflict unexpectedly spilling over into their jobs, healthcare, homes, food supply, and even lives.”

Peter Bergen, the Vice President of Global Studies and Fellows at New America, congratulated Wheeler on her “greatly deserved” Fulbright Cyber Security Award on behalf of everyone at the organization. He said, “[Wheeler’s] contributions to cyber attack mitigation research has the potential to prevent real harm in the future.”

Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Cyber Security Oxford Katherine Fletcher, welcomed Wheeler, saying, “We are looking forward to hosting Tarah, as her work will nicely complement ongoing projects looking at cyber harm and resilience from a variety of angles—legal, sociological, economic, et. cetera⁠—which we hope might lead to further collaborations.”

To book speaker Tarah Wheeler for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

How Can Entrepreneurs Get Through COVID-19? Business Journalist David Sax Reveals Two Essential Truths

If business owners can learn to embrace two certainties, they’ll be able to get through anything, says David Sax. In his new piece for Entrepreneur, he considers how the challenges presented by COVID-19 are showing us what we’re capable of.

“The only way entrepreneurs will get through this is by embracing our two core truths — the only two certainties in an entrepreneur’s life,” writes David Sax in Entrepreneur. “They’re not money, fame, innovation or disruption. They are this: risk and freedom. You cannot have one without the other, and so an entrepreneur must have both.”

Sax has been interested in entrepreneurship for a long time. Not just the celebrated Silicon Valley archetype of an entrepreneur, either, but business owners of all stripes—the ones who truly make up our economy. In his new book, The Soul of an Entrepreneur, Sax examines how we can move beyond this narrow definition and get back to the core of entrepreneurship. He showcases stories from business owners across all industries and demographics, so that we might celebrate entrepreneurship in all of its diversity, and make it truly accessible to all. And though the appearance of the coronavirus is understandably omitted from the book, the subject matter remains relevant as ever.

Today, the inherent risk in entrepreneurship is being laid bare by this invisible enemy we’re all fighting. And the government response has, in many cases, left much to be desired. But that’s where the freedom part of the entrepreneur’s bargain comes in. “To get through this crisis, we now have to double down on that freedom. We have to try new things, create opportunities, pivot, shift, experiment and swing for the fences. We need to find a way to move forward. And from what I’ve seen so far this past month, that is exactly what we are doing.”

Read the full article here.

To book David Sax for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

 

Artist Titus Kaphar Explores Black Motherhood in His Latest Paintings

From a Tropical Space is the latest series from Titus Kaphar, the award-winning painter, sculptor, and MacArthur “Genius.” Although the New York exhibition of this work has been postponed, Kaphar is currently the focus of Gagosian’s latest “Artist Spotlight.” In a new interview with Vulture, the artist speaks candidly about the project he describes as a “surrealist, fictional Afro-futuristic narrative” about black mothers and the disappearance of their children.

Much of Titus Kaphar’s past work is rooted in art history. At first glance, From a Tropical Space seems to be a departure from that focus. “We don’t see very many pictures of black women in art history, period. They are not our Madonnas. They’re not our Venuses. They are not our odalisque,” Kaphar tells Vulture. “What we have is the depiction of black folks in general, and black women specifically, as enslaved and [in] servitude.”

 

Yet upon closer inspection, the work has more to do with the canon than first meets the eye. “When I looked at the compositions themselves, I realized that this [series] is a conversation about the Madonna. This is a conversation about the Pietà. These are mothers mourning the loss of their children. So in that way, the relationship to art history is there. It’s just, the expression has changed.”

 

The series depicts portraits of black mothers with their children erased from the canvas, leaving a blank cut-out where there bodies should be. Kaphar explains that they were removed very precisely with a razor blade, and that the work relates to the trauma these mothers are experiencing. “That kind of anxiety, that kind of fear in these paintings, culminates into this moment of absence.”

 

Read his full interview here.

 

To book speaker Titus Kaphar for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, and connect with a knowledgeable member of our sales team.

Economist Raj Chetty Helps Launch the First Real-Time Economic Tracker for COVID-19

Raj Chetty is the Director of Opportunity Insights, a small organization of Harvard-based researchers and policy analysts. In the wake of the current crisis, he and his team have partnered with Womply to launch the first and only tool able to track the economic impacts of COVID-19 on people, businesses, and communities in real time.

Up until now, federal, state, and local leaders have been forced to rely on survey-based data and government statistics for their planning and policy-making. And though this data is certainly valuable, the lag in accumulating it makes it harder to assess sudden economic shocks, such as the one reverberating from COVID-19.

 

That’s what makes the OI Economic tracker, powered by Womply’s software and data points, so revolutionary. The company has been tracking economic activity and consumer spending for years, offering live information that can meet the immediate and urgent needs of this downturn. The data will be undergoing rigorous academic analysis by economist Raj Chetty and his team at Opportunity Insights.

 

“The OI Economic Tracker will provide government leaders, policymakers, non-profits, and the public with the tools they need to tackle an economic crisis,” says Chetty. “Rather than waiting weeks to see where the economy is falling and playing catch-up, the new data assembled in this tool offers the capacity to spot economic problems as they emerge and to consider a more targeted policy response.”

 

Read more about it here.  

 

To book speaker Raj Chetty for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Nikole-Hannah Jones’ Essay for ‘The 1619 Project’ Wins a Pulitzer Prize

Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones reexamined the legacy of slavery in America in the ambitious project, which recognized the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving in Virginia. For her introductory essay, Hannah-Jones has been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for commentary. 

New York Times Magazine’s ‘The 1619 Project’ was perhaps the most talked about piece of journalism of the year, featuring inspiring work from Black authors, journalists, activists, and artists. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator and lead writer on the project, penned the introductory essay under the powerful headline ‘Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.’

 

In it, she writes, “But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.”

 

Thought-provoking and beautifully written, Hannah-Jones’ essay will be remembered for being one of the most impactful modern pieces on the subject of race and slavery. Upon learning of her Pulitzer win, she called the project “the most important work of my life.”

 

Read her full essay here.

 

To book speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

 

What’s the Future? Join us for Our First Virtual Event and Find Out!

Join Naomi Klein, Angela Duckworth, Wajahat Ali, and many more of the world’s top thinkers at What’s the Future @ Lavin Live—a free virtual event diving into the enormous challenges we’re all facing as a result of COVID-19. 

The longer we stay under lockdown, the less likely we are to return to a world that feels familiar. From the devastation of the economy, to the newfound apprehension we experience every time we leave the house, it’s clear that there will be significant—and lasting—changes to our lives.

 

What’s the Future @ Lavin Live is a free virtual event designed to ease some of that uncertainty. No one knows for sure what tomorrow will bring, but we’ve gathered some of the world’s brightest thinkers to help us envision the legacy the pandemic will leave in its wake. Join host Misha Glouberman as he talks to the world’s leading scientists, journalists, economists, and public intellectuals on April 27th—29th, from 3PM to 5PM EST every day.

 

Check out our full line-up below and make sure to register so that we know you’re coming!

Event Breakdown

April 27th: Personal

How do we cope with the new “normal” of self-isolation—and the fear, anxiety, and loneliness that comes with it? Offering hope and compassion, the Lavin speakers on Day 1 will help us navigate the ups and downs of our mental health.

 

Angela Duckworth—#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Grit
 
Dan Lerner—Professor of NYU’s Most Popular Elective, The Science of Happiness
 
Steven Pinker
New York Times Bestselling Author of Enlightenment Now
 
Eric KlinenbergNew York Times Bestselling Author of Palaces for the People and Co-Author of the #1 NYT Bestseller Modern Romance
 
Lori GottliebNew York Times Bestselling Author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone and The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” Columnist

April 28th: Business
The novel coronavirus is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and its impact on business will be felt for years to come. The Lavin speakers on Day 2 show us how we can adapt to uncertainty, foster resiliency, and innovate our way through to the other side.

 

Nicholas Thompson—Editor-in-Chief of WIRED
 
Chris Clearfield—Co-Author of Meltdown, Winner of the Thinkers50 Strategy Award
 
Jeremy GutscheNew York Times Bestselling Author of Create the Future
 
Stephanie Mehta
—Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company
 
April 29th: Society
How we respond to the pandemic now will influence the society we will have in the future. What kind of world do we want to live in? The choice is ours. The Lavin speakers on Day 3 help us understand this disruption through the lens of our political and economic institutions.

 

Naomi Klein—Bestselling Author of The Shock Doctrine in conversation with Shoshana Zuboff—Bestselling Author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
 
Jelani Cobb—Staff Writer at The New Yorker in conversation with Wajahat AliNew York Times and CNN Contributor
 
Daron Acemoglu—MIT Economist and Co-Author of The Narrow Corridor
 
Margaret Atwood—Booker Prize-Winning Author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments

 

To book one of these talented speakers for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today and connect with a member of our sales team.

Public Policy Expert Heather McGhee Explores the Hidden Cost of Racism in Her New TED Talk

In an eye-opening talk for TED, Heather McGhee reveals how a surprising on-air confrontation around racial prejudice helped her make a stunning realization about our current economic landscape.

It turns out, racism isn’t just bad for people of color. It’s bad for everyone. As Heather McGhee declares in her TEDWomen talk: “Racism leads to bad policy-making. [And] it’s making our economy worse.”

 

After an exchange with a prejudiced C-Span caller went viral, McGhee began to rethink the economic problems plaguing the nation. “I wondered, is it possible that our society's racism has likewise been backfiring on the very same people set up to benefit from privilege?” This question took her on a journey writing, researching, and traveling around the country, where she came to the conclusion that many of our economic issues, from the 2008 financial crisis to our gutted social safety net, can be attributed to racist ideologies and institutions. In other words, the status quo isn’t working for us. But in her captivating talk, McGhee offers historical examples and personal anecdotes to show us that a new reality is possible.

 

Watch her full talk here.

 

To book speaker Heather McGhee for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.

What If The World’s Not Falling Apart? Designer and Technologist John Maeda Makes an Optimistic Case for the Future

When it comes to loss of life, the coronavirus is no doubt a human tragedy of epic proportions. But when it comes to the future of our economy? It’s not necessarily all doom and gloom. In his latest LinkedIn article, Public Sapient’s John Maeda explains why this crisis is different from those we have previously experienced. 

“Experts make provocative claims by comparing what happened in the past with what is to come for our future,” writes John Maeda, referencing the horde of opinion pieces and articles prosetalyzing the collapse of our economy. There’s just one problem with this method: we can’t compare this crisis to any other financial crisis we’ve experienced in the past. Why? Because, as Maeda argues, “we’re now inter-connected computationally.”

 

This shift will have dramatic effects for the state of the Internet, artificial intelligence, and business in general. “The sudden migration from smartphones back to desktops [and] laptops is amassing large amounts of data for the tech companies to take an even greater advantage,” Maeda notes. “People of all ages and walks of life have been forced to shift to an all-digital lifestyle. Forced evolution is now happening.” For AI, having access to more data is especially crucial to its evolution—helping it become smarter, as well as more inclusive.

 

We can’t rely on experts basing their opinions on how things used to be, because these are unprecedented times, and digital natives differ intrinsically from digital immigrants. If we listen to their voices, we’ll be less likely to fall victim to doom and gloom, and more likely to see the potential for business in a post-COVID world.

 

Read his full article here.

 

To book John Maeda for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with a member of our sales team.

Dragons’ Den Star Manjit Minhas Transforms Her Brewery into a Sanitizer Facility Amid the Coronavirus

Manjit Minhas is well-known for her role as a judge on the critically acclaimed program Dragons’ Den. She also runs one the world’s largest breweries—worth a whopping $187 million dollars. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Minhas shows us how it’s possible to repurpose your business and respond to the crucial needs of our communities.  

Minhas Micro Brewery and Distillery has begun fulltime production of hand sanitizer to fulfill a growing need for supplies that reduce the transmission of COVID-19. “We started investigating the process the moment we took our first call from a regional health authority. It took a couple of days to get all Health Canada and FDA approvals and gather ingredients but we’re relieved to be up and running,” says CEO Manjit Minhas, who notes that their finished product will follow the formulation recommended by the World Health Organization.
 
Over the next few weeks, the company is expected to produce over 1,000,000 bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which will be given to vulnerable segments of the population, from those living in shelters to  essential workers on the front line. It will also be made available to the general public through the company’s headquarters as well as several grocery chains.
 
“We’re all so grateful for our staff’s hard work to reposition the facility and grateful that we are in a position to be able to do whatever we can to respond to this crisis,” says Manjit. Her example reminds us that companies need to be social as well as commercial actors, especially as we reckon with a public health emergency of this magnitude.

 

To book speaker Manjit Minhas for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

The Case for ‘Tragic Optimism’: Emily Esfahani Smith for The New York Times

How can we protect our mental health during a global pandemic? Emily Esfahani Smith, author of the critically acclaimed The Power of Meaning, argues that the answer lies not in a quest for happiness, but a search for meaning.  

“When researchers and clinicians look at who copes well in crisis and even grows through it, it’s not those who focus on pursuing happiness to feel better; it’s those who cultivate an attitude of tragic optimism,” Emily Esfahani Smith writes in her latest op-ed for The New York Times. Coined by psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankel, the term refers to an “ability to maintain hope and find meaning in life despite its inescapable pain, loss, and suffering.”

 

To illustrate the effectiveness of tragic optimism, Smith points to a study conducted after the events of 9/11. In general, people reported higher instances of fear, anxiety, or hopelessness—but the emotions were more debilitating for some than others. “What set those resilient students apart was their ability to find the good. Unlike the less resilient students, the resilient reported experiencing more positive emotions, like love and gratitude,” Smith writes. It didn’t mean they denied horror of the attack, but that they were able to find hope despite it.

 

Pursuing things that make us happy—whether it be taking time to exercise, or spending time with a loved one—does make us feel better, albeit temporarily. But when it comes to coping, happiness does not penetrate the psyche as deeply as meaning does, Smith notes. “The things that make our lives meaningful, like volunteering or working, are stressful and require effort.” Yet they also inspire and enrich our lives, connecting us to something bigger than ourselves. By searching for meaning and adopting the spirit of tragic optimism, people will be able to actually grow through adversity.

 

Read her full article here.

 

To book speaker Emily Esfahani Smith for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.

“Act As If You’re Really There”: Futurist Douglas Rushkoff Reveals How to Develop Presence Working Remotely

There is no real substitute for in-person contact. That’s true. But it doesn’t mean that our video conferencing and telework has to be completely alienating, either. In his latest article, futurist and author Douglas Rushkoff offers practical tips for making our work-from-home feel engaging.  

Over the last few years, Douglas Rushkoff has been steadily increasing the number of appearances he does over the internet. “It’s better for the environment, there’s less wear and tear on my body, it saves money, and I don’t have to block out as many dates on my Google Calendar,” he says. “What I didn’t realize is how much my work refining the style, format, and content of these remote appearances would prepare me for the era of social distancing.” As a result, he’s the perfect person to walk us through creating an engaging virtual presence.

 

In person, a 60-minute presentation can be captivating from start to finishbut in our new virtual reality, where our physical form is absent and our disembodied voices emerge from a screen, the attention of the crowd is harder to capture. To start, Rushkoff recommends cutting down your speaking  time, taking questions from the hosthelping to ground your presentation in the here and nowand provoking audience involvement. And wherever you’re broadcasting from, ensure it’s not a sterile environment, Rushkoff says. “Video is visual, and every pixel is a chance to share information about your process and proclivities.” This includes showing audiences your authentic space.

 

“And remember, no matter how virtual you think you are, you are still a living body. Use it. Don’t be afraid to sip a cup of coffee, jot something down, and move around within reason.”

 

Read his full article here.

 

To book speaker Douglas Rushkoff for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Jamil Zaki Reveals How Disasters Shock Us Into Remembering Our Shared Humanity for The Wall Street Journal

Though some shoppers have been panic-buying toilet paper and sanitizer against expert advice, there’s a much bigger trend happening during this pandemic—empathy. In his latest op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki explores how COVID-19 has sparked a “global epidemic of kindness.”  

For every news story there is about toilet paper hoarding, there are about 10 more that describe people supporting one another during the coronavirus—heartwarming stories of people delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors, or restaurants pivoting to food relief efforts. “Disasters rip away the tidy fallacy of self-reliance and lay bare our utter dependence on each other,” writes Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness. “They shock us into seeing our shared fragility, which is also our shared humanity. That’s why, in times of crisis, we are usually eager to help strangers, in what the essayist Rebecca Solnit has called a ‘carnival of compassion.’”

 

This type of altruism isn’t just helpful to our communities. It’s also beneficial for our individual health. Zaki writes, “We often think of altruism as a transfer, in which one person sacrifices to benefit another. But well-being is not a zero-sum game: When we devote our time and money to other people, we feel happier.” In other words, kindness can relieve stress, soothe pain, improve our mood, and generally keep us healthier.

 

Read his full article here.

 

To book speaker Jamil Zaki for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Former Honeywell CEO David Cote Reveals How He’s Approaching the Coronavirus Crisis in Fortune

Few CEOs navigated the Great Recession as skillfully as David Cote. In a new interview with Fortune, the inspiring corporate leader offers guidance for businesses managing the coronavirus crisis today. 

When David Cote inherited Honeywell in 2002, the company was teetering on the brink of failure thanks to a mishandled merger with GE. Yet Cote was unfazed. During his 15 years as CEO, he not only navigated the Great Recession, but managed to increase the company’s capitalization to the tune of $100 billion dollars. Now the executive chairman of Vertiv Holdings, and the author of the upcoming Winning Now, Winning Later, Cote reveals the strategies that set Honeywell apart from irs competitorsand helped them emerge from crisis unscathed.

His first piece of advice focuses on leadership. “It’s surprising how often a leader will panic,” Cote tells Fortune. “A CEO who panics will just sit there, not knowing what to do, and try to build consensus.”  But rather than striving for unanimity, Cote recommends hearing from your entire team and then making a decision yourself. “Independent thinking is a lot more rare than being smart.”

 

Cote also warns leaders against putting on their rose-colored glasses during times of crisis. Though they might not want to believe the worst-case scenarios, a lack of preparation will put them at risk of failure.  “My credo is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Pick a plan and start executing it as if you expect the worst to happen,” Cote advises.

This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting all costs, either. Cote says, “It’s also critical in turbulent times to keep investing for the future. Among the first things to get cut in a recession is usually investment in new products. But it’s those products that create a growing and vibrant company, and they need to be protected. Honeywell roared out of the Great Recession because we kept investing.”
 
Read the full article here.

 

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Age Activist Ashton Applewhite Says Beating Coronavirus Means Confronting Ageism and Ableism

As new coronavirus cases surge and more and more people self-isolate to flatten the curve, the nation’s economy continues to plummet. On Twitter, the suggestion that older people should sacrifice themselves for the sake of the economy is only one indication of how ageism and ableism are being laid bare during this pandemic. Ashton Applewhite tackles the issue in her latest op-ed.  

“The pandemic has exposed our shredded social safety net as never before, and a hospital system crippled by decades of cost-cutting, underfunding, and chronic understaffing by underpaid workers to benefit profiteering corporations,” writes Ashton Applewhite. Under such circumstances, America will likely soon follow in the footsteps of countries like Italy and Spain, who are having to make heartbreaking decisions about who to treat in the midst of this public health emergency.

 

Applewhite contends that while these complex ethical decisions are necessary, allocating resources by age is a lethal form of discrimination. “The most dangerous manifestation of ageism during the pandemic is the suggestion of an age limit for medical treatment, so it won’t be ‘wasted,’ she writes. And though it is true that older people are at more risk, underlying conditions play a far bigger role than age when it comes to recovering from the illness. Unfortunately, age is much quicker to assess than a full medical historya disadvantage when life-or-death decisions must be made instantly.

 

“In every other context, it’s up to the rest of us to push back against every form of social bias,” writes Applewhite. “We are engaged in a massive collective experiment to protect the vulnerable, whoever they turn out to be. It’s high stakes, and it’s as intersectional as it can get. We are truly all in this together.”

 

Read her full article here.

 

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Political Polarization During a Pandemic Will Be Deadly: Jay Van Bavel for The Washington Post

Jay Van Bavel is a professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. He speaks frequently about political polarization and ‘the partisan brain,’ exploring why so many people are willing to put party over policy, and oftentimes, even over truth. In his latest for The Washington Post, Van Bavel explains why polarization becomes more dangerous during a pandemic.  

“There are many reasons people might not be heeding experts’ advice [about the coronavirus], from the overconfidence of youth to psychological denial to exposure to misinformation,” writes Jay Van Bavel. “But several polls released over the past few weeks suggest that a partisan divide might be partly to blame.”

 

Democrats appear to be preparing for the worst, with 68% reporting they’re worried about someone in their family catching the virus, compared to just 40% of Republicans. And while Google searches on the pandemic are on the rise—regardless of political affiliation—the rampant misinformation from outlets such as FOX news, has impacted public response. According to studies, there has been “stark partisan differences on hand washing, social distancing, travel, and other pandemic-related behavior.”

 

Fortunately, it appears that the deadly reality of COVID-19 will soon puncture the partisan divide. Van Bavel writes, “As the pandemic bears down on America and people start to see their friends and family hospitalized with life-threatening illness, you can expect to see the partisan-colored lenses start to clear up. You’ll likely see Republicans heed the advice of experts and hunker down to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

 

Read his full article here.

 

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Futurist Jonathan Brill Envisions Life After the Coronavirus

Citizens around the globe are glued to the news as the coronavirus continues to silently spread. But Jonathan Brill, a gifted futurist who has helped some of the world's leading companies navigate uncertainty, suggests that what we really need to focus on is life after the pandemic.

While globalization has improved quality of life for billions, its speed and efficiency also “increases the impact of synchronous economic shocks,” writes Jonathan Brill. Essentially, this is what we’re seeing with the coronavirus now. Many of the hardest hit countries, like Italy and Spain, have placed a hard stop on their economies, likely forcing their trading partners to take action as well. What kind of implications will these drastic measures have on our economy on the long-term?

 

“We are about to discover that the technological and economic foundations we have built to handle asynchronous shocks don't work when the whole world slows simultaneously,” says Brill. “A number of economically critical systems will be pushed to the edge, if not over.” Those include supply chain systems, health care, transportation, corporations, governments, and even digital sales channels. The effect, as debt services will soon eat into social services, will be a cry from citizens to restructure the social contract.

 

Despite the new economic reality we will soon face, Brill cautions that we can’t afford a weak response from world leaders. “It would be a game of economic dominoes,” he says. Moving forward, we need to continue to grow the global economy by building resilient, proactive systems. “These systems will involve emerging technologies and inevitably challenge many of the privileges and rights that we hold most dear.”

 

In  the end, Brill maintains we will have ourselves a radically transformed worldfor the better.

 

Read his full article here.

 

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The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson Investigates How Restaurant Closures Will Affect the Nation’s Economy

“A pandemic is war,” writes Derek Thompson in his latest article for The Atlantic. And our response to the biological enemy is a shut-down of public life, from schools to restaurants. Unfortunately, the latter closure especially will have profound effects on the nation’s economy. What we do to support the restaurant industry, then, is crucial for how we repair our economic life.  

Restaurant closures may not seem like an enormous deal at first, but if you consider the fact that restaurant spending in America surpassed grocery store spending for the first time ever, things begin to look a bit more grim. “This modern dining revolution has made restaurants one of the country’s most important sources of work. In 1990, manufacturing employment was almost three times larger than the food-service industry, but today there are about as many jobs in food service as in manufacturing,” writes Derek Thompson. “Restaurants are the new factories, and without them state and local economies across the country would fall to pieces.”

 

So what happens now, in a pandemic, when we are forced to do without them? It’s definitely uncharted territory, with no clear understanding of how long the closures will last. “Already operating at paper-thin margins, restaurants face the loss of their entire dine-in business, but they will still have to make rent,” explains Thompson. The current crisis in a nutshell is that the pre-pandemic financial obligations have not disappeared. According to Thompson, there is only one solution to the problem: “The public sector must step in and play consumer for several months, until the virus passes.”

 

Read his full article here.

 

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Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb Reveals How to Fight Coronavirus Anxiety

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, it’s no wonder that anxiety and fear are on the rise. What if a loved one falls ill? How will we deal with the potential financial fallout? And what happens if we find ourselves in another global recession? Psychotherapist Lori Gottliebalso the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Maybe You Should Talk to Someonereveals what we can do to deal with the stress in GQ

During a global pandemic, one thing is for certain: the news coverage is nonstop. But constantly refreshing your Twitter feed and obsessively wondering what will happen next isn’t necessarily the best approach for our mental health. Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains, “Humans don’t do well with uncertainty, so what they do is make up stories about the future, and usually what they do is they’re catastrophizing. They don’t make up happy stories.” Instead of playing a game of “what-if” that could spiral out of control, she encourages us to limit the amount we check the news, suggesting that a constant obsession will create an “emotional overload.”

 

“It’s really important to stay present and not imagine something that hasn’t happened,” Gottlieb explains.

 

Read the full article here.

 

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Create the Future: Jeremy Gutsche’s Latest Innovation Guidebook Profiled by Inc

In Create the Future, Trend Hunter CEO and New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche reveals the frameworks that have helped 700 of the world’s most powerful brands, billionaires, and CEOs, accelerate real change.  

Through his consulting work with Trend Hunter—not to mention his experience hosting the world’s #1 innovation conference, Future Festival—Jeremy Gutsche has helped countless brands realize their full potential. In his new book Create the Future, he aims to help readers do the same.

 

“You likely already realize that survival in business today requires grabbing hold of tomorrow's opportunities with disruptive innovation, before your competition or a new startup gets there,” writes Martin Zwilling in his review of the book for Inc. “The challenge is to create a culture of forward thinking in your company, and avoid the traps of following the paths of least resistance that often appear in mature companies.”

 

With his captivating writing, Gutsche shows readers how to avoid these common traps that prevent progress. Create the Future is a tactical guidebook chock-full of strategies tested by leaders at Disney, Starbucks, Google, and even NASA. Better yet, the book is paired with a revised edition of Gutsche’s first book Exploiting Chaos—an Inc Best Book for Business Owners, an Axiom International Book Award Winner, and a #1 CEO Read.

 

Read the full Inc review here.

 

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