Thursday, December 9, 2010

Seeking Brilliant Guests for My Radio Show

I'm looking for guests for my NPR-San Francisco radio show. I'm interested in very smart people with whom I could have have a wide-ranging, dazzling, exchange, especially about issues related to work. The person must also be a clear and engaging communicator.

Previous excellent guests have included Craig Venter, Jack Welch, Alan Dershowitz, Linda Chavez, Albert Shanker, Noam Chomsky, Robert Reich, Vanguard founder John Bogle, Richard Dawkins, Jim Cramer, Deborah Tannen, Anthony Bourdain, and Charles Murray.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

I highly recommend Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer (I think he is Harvard-educated) who wrote the new book 'Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? How The European Model Can Help You Get a Life'. This is a book that was recommended in a recent Slate article on income inequality in the U.S. The book makes several interesting, and pointed, comparisons between life in the U.S. and life in Europe.

Chalmers Johnson would be good, too. He's written several books, including his latest: 'Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope.'

I also recommend Steven Hill, who wrote a very interesting book titled 'Europe's Promise: How the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age.'

Marty Nemko said...

I find myself most interested in non-ideologues. Yes, my list of excellent guests included Robert Reich, a wildly ideologically closed guy (Indeed, he admitted to me, off the air, that he lied on the air to make his leftist argument "win,", but moving forward I want more circumspect guests.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I read a quote somewhere that went, "The first thing a man will do to advance his ideology is lie."

Robert Reich, I'm not surprised.

Anna said...

The guy who writes The Last Psychiatrist blog.

R J said...

Perhaps Dr. Bruce Levine? He's a heterodox, extremely intelligent therapist who is scathing about the shortcomings in America's educational system and in its therapeutic "solve every problem through doling out pills" culture.

His books include SURVIVING AMERICA'S DEPRESSION EPIDEMIC. I imagine that he could be reached via his publisher, Chelsea Green Inc. in White River Junction, Vermont (, or via his own website, which is

Anonymous said...

Other suggestions:

Richard Florida, the university professor and "American urban studies theorist" (wikipedia) who wrote books such as 'The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity, 2010', 'Who's Your City?' and 'The Rise of the Creative Class'. His books are pretty well-known. It seems that he would have plenty of interesting things to say. He now lives in Toronto, Canada, by the way.

The husband and wife team of Ron and Caryl Krannich, both PhD's, who wrote a series of career counseling books as well as a series of international travel books. indicates they haven't written anything lately, though. (I mentioned them, as well as one of their books, in a previous post about the unemployment and underemployment article you posted.)

As for the authors I mentioned in a previous post (Geoghegan, etc.), their books are well-researched and well-considered. I wouldn't just dismiss them as "ideologues."

Anonymous said...

Just remembered one more: Henning Mankell, the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling Kurt Wallander mystery series set in Sweden (his latest mystery: The Man From Beijing, 2010 – not in the Kurt Wallander series, though). Mankell seems intellectual, and his mysteries tend to be cerebral. His viewpoints are probably similar to yours, and it seems he would be circumspect. From what I remember, Mankell has been described as critical of the Swedish welfare state and of Swedish society in general.

However, I just noticed – when looking for info about Mankell on - that he has some strong political viewpoints against Israel, at least regarding certain points. (I didn't know that.) As for me, I don't agree with his views, so I'm hoping not to offend you by mentioning him.

Marty Nemko said...

Thanks for the fine suggestions. Because the media so disproportionately presents leftist views, although, per the list, I've interviewed plenty of leftists, now I'm trying to present excellent centrists or right-of-center guests. If the media were right-wing, I'd be looking to balance that with leftist guests.

By the way, in response to Anonymous, I would never censor someone because they are critical of Israeli policy. I believe we take offense too easily. All intelligent benevolently derived views are, at minimum, deserving of a respectful hearing. And as it happens, I have some ambivalence about some Israeli policy as well.

Anonymous said...

Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard University, gave a speech in 2005 about women not succeeding in science because of their innate inabilities. He resigned after the backlash. It would be interesting to give him a forum to expand on those thoughts.

Marty Nemko said...

FYI, your comments have resulted in my inviting Lawrence Summers and Richard Florida onto my show. We'll see if they say yes.

Marty Nemko said...

FYI, Richard Florida has said yes and will appear on Jan 9. I've also just booked Jack O'Connell, the outgoing California State Supt of Schools for Jan. 23. We'll discuss what to about the U.S.'s low education standing in international comparisons.

Anonymous said...

Marty, The guy you need to talk to is Tim O'Reilly. He runs O'Reilly Media -- the computer textbook publisher. He is not an "educator" but I'm certain he would provide excellent commentary on entrepreneurship (how he started O'Reilly Media is pretty interesting), Web-related jobs, the future of the workplace, etc. He is a brilliant thinker and engaging speaker. He coined the phrase "Web 2.0." He may be a little left of center politically but he doesn't think in ideological terms when it comes to technology, economics, creativity.

Seraphim said...

Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

F.S. said...

I'll second Tim O'Reilly - a guy I admire greatly though I've never met him.

And after the interview in the Pink Section this weekend, I'd encourage you to invite Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs on Discovery. Not so much because of his TV gig -- though I bet he has good perspective on the types of non-college, non-exportable jobs you often remark about -- but because of his early TV career, which was described thus:


It was the 1990s, and Mike Rowe was living the dream.

By Rowe's own account, that dream included a very questionable work ethic - designed so he would be on vacation about six months out of the year. The TV host says his plan was simple: to get to host television projects so poorly conceived that no amount of luck or talent could possibly save them.

"And then, when I identified these losers, like the captain on the Titanic, I would sail right for the iceberg," Rowe says. "I'd do it knowing that I'd get paid for a couple of months, and I would not be blamed when they failed."


It's an interesting confession on his part, and maybe says something larger about the world of work. (Rowe's since become a workaholic -- if there is such a thing -- it seems.) The article is at

Resume Whore said...

David Eagleman. But I doubt you could get him. I'll send The New Yorker article with the relevant parts highlighted. His studies on subjective time dovetail with your commitment/admonition re: best use of time. But it's not just that study. He's got a million things going on and is always asking the "big questions."

He gets 7 hrs sleep/night, works 7 days/week and never takes vacation except for his weekend wedding 3 years ago. Sound familiar?

You want someone brilliant. He's brilliant.