“American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis” with historian, Adam Hochschild

Name: Adam Hochschild

Specialty: Author & Resident Journalist-Historian, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Location: Berkeley, California

All right, welcome back. “Too many Americans are indifferent to their own history and know too little about it. This ignorance makes the present more baffling than it needs to be.” That from a Washington Post review of today’s book is the perfect start for today’s episode. If you think our current political atmosphere, divisiveness and the daily onslaught of negative news is unprecedented in American history, consider the period between 1917 and 1921. A period many of us have forgotten but a time that included the first world war, widespread suppression of speech and the press, mass imprisonment, horrifying lynchings of black Americans (including black veterans), labor strikes and yes, the Spanish flu pandemic.

Our guide through this tumultuous period and today’s guest is journalist, historian and professor, Adam Hochschild. Adam is the author eleven books including his most recent, “American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis.”

It’s a fantastic book, well researched book that delivers some much-needed context and perspective as all of us try to make sense or our own times. We really enjoyed having Adam with us and hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did. With that said, let’s get started…

Resources and links:

Adam Hochschild | UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Book Review: ‘American Midnight,’ by Adam Hochschild – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Boozed Based Medicine. The medicinal history of alcohol with Camper English.

“There is no topic more difficult to handle, or more full of detail, seeing that it is hard to say whether wine does good to people rather than harming them.” -Roman Scholar, Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE)

Name: Camper English

Location: San Francisco, CA

Specialty: Journalist

It’s the holiday season with New Year’s just a few days away.  What better time to take a fun filled tour through the medicinal history of alcohol? Today’s guest is the perfect guide. Camper English is a journalist, author, and recognized expert in the world of cocktails and spirits. A member of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, Camper is also an innovator, having invented something called “directional freezing,” a technique to make perfectly clear ice that used in bars around the world.

His recent book, “Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails,” is on tap for today’s conversation. We hope you enjoy. With that said, let’s get started…

Links & Resources:

Alcademics: The Study of Booze by Camper English – Alcademics

Doctors and Distillers by Camper English: 9780143134923 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Inside the hidden world of North Korean Medicine with Neurosurgeon, Dr. Kee Park.

Pyongyang 2009. Image courtesy of Kee Park, MD

Name: Kee Park, MD

Location: Harvard Medical School. Boston, MA.

Specialty: Neurosurgeon. Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine. North Korean Expert.

Have you ever wondered what its like being a doctor one of the most isolated and restricted countries on earth? We have. It’s a question Keith and I have explored and discussed many times over the years since starting this podcast. But how do you find and connect with someone in country where virtually all citizens are prohibited from contact with the outside world, and heavily surveilled when doing so?

Today’s episode is one we were beginning to think we could never do. Finding the right person to interview involved overcoming barriers beyond our control. We even considered the possibility of interviewing a physician defector. Even if we could find such a person, how would we verify their identity, and cross check their stories? How would we really know who we were talking with? So, we tabled the idea, always hoping that one day we could find the right person.

Today we have that person, and it turns out we were looking in the wrong places. We should have been looking closer to home.  Dr. Kee Park is a faculty neurosurgeon at Harvard Medical School, Director of the North Korea Program at the Korean American Medical Association, and member of the National Committee on North Korea and the Council of Korean Americans. He’s a world-renowned researcher and expert on global health and humanitarian medical aid.

Since 2007, Kee has visited North Korea over 20 times, working alongside North Korean doctors, attending North Korean medical conferences, and even operating on patients in North Korean hospitals. There are few outsiders (especially Americans) that we are aware of with greater firsthand experience and trusted access in North Korea. As we’ll soon see, that trusted access has been hard earned over many years. It’s what enables Kee to continue his mission, helping patients in North Korea and around the world. As all of you will understand, we have no desire to do anything that could jeopardize Kee’s ability to continue his work or endanger his personal safety.  While this is was an eye-opening conversation, it did not include any political discussions or questions regarding the current North Korean regime.

This was an amazing episode, and journey into a world most of us know very little about. With that said, let’s get started.  

Continue reading “Inside the hidden world of North Korean Medicine with Neurosurgeon, Dr. Kee Park.”

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…

Continue reading “Expert Network Intelligence with Inex One CEO, Max Friberg.”

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…

Continue reading “Consciousness & Being a Beast Machine with Neuroscientist, Anil Seth, PhD.”

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…

Continue reading “Psychology, Science & Practice. Scott Browning, PhD & Brad Van Eeden-Moorefield, PhD.”

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.

Continue reading “The Business of Risk with Gen. Stanley McChrystal”

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.