Small steps & giant leaps. History of surgery with Dr. Ira Rutkow

Name: Ira Rutkow, MD, PhD

Specialty: General Surgeon and Medical Historian

Location: New York City, NY

Today we’re exploring the history of surgery; taking a speedy but deliberate journey from prehistoric brain surgery to our modern high tech operating suites. As Rudyard Kipling once pointed out, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” And this episode is all about the stories. Stories about heroes, risk takers and the gruesome reality that preceded all the medical and surgical advances we take for granted today. We’re joined by general surgeon and medical historian, Dr. Ira Rutkow. Ira is the author of eight books including his most recent, Empire of the Scalpel, which we’ll be covering today. This episode was a blast (especially for two guys like us who used to spend a lot of time together in the OR). We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did. With that said, let’s get started…

Links & Resources:

Profile: Ira M. Rutkow, MD, PhD ’81, MPH ’78 | Johns Hopkins | Bloomberg School of Public Health (jhu.edu)

Book: Empire of the Scalpel | Book by Ira Rutkow | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com)

From Rwanda to the Boardroom. Conflicts at work with Robyn Short, PhD.

Name: Robyn Short, PhD

Specialty: Mediation and conflict resolution.

Location: Dallas, TX

All right, welcome back. Today we’re happy to have Robyn Short with us. Robyn is a business consultant and specialist in conflict resolution and mediation. She is currently president and CEO of the Workplace Peace Institute, a consulting and research firm focusing on these areas. She is also an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University.  With that said, let’s get started.

Expert Network Intelligence with Inex One CEO, Max Friberg.

Name: Max Friberg

Specialty: CEO of Inex One

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Today we’re diving deep into an industry many of you have likely heard of and perhaps even participated in. It’s a nearly $2-billion-dollar global market, growing 15-20% each year. They are called expert networks and in the words of today’s guest, they are, “brokers of knowledge – all the stuff that is too niche, quirky, timely or contextual for anyone to put it in writing or audio.”

Traditionally, these expert networks have been the tools of trade for management consultants and analysts in hedge funds, private equity, and investment banking. That’s beginning to change as more and more professionals seek the insights, knowledge, and highly specialized expertise these expert networks offer, all through the medium of conversation. This even includes medical research and academia.

Today’s guest is the ideal wise companion as we explore this space. Max Friberg began his career as a McKinsey Consultant, personally conducting hundreds of expert interviews in the course of his work. For Max, these expert interviews were critical in helping his clients tackle highly specific and challenging problems in their business. Today Max is the founder and CEO of Inex One, a platform that enables easy access to many of the world’s top expert networks, all in in one place. We’ll learn more about his company, how expert networks actually work and what can be gained from these highly specialized conversations.  With that said, let’s get started…

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Consciousness & Being a Beast Machine with Neuroscientist, Anil Seth, PhD.

“…the contents of consciousness are a kind of waking dream—a controlled hallucination—that is both more than and less than whatever the real world really is.”  -Anil Seth

Name: Anil Seth, MS, PhD

Specialty: Neuroscientist and Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience.

Location: University of Sussex. Brighton, United Kingdom.

All right, welcome back. Today we’re privileged and delighted to have one of the world’s leading researchers in neuroscience, Anil Seth. Anil is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Founding Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Neuroscience of Consciousness. His TED talk on consciousness and controlled hallucination has been viewed over 12 million times and stands as one of TED’s most popular science talks.

Today we’ll dig deep into (what Cal Fussman would call) the big questions of neuroscience: Is my reality the same as yours (do we see the same color red)? What does it mean to be you? Why did we evolve to have consciousness? Are different states of consciousness such as we see in comas, sleep, and general anesthesia measurable and clearly definable?  What is consciousness and where in the brain can we find it? Why does a brain adapted to basic, hunter gatherer survival also include the capacity to compose symphonies, write philosophy, debug software code, go to the moon and ponder questions about the nature of its own existence?  Will we ever be able to deconstruct the basic elements of consciousness and reconstruct them in a computer AI?

This episode was a lot of fun and will probably be one of my most favorite. To be clear, exploring our current understanding of the brain, consciousness, and the fundamental reality of who we are and how we experience the world around us is just not something you can knock out in an hour. That’s why I can’t recommend to you enough to check out Anil’s new book, “Being You.” With that said, let’s get started…

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Psychology, Science & Practice. Scott Browning, PhD & Brad Van Eeden-Moorefield, PhD.

Images courtesy of American Psychological Association, Chestnut Hill College & Monclair State University

Today we’re exploring a particular challenge in the mental health space, the gulf between academic research and real-world clinical practice. As you’ll learn in the episode, only a surprising few of the published articles in psychology and psychiatry journals are ever read by practicing mental health professionals.

Today we’re happy to welcome two guests working to bridge this gap. Dr. Scott Browning is a researcher and professor of psychology at Chestnut Hill College. Dr. Brad van Eeden-Moorefield is a researcher and professor of Family Science and Human Development at Monclair State University.

Their new book, coming out next week and published by the American Psychological Association is titled, “Treating Contemporary Families: Toward a More Inclusive Clinical Practice.” This was a great conversation and we really enjoyed having Scott and Brad on the show. With that said, let’s get started…

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The Business of Risk with Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Images courtesy of Penguin Random House and The McChrystal Group

Today we’re excited and honored to have with us, retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal. A retired four-star general with 34 years of service, Stanley was the commander of all US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. Prior to this, he served as commander of JSOC or the Joint Special Operations Command, overseeing the US military’s most elite units including Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. According to journalist Sean Naylor, in his Book, Relentless Strike, McChrystal was, “the general whose vision and intensity transformed JSOC into a global man-hunting machine.” His tenure included the capture of Saddam Hussein and the killing infamous terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Today Stanley is founder and CEO of the McChrystal Group, a strategic consulting firm. He is also a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on Leadership. His books include, My Share of the Task, Team of Teams, Leadership- Myths and Realities and his newest book that we’ll be discussing today, Risk. A Users Guide.

I’m really proud of how this conversation came out. It was a lot of fun and we hope you enjoy. With that said, let’s get started.

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Weeks, Years and a Royal Tribute. Brief thoughts on the 20th anniversary of September 11th.

Photos of lower Manhattan and Colin Miller back in college working for Midway Airlines. Both photos taken just a few weeks before the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

Colin’s brief reflections and personal memories from September 11th, 2001.

White House Physician, Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD and Co-Author, Daniel Peach, DO on “Transformative Healthcare”

Name: Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD, MPH

Specialty: Former White House Physician. Currently Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer for AdventHealth.

Location: Orlando, FL

Name: Daniel Peach, DO

Specialty: Sports Medicine. Currently Director of Clinical Transformation at AdventHealth.

Location: Orlando, FL

When it comes to VIP medical care, there is one patient who stands above all others. From what is publicly known he is assigned a team of doctors, nurses, medics and PA’s on standby around the clock. He and this team travel with an armored ambulance, a supply of matched blood, and a full array of medical and diagnostic equipment. His aircraft also has state of the art medical equipment with a surgical suite. Before he arrives anywhere, an advance team has carefully planned emergency routes to pre-screened medical facilities. If those facilities prove inadequate, resources can be brought in, including in one case, an entire Naval hospital ship anchored off the coast.

If he needs hospital care, surgery or other treatments, his local hometown hospital (which happens to be US Military’s flagship medical center) has a private suite, on standby for his exclusive use. This care is 100% covered by his employer without any deductibles, co-pays, or network restrictions.

Today’s guest knew two of these VIP patients very well. Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman spent 16 of his 30 years of military services as a White House Physician. This included a tour as Chief of the White House Medical Unit. This means he was the personal physician to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer for AdventHealth.

Jeffery is joined today by his colleague and co-author, Dr. Daniel Peach. Daniel, a registered sports medicine physician in the UK, currently serves as Executive Director of Clinical Innovation for AdventHealth. Their new book, “Transformative Healthcare,” and their unique career paths are the subjects for today’s episode.

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Neuroscience & Innovations of Literature. “Wonderworks” with Angus Fletcher, PhD

Photograph by Sarah Lagrotteria. Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Name: Angus Fletcher, PhD

Specialty: Professor of story science & Literature at Ohio State’s Project Narrative

Location: Ohio State University. Columbus, OH

Today we are excited to have Angus Fletcher with us on the show. He is a professor of story science and literature at Ohio State University’s Project Narrative. He completed dual degrees in neuroscience and literature before receiving his PhD in literature from Yale. In addition to his teaching and research, Angus also serves a story consultant for Sony, Disney, BBC, Amazon, PBS and NBC/Universal.  Unlike many literary academics, critics and perhaps your high school English teacher, Angus takes a very different approach to literary scholarship. He studies literature’s practical usefulness, and the science behind it.  

His new book, “Wonderworks. The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature,” explores literature as a series of unique and innovative discoveries. These literary inventions had, and continue to have, unique problem-solving functions. Problem-solving functions that can now be studied with the modern tools and methods of neuroscience. 

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Humanity’s R&D Department. Science & philosophy of childhood with developmental psychologist, Alison Gopnik, PhD

Today we’re exploring the world of childhood, a “protected space in which they [children] can produce new ways of thinking and acting that, for better or worse, are entirely unlike any that we would have anticipated beforehand.” A protected space that exceeds, in length, that of any other species. A space of time that today’s guest has spent her career studying and often refers to as humanity’s R&D department.

Alison Gopnik, PhD is likely a familiar name to many of you, especially those of you who are parents. Currently a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, Alison has published over 100 research articles and books including critically acclaimed bestsellers such as: The Scientist in the Crib, The Philosophical Baby and The Gardener and the Carpenter. Her public appearances include TED, Talks at Google, the World Economic Forum and even Stephen Colbert’s show. She is also a long-time contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Review section.

We covered a lot of ground in this episode. How do young children and babies begin to understand the world around them? We will learn about something called, “theory theory,” a process that allows children to develop and test intuitive theories about their world. We’ll see how this process resembles Bayesian probability and how understanding childhood cognitive development may be a key to developing advanced AI. This is also something Alison is researching. No surprise.  She lives and works in the Bay area and she is even married to one of the founders of Pixar.

Anyway, this is one of our more fascinating episodes. As a father of two young daughters, and a long-time fan of Alison’s work, talking with Alison was a real privilege. With that said, let’s get started.

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