Speakers Forum

Thursday, 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

Flickr Photo/girl_onthe_les (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Here in the Northwest we take pride in our regional seafood industry, but details about the big picture of seafood distribution may surprise or appall you. Our guest this week on Speakers Forum is Paul Greenberg, author of the book “American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood.”

The U.S., which controls more ocean than any other nation, imports 91 percent of its seafood.

Kristin Ohlson's book "The Soil Will Save Us."

This week on Speakers Forum we’ll hear from author Kristin Ohlson. Her new book is "The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet."

In it she sheds light on our understanding of soil and its crucial role in capturing and storing carbon emissions. Ohlson details how changes in how we farm may hold the key to countering global warming.

Ohlson is a freelance journalist and author based in Portland, Ore. She’s written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Utne and Salon. Her books include "Stalking the Divine" and "Kabul Beauty School."

Ohlson spoke at The Elliott Bay Book Company on July 28. Thanks to Anna Tatistcheff for this recording. 

Tom Robbins' book "Tibetan Peach Pie"

Today on Speakers Forum best-selling author Tom Robbins returns home to tell some mostly true stories from his new memoir, "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life."

It starts with 5-year-old “Tommy Rotten” forcing his mother to take dictation, and leads to a very good Tom Clancy impersonation.

Gillian Flynn's novel, "Gone Girl."

Welcome to the scary summer reading edition of Speakers Forum. This week you’ll be encouraged by our guest Gillian Flynn to read her best-selling novel, "Gone Girl," before the movie comes out in October.

You’ll hear her read the duly infamous “cool girl” passage, and learn the gritty details of her unusual writing technique. And as an added bonus, you’ll get Seattle writer Maria Semple’s take on the Flynn phenomenon.

Michael Waldman's book "The Second Amendment: A Biography"

Most Americans don’t question an individual’s right to own a gun, with certain exceptions. But in an age when senseless public shootings make frequent headlines, many question the limits of gun ownership. 

And though a large majority of Americans say they support expanded background checks for gun ownership, Congress can’t come to any agreement on possible legislation.

Flickr Photo/Giulia Forsythe

Human beings have wondered how our brains work for millennia. And we haven’t been afraid to knock about in there to find out. There is evidence that trepanation, the surgical practice of drilling a hole into the skull in order to cure headaches or mental disorders, was performed in Neolithic times, just at the tail end of the Stone Age. Ouch!

According to author Sam Kean, the stories of people who survived terrible brain disease and injury are at the heart of how modern neuroscience advanced. Kean spoke at Town Hall Seattle on May 20.

Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Since 2006, Ignite Seattle has given Puget Sounders the opportunity to share their insights into a topic they’re passionate about. It’s the prototype for what has become an international event.

The concept is simple. Have a great idea? Share it. The only catch? You have to do it in front of a packed auditorium, in five minutes.

Flickr Photo/Shawn Calhoun (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Human beings have been drawn to stories for thousands of years. They captivate us. We yearn for them — “tell the one about … ” — ad infinitum. Sometimes we get the story right. Sometimes not. Stories break. Stories change. And sometimes it helps to turn a story upside down.

Our guest is writer and historian Rebecca Solnit. Her books explore ecology, landscape, community, art and politics.

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"Well, that makes total sense!"

That’s what you might say after listening a while to our guest Simon Sinek this week on Speakers Forum.

It’s the little things he points out, like why checking your cell phone constantly during your kid’s baseball game (or your meeting with a colleague) is a bad idea. The little things add up, sometimes resulting in the makings of a leader.

Nate Gowdy Photography/nategowdy.com

What sex were you assigned at birth, boy or girl? It’s a simple question. Too simple sometimes. Not everyone fits neatly into the role they were assigned. Boys and girls are not all the same. A transgender person is someone “whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth."

KUOW Photo

For the average NPR listener, hearing the name Garrison Keillor may summon up the sound of his voice: deep and soothing, wise and mischievous, but with a palpable tinge of sadness. Keillor spoke at Seattle’s University Bookstore on June 12.

Sandra Tsing Loh's book "Madwoman in the Volvo."

We've all done it — that crazy RV trip to Burning Man. It leads to all sorts of problems. In hindsight, maybe not a great idea, but you make the best with what you've got, right? Well, perhaps, if you’re anything like our guest this week. Her trip proved to be the start of an arduous journey, but it makes for a great story. 

Sandra Tsing Loh’s new book is “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” In it she takes on her experience of menopause.

Flickr Photo/Senate Democrats (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week on Speakers Forum, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tells the story of her life and her vision of a progressive America. Warren is known as an advocate for consumer protection. She was largely responsible for the hard-won establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Flickr Photo/Downing Street (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The financial crisis of 2008 is widely referred to as the worst fiscal disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It threatened large financial institutions with collapse and resulted in bank bailouts and downturns in stock and housing markets around the world.

Nomi Prins' new book, "All the Presidents' Bankers"

In Nomi Prins' new book "All the Presidents' Bankers," she delves into over a century of close ties between the White House and Wall Street. Using archival correspondence, she explores the ways a small group of influential people, elected and not, has shaped American policy at home and abroad. The book details economic expansion, contraction and crises from the panic of 1907 to today, in the context of what Prins calls America’s genealogy of power.

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