#TheGreatListen 2015

What if you could capture a generation of American lives and experiences in one holiday weekend? That’s the vision of StoryCorps founder, Dave Isay, and he plans to fulfill his mission this Thanksgiving weekend through a combination of an app and an educators toolkit to enable DIY interviews to gather the wisdom of others. It’s the #GreatThanksgivingListen and you are invited to attend.

StoryCorps recently celebrated twelve years of conducting and recording oral history interviews, beginning with a booth in New York’s Grand Central Station and later taking the booth on the road to all 50 states creating the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. The next step is to grow the archive of 100,000 to tens of thousands.

Dave Isay and his organization are the recipients of the 2015 TED Prize, and it was in his presentation to the annual conference in April that he outlined his proposal for a “national homework assignment”.

Here’s the plan. Download the app, select ‘helpful hints’ for a short tutorial. Select ‘browse’ to view previous StoryCorps recordings. Go to ‘my interviews’ to outline and record your interview. You can choose  from a list of sample questions by categories. Next step –  record!

“Who are they? What did they learn in life? How would they like to be remembered?”

And here’s the magical part. You can keep your recording for yourself or opt to upload it to the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Imagine the story of your family intertwined with other American voices building upon a historical record of their time.

In his April TED talk, Isay described the power of “…everyday people talking about lives lived with kindness, courage, decency and dignity…it sometimes feels like you are walking on holy ground…”

If you believe that you learn from the wisdom of others, this holiday offers an opportunity to join “…a global movement to record and preserve meaningful conversations with one another that results in an ever growing digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity.”

 

 

The Saturday Read – Summer Reading Suggestions from TED speakers and attendees

Last week BuzzFeed Books posted a short quiz that professed to know how old you are based on your reading habits. Go ahead, take the quiz. You may find you have shaved 10 – 20 years from your chronological age. I’m once again enjoying my 23rd year.

The good news, we have more time to read, and this year the folks at TED have provided us with over 70 summer book suggestions from speakers and attendees.

After reviewing the list, I’ve picked a quartet of speakers and stories they recommend.

David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author:

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. “A series of very short stories that are all about the same thing: a single city in Kublai Khan’s empire. It’s mother’s milk for my own fiction writing.”

Dave Isay of StoryCorps:

The Bridge: The Building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by Gay Talese. “An ode to the men who built the Verrazano-Narrows, it centers around the question, ‘Who are the high-wire walkers wearing boots and hard hats, earning their living by risking their lives in places where falls are often fatal and where the bridges and skyscrapers are looked upon as sepulchers by the families and coworkers of the deceased?’”

David Rothkopf, foreign policy thinker and senior editor of the FP Group:

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner. “My dad worked at Bell Labs, and my first summer jobs were there as well. It epitomized the power of pure research, and showed how big science and big government could collaborate. It is gone now, and its disappearance raises many questions about our future.”

Tony Fadell, Founder and CEO of Nest:

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. “By offering evidence that traits like empathy, determination and self-control tend to be better predictors of success than IQ, Tough will make you think differently about raising kids in a highly competitive world.”