Friday, February 20, 2015

Malcolm and Adam Gopnik at the Long Wharf Theatre

Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik at the Long Wharf Theatre.

Insights from a great conversation.

Changing One's Mind. The Canadian Jedi Mind Trick, Right? The honest world broker - Canada.

Gladwell wonders why is it really hard for people to accept the notion that changing one's mind is a desirable thing? At 6:40. He quotes President Clinton's observation of George W. Bush at 8:08.

Gopnik notes the Canadian verbal technique to get agreement - appending the word "right" to any sentence which then gives instant adhesion and coercive cohesiveness. This is how Canadians win any debate. Example - "we all know that 6 month old babies are much smarter than scientists with PhDs, right?" at 10:37.

Gladwell at 14:30 notes that role of Canada in the world is to be a “middle man” honest broker countries in the world. He notes how infrequently Canada has not adopted the bad habits of it neighbor.

Insights on the Tea Party Movement.

17:19 the equivalent mythology for America – Boston Tea Party. He notes a complete ignorance of history.

20:35 in LA get the purest feed of what America is thinking, doing, feeling. – he was running the Santa Monica stairs he keeping hearing “And I said to him, that does not work for me.”… we will all be using that phrase in 6 months. “way and no way”… Unfortunately the popularity of the that praise has passed. Otherwise he would have used on his tombstone, he had the courage to stand up to those who said no way and would say way…

22:00 His focus on abolishing the Ivy League.

24:20 don’t ask don’t tell of the institutional educational area you attended. Is that place where I can get a good education? What is the brand value of the institution? The second question is irrelevant to getting a good education. Employers are using the brand strength of the institution as a proxy for quality. By not asking the question, employers could get you know you as an individual. 27:00 need to stop making the institutions being part of a luxury brand. 28:00 the streets in certain LA neighborhoods are named after Ivy League schools.

30:10 how Naples Florida differs from their typical audiences of the Upper West Side of New York.

31:00 Marvin Miller – transitions in the country… we’ve forgotten how not the rich were very rich….

Twitter Does Not Cause Social Change.

37:20 Thoughts about Twitter – Gladwell called out the absurd overstatements at the time on the role of Twitter and social media’s impact on Arab Spring. Gladwell noted that a revolution or movement like the civil rights movement was years in the making. Real social change requires time, social planning and coordination, and social risk. Twitter suggests revolution does not require any of that. Only in America can we think that chance would occur simply by using a smartphone in 2008 in San Jose. It makes a mockery of the sacrifice needed to make tangible change.

43:50 civil rights movement there was a time where King and others speak at a church. King and the leaders expected to die in the church by a mob. The four important civil rights leader with 600 other people were there. Had it not been for a last minute intervention by the National Guard, we came this close to having the entire civil rights movement wiped out. Speaking about how close we had come in not realizing the civil rights movement.

47:55 the older you get the more in awe he is in how these critical moments are interesting and powerful, specifically are contingent on individuals and their courage. Again, the example of civil rights movement.

50:30 the problem with Waco on how the situation was completely misinterpreted. A group of highly devout set of people who lived by themselves to study scripture was somehow a threat to society. Agrees with Gopnik that we need to look past to content of the ideology and look at the behavior. Separatist. Eccentric. Not threatening. Even now, he finds the outcome problematic.

Health Care Insurance Should be Catastrophic Care.

52:45 Gladwell does not believe Obamacare is the solution to health care. The book that radicalized him was by David Goldhill. Insurance is the cause of our problems not the solution. We should have insurance to protect against catastrophic events.

Predictable events though are medical should be paid for the same way. Much like buying a shirt. If we had clothing insurance, the shirt would be $1000 dollars. There would be two people in the back doing processing. We would have a crisis for those who had no clothing insurance. We would spend 23% of GDP on shirts!

We should have insurance if one might get hit by a truck.

Gopnik notes that unlike other insurances, we all will be using it at some point.

Gladwell notes that we will incur costs as we age. However we won’t have exactly the same outcome. Some will have spent $2 million. Others passed away peacefully in the sleep.  We need to have insurance to help against that wide range of costs.

For the check-up or having a baby, this should not have health insurance. Having a baby is not an insurable event. In case of something goes wrong, we should insurance against that. For 90 percent of cases where nothing goes wrong, we know what to expect and how much it should cost. If someone can’t afford it, we should help them out. We should not construct a massive system.

57:40 favorite story of Canada of a town he lived near. It was called Berlin because many German immigrants lived there. After World War One, they changed the name to Ketchner.

10,000 hours is 16 years

59:00 introduction of the topic
1:01 Gladwell - mastery takes a long time. Instead of judging people too quickly we should be slowing down our assessment. In this country we are front-loading where people or what strata they should go into rather than back-loading.