#174 Lessons from Reagan: Bob Spitz

At a time of fractured politics and failed leadership, what lessons can be learned from Ronald Reagan-- one of the most significant presidents in our history?

Considered a dangerous outsider by critics when he was elected in 1980, he appeared to be enthralled with happy endings and disinterested in many of the finer details of economic and social policy. And yet America's fortieth president presided over an economic boom and successful peace talks with the Soviet Union that helped lead to the end of the Cold War.

Our guest, best-selling biographer Bob Spitz, is the author of "Reagan: An American Journey", a richly detailed, riveting, and carefully balanced account of a remarkable life. The book looks clearly at Reagan's policy failures on AIDS, Iran-Contra and Star Wars missile defense, as well as his achievements and great skill as a communicator. 

"Reagan came to power at a very important time in our history," Bob tells us. "We had come through the Vietnam War, Watergate, a succession of failed presidencies-- and the country needed someone to pick up its morale. Ronald Reagan was the right man at the right time."

Unlike Donald Trump, another outsider with the aim of shaking things up and overturning establishment views of government, "Ronald Reagan didn't have a hostile bone in his body," says Bob. "Reagan was not a narcissist in any shape or form. He thought about the good of the American people above everything."

#171 Collaboration Beats Competition: Paul Skinner

In recent decades, business strategy has been built on the idea that we must compete to win.

But what if the competitive model of business is now broken? In today’s interconnected, digital world, strategies to create competitive advantage may be holding us back— with a negative impact on the workplace and the economy.

In his new book “Collaborative Advantage: How Collaboration Beats Competition as a Strategy for Success". British marketing and business consultant Paul Skinner presents Collaborative Advantage as a radical alternative to the conventional goal of Competitive Advantage. 

Skinner says: "We can be more ambitious in the way we grow our businesses, increase the impact of our non-profits and find better solutions to our most pressing problems when we view our opportunities through the lens of cooperation rather than competition."

This episode explores:

  • How Competitive Advantage can overshadow human purpose and the capacity for cooperation in businesses and other organizations.

  • How leaders can put cooperation-enabling ideas at the heart of their businesses and deepen relationships with customers, clients and employees.

  • How the dogma of Competitive Advantage may explain why solutions offered by previous guests “How Do We Fix It?” are not yet mainstream

Paul Skinner  is the founder of the U.K.-based Agency of the Future, and founder of Pimp My Cause, which uses cause-related marketing to boost the capabilities of teams and individuals. Paul is a regular listener to “How Do We Fix It?”

#169 Astrophysics For People In a Hurry: Neil deGrasse

Tyson talks about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, tackles science deniers on the right and left, and explains why we should invest more in pure science. Tyson also discusses his book, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.”

"What's curious to me is you have the liberal community claiming the (moral) high road ...against the science deniers of the right with regard to global warming and evolution in the classrooms... as though they are somehow untainted by non-scientific thinking,” Tyson tells us. "There is a whole portfolio of science denying that also happens in the liberal left."

Investments in pure science led to many remarkable breakthroughs in medicine, technology and physics - often decades after the research began. Following the discovery of quantum physics in the 1920's, "it would take forty to fifty years before we would see the rise of information technology," says Tyson. "There is no information technology without an understanding of quantum physics."

Tyson also discusses his sense of awe and wonder about the secrets of the cosmos.

““You can’t be a scientist and have discomfort with not knowing,” he tells us. “When there is a frontier that’s unexplored, where there are stupefying depths of ignorance, it excites you. It gets you out of bed in the morning and running to the lab.””

— Neil deGrasse Tyson

#168 The Case for Space Travel: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson, America’s most prominent spokesman for science and Director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium, talks about the benefits of a cosmic perspective, the case for manned space flight and much more in this first part of our wide-ranging conversation. We also discussed Tyson's book, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry."

Richard and Jim met Tyson at his offices at The American Museum of Natural History. While insisting he is not an advocate for manned space flight, Tyson says "history tells us" space exploration "is one of the most potent forces to operate on the scientific ambitions of a citizenry." At the height of the Apollo program in the 1960's, "you didn't need special programs to get people interested in science," Tyson explains. "There were weekly headlines about our journeys into space and you knew you needed the best of the best to breech the frontier of space."