Tuesday, December 24, 2013

James Owen Weatherall Interview

What’s the book The Physics of Wall Street all about?

The Physics of Wall Street tells the story of how, over the last hundred years, an increasing number of ideas—and, since the late 1970s, people as well—from fields such as physics and mathematics have migrated to finance.   These new ideas have changed how financial markets work in profound and lasting ways, and so if we want to understand financial markets, as investors or as policy-makers, we need to understand the role that physics and mathematics has come to play.  Most importantly, I argue that, if used carefully, these ideas can provide very effective tools for investors. But they also introduce significant new risks, including some that contributed to the 2007-08 financial crisis.  One of my main goals in the book is to give some insight into how we can use these tools more effectively, and hopefully avoid future crises.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brett Scott Interview

Can you tell us about your background working in Finance and how did you come with the idea of writing The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance – Hacking the Future of Money book?

In 2008 I undertook a somewhat subversive anthropological adventure into the financial sector in London. I ended up working for two years as a derivatives broker. Derivatives are large financial bets, and brokers spend all their time trying to convince large corporations and banks to use them. I learned a lot about the financial system and since leaving have continued to explore various aspects of the system. In the wake of the Occupy protests I was asked by Pluto Press to write a guide for activists on how the financial sector works, and how one can go about improving it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Seth Godin Interview

It seems that during the last few years, controversy and “in your face” attitude have been used in several social related marketing campaigns. (France’s AIDES campaigns, Camp Okutta for Children online videos, MTV’s Sex is no accident…). What do you think about that trend? Do you think there must be a limit or, if the cause is noble, the marketer can be as provocative as he/she wants?

I think that provocation gets old, faster and faster. I’m not sure that doing good gives you the moral right to be obnoxious, but either way, it’s not going work for much longer.

What’s the most groundbreaking or outstanding social related marketing campaign that you’ve ever seen?
I’m more interested in what works than what’s cool. Kiva works, no doubt about it. AmeriCorps. The Peace Corps. Doctors without Borders…

Monday, August 12, 2013

Federico Pistono Interview

You are not even 30 years old but you already have experience as an award-winning journalist, a social entrepreneur, a scientific educator and you’re also a well-known activist among other things. That’s very impressive, can you tell us a little about your academic and professional background?

That's funny, see when I was a kid my teachers thought I wasn't good enough, and that I should give up studying and the best I could hope for was working on some repetitive and stupid job. I didn't listen to them. At 16 I won a full scholarship for a prestigious and highly selective international college, the UWC, whose mission is to "make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future." I went into hacking and social engineering, sustainability, I started various non-profits, grassroots social movements, and I did many different jobs. I worked as manager in an IT company, system administrator, web developer and designer, journalist, social media strategist, event organiser, even screenwriter and director in a video production company. I got my BSc in Computer Science, then I won another full scholarship for the graduate study program at Singularity University, in the NASA Ames research Park in Silicon Valley, from which I graduated last summer. Now I give lectures at universities and Fortune 500 companies all over the world and I have my own startup in New York. If I had listened to some of my teachers, I would have been sweeping the floors of the school, or at best working at a monotonous office job 9-5.

Anna Brownfield Interview

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you ended up involved in filmmaking?
I actually wanted to be an actor and spent a lot of my youth doing musicals, but my ever practical mother said that only 5% of actors ever make a full time living so maybe I  needed to have a back up plan!
When I finished high school, I did a year of photography but then soon realized that my ideas worked better in motion so went off and studied Media Arts at RMIT in Melbourne.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Breaking Bad and Philosophy

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you ended up involved with the Popular Culture and Philosophy books?

ROBERT ARP: I first got involved in 2003 when two of my graduate student colleagues at Saint Louis University, Jason Eberl and Kevin Decker, got a contract with Open Court Publishers to do Star Wars and Philosophy in their Popular Culture and Philosophy series; the one that was started with Seinfeld and Philosophy and then the wildly successful The Simpsons and Philosophy.  I have a chapter in the Star Wars book about droids and what constitutes personhood.  Bill Irwin was series editor at that point.  He moved to Wiley-Blackwell and started The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, and my South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today was the first book in that series.  I have more than 30 chapters in these kinds of books, and I’ve edited another half dozen or so.  Hard to believe it’s been 10 years!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pilots N Paws Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how did you come up with Pilots N Paws’ idea?

I have always had a deep connection with animals. I am a retired nurse, have raised Morgan Horses for 25 years, and share my life with my wonderful husband, two Dobermans, one Lhasa Apso who definitely rules, and of course our barn kitties.  Prior to Pilots N Paws, I was one of the founding members of a rescue organization known as Doberman Assistance Network, a national Doberman rescue group. When we lost our 12 year old Doberman to cancer, we wanted our next dobie family member to be a rescue dog.  The perfect dog for our family ended up being in Florida and we are in South Carolina.  Due to his condition, we knew he was used as a sparring partner to teach other dogs how to fight.  We had to bring him home, of that, there was no question.  I asked a group of friends if anyone was traveling my direction from Florida.  Our friend in Tennesse who is a pilot with a private plane replied that he would just fly over, pick up my husband and fly to Florida and bring our boy  home to us.  I was astounded at his generous offer. After the flight he asked if there was a need to move rescue animals. After sharing the trials of ground transportation, the only means available to rescue groups to  move these animals , he agreed that we needed to do something.  I knew rescue work, he knew pilots and told me that they are always looking for a good reason to fly.  What better reason then to save a life?  The name Pilots N Paws immediately came to my mind and with that, the program literally took flight.  I feel strongly that it is our responsibility, as humans, to be the guardians for animals others have abandoned, abused, or simply can no longer care for.  If we don’t, who will?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jean Philippe Vergne Interview

What are the main points behind The Pirate Organization: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalism book? How did you and Rodolphe Durand and you come up with the idea?
Back in 2005, at a time when I was reading a lot about cyber-piracy, I visited the Scheepvaart Museum in Amsterdam (Maritime Museum), which featured an exhibition about sea piracy in the 17th century. And I began to realize there were many connections between these two historically distant forms of piracy. So I asked myself: why do we use the same term, “piracy”, to describe sea robbers in the modern age and some hackers nowadays in cyberspace? What do they have in common? A few years later, Rodolphe and I were talking about the history of capitalism from the perspective of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy. We had similar views in many respects – in particular, we both believed that Deleuze (and Guattari) did a great job at theorizing capitalism, except that we felt that their story would benefit a lot from looking at an additional level of analysis – the organizational level. We were unsatisfied with the idea that capitalism was just about individual desires and the State. In between the two, there are many different types of organizations that channel human agency. In a way, the bureaucratic organization (in the Weberian sense) can be seen as the mother of all capitalist technologies. Pirates, in particular, are not lone wolves but belong to organizations that are sometimes powerful enough to change the course of history by making visible the inherent contradictions of the capitalist State. In fact, we realized that piracy was key in explaining many aspects of capitalism’s evolution that economists hadn’t addressed at all. We decided to join forces and write a book together in 2010. It first came out in French under the title L’Organisation Pirate.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Charles Eisenstein Interview

1. You say that money needs a transformation with a profound effect from profanity to sacredness. What’s behind the concept of Sacred Economics?

The book starts with the observation that money is not aligned with what is becoming sacred to us, for example ecological healing and social justice. In the past, we have just taken that opposition for granted. We assumed that goodness, sacredness, and so forth were outside the money realm, that holy people don't have much to do with money. But this is no longer sustainable, because the behavior that money drives is destroying the planet. We need to change the nature of money, so that it is no longer the enemy of sustainability, not to mention the sacred. The book describes how we got to our current state of a crisis that won't quite go away, and how we can change the money system and the economy that embeds it. It also explores the personal and community dimensions of this transition.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Carl King Interview

1. If you could give only one advice to someone who wants to launch an artistic career, which one would it be? A sort of “cast in stone” mantra that could be repeated over and over.

It's difficult to write it as a mantra. But artists need to learn about healthy compromise. That doesn't mean you should get taken advantage of, or never do the things you love, but unless you're already independently wealthy, you need to trade something of value to others in order to survive. It's how human society generally functions. If you don't bother to create something that other people want, you'll have a difficult life. I see artists of all ages who refuse to learn that simple lesson. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Song lyrics that could be a movie VOL.1


Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

If we leave the metaphor meaning of the lyrics aside, this could be a psychedelic heroine based epic flick. A thrilling story with several layers, spiced up, fun and cheeky could be found in this hypothetical movie adaptation.

The first name that comes to my mind is Quentin Tarantino because he has a unique vision and he’s very good writing witty dialogues. Another good option –with a more hectic approach- could be the Russian director Timur Bekmambetov.

ACTRESS: Ziyi Zhang

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Louis Ferrante Interview

1. In your book Mob Rules: What the Mafia can teach the legitimate businessman you talk about the importance of sniffing out opportunity. What is the best opportunity that you spotted and took advantage to?

There were many and most dealt with human relationships. Knowing I was a reliable guy who would never break my word, many people who had great opportunities fall into their laps but didn’t know what to do with them would bring them to me. So keeping your word and always delivering on your promises was like a magnet for opportunities.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Steve Jones Interview

 1. Brand Like a Rock Star is a very refreshing and well-researched book about branding. How did you come with the idea of writing it?

I’ve spent the bulk of my career managing radio station brands, and in that capacity I had a front row seat to the rise, and sometimes fall, of some legendary bands. I worked with the bands and labels to promote new releases, concerts, and stunts. Through my radio career I also watched other companies spending literally hundreds of millions of marketing dollars on campaigns that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. So I came away with a unique perspective that combines both business and music… my two passions. Combining them led to the very enjoyable experience of researching and writing the book.