Talk-About: Ralph Nader at Barnes at Noble – Apr 22

Talk-About: Ralph Nader on his new book, “Unstoppable”

Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Union Square

33 E 17th, NYC

Tuesday, 22 April  6:30 pm



“Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State”

As the media nearly overflows with stories about congressional stalemates and voter polarization, veteran activist and author Ralph Nader grows more convinced that self-described conservatives, progressives, and libertarians have much more in common than many of them still believe. In fact, he insists in this timely book, an alliance between the right and the left is emerging that holds the potential to reverse the insidious growth of the corporate state, with its dominant lobbying-power, its evisceration of civil liberties, and perpetuation of overseas conflicts. With the resilient optimism that his supporters have come to expect, his Unstoppable paints a hopeful picture of an emerging coalition.

This is a free lecture. We will meet at Barnes and Noble, and afterwards re-convene at a local café for a conversation to share our thoughts about Nader’s point of view.

About the Moderator:  Laurence Mailaender works in the technology industry, doing research aimed at improving wireless systems. He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering, and spent 12 years as a researcher in Bell Labs. Currently he develops advanced communication and GPS-geolocation systems for customers in various agencies of the U.S. Government.

What’s YOUR “Triple Package”? Discovering and Activating Your “Signature Strengths” – Mar 27

What’s YOUR “Triple Package”?
    Discovering and Activating
   Your“Signature Strengths”

with Ron Gross, Thursday, 3/27, 4 sharp – 5:15pm

Gottesman Library, Teachers College, Columbia University

   525 West 120th St.  

(bet. Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.  North side of 120th Street — #1 train to 116th St.)

Please bring a photo ID required for entry to the building.

There will be a display of relevant books.
                        Light refreshments will be available.
Coffee and other beverages available downstairs as you enter the building.


Each of us has a constellation of strengths deriving from our personal qualities, cultural background, and life experiences.   In this session you  will  identify three of yours, share them, and contribute  them to  a ‘Gang Brain’ representing the collective strengths of the group.
The session is inspired by the best-selling and highly controversial  book The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, both professors at Yale Law School.  The book and the authors have been featured prominently in several major articles in the New York Times and in myriad other media.  We will discuss their thesis as background to our own work with this concept.
    Next conversation: Thursday, 4/17, Topic to Be Announced.

Valuing Contingency: Educating Towards A Sense of Possibility – Mar 3

The University Seminar on Innovation in Education 

The University Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education, and Society

Valuing Contingency:

Educating Towards A Sense of Possibility 
Speaker: Maxine McClintock, Ph.D.
Independent Scholar
Kindly RSVP to reserve a​  and
Please bring this invitation and a photo ID for admission to the building.
Monday, March 3, 2014
7:00-9:00 pm
Faculty House, Columbia University
(see address and location below)

Maxine McClintock will discuss her purposes and key themes from her recently published book, Letters of Recommendation. The book presents a conversation about educational aspirations through a fictional exchange of letters. The title hints at the angst students and their parents feel about getting accepted by college, employer, and the world at large.  But that’s the backdrop.  A girl, Emilia, who appears to be among the best and the brightest of her senior class, asks an admired teacher, Doc, for a letter of recommendation supporting her early admission to a top college.  The book starts as Emilia withdraws her request, beginning to doubt where life is leading her, and why, and what she really wants to do.  Doc senses the importance of her concerns and responds to them.  Letters result, back and forth throughout the school year, with subtle attention to Emilia’s emerging sense of self and Doc’s presence, both humane and professional.
Letters depicts what goes on as good education takes place.  It affirms a student’s self-reliance in the face of felt uncertainties.  It also affirms a teacher’s trust that her presence as a full, human person has value and meaning in carrying on the work of education.  The letters themselves don’t exemplify an instructional method; they are a literary device for concentrating the reader’s attention on the inner life of a student and her teacher.  The letters create a pedagogic dialog.  And situating the dialog in an elite private school isn’t meant to celebrate the rich and the famous.  It’s a way to set aside all the material complications, which intrude in our lives and make it difficult to concentrate on what’s essential–essential, not only for the few, but for all of us.
“In writing Letters of Recommendation, I distill reflections about education gathered over the course of a full career teaching in high school and college for over 35 years.  For the last half of my career I taught history at the Trinity School, one of New York City’s elite private schools. This experience convinces me that the challenges in education are not so much the instrumental questions of how to achieve the external goals people associate with schooling, but ones concerning the personal formation of purposes and life expectations. I look forward to conversing with participants in the seminar about why these dimensions of education are so important, and so difficult.”
You can find a statement of key themes, indication of intended audiences, and some reader reactions at Maxine’s website,

To augment the fellowship among members, you are warmly invited to join other members for dinner at Faculty House at 5:30 PM.  Dinner at Faculty House, a varied and ample buffet (including wine), is $25, which must be paid for by check made    at the beginning of the meal.  If you intend to join us for dinner you must let us know via email a week in advance.
DIRECTIONS:  Faculty House is located on Columbia University’s East Campus on Morningside Drive, north of 116th Street.  Enter Wien Courtyard through the gates on 116 Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Walk toward the north end of the courtyard, then turn right toward Morningside Drive.  Faculty House will be the last building on the right.
BACKGROUND: This seminar is jointly sponsored by the Columbia University Seminars on Innovation in Education, and on Ethics, Moral Education, and Society.
The Seminar on Innovation in Education is co-chaired by Ronald Gross, who also conducts the Socratic Conversations at the Gottesman Libraries, and Robert McClintock who is John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Professor Emeritus in the Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Teachers College. Founded in 1970, the Seminar explores the process of learning in individuals, organizations, and society throughout the lifespan and via major institutions.
The Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education and Society, chaired by Michael Schulman,  brings together scholars from psychology, philosophy, sociology, political theory, education, religion and other disciplines to explore issues in ethics, moral education, moral development, moral motivation, moral decision making and related topics.
Upcoming 2013-14 seminar dates:  no Feb, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5.
Columbia University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  University Seminar participants with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact the Office of Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or  Disability accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, are available on request.  Requests for accommodations must be made two weeks in advance.  On campus, seminar participants with disabilities should alert a Public Safety Officer that they need assistance accessing campus.
    Michael Schulman, chair, Ethics, Moral Education, and Society,
     Ron Gross, co-chair, Innovation in Education, ​​