Suggest Interviewees

We’ve got our curated list of who we think some of the most interesting thinkers and doers are in America right now, but we know we’ve missed people. Who else should we be talking to? If at all possible, based on timing and Aengus’ route across the country, we’ll look into hitting these people up.

13 Responses

  1. Scott
    Scott / 6-26-2012 / ·

    I’m not sure exactly who you should talk to about this conversation but it’s a complex one. Random, violent crime is on the rise in Chicago. And what’s getting peoples attention is that it’s hitting downtown and the Northside now. So the alleged “good” areas of the city. The ideal person would be someone with knowledge not in just gun control (or escalation) but also if the penal system is working. Digging really deep, this person would get to the root of the problem (parenting, education, economics, whatever that/those may be).

    1. jenns
      jenns / 10-25-2012 / ·

      There’s an amazing documentary called “The Interrupters” about a group called Cease Fire, started by epidemiologist, Gary Slutkin. He thinks violence spreads like diseases, and started a group of “violence interrupters.” The film is incredible, but Slutkin might be really interesting to talk to. He’s in the film for a few minutes, but I’d love to hear more about his research and thinking.
      By the way, I discovered The Conversation just two days ago and I’ve been listening to episodes whenever I can. Great project.

      1. Aengus Anderson
        Aengus Anderson / 10-26-2012 / ·

        Thanks for tuning in! The idea of violence interrupters sounds fascinating and it might also lead into a discussion of mob mentalities and some good responses to earlier thinkers who have talked about social collapse. Damn shame Slutkin is in Chicago—I’ve already passed through twice on this trip and it seems unlikely I’ll be able to make it back. My hope is to focus on the South for the final months of travel. Got any suggestions for people down there?

  2. Eizenija
    Eizenija / 8-18-2012 / ·

    Do your interviewees have to live in the US? I think you should talk to Yaacov Hecht about alternative education. Education is intimately connected with the economy. The we think and feel is reflected in the world we create for ourselves. Yaacov has two wonderful talents — systems thinking and the ability to connect with pretty much anyone — that he is putting to good use to reinvent the educational system in Israel. He dreams bigger than anyone else in alt ed that I’ve talked to and he has been implementing his vision since 1987. In a nutshell one might say that democratic education is about providing a framework for each child to be able to design his/her own path through education with a whole lot of useful feedback, but without judgment, not to extract the ‘most important bits’ of the world and recreate them at great expense withing the classroom and then test them on who has understood, but to use the world as our classroom and cooperate with government to do it. He’s got two websites: and Take a look!

  3. Eizenija
    Eizenija / 8-18-2012 / ·

    How about David Graeber, author of DEBT: the first 5000 years. This book was featured in Yes! magazine and addresses how we conceptualize money. He has done the research about the money narrative and how it relates to power and to community from a social anthropology perspective. He was also instrumental in organizing the Occupy Movement.

    1. Aengus Anderson
      Aengus Anderson / 8-18-2012 / ·

      Hey Eizenija,

      Both are great suggestions! I’d been interested in Graeber from the outset, but he’s in the UK now. Unfortunately, this project is bound to the United States, not because we thought the American conversation was different or more important but, simply, because of our extremely limited budget.


  4. scotty
    scotty / 10-13-2012 / ·

    hi folks, wondering if you have someone on your list to talk of democracy in the workplace and the ramifications this could have should worker owned companies take over the world….. david p ellerman writes well on this. this stuff is giving me hope for the future. still broadcasting some of your shows on 2XXfm in canberra australia. keep it up, its great.

    1. jenns
      jenns / 10-25-2012 / ·

      In thinking about democracy in the workplace, I can recommend Marjorie Kelly. David Korten wrote the intro to her new book about ownership structures, it’s a great read. She’s at the Tellus Institute in Boston.

      1. Aengus Anderson
        Aengus Anderson / 10-26-2012 / ·

        Excellent suggestion! I’m working out of Boston now and my plate is pretty full, but I’ll investigate more…

  5. Aengus Anderson
    Aengus Anderson / 10-17-2012 / ·

    Hey Scotty,

    I actually recorded an interview focused on Mondragon and the United Steelworkers Union. It delved pretty far into the technical aspects of cooperative organizations, but unfortunately we ran out of time before I was able to fully make the jump to the bigger themes that unify the project. It was supposed to go live before Torcello but, after editing it, I decided that, while it was interesting, it didn’t fit in the project. I’m still hoping to bring co-ops into The Conversation, though. Like the sharing economy Gabriel Stempinski talks about, co-ops may be the frontline of a larger change and the definitely warrant discussion.

    And thanks for rebroadcasting us in Canberra! We’re thrilled you’re enjoying the project.


  6. alex
    alex / 10-29-2012 / ·

    I actually thought this was a very interesting and useful project…and that is saying a lot because I usually don’t go for “general thought” type efforts of this kind. What attracted me was the mention of transhumanism since I am starting a book on that subject. I noticed you had Max More on here, a transhumanist, and some people who think transhumanism probably won’t happen…my suggestion is that maybe you can find someone who thinks it might happen, but that it would be *bad*. Some of the more prominent US names are:

    Bill McKibben
    Leon Kass
    Francis Fukuyama

    They might be hard to get hold of. If so I would suggest one of the editors of the blog “Futurisms,” like maybe Ari Schulman.

  7. alex
    alex / 10-29-2012 / ·

    By the way, if you have any spare tape lying around dealing with transhumanism, I would definitely listen to all of that.

  8. Dayrocket
    Dayrocket / 12-3-2012 / ·

    I am wondering if you guys are familiar with the Sea-steading Institute? This is a group that represents a larger movement that supports long-term ocean habitation or “Sea-steading’. The Institutes’ mission is “to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems”. Essentially they wish to create new nation states. They wish to experiment with new social structures, new economic structures, and new technologies that are unacceptable elsewhere. These guys are certainly having ‘The Conversation”!

    According to wikipedia: “The Sea-steading Institute, founded by Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman on April 15, 2008, is an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters.”

    This movement is really fascinating to me because it begins a separation from our current understanding of nation states, which we’re traditionally associated with a land mass. This is a fist step into something very new- you guys talk about this slightly in your first interview with John Fife, where you consider what else is possible beyond nation states? Where do we go with our collective ‘Conversation” if it leads us to a point where we need to try new things? New structures of society and economics- Also where do we experiment with controversial new science, new beliefs, new anything…Now that we are out of new lands to sail away to and start anew. The ‘New World’ will perhaps have to be one we build ourselves. Once you are 200 nautical miles from shore you are no longer subject to the laws of any sovereign nation.

    “When Seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house,” said Patri Friedman at the first annual Sea-steading conference.

    This perhaps will fall into your category of folks who believe that technology will save us.
    Douglas Rushkoff would lead us to believe, with his world view, that we’ve got nowhere to hide… Or at least we would be facing major opposition form the corporatist powers that be. Maybe we can take the first steps down Chris McKay’s path leading to living on other planets through Sea-steading. Before we rush off to inhabit new planets we should consider inhabiting the ocean. We have allot to learn about co-habitation before we can leave this Spaceship Earth for greener pastures.

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