Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast

What if you examined your life in the context of all of its stages? The annunciation and initiation phases in your youth and young adulthood are full of discovery and learning. Then, the odyssey years in your twenties bring wandering and loneliness and lead to a commitment-making phase in your thirties. David Brooks, author and New York Times op-ed columnist, says life’s mountains and valleys shape who we are and eventually lead us to a “second mountain.” This phase, later in life, often results in a feeling of true peace and happiness. In this lecture, Brooks uses examples from his own life and of others who encountered challenges along the way, like biologist E.O. Wilson, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 11:45

How is creativity cultivated in childhood? And, does a creative culture at home result in a creative career later on? Authors Jess Walter, Dani Shapiro, and Jericho Brown explain how their early years contributed to a life of writing. Such a life isn’t easy, with rejection, confusion, and disappointment making the pursuit an uphill battle. The writers describe how they find time to put pen to paper, and they read from their works. Don’t miss this funny, reflective, and inspiring discussion moderated by Adrienne Brodeur, author and executive director of Aspen Words.

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 11:15

Though his grandparents were his primary caretakers, Eric Motley was raised by a community. The author, former White House staffer, and Aspen Institute vice president says the townspeople of Madison Park, Alabama, taught him everything he needed to know about love and faith. Madison Park was founded by freed slaves in 1880, and Motley learned early about his heritage and legacy. While he cleaned graves and left flowers at the local cemetery, his neighbors taught him about his past. Racial injustice and segregation were part of Motley’s growing up, but instead of resentment he took on resilience and determination. Motley talks with Joshua Johnson, host of the national public radio show “1A” about how Madison Park is a metaphor for the ties that bind us in a politically divisive time.

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 11:15

Theo Padnos is an American journalist held captive by al-Qaeda for nearly two years. He was physically and psychologically tortured, but emerged with grace, forgiveness, and generosity. David Bradley, owner of Atlantic Media, was instrumental in freeing Padnos. He says Padnos is an example of someone who handles life’s greatest lows well. Though we likely won’t end up imprisoned by extremists, many of us will face lows such as the death of a loved one, a career stumble, or bankruptcy. Bradley says how well you handle difficulty may determine how happy and healthy you are later in life. He delves into his own life struggles, and talks to Padnos and NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell about the situation in the Middle East.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 17:00

For 60 years, the US government has been laying secret doomsday plans to save itself in the event of nuclear war — even while the rest of us die. Today, a third generation of doomsday planners are settling into life inside a network of bunkers that are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to house top government officials in the event of catastrophe. How did these Cold War-era plans come together, how have they evolved over time, and how prepared are we for a worst-case scenario? Featuring Garrett Graff, author of Raven Rock and executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity and Technology Program, and Peter Feaver, professor of political science and public policy at Duke University.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 16:00

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