Monthly Archives: September 2021

EP 486 American Men Having a Hard Time Making Friends

It’s not just as a result of the pandemic that men are having a difficult time engaging with other guys in a bond of friendship.  This trend has been going on for a while and is likely exacerbated by the fact that many friendships are formed in the workplace, which is now undergoing great change.  Single men, who it may seem have more time on their hands to engage with friends, are the loneliest of all.  Women are much better at taking the time and developing the emotional bond with other women and often, in a married situation, they keep the connections in place for the men, too.  This friendship recession is a trend worth exploring because social isolation is toxic and a growing problem in our culture.  We do not join organizations and associations as we did in the past.  We don’t go to places of worship, either.  These were both breeding grounds for friendships.  We look at the impact on our society with Daniel Cox, the founder and director of the Survey Center on American Life and a senior research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

EP 485 Do You Have What It Takes to Build a Startup?

A great idea is one thing.  Operationalizing that idea is another.  Haven’t we all had the one big notion that we thought would be a million dollar opportunity?  As you’ll hear in this podcast, I shared mine with our guest.  Yet, like most of us, I never went the extra mile to try to fund it, build it and manage it.  And while America is still the home of the entrepreneur, many of us contemplate the risk involved, the preponderance of failure associated with the effort and let someone else put in the herculean effort involved.  And we stay with our day job.  Steven Hoffman is inherently a risk taker and one who can describe, in detail, what goes into the process of starting from scratch.  He’s the CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup incubators and accelerators.  He’s also an angel investor, limited partner of August Capital, serial entrepreneur and the author of ‘Surviving a Startup’.  Listen to the podcast, read the book and then decide if you’re founder material.  In a step by step manner he describes what it takes.  And while much of our economy is powered by women and men starting dynamic new companies in their garages and basements, those are the exceptions.  And that’s what make these people and their stories exceptional.  We’ll share some of them on this podcast.

EP 484 Police Reform On the Horizon

Defund the police?  Provide less immunity for their bad acts?  Create a national standard for their training and ways to de-escalate a situation?  Augment the term public safety to include social workers and mental health specialists?  Depending upon who you talk to, all of these matters are part of the concept of ‘police reform’.  The defunding concept is the most controversial and least likely to gain traction as the victories of Joe Biden as president and Eric Adams as the Democratic mayoral stand bearer in New York City, demonstrate.  Both men made it a point to cast that notion aside.  And even communities of color, often in the news because of their tragic interactions with police, want better policing, not necessarily less of it. Our guest, Nila Bala, is the senior staff attorney for the Policing Project at NYU School of Law.  We explores the subtleties and complexities of this topic.

EP 483 Going Back Down on the Farm With Dan Glickman

Dan Glickman has had a very interesting life.  Following his years as a Congressman from Kansas, he became Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture and later the president of the Motion Picture industry, replacing the legendary Jack Valenti.  In his new book, “Laughing At Myself: My Education in Congress, On the Farm and the Movies’, he offers self deprecation as one of the solutions for the all too serious, and divided, state of our politics today.  In a wide ranging conversation, we explore the history and future of agriculture policy and then turn to another great American export, our culture, as expressed through the creative minds and eyes of moviemakers.  If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the family farm, what’s in the once in five year farm bill and the importance of Big Food in decision-making about agriculture, you’ll find it in a most appetizing way in this podcast.

EP 482 New Federal Tax Credit May Be a Game Changer in Reducing Child Poverty

The enhanced Child Tax Credit(CTC) was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan.  While temporary to start, if successful, it may well be remembered as the most important  part of that legislation.  Some social scientists are comparing its potential impacts for children and middle and lower income families as akin to what the 1935 Social Security Act has been for older Americans.  Columbia University estimates that this credit, which unlike the existing one, rolls out each month to smooth the ups and downs many families face, will cut child poverty by 45 percent.  Its impact will be even greater, they say, for African-American and Native American children.  It’s an approach already undertaken in the United Kingdom and Canada and will cost $100 billion a year, with the hope that its effect will be to reduce children’s health care costs and increase parental earning capacity by amounts that far exceed that.  To describe how it works and the goals we turn to Veronica Goodman, the director of social policy for the Progressive Policy Institute.

EP 481 Water: Too Many Straws and Not Enough Supply

Our guest likes to use the straws metaphor to get across the point that all the users of the world’s most precious resource must accept that given population growth and climate change, one of the key solutions to a growing water crisis is to recognize that if your straw stays in the glass, some else’s must come out.  On the list of realistic solutions to a problem that could prove that this resource will be THE source of future global conflicts this one falls in the category of conservation.  Technological advances, education and regulation are key to giving weight to this option, but more will need to be done as we see example after example of watersheds, rivers and basins drying up.  And, for the United States, you would be mistaken to think that it is simply a problem out in the West.  The problem of too little water and poorly maintained infrastructure crosses the continent.  Our guest, Robert Glennon, author of such books as ‘Unquenchable’ and ‘Water Follies’, is a recognized leader in the science of water and gives you much to think about, and personally act upon, in this podcast.

EP 480 Remote Work Enters the Business Lexicon to Stay

Your office for the duration of the pandemic was wherever you, your phone and computer were.  And while some companies are calling everyone back into the office, many others have recognized the value and benefits of remote work.  The work from home trend is now being factored into the culture of many companies as positions for the chief of remote work are being developed.  The most likely scenario, though still too early to tell, is a hybrid and flexible model of work designed to compete for the knowledge worker who will have many options from which to choose.  James Citrin and our guest, Darleen Derosa, of global leadership firm Spencer Stuart, have written a new book, ‘Leading at a Distance: Practical Lessons for Virtual Success’.  Workforce strategies, like virtual work, have been thrust to the top of the list of issues that executives have to address in the period ahead in order to compete globally.  We discuss the latest research and thinking on the topic.                   

EP 479 Is There a Way Out of Our Toxic Polarization?

Our guest dedicates his book to ‘the 86 percent of Americans who are currently exhausted, miserable, and desperately seeking a way out of the culture of contempt’.  I’d imagine many of you are among that legion, so why are we letting only 14 percent of our nation lead us into deadlock, dysfunction and national decay, as we approach what appears to many of us to be a national nervous breakdown.  And if those 14 percent look anything like the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021 perhaps we can find a plot of land, just offshore, where they can dream up conspiracies and be vengeful toward each other.  Professor Peter Coleman, a Columbia University professor of Peace and Conflict, has written a new book ‘The Way Out’ and offers a new perspective on looking at what has been building up in this country for the last forty years.  He’s thoughtful and reasonable, and somewhat optimistic, that this too shall pass.  If you need some help getting there, take a listen.             

EP 478 Working Too Much Can Be a Matter of Life and Death

 If you google ‘work too much’ you will find lots of references to the ill effects of an unbalanced life when you spend too much time on the job.  These effects include harmful medical, mental and social consequences.  A new study discussed in this podcast attributes 745,000 thousand deaths worldwide in 2016 to the cause of overwork which is considered by the World Health Organization to be a ‘ serious health hazard’.  Joining us to discuss the topics is Daiga Kamerade, a work and employment sociologist at the University of Salford in the U.K.  And while predictions were made years back that by this point prosperity and automation would replace human labor, that is by no means the case, particularly in America, sometimes referred to as the ‘no vacation nation’.  Take a break from whatever work you’re doing and listen to this podcast.