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Andrew Keen with Alex Stonehill

The Internet has morphed from a tool providing efficiencies for consumers and businesses to an elemental force that is profoundly reshaping our societies and our world. Former Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the potential dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society. Now he took our stage with his new book How to Fix the Future, looking to the past to learn how we might change our future. Keen discussed how societies tamed the excesses of...


Anya Kamenetz

The newest generation of children is exposed to technology more than any who have preceded them. For many, this technological interaction begins at infancy. Does this ubiquity represent a wonderful opportunity to connect around the world or the first step in creating a generation that’s emotionally and socially dependent on screens? Education and technology expert Anya Kamenetz offered us a refreshingly practical look at the subject with her new book The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family...


Emily Dufton

In the last five years, eight states have legalized recreational marijuana. To many, continued progress seems certain. But pot was on a similar trajectory forty years ago, only to encounter a fierce backlash. Historian Emily Dufton took our stage to share a comprehensive history of marijuana—from its decriminalization in a dozen states during the 1970s to its transformation into a national scourge by concerned parents, a movement paving the way for an aggressive war on drugs. Chastened...


Susan Wise Bauer

Modern educators have expressed dissatisfaction with our current K-12 school system. Many claim that it prioritizes only a single way of understanding, pushes children into a rigid set of grades with little regard for individual maturity, and slaps “disability” labels over differences in learning style. And when the children struggle, schools pressure parents into “fixing” their children rather than questioning the system. With boldness, experience, and humor, education expert Susan Wise...


David Cay Johnston

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston may know Donald Trump better than any other working journalist, having first profiled the forty-fifth president in 1988 and tracked him ever since. He was the first to write about a potential Trump presidency when Trump announced his campaign in June 2015, and we turn to him now for a comprehensive examination of the first one hundred days of Donald Trump’s presidency in his book It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump...


Charles Waters with Reagan Jackson

It may be difficult for us to imagine our childhood selves navigating the complex racial realities of our current day. Poet and former Disney star Charles Waters explored this illuminating shift in perspective with his collaborative poetry collection 'Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship'. Waters performed poetry from the collection and was in conversation with writer and activist Reagan Jackson. They explored the complex feelings that children navigate as they...


Denise Fairchild

Climate change advocates and social justice groups say that a global energy war is underway. It’s a struggle between an extractive economy and a regenerative economy, fossil fuel and clean energy—and even more fundamentally, between the haves and the have-nots. Denise Fairchild, President of Emerald Cities Collaborative and editor of the anthology Energy Democracy, highlighted the magnified impact of this resource battle on low-income communities and communities of color. Fairchild invited...


Daniel Ellsberg with Daniel Bessner

With developing international discussions of nuclear conflict, it’s critical that we gather context for the policies and legacies of nuclear weapons. To help us gain perspective, we invited to the stage Daniel Ellsberg, former high level defense analyst and legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers. In his book The Doomsday Machine Ellsberg offers us a first-hand account of America’s nuclear program in the 1960s, highlighting how our nation’s nuclear strategy has not...


Jenny Durkan, Manka Dhingra, and Teresa Mosqueda

The political climate in our nation’s capitol may be tumultuous, but in the other Washington we’re electing progressive women with fresh ideas. Join local activist blog Civic Ventures for a live recording of their podcast The Other Washington as they interview newly elected Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle City Councilmember-elect Teresa Mosqueda, and State Senator-elect Manka Dhingra (45th LD). Together we learn about the issues that drive them and their experience as ringleaders of...


Dr. Beverly Tatum

Walk into any high school cafeteria and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered into their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix or a coping strategy we should support? Dr. Beverly Tatum, renowned authority on the psychology of race, helped us begin this dialogue with her classic book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race. In its new 20th edition, Tatum argued that forthright discussion...


Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum, one of America’s greatest living philosophers, joined us for a discussion of the ethical, aesthetic, and philosophical conundrums around our country’s rapidly changing view of the aging process. In her book Aging Thoughtfully: Conversations about Retirement, Romance, Wrinkles, and Regret, Nussbaum lended us the perspectives of both philosopher and lawyer-economist to explore ideas about when to retire, how to refashion social security to help the elderly poor, and whether...


Sara Wachter-Boettcher

We conduct a substantial portion of our daily lives online, but to what degree do our own biases spread through our technology? Sara Wachter-Boettcher took an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that inform decisions in the modern tech industry with her new book Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech. She explained how our blind spots and prejudices have taken an active role in the creation of programs designed to enact...


Chris Matthews

A revealing new portrait of Robert F. Kennedy gets closer to the man than any book before, by bestselling author Chris Matthews, esteemed Kennedy expert and anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball. Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the public and private worlds of Bobby Kennedy, rendering an image of him as the perpetual underdog—overlooked by his father and overshadowed by his war-hero brother. In Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit Matthews recounts Bobby’s...


Lawrence O’Donnell

Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s The Last Word and one of America’s shrewdest political minds, helped us unpack the historical roots of 21st century politics. He joined us with his new book Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics, which chronicled the tumult of the Nixon era and the human drama of a system—and a country—coming apart at the seams in real time. Nearly 50 years later we find ourselves again in a moment of political uncertainty and...


Cara Drinan

Eminent law professor Cara Drinan took our stage to chronicle the shortcomings of juvenile justice. In The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way, she drew us a timeline of how the United States went from being a pioneer to an international pariah in its juvenile sentencing practices. Calling upon social science, legal precedent, and first-hand correspondence, Drinan examined the struggles of adolescents whose errors have cost them their lives—many of whom retain life...


Nancy Koehn

What are the conditions that create real leadership? Nancy Koehn, historian at the Harvard Business School, explored this question in Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times. Effective leaders, Koehn argues, are born from confronting obstacles. Distilling the wisdom of her popular Harvard Business School course, Koehn narrated five remarkable life journeys—polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; President Abraham Lincoln; abolitionist Frederick Douglass;...


Marcus Harrison Green

How can we find hope and community within this political climate driven by fear and division? Join Marcus Harrison Green, Town Hall’s former Scholar in Residence and the award-winning founder of the South Seattle Emerald, and Seattle Weekly editor Mark Baumgarten to celebrate the launch of their inspiring anthology Fly to the Assemblies! Voices of Dissent from the Pacific Northwest. Local thought leaders will read from their essays and share ideas about what we can do to take care of each...


Brooke Gladstone with Jennifer Strachan

The truth is malleable, according to journalist Brooke Gladstone. In her new book The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral panic In Our Time Gladstone analyzed the methods deployed in the media to twist our perceptions by preying on stereotypes and subjectivity. She took Town Hall’s stage to reveal deceptive patterns she observed in the press and (she argues) in organizations such as the Trump administration. Gladstone will be joined in conversation with 25-year media veteran...


Juan González

In November 2013, little-known progressive Bill de Blasio stunned the elite of New York City by capturing the mayoralty by a landslide. De Blasio’s promise to close the growing wealth divide resonated with a city struggling to recover from the recession, and his election marked the beginning of the most progressive NYC government since the 1930s. We felt the reverberations of his victory–and the movement behind it–on the opposite coast here in Seattle. Legendary journalist and Democracy...


Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro

We outlawed war in 1928—what happened? Yale Law School professors Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro brought us The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World, a re-examination of the little-known and widely misunderstood Peace Pact treaty. The document sought to make war illegal the world over, and saw ratification by representatives from nearly every state in the world at the time. Yet every one of those states found themselves at war again within the decade. How...


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