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Michael Schulder's Wavemaker Conversations

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Perspective-changing interviews with the most creative minds and respected leaders in the world of arts, sports, business, politics, and fields that span multiple disciplines.

Perspective-changing interviews with the most creative minds and respected leaders in the world of arts, sports, business, politics, and fields that span multiple disciplines.
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Perspective-changing interviews with the most creative minds and respected leaders in the world of arts, sports, business, politics, and fields that span multiple disciplines.




Jane Alexander: Live @ The Nantucket Book Festival

Jane Alexander’s illustrious acting career was launched in 1968 by her breakthrough performance in the Pulitzer Prize winning play (and later movie) The Great White Hope. She then took the political stage as Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, when the NEA was on the political right’s hit list. She and her husband had virtually all their money stolen by an accountant who did a convincing job acting like their friend. And now, after dozens of movies and TV shows, including...


Punching Up (feat. Pete Dominick)

Standup comic Pete Dominick joins me to dissect Michelle Wolf’s routine at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Why now? Because this Sunday, May 27, Wolf’s new series, The Break, debuts on Netflix. That’s just as good an excuse as any. Dominick, with Wolf as a launching point, helps make us all more astute observers of the art of comedy. Among the issues we discuss: using the P word, punching up versus punching down, and what it was like being in the room during Wolf’s speech....


Michelle Wolf: Raw

Here is Michelle Wolf’s entire performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Most people have only heard clips. Here is all of it – 19 minutes and roughly 50 jokes – unedited. This is the beginning of a broader mission on Wavemaker: exploring the deeper significance of comedy – from ancient Greece to the 2018 mid-term elections and beyond. What’s funny? Why? Can comedy enable Americans of divergent political perspectives to laugh – together? Should that even be its goal? Those are...


Paper Ballots, Or Else… (feat. Barbara Simons)

Some people recognize potential threats to our democracy before others. My guest, Barbara Simons, is one of those people. 15 years ago, not long after the infamous “hanging chads” threw the Bush v Gore vote count into turmoil and computerized voting became the new rage, Simons, a computer scientist, and some of her colleagues, concluded that in order to protect the integrity of the vote count, we would have to move to paper ballots – everywhere. Simons became a co-founder of...


Arming Teachers: A Good Guy With A Purple Heart Weighs In

Introducing former Army Sergeant Matt Martin, author of “I’ve Been Shot In Combat. And As A Veteran, I’m Telling You: Allowing Teachers To Be Armed Is An Asinine Idea.” Since writing it two weeks ago for his new hometown’s website, CharlotteFive.com, Martin’s story has been viewed more than 2-million times on Facebook. “When I saw the news flash of another school shooting,” he said of the Parkland massacre, “I couldn’t help but think of the firefights I had been involved in and how these...


Show More Cleavage - Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines

Introducing Saru Jayaraman. Millions of Americans caught a glimpse of her at this year’s Golden Globes, where she was Amy Poehler’s guest – recognized for her role in the battle against sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Jayaraman, who was accepted to Harvard at the age of 16 and said no thanks, is the co-founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. Her organization’s extensive research into the restaurant industry has documented pervasive sexual...


Lois Jenson: A Silence Breaker’s Echo - Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines

Lois Jenson is a historic figure in the battle against sexual harassment – the lead plaintiff in the field’s first class action lawsuit. As one of the first four women miners in a northern Minnesota mine, Jenson shares what one judge called the “record of human indecency” that she and the other female miners endured for many years – extreme harassment, including one miner grabbing her crotch while other miners watched and laughed. As you’ll hear, it would get even worse than that. The...


Sara Seager: Preparing For Life Outside Our Solar System

Astrophysicist Sara Seager joins me for a conversation about her leading role in the search for earth-like planets outside our solar system. When she began her search as a graduate student – not just for any “exoplanets” as they’re called, but planets that may have just the right atmosphere to support life – she was greeted with plenty of “no’s.” Not anymore. Our conversation about her search led to insights on creativity, resilience, parenting, and the importance of sleep and free time...


A Quest for Justice: Stories from Sexual Harassment’s Front Lines

Mary Koss has been on a 40-year quest for justice – “to understand why women are hurt and how we can stop it.” As a young professor, with a PhD in clinical psychology, Koss was asked by a more senior male colleague to join him on a study that proposed “to have women that he employed sit and wear different sizes of padded bras, while they interacted with male college students.” What that colleague proposed to do afterwards, which you’ll hear at the beginning of this episode, would have made...


Jack Gantos Returns with Writing Radar

This conversation will help make your children (and you, too) better writers. Last time Jack Gantos was on Wavemaker Conversations, he shared his unforgettable journey to a terrifying prison sentence in a federal penitentiary and then to a prolific writing career. Now, with his new book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, his goal is to help young writers who find the blank page terrifying. The book is written for 3rd grade and up. That includes all of...


Will Schwalbe on Books for Living

Author Will Schwalbe is one of the funniest serious readers you’ll ever hear. In our conversation, before a packed house at The Nantucket Book Festival, Will and I talk about his latest work, Books for Living, in which he treats us to a tour of books we might love to read – but may have missed – and shares his perspective-changing takeaways for how to live a more meaningful life. Imagine: the hero Odysseus taught Schwalbe about the importance of mediocrity, exemplified by his story of...


Ruth Reichl: From Her Secret Life as a Critic in Disguise To the Recipes That Saved Her Life

When Ruth Reichl became the restaurant critic for The New York Times, she learned there was a bounty on her – $1,000 for any worker who recognized this make-or-break critic when she sat down to eat. Reichl shares the backstory of her elaborate, yet necessary, disguise; her courageous first review of how New York’s most heralded restaurant treated her when they didn’t have a clue who she was; and what changed once they realized. Reichl also explores the connection between food and social...


Real American: Julie Lythcott-Haims

New York Times bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims says she is “so American it hurts.” Why so much pain in this American success story? How did this daughter of a prominent black physician and white teacher come to loathe herself despite her academic success as an undergraduate at Stanford and a law student at Harvard, followed by her professional accomplishments as Stanford’s Dean of Freshmen and a best-selling author? In our conversation about her new memoir, “Real American,”...


Dr. Irvin Yalom Is Still Rippling

Michael visits one of the most influential and beloved figures in the field of psychotherapy on the eve of the release of his memoir: Becoming Myself. At 86, after a recent health scare, The Atlantic magazine wrote: ”As a psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom has helped others grapple with their mortality. Now he is preparing for his own end.” Not quite. Yalom’s legions of fans will be gratified to hear his impassioned response to that analysis in this intimate Wavemaker Conversation. He is still...


A March Madness Special: Thriving in College Basketball & Living With Rare Disease

6’2” Carey Kauffman, a March Madness veteran of the Duke University Blue Devils, couples her insights from a life in basketball with her experience as the mother of two children born with rare diseases. Kauffman, the daughter of an NBA all-star. will help make you one of the most insightful people in the room during the Final Four – and help give your kids an edge if they play the game. But it’s her mission in life, which she pursues through her company WellSelf 360, that will inspire you....


Jack Gantos: Reading Saved His Life

You may be tempted to scream — “don’t do it, Jack!” — at the outset of this podcast. My conversation with author Jack Gantos, at the Nantucket Book Festival, begins with a choice he made in 1971 that led him to a horrifying year-and-a-half as an inmate in a federal penitentiary. He describes the crime and the time in unforgettable detail. Where did he find the resilience to survive prison, catapult himself to college, and become a prolific and acclaimed author? It begins with reading,...


Learn or Die: Lessons From A Leader Who Listens

Bob Chapman turned a small, teetering 19 century manufacturing company that served the beer industry, into a 2.5 billion dollar enterprise. He owes his success to a traumatic experience, which forced him to find value that others couldn’t see. He figured out how to protect tens of thousands of American jobs, rejecting the option of cheap, foreign labor. And he developed a new way of leading – focused on empathetic listening — that he believes can help businesses, families, and our nation...


Teaching Your Child To Lose with The Winningest Coach In College History

The Wavemaker Parenting Wisdom Tour brings you the compelling personal story of Trinity College squash coach Paul Assaiante. He entered a sport without formal training, and took a second tier team to 13 straight national championships. Along the way, through his “imposter syndrome” nightmares, he demonstrated what one can accomplish with single-minded determination, and the collateral damage that can ensue. Coach A shares the painful tale of his son’s heroin addiction, and his insights of...