The Lavin Agency is a speakers bureau, based in New York City and Toronto. We exclusively represent leading thinkers, writers, and doers who inspire ideas and dialogue that make the world a better place.
The new Rolling Stone, with Mitt Romney on the cover, is already the talk of the internet. The cover article—which runs over 6,000 scathing words—was written by politics speaker Matt Taibbi in his trademark metaphor-rich, no-holds barred, cut-to-the-marrow style that he’s employed in bestsellers like Griftopia.
Today, The New York Times ran amajor feature on Lavin speaking agent Rachel Rosenfelt and her website, The New Inquiry. TNI has been “catching the eye of the literary elite” and “earning praise that sounds as extravagantly brainy as the thesis-like articles that [it] uploads every few days.” Here’s Jonathan Lethem, singing the praises of Rachel and her writers:
They’re the precursor of this kind of synthesis of extrainstitutional intellectualism, native to the Internet, native to the city dweller. They’re not trapped within an old paradigm. They’re just making it their own.
Jonah Lehrer’s latest from his Wired blog “The Frontal Cortex” looks at why creativity seems to benefit from constraints. An example? In a psychological test on university students, half were forced to listen to an audible obstacle (a voice repeating unrelated words) while being presented with a series of challenges while the other half were given the challenges in peaceful silence. When shown the picture above:
The students were more likely to automatically respond that the pictures contained (in clockwise order, from the top left corner) an E, S, H and A…(In contrast, those subjects not first exposed to an obstacle insisted that the picture contained an A, H, S and E. They were entirely tuned to the particular.) The psychologists refer to this shift as an expansion of “perceptual scope,” suggesting that the obstacle had literally increased what the subjects were able to notice. The struggle allowed them to see the whole.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the bestselling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, about a young Afghan entrepreneur who helped a hundred women in her community find jobs while under Taliban rule. “For me,” Lemmon says in this exclusive video, “the story was always a universal story about survival and faith and what you do for the sake of those you love.”