Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Luncheon Society/Michael Dukakis on the 2012 election/LA—Napa Valley Grille/January 14, 2012/SF-Credo/February 24, 2012/Boston-Sandrine’s/April 25, 2012

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Each year, Michael Dukakis kicks off the first Southern California Luncheon Society gathering and this year was no different. Joining us in Los Angeles at Napa Valley Grille on Saturday January 14th and then making the trek up to San Francisco on February 24th at Credo, Mike Dukakis has always brought an informative and self-deprecatory approach to getting his message out. Each year he has mentioned that if he had beaten Bush in 1988, he would be speaking to us in another capacity—and says that if he beaten the Old Man, nobody would have ever heard about The Son. In Boston, the former Governor talked about the business of statecraft and why it matters.

Both Mike and Kitty Dukakis were early Barack Obama supporters and were impressed that they built a grass roots campaign to connect with voters, something the DNC forgot about in the 2010 midterm elections. Dukakis believes that Democrats needs to organize down to the small precinct. He believes that six-to-eight block captains per precinct must organize repeated door-knocking excursions and report any supporters or potential supporters back to a precinct captain. In turn, they must be responsible for getting those supporters to the polls on Election Day. “It’s neighbors seeing neighbors. It’s putting a human face on the political process. It’s engaging people in conversations on issues they care about and responding to them.”

The first question Dukakis will ask anybody running for office is “How many precincts do you have? How many of those precincts have captains?”

 

Grass Roots campaigns based on old-fashioned-precinct-walking shoe leather will deliver a 5-10% incremental lift each and every time. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet personally credits “The Dukakis Lecture” to getting him to retool his campaign to incorporate a grassroots effort which resulted in a narrow come-from-behind win on Election Night 2010.

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The Luncheon Society/ MBD2K Series/ Christina Haag, Jillian Lauren, Anne-Marie O’Connor/LA-Stefan’s Farm House/April 23, 2012

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The Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Series returned for its third outing, once again in Los Angeles. Thus far there have been two gatherings in LA and a third in Manhattan, and there will be more to come.  These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to highlight writers who should have their books on every nightstand.

There were three great writers. Christina Haag and Jillian Lauren  joined us in Manhattan at the end of 2011 and we were pleased to have them discuss their books in Los Angeles. Anne-Marie O’Connor joined us for the first of many gatherings. We hope to have them in other TLS cities soon. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/An update with Global Explorer Roz Savage/SF-Fior D’Italia/April 10, 2012

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When you’ve surmounted the unimaginable, what do you do next?

For Roz Savage, she completed something magnificent when after she experienced the implosion of her personal life as a consultant in London. While sitting down one day, she wrote her obituary of what would amount to a long and full life; cube farming in London was not part of the picture.

She put down her briefcase, picked up a set of oars and was off to explore the world.  In 2006, Roz participated as the only female solo rower in the Atlantic Rowing Race and spent a harrowing 103 days rowing from The Canary Islands to the beaches of Antigua. 

She joined us for a very intimate luncheon at Fior D’Italia in San Francisco to give us a look to the next chapter of her life.

As she recounted in her book, Rowing the Atlantic—Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean ,  which was published in 2009 and became the subject of two Luncheon Society gatherings, one in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles., she recounted how the technology which told her friends that she was still alive began to fail her as she struggled to survive in a hostile place. Radios failed, oars snapped, but through it all she persevered and made it alive. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/Best-selling Author of “Imagine” Jonah Lehrer on creativity and grit/SF—Fior D’Italia/April 5, 2012

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Note:  The luncheon took place only weeks before Jonah Lehrer’s reputation collapsed around him with charges of plagiarism.  This was a great luncheon, nonetheless.  We thought we would leave things in their original state.

One of the coolest things about The Luncheon Society is to sit with an author who telescopes ahead to his next project.  

That was the case when The Luncheon Society sat down with Wired Contributing Editor and frequent New Yorker columnist to discuss his latest book Imagine, which is Lehrer’s attempt to put together a series of metrics on how creativity bubbles new ideas upward.

The takeaway: before the breakthrough happens, we have to work through the block.  Its more than a magic trick of the mind.

TLS friend Betsy Burroughs has a great take on the Luncheon with her post at The Five-Stir and I would recommend that you check it out.

What Lehrer does—and does quite well—is to think about putting metrics to life’s intangibles.   Can we figure out why athletes choke in critical situations?  Can it be studied and avoided—or at least better understood?  Lehrer’s thoughts on daydreaming might open the window to more thoughtful creativity.  His piece on cognitive dissonance ponders why so many so many people reject Darwin’s evolution in these scientific times.

With that in mind, Jonah Lehrer zeroed in on “grit,” that notion of sticking to something that was dear to one’s heart even if the odds appeared to be long.  Out of the variables proposed by Angela Lee Duckworth , this might be the magic bullet on bringing ideas to their successful fore. It will be a future article in The New Yorker.

Since we often view success through the rear view mirror, delving back onto the hard work after the fact, we often find ourselves building metrics of what made it successful.  Edison said that he never really invented the light bulb but discovered hundreds of filaments would not work incandescently.  That was grit in all of its beauty. Continue reading