We’re thrilled to bring you even more free virtual author interviews this Fall!
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger," the adage goes. But how much truth is there to that ubiquitous, inexhaustible saying? Tracing the lives of six people who have experienced profoundly life-changing events, journalist Mike Mariani explores the nuances and largely uncharted territory of what happens after one's life is severed into a before and after. If what doesn't kill us does not necessarily make us stronger, he asks, what does it make us? Delving into lives we rarely see in such meticulous detail - lives filled with struggle, loss, perseverance, transformation, and triumph–Mariani leads us into some of the darkest corners of human existence, only to reveal our endless capacity for kindling new light.
Since graduating with his MA in literature, MIKE MARIANI has worked as an English professor and freelance journalist, writing feature articles for publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Guardian and essays for The Believer, Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and others. Some of the topics Mariani has written about include the history of medical gaslighting, criminal cases involving mental illness, the opioid crisis, and the neuroscience of inequality.
There is no cure for the human condition: life is hard. But Kieran Setiya believes philosophy can help. He offers us a map for navigating rough terrain, from personal trauma to the injustice and absurdity of the world. In this profound and personal book, Setiya shows how the tools of philosophy can help us find our way. Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy as well as fiction, history, memoir, film, comedy, social science, and stories from Setiya's own experience, Life Is Hard is a book for this moment - a work of solace and compassion.
KIERAN SETIYA is a professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement (London), the London Review of Books, The New York Times, Aeon, and The Yale Review.
Will Guidara was twenty-six when he took the helm of Eleven Madison Park, a struggling two-star brasserie that had never quite lived up to its majestic room. Eleven years later, EMP was named the best restaurant in the world. How did Guidara pull off this unprecedented transformation? Radical reinvention, a true partnership between the kitchen and the dining room - and memorable, over-the-top, bespoke hospitality. And his hospitality extended beyond those dining at the restaurant to his own team, who learned to deliver praise and criticism with intention; why the answer to some of the most pernicious business dilemmas is to give more - not less; and the magic that can happen when a busser starts thinking like an owner.
Today, every business can choose to be a hospitality business - and we can all transform ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences. Featuring sparkling stories of his journey through restaurants, Guidara urges us all to find the magic in what we do - for ourselves, the people we work with, and the people we serve.
WILL GUIDARA is the cofounder of The Welcome Conference, and the cofounder and former co-owner of Make It Nice, a restaurant group that includes Eleven Madison Park, Made Nice, and The NoMad.
NOVEMBER 7, 1pm CST | CHUCK WISNER, author of The Art of Conscious Conversations: Transforming How We Talk, Listen, and Interact
in conversation with Porchlight's Social Media Manager & Editorial Assistant Jasmine Gonzalez
We live in conversations like fish live in water—we’re in them all the time, so we don’t think about them much. As a result, we often find ourselves stuck in cyclical patterns of unproductive behaviors. We listen half-heartedly, react emotionally, and respond habitually, like we're on autopilot.
Chuck Wisner's new book The Art of Conscious Conversations: Transforming How We Talk, Listen, and Interact is a practical guide for thoughtfully reflecting on conversations so we can avoid the common pitfalls that cause our relationships and work to go sideways. Chuck Wisner identifies four universal types of conversations and offers specific advice on maximizing the effectiveness of each:
- Storytelling—Investigate the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others
- Collaborative—Explore the way our stories and other people’s stories interact
- Creative—See new possibilities and discover unforeseen solutions
- Commitment—Make promises we know we can keep
These conversations unfold sequentially: our awareness of our and others’ stories transforms our ability to listen and collaborate, which opens our thoughts to creative possibilities, guiding us toward mindful agreements.
Our conversations—at home, at work, or in public—can be sources of pleasure and stepping-stones toward success, or they can cause pain and lead to failure. Wisner shows how we can form a connection from the very first conversation and keep our discourse positive and productive throughout any endeavor.
CHUCK WISNER is president of Wisner Consulting. His client list includes companies such as Google, Rivian, Apple, Tesla, Harvard Business School, Ford, and Chrysler. Wisner was a senior affiliated mediator with the Harvard Mediation Program and was among the first to be certified through the Mastering the Art of Professional Coaching program at the Newfield Institute. He was also a specialist in organizational learning and leadership as an affiliate with MIT’s Center for Organizational Learning.