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Steven D. Lavine
Episode 1321st June 2021 • Be a Better Leader • Mike Chitty
00:00:00 01:18:58

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Steven Lavine has for four decades been an artistic, educational, and community leader in the United States and nationally. From 1988 to 2017 he served as President of the California Institute of the Arts, a period of sustained growth in programs, community engagement, enrolment, reputation and financial stability for the progressive multi-disciplinary arts college. Shortly after stepping down, he was recruited as Founding Director and then Chair of the Los Angeles Advisory Council for the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles, which is devoted to bringing creative thinkers from Germany and the United States together around urgent contemporary issues, particularly the future of liberal democracy. Today, he divides his time between the Thomas Mann House and consulting with a broad range of progressive not-for-profit organisations.

Before CalArts, Lavine was an Assistant Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Michigan and then Associate Director of the Arts and Humanities Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he supported reform of K-12 educational reform, experimental media, and the development of exhibition strategies for American minority and non-Western arts and cultures. He has co-edited two influential books about museum practices: Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display and Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture.

Transcripts

Steven D Lavine:

I'm trying to read your bookshelf, but I'm not succeeding.

Mike:

There's yeah, I'm a big fan of Robert Keegan.

Mike:

I wondered if you were aware of his work.

Steven D Lavine:

I confess I don't know his work.

Steven D Lavine:

So

Mike:

What are the things that made me look at the link was the he, so he talks

Mike:

about several stages of human development.

Mike:

From being childlike and self centered and about immediate gratification,

Mike:

and then he talks about the socialized mind where we can begin to take

Mike:

into account the needs of others.

Mike:

And then he talks about the self-authoring mind where instead of fitting in, we

Mike:

can choose when we push back and when we push the edges and then he talks

Mike:

about a mind that goes beyond that and is capable of recognizing its own

Mike:

fallibilities and its own limitations.

Mike:

And when he was asked and recognizing whatever it thinks to be true,

Mike:

probably isn't the things that he Yeah, he really encourages, people

Mike:

ask him, so how do I develop, how do I develop through these stages?

Mike:

Cause he reckons that, a lot of us don't get past the self-authoring mind.

Mike:

And one of the things he says is put yourself at a place where you

Mike:

fail, because that's the only way that your psyche can understand

Mike:

the need to transform itself.

Mike:

That's a nice way

Steven D Lavine:

to talk.

Steven D Lavine:

No, he sounds like someone I should read since what you're describing is exactly

Steven D Lavine:

my vision ah, of how leadership works.

Steven D Lavine:

Pick your starting point.

Mike:

Some of his books there was one called immunity to change cause he talks

Mike:

about how difficult it is to leave.

Mike:

The comfort of conforming with the tribe, how difficult it is to step outside of

Mike:

that and to offer a voice of dissent.

Mike:

And then he also talks about how difficult it is to offer a voice

Mike:

of dissent to your own voice, to recognize that you're not right.

Mike:

Another book that he wrote that got me into him was a

Mike:

book called in over our heads.

Mike:

And again, many, I think chief executives feel that they are in over their heads.

Mike:

I don't know if that's how you felt that the task was too complex, too

Mike:

big, too overwhelming, too enormous.

Mike:

So how do I work in that position?

Mike:

I

Steven D Lavine:

guess that's a great starting point.

Steven D Lavine:

Since when I arrived in 1988, as president of Cal arts, I had never

Steven D Lavine:

run anything except a secretary.

Steven D Lavine:

And I assume she was really running me.

Steven D Lavine:

And suddenly I was confronted with just a host of issues that had

Steven D Lavine:

no, I knew a lot about the arts.

Steven D Lavine:

But I didn't know anything about physical plant.

Steven D Lavine:

I knew very little about I had a good idea about budgeting, which

Steven D Lavine:

is not actually very complicated.

Steven D Lavine:

But pretty much everything else was a challenge.

Steven D Lavine:

And since the institution was in terrible deficit institution, in this

Steven D Lavine:

case, California Institute of the arts every decision was a hard decision.

Steven D Lavine:

And I was aware in every meeting I was in, everybody knew more about the institution

Steven D Lavine:

than I did since I had just arrived.

Steven D Lavine:

And that I had actually no credibility yet having just arrived

Steven D Lavine:

and not proven myself in any way.

Steven D Lavine:

So yes every decision was filled with fear.

Mike:

So how did you get the job, Steven?

Mike:

Does Emily?

Mike:

You didn't Fessel this up interview?

Steven D Lavine:

Oh, no, I didn't.

Steven D Lavine:

How to answer this, that the college had done a search.

Steven D Lavine:

The college we had been in deficit for five years had a great reputation,

Steven D Lavine:

but had never been, really worked out its finances and had one

Steven D Lavine:

crisis after another financially.

Steven D Lavine:

They did a search.

Steven D Lavine:

They concluded I think at the end they had five businessmen and sometimes

Steven D Lavine:

the search process actually works.

Steven D Lavine:

And in this case, the search, which involved jeans and a trustees, they

Steven D Lavine:

realize that even if the future was radical, cutting or reshaping, that

Steven D Lavine:

unless you do about the understood the arts there was no way you could

Steven D Lavine:

do this wisely that you wouldn't do it on management grounds alone.

Steven D Lavine:

And so they opened the search again.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think the only reason they hadn't applied the first time, because

Steven D Lavine:

I thought I've never run anything.

Steven D Lavine:

Why would they take a chance?

Steven D Lavine:

And Someone nominated me the second time around.

Steven D Lavine:

I spoke with them.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think because I've worked at a foundation, they assumed I knew

Steven D Lavine:

something about raising money, but of course I knew about giving

Steven D Lavine:

it away, not about raising it.

Steven D Lavine:

And I remember one of the trustees said I know you're the candidate I'd most

Steven D Lavine:

want to go to a movie with, but I don't know if you're tough enough for this job.

Steven D Lavine:

And I said, I don't know if I'm tough enough either, but I know that

Steven D Lavine:

at a foundation, mostly what you do is find polite ways to say no.

Steven D Lavine:

And given the deficit, Cal arts, as in, I assume there's going to

Steven D Lavine:

be a lot of occasion to say no, so I've got one leg up on the job.

Steven D Lavine:

And then I exaggerated a little bit, my knowledge of fundraising since I

Steven D Lavine:

certainly have been exposed to some of the best fundraisers in the world

Steven D Lavine:

during my time at the Rockefeller.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Mike:

So can we just explore a little bit about, about The arts.

Mike:

I'm very interested in leadership and the arts and how that might be

Mike:

different because it's the arts.

Mike:

What are the sort of characteristics of leadership in the arts that make it

Mike:

different from leadership per se, in

Steven D Lavine:

your view?

Steven D Lavine:

I think if you are an institution of the, there's lots of different kinds

Steven D Lavine:

of arts institutions, and I would say leadership of a symphony orchestra is

Steven D Lavine:

probably not so different than large corporate leadership, but if you are in

Steven D Lavine:

an institution whose focus is creating new work then there is a certain amount

Steven D Lavine:

of unknowability and even chaos that you have to admit into your structure.

Steven D Lavine:

You engage in activities where you don't know if it'll actually produce the result.

Steven D Lavine:

You hope to produce and trying to get the balance between a kind of openness

Steven D Lavine:

and freedom and risk and not jeopardizing the future of the institution altogether

Steven D Lavine:

is in a way the art of the job.

Steven D Lavine:

And the truth is if you do away with that element of risk, you on

Steven D Lavine:

another way are endangering the institution altogether because you

Steven D Lavine:

cease to produce anything of value.

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And then there's no reason for anyone to care about whether you exist or not.

Steven D Lavine:

So it is a very fine line.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think part of the reason the school had been on, on even financial ground

Steven D Lavine:

for his whole history, because it could have trouble getting that balance yeah.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Mike:

There's a bit of me that says.

Mike:

That truth about the chaos and the unknown, and the fact that we don't

Mike:

know whether what we're going to do is going to get us the result

Mike:

that we think is going to get us.

Mike:

I think that's exactly the same

Steven D Lavine:

in

Mike:

Outside of the arts.

Mike:

I just think that there's this myth that we tell ourselves that

Mike:

says we can plan our future.

Mike:

And we're not as open to the mystery and the, or the magic, as the artistic

Mike:

sensibilities, artistic ways of being in the world, we'll admit,

Steven D Lavine:

I, I can see there's lots of ways in which you're right.

Steven D Lavine:

I think of the example of Kodak in the United States, which actually invented

Steven D Lavine:

digital photography, but thought digital photography would ruin its film business.

Steven D Lavine:

It's, Kodak, film.

Steven D Lavine:

And so it didn't promote it.

Steven D Lavine:

And pretty much put itself out of business.

Steven D Lavine:

It just barely exists any longer and didn't save the film

Steven D Lavine:

part of the activity anyway.

Steven D Lavine:

So you're right.

Steven D Lavine:

There's an element of maybe part of the difference is I think, and you'll correct

Steven D Lavine:

me if I'm wrong, but I think in a lot of corporate in, in the situation in the

Steven D Lavine:

arts, you're leading the institution, you're betting on the artist, but you

Steven D Lavine:

were not the one framing the, that project or that path forward, you're

Steven D Lavine:

actually trusting someone else that you create a system, but that other

Steven D Lavine:

people function in it, as opposed to bringing in a vision of, we need to do X.

Steven D Lavine:

Now let's figure out how we're going to do.

Steven D Lavine:

And even though it's unknown, how, what it's going to amount

Steven D Lavine:

to There's this whole world now of creative destruction is to me.

Steven D Lavine:

And it's very interesting because digital economy and Silicon valley has gotten

Steven D Lavine:

us to believe in it in radical ways.

Steven D Lavine:

As meanwhile, they have formed monopolies that keep other digital

Steven D Lavine:

destruction from happening and repress other kinds of experiment in the

Steven D Lavine:

name of their own progressive nature.

Steven D Lavine:

So there's a kind of doubleness to the world we're living in right now.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

I suppose there's something about the timescales that we think about that in.

Mike:

You might be able to resist creative disruption for a decade or two.

Mike:

You probably won't be able to resist it for three decades or four

Mike:

decades, and I'm interested in when we look at deeper notions of time,

Mike:

This attempt to resist the future.

Steven D Lavine:

No, I think that's critically important.

Steven D Lavine:

I think a lot of the people that talk about creative destruction banks typically

Steven D Lavine:

go into a place, make a radical change that has a temporary positive effect.

Steven D Lavine:

And then leave before the inadequacy of the action has been demonstrated

Steven D Lavine:

and actually lead before they fully understand their institution.

Steven D Lavine:

I remember when I got to Cal arts, someone saying, I think one of the trustees of

Steven D Lavine:

wiser older man said, you've got the title of president, but it's going to

Steven D Lavine:

be at least three years before you are really precedent in which you understand

Steven D Lavine:

enough in depth about the institution that you really can lead it into the future.

Steven D Lavine:

And people have a sufficient reason to trust you when you do something

Steven D Lavine:

unusual or that the institution hasn't done in the past that they have recent

Steven D Lavine:

to trust you enough to follow you.

Steven D Lavine:

And again, that's a little different than a normal corporate thing where

Steven D Lavine:

hiring and firing is more nearly in the power of the of the precedent.

Steven D Lavine:

And he can force change.

Steven D Lavine:

Whereas university, you can't force it the same way.

Steven D Lavine:

You have to lead it.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

And the longevity.

Mike:

You were there for 29 years back more than that, because

Mike:

you were there for 27 years as

Steven D Lavine:

president weren't you?

Steven D Lavine:

I wasn't there at all before that.

Steven D Lavine:

So I was 20, the full 29 years was as president.

Steven D Lavine:

In fact, if I go back over that time, it really progressed in kind of five-year

Steven D Lavine:

increments in which you would have.

Steven D Lavine:

Initially there was the immediate challenge of how do

Steven D Lavine:

we get over this history of deficit and get on level ground.

Steven D Lavine:

And then there having achieved that we were hit by a huge earthquake that

Steven D Lavine:

destroyed the campus and it started a cycle of building and rebuilding.

Steven D Lavine:

And for five years program combined with physical development work were key aspect.

Steven D Lavine:

Anyway, it went on that I think is what led me stay so long.

Steven D Lavine:

But each time I was getting deeper into what the place really was.

Steven D Lavine:

And what it was capable of and gaining credibility that I was not

Steven D Lavine:

totally off the mark as president, which faculty usually assume you are.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

So it's often a safe assumption, I think, to be honest.

Mike:

Yeah

Steven D Lavine:

yeah.

Mike:

I'm interested in 29 years.

Mike:

So you have this depth of understanding of what the institution is and what

Mike:

it can be, but that always has to be the story of how it has to be told

Mike:

in an emerging world that none of us have had 29 years experience of,

Mike:

the context that we're working in.

Mike:

How did, how do you.

Mike:

How do you feed off the context?

Mike:

How do you keep that knowledge of the past and the history and the

Mike:

soul of the place, and then pass that against what we know about

Mike:

where we are now and what's emerging.

Mike:

How were you holding that in the,

Steven D Lavine:

yeah, I think in two ways, one, I took it as a huge, not a

Steven D Lavine:

huge, but say 25%, 30% of my job was going to other arts activities reading arts.

Steven D Lavine:

Actually following what was going on in the field, looking at what developments

Steven D Lavine:

were, what was actually happening that was particularly important during

Steven D Lavine:

the early years of this, which was where during the heart of the digital

Steven D Lavine:

revolution, when the ways of making art were changing so rapidly that if

Steven D Lavine:

you weren't following it, you would soon be out of the loop altogether.

Steven D Lavine:

So part of it was that, and part of it was if you're a college of the

Steven D Lavine:

arts In our case, we had a faculty of 300 artists of all ages and actually

Steven D Lavine:

listening to them when they propose things that seemed, that didn't make

Steven D Lavine:

sense in terms of your historical understanding of what the arts were.

Steven D Lavine:

And getting beyond the limitations of your own understanding even with the effort to

Steven D Lavine:

keep up, I think at a certain point and I look at what's happening in the arts now.

Steven D Lavine:

I think the generational two generations now of change.

Steven D Lavine:

I wouldn't be a good president there any longer that my tastes

Steven D Lavine:

were formed too long ago.

Steven D Lavine:

So even with the best efforts to keep up they need someone who's more in

Steven D Lavine:

a cord with what's happening now.

Steven D Lavine:

But if I try to trace the links, right now in America In response, partly of

Steven D Lavine:

the black lives matter movement in part to Trump's terrible presidency and his

Steven D Lavine:

critique of everything in diversity.

Steven D Lavine:

I could I could see, and I really went to Keller.

Steven D Lavine:

It's an, a program that said if we don't reflect the diversity of the United States

Steven D Lavine:

and then the diversity of the world, ultimately we're not going to matter

Steven D Lavine:

no matter how good we are right now.

Steven D Lavine:

And that was the through line.

Steven D Lavine:

And that, that I think turned out to be not a bad through line preparing

Steven D Lavine:

the institution now for a period when there's really radical change in how

Steven D Lavine:

diversity is understood, but we had a huge leg up on it by starting back then.

Mike:

I'm interested We've got such a tyranny at the moment.

Mike:

I feel over here at least about evidence-based development of our

Mike:

institutions, of our practices.

Mike:

And I sometimes think that rather than leading we're being led by the

Mike:

nose, by the numbers and the data and the research and the evidence.

Steven D Lavine:

How

Mike:

were you making the case for things, for which you had no evidence?

Mike:

Just

Mike:

belief or faith.

Steven D Lavine:

There were two areas in which I did have a kind of evidence.

Steven D Lavine:

One, the United States already was a radical diverse country, and it was clear

Steven D Lavine:

that there were great African-American artists that weren't getting exposure as

Steven D Lavine:

well, as many who were of Latino artists that the facts were already out there.

Steven D Lavine:

If anyone wanted to pay attention to them, And then I had the benefit that

Steven D Lavine:

the institution itself was founded to be inventive to create the next thing in art.

Steven D Lavine:

So the sort of leap forward was the mission statement

Steven D Lavine:

and effect of the school.

Steven D Lavine:

It just assumed that the leap forward would involve individual artists and

Steven D Lavine:

would involve the mentorship of younger artists by older artists and would

Steven D Lavine:

involve interdisciplinary activity.

Steven D Lavine:

I suppose that trusted interdisciplinary was in some ways the biggest leap forward

Steven D Lavine:

while Disney had, who was the founder of the school had discovered that when

Steven D Lavine:

he tried to make animated films and animation was done to music and the

Steven D Lavine:

people who could draw didn't know music.

Steven D Lavine:

So he saw the early stages of a world in which artists were

Steven D Lavine:

being too narrowly trained.

Steven D Lavine:

And built that into the vision.

Steven D Lavine:

He could not have been more, now artists are all over the map.

Steven D Lavine:

Visual artists, writing poetry and jazz artists doing visual arts and

Steven D Lavine:

collaboration in every form under the sun.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm not sure.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm not sure.

Steven D Lavine:

I, might've not answered your question though,

Mike:

Answered it beautifully elegantly.

Mike:

I know.

Mike:

I think you did.

Mike:

I think you did answer it.

Mike:

I, because I think what you're saying is that you knew that you weren't

Mike:

being set up to develop a future.

Mike:

That was a logical extension of the past.

Mike:

You were being asked to provide creativity, step-change innovation

Mike:

and incremental innovation based on what we already know and what

Mike:

we can do a bit more of, but fundamentally thinking differently.

Mike:

But as you were talking there as well, the interdisciplinary work

Mike:

again, I think it's fascinating.

Mike:

And my daughter's just nagging me to watch the making of frozen too.

Mike:

I don't know if you've seen that.

Steven D Lavine:

I haven't.

Mike:

So Pixar Disney owned though, aren't they?

Mike:

I think, or depicts our own Disney anyway,

Steven D Lavine:

every Pixar film, except one has been directed

Steven D Lavine:

by a graduate of my school.

Steven D Lavine:

Cal arts.

Steven D Lavine:

Go ahead.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm sorry.

Steven D Lavine:

Oh, really?

Mike:

Wow.

Mike:

So what's beautiful watching that documentary about how frozen two was

Mike:

made was I actually almost the lack of inter interdisciplinary practice.

Mike:

The graphics people on the computers, realizing and rendering the graphics,

Mike:

using a lot of computer imagery and a lot of artificial intelligence

Mike:

to rehydrate the movement.

Mike:

But then also knowing the kind of movements and the kind of postures

Mike:

that would evoke certain emotions.

Mike:

So they knew that, but then when they bought the music in and when they brought

Mike:

the lyrics in and when they bought the live orchestra in, you could almost

Mike:

see each one of these different artists being completely wowed by what the

Mike:

different artists was bringing to the mix.

Mike:

And so there was this cause I was very skeptical of watching it.

Mike:

Another film about how a films made.

Mike:

No thank you.

Mike:

But when you could just see the joy on their faces, as they suddenly

Mike:

realized that what was the whole that none of them could see was so much

Mike:

more beautiful and joyous than the part that they'd been working on.

Mike:

There was something magical about

Steven D Lavine:

history for one second.

Steven D Lavine:

I just got to pick up this call.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm sorry.

Steven D Lavine:

It'd just be hello.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Steven D Lavine:

Hello.

Steven D Lavine:

Hello while I was too slow.

Steven D Lavine:

So let's keep going.

Mike:

It wasn't nothing to

Steven D Lavine:

him.

Steven D Lavine:

So I'm

Steven D Lavine:

go going.

Steven D Lavine:

No, I think actually in many kinds of interdisciplinary activity

Steven D Lavine:

there, there really is someone who's taking some aspect of it.

Steven D Lavine:

That's taking the lead.

Steven D Lavine:

We did have a generation that was w which was the exception when Merce Cunningham

Steven D Lavine:

and Jasper Johns and John cage were making the pieces absolutely separately.

Steven D Lavine:

And the whole idea was that they wouldn't merge that you'd have to attend

Steven D Lavine:

to different things simultaneously.

Steven D Lavine:

But I think almost always there is a lead voice.

Steven D Lavine:

Often that lead Boyce pretends, it's not the most important voice

Steven D Lavine:

that we're in this together.

Steven D Lavine:

And it is complicated because if you take the first version of the movie

Steven D Lavine:

you just described the songs were really important and it's not clear,

Steven D Lavine:

it would have been the success.

Steven D Lavine:

It was if those songs had not become popular successes.

Steven D Lavine:

So the balances are complicated.

Steven D Lavine:

Just to go back to an earlier stages is we're talking about a Pixar film.

Steven D Lavine:

The w when John lasted her and the first generation of Pixar were students at

Steven D Lavine:

Cal arts animation was basically dead.

Steven D Lavine:

It existed mainly in the form of television commercials.

Steven D Lavine:

The feature film industry that of animation had died out with the

Steven D Lavine:

first generation of Disney animators dying out And John told me once that

Steven D Lavine:

they looked around the classroom at one another and said, it's up

Steven D Lavine:

to us to reinvent this altogether.

Steven D Lavine:

And they knew that in the room where the people who were going to have to

Steven D Lavine:

re-imagine, they loved what the past had been, but they understood they

Steven D Lavine:

were going to have to re-imagine it.

Steven D Lavine:

And John, particularly, but others too, we're trying to do computer graphics

Steven D Lavine:

before computers could even do it.

Steven D Lavine:

They knew that was out there, but the processing time was way too slow to make

Steven D Lavine:

it practical yet to make a movie that way.

Steven D Lavine:

And it's not an accident that in the original formation of the company, I

Steven D Lavine:

think the second employee was a computer person rather than an animator because

Steven D Lavine:

they knew they were going to have to simultaneously evolve if this was going to

Steven D Lavine:

work that after say the success of that.

Steven D Lavine:

That leap into the unknown made my job a little easier because I had an example

Steven D Lavine:

that every trustee and every supporter could understand that this was a whole

Steven D Lavine:

form of art-making hadn't existed.

Steven D Lavine:

And if that was true in one area, why wouldn't it be true in theater

Steven D Lavine:

and dancer and other areas as well?

Mike:

And you just got me thinking there as well about you were talking about when

Mike:

you first went to Cal arts, the first five years was about turning around a parlous

Mike:

financial situation in big deficits.

Mike:

So there's normally two ways of doing it.

Mike:

Either you either cut costs or you start generating revenue.

Mike:

What was your strategy?

Mike:

What w which one did you choose and why

Steven D Lavine:

Keller has had a wonderful internal kind of.

Steven D Lavine:

How to say this, even though everyone was battling everyone else, because

Steven D Lavine:

it wasn't enough money to go around.

Steven D Lavine:

There was a wonderful belief in the institution and impossibility.

Steven D Lavine:

And I did not want to disrupt that by trying to solve this by letting people go.

Steven D Lavine:

Plus maybe I wasn't tough enough.

Steven D Lavine:

Fortunately I had a board chair who was a very wise businessman and he had

Steven D Lavine:

me just set goals for what's the speed with which you can turn this around.

Steven D Lavine:

And he gave me three years to turn it around, but have to make marks each year.

Steven D Lavine:

And we did it fundamentally two things simultaneously.

Steven D Lavine:

One was by growing the student body, which was smaller than it had actually been

Steven D Lavine:

in the past because in this finance and the financial plight, they just weren't

Steven D Lavine:

attending to business in a very good way.

Steven D Lavine:

So growing was not any, it was not a very radical thing.

Steven D Lavine:

And second.

Steven D Lavine:

My concern with diversity and equal opportunity gave Kelarts a new

Steven D Lavine:

platform to take into the world.

Steven D Lavine:

It gave a reason to believe a fresh besides just that arts are good that we

Steven D Lavine:

had, that we were ahead of the curve, that we were once again, an institution

Steven D Lavine:

that was going to invent the future.

Steven D Lavine:

I remember that, and I guess you could say this was a kind of boldness.

Steven D Lavine:

We were so broke that I had no Fremont, no discretionary funds, a trustee came

Steven D Lavine:

to me and said, I'll give you $25,000.

Steven D Lavine:

Now this is 1988 funds.

Steven D Lavine:

So that was probably closer to a hundred thousand dollars, but I'll give you

Steven D Lavine:

$25,000 to do anything that you think would to do whatever you think is most

Steven D Lavine:

important for the future, but you can't spend it on anything Keller is doing now.

Steven D Lavine:

And much to the sort of fear of my colleagues.

Steven D Lavine:

I had to start a program in which our students went off campus to

Steven D Lavine:

teach younger kids in underserved neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Steven D Lavine:

And I remember a bunch of students came and protested and said, this is

Steven D Lavine:

now the third year of that effort.

Steven D Lavine:

And the third year, the budget for that had grown to

Steven D Lavine:

$400,000 from that original 25.

Steven D Lavine:

And they said, you're raising our tuition in a way that's going

Steven D Lavine:

to increase funds by $400,000.

Steven D Lavine:

And now you're spending $400,000 on other kids altogether who

Steven D Lavine:

aren't even going to school here.

Steven D Lavine:

They were wrong.

Steven D Lavine:

I was raising that in soft money.

Steven D Lavine:

I wasn't spending their tuition on it.

Steven D Lavine:

But I remember my board chair again, a wise man said, ah, It is too late.

Steven D Lavine:

He said your kids should be ashamed of yourselves.

Steven D Lavine:

It's too late in the history to think that narrowly about the future.

Steven D Lavine:

You should be proud of the fact that Cal arts is doing this and proud of

Steven D Lavine:

the fact that you're a part of it.

Steven D Lavine:

And they were just shocked that the responsible business leader chairing

Steven D Lavine:

the board would favor this well, that first step which I saw, I'm sorry, this

Steven D Lavine:

is probably more answer than is useful.

Steven D Lavine:

Let me just go quickly.

Steven D Lavine:

I saw it.

Steven D Lavine:

I saw it as doing two things, one exposing art students to more of the

Steven D Lavine:

real facts, the social facts of life.

Steven D Lavine:

We were pretty much a middle-class institution and I wanted them to

Steven D Lavine:

understand more about what was at stake in America at that moment.

Steven D Lavine:

And the other was, I thought, even though we were broke, we were still richer than

Steven D Lavine:

a lot of these neighborhood institutions.

Steven D Lavine:

And certainly when it came to the arts, we were still richer than the

Steven D Lavine:

school system was, even though it was a multi-billion dollar system that

Steven D Lavine:

wasn't spending its money on the arts.

Steven D Lavine:

That program grew into the scholarship program that ended

Steven D Lavine:

up growing the enrollments.

Steven D Lavine:

I didn't think of it as recruiting for Cal arts because we were dealing

Steven D Lavine:

only with super, not only, but chiefly with kids who were radically poor.

Steven D Lavine:

I thought we were recruiting for the idea of going to college at community

Steven D Lavine:

colleges and public universities.

Steven D Lavine:

But of course suddenly these talented people emerged and they new faculty

Steven D Lavine:

at Cal arts and students at Cal arts.

Steven D Lavine:

And so they applied to Cal arts.

Steven D Lavine:

Suddenly we had this diverse applicant pool that we hadn't had in the past.

Steven D Lavine:

It's just all what started as, I guess you could say.

Steven D Lavine:

Possibly a waste of time at $25,000 ended up driving 10, 15 years of

Steven D Lavine:

development in ways we hadn't done

Mike:

well of that

Steven D Lavine:

long-term vision that go ahead.

Mike:

But understanding that investment will pay off, not in this quarter and

Mike:

not in this financial year, but if it's gonna pay off, it's what it's going to

Mike:

pay off, half a decade or more later.

Mike:

And I find that quite a rare it's both a truth that normally, radical change

Mike:

things get worse before they get better.

Mike:

And it's normally a minimum of three to five years before they get better.

Mike:

So we pump a lot of money into, finding a new market for our products really.

Mike:

And then it pays off.

Mike:

Three, five years later, if it pays off for tool trying to find the latitude

Mike:

for that these days can be really hard, particularly in public services.

Mike:

But the other thing I wanted to get back to I wanna explore the

Mike:

diversity thing more on where that came from in you really in a bit.

Steven D Lavine:

But there was something,

Mike:

Or, oh yeah, you said you said very almost glibly as if it's

Mike:

so obviously true that in these no investigation, I'm one level.

Mike:

I think it's true.

Mike:

You said the arts are good now over here.

Mike:

In the UK, the education curriculum is obsessed with stem, science,

Mike:

technology, engineering, and maths.

Mike:

And if we try and make it steam, put the a in there for the arts, we get looked at

Mike:

a little bit of scans because I because I don't know why I genuinely don't

Mike:

know why but, hope we lost that battle.

Mike:

It says the arts are a good thing.

Steven D Lavine:

What's the answer to that.

Steven D Lavine:

I think we probably have lost that battle in a sort of significant generational way.

Steven D Lavine:

It's shocked us here in the United States that England, that is where

Steven D Lavine:

Shakespeare is so foundational could possibly turn against the arts.

Steven D Lavine:

It just seems what is it to be British except to, to embrace not such good

Steven D Lavine:

history of colonialism and the greatest literature that the world's produced.

Steven D Lavine:

It, anyway I think there, there are certain if it's divided now by cities

Steven D Lavine:

almost I think because Los Angeles is a movie-making town and now a digital

Steven D Lavine:

economy town in a way there was probably a more sympathetic audience here.

Steven D Lavine:

Plus as a private college, having to appeal to private donors.

Steven D Lavine:

In a way you weren't having to persuade the whole culture that the

Steven D Lavine:

arts mattered you were having to just persuade people already knew the arts

Steven D Lavine:

mattered that you mattered for the arts.

Steven D Lavine:

And that was some kind of, that was often a trick because people want to

Steven D Lavine:

believe that artists are just born.

Steven D Lavine:

Not that they learned to be artists that the talents alone are not enough.

Steven D Lavine:

They have to be developed and to be able to actually generate something.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think it's become more, a matter of regional ideas and often

Steven D Lavine:

ideas about what's good for the city.

Steven D Lavine:

When you see New York city invest in the arts, it's not clear that it's so

Steven D Lavine:

much about believing in the arts as believing that New York attracts people,

Steven D Lavine:

because it has great arts institutions.

Steven D Lavine:

So th so it's surrounding your reasons as opposed to the core.

Steven D Lavine:

The core belief.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm sure

Mike:

now that I can find, I can absolutely see here in this city in Leeds,

Mike:

we've got we have gotten off protocol fed, so we've got, but it seems to be there to

Mike:

attract the bankers and the finances and the software developers and the coders.

Mike:

So it's a part of the inward investment proposition that you can come to leads

Mike:

and you can still go to the opera.

Mike:

It's not the fact that opera brings anything to the city per se in its own.

Mike:

So it's this utilitarian view of the arts that just seems to lack any

Steven D Lavine:

soul.

Steven D Lavine:

Really.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think we're all waiting to see as we come out of the COVID

Steven D Lavine:

crisis, many people certainly found that music helps sustain them during

Steven D Lavine:

this period of radical isolation.

Steven D Lavine:

I've taken an online Bach course right now because Ba'ath is so essential to how I

Steven D Lavine:

kept my spirits up during this past year.

Steven D Lavine:

Almost daily listening, trying to plug into that.

Steven D Lavine:

And I guess we're hoping the other thing, I think that, that probably, again, this

Steven D Lavine:

is maybe more of an American situation but we are seeing this explosion right

Steven D Lavine:

again for other reasons because of the drive of black lives matter because of

Steven D Lavine:

Trump's rampant racism and the craziness of our current Republican party.

Steven D Lavine:

We're seeing this release of such tremendous talent especially

Steven D Lavine:

African-American talent, but across the arts, that in a way it's getting easier

Steven D Lavine:

to believe that if at least for liberal middle-class people, it's getting easier

Steven D Lavine:

to believe that if we're going to survive.

Steven D Lavine:

As a community together, we need to support the arts as a

Steven D Lavine:

way to figure out who we are.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think that's getting to be right now, at least an easier case to make.

Steven D Lavine:

Now it may, they may just be temporary because institutions are afraid of

Steven D Lavine:

being charged with being racist.

Steven D Lavine:

But maybe it will stick awhile longer.

Steven D Lavine:

It's, if you're an American, it's so strange because so much great art has

Steven D Lavine:

been produced by the African-Americans.

Steven D Lavine:

All you have to do is say the word jazz, but it goes way beyond that, that you'd

Steven D Lavine:

think it would be just undeniable that African-American presence has been totally

Steven D Lavine:

fundamental and in determining who we are and what the rhythm of our life is.

Steven D Lavine:

And yet for political reasons, people choose to Ignore it or

Steven D Lavine:

fear of losing their own place in the society choose to ignore it.

Steven D Lavine:

But right now, at least it's harder to ignore for a while.

Steven D Lavine:

You

Mike:

used the phrase that are keeping our spirits up and the notion

Mike:

of the spirit and what that is.

Mike:

And I was reading early in your life.

Mike:

You was it, your mum wants to be a concert pianist, your mother and

Mike:

wasn't, didn't have the funds that she needed to develop that career.

Mike:

And you spent a lot of your time almost trying to console her over

Steven D Lavine:

her.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah, a lot of what that book that you've seen, Stephen Levine failures,

Steven D Lavine:

what it's all about is really about seeds, about seeing what it meant to

Steven D Lavine:

know you had abilities and not to be able to realize them in the world.

Steven D Lavine:

I think when I finally got to Cal arts, part of what drove me all those years

Steven D Lavine:

were here were these kids who were betting their lives on careers that are almost as

Steven D Lavine:

uncertain as being a basketball player.

Steven D Lavine:

It's really intense competition for a lot of people go on making art, but the people

Steven D Lavine:

who make a good living from it is fairly small, although larger than people think.

Steven D Lavine:

And wanting those kids to have the best bet they could possibly

Steven D Lavine:

have of making their way.

Steven D Lavine:

And again, that, when I think of talk about those youth programs, we started

Steven D Lavine:

part of it is I wanted our kids to learn how to go into a situation where

Steven D Lavine:

they were strangers and make themselves understood and contribute something

Steven D Lavine:

in that situation and how to pay attention to the situation you're in.

Steven D Lavine:

To me off a lot, I think you implied this earlier an awful lot of leadership

Steven D Lavine:

as of CRE as a creativity generally is paying attention to the world

Steven D Lavine:

you're in and not letting your own self involvement persuade you that you

Steven D Lavine:

already know what is and it's just a matter of doing what you want to do.

Steven D Lavine:

When we had go ahead and yet

Mike:

I was going to say, you got the mantra for so many in inverted commas

Mike:

leaders is that they're the ones that know the way and show the way.

Mike:

Just have faith.

Mike:

I know the way.

Mike:

So rather than be these people that open up spaces in which others can innovate

Mike:

and explore and flower, w what we ended up is actually closing them down and getting

Mike:

them to join ranks and follow the plan.

Mike:

And again, so often that seems to be the the myth that we try and buy

Mike:

into, rather than these more I was going to use the word noble myths.

Mike:

I don't know why I stopped myself from saying noble myths, whether,

Mike:

whether they're more noble or not, they certainly seem sincere to be more human.

Mike:

I don't know.

Mike:

We see, but when I wrote that story about,

Steven D Lavine:

you seem to have entered a period and maybe it's always been

Steven D Lavine:

there where we think to be a leader, you really need to be a sociopath.

Steven D Lavine:

You have to sell passionately, believe what you believe.

Steven D Lavine:

And so little care about what happens to anybody else around you that

Steven D Lavine:

you just carve your way forward.

Steven D Lavine:

Whatever the cost and I suppose there is some, there are cases where that works.

Steven D Lavine:

But I think in most cases that epic, I think there's good evidence for this and

Steven D Lavine:

in the sort of business literature, that for every case where that works, there's

Steven D Lavine:

nine or 10 cases where it destroys the company that, that you were leading.

Steven D Lavine:

And again, the trick is to get out before it's discovered that you've

Steven D Lavine:

actually destroyed the company.

Mike:

Absolutely.

Mike:

Where, when I was reading that story about, about your mother's frustration,

Mike:

one of the great influences in my life was a gentleman over here called

Mike:

Ernest hall and Ernest hall before he was Ernest hall was was the second

Mike:

best concert pianist in Britain.

Mike:

This would have been probably between the wars.

Mike:

He was second best concept, but now there's no living to be made in being

Mike:

the second best concert pianist of Britain or there wasn't at that time.

Mike:

So he went into commerce and he went into finance and banking and he did very well.

Mike:

And he left behind that career in, in the being a concert pianist and

Mike:

concentrated on banking and made an awful lot of money and got his period.

Mike:

And he bought an old mill up in one of the mill towns up here in Halifax and

Mike:

he spent his money redeveloping it and bringing it back to life as a kind of

Mike:

an artists com commercial mixed space.

Mike:

So lots of art galleries, restaurants, small businesses, big business.

Mike:

He bought this, built this beautiful environment.

Mike:

And as if that wasn't enough, so a successful career in

Mike:

business, successful career in.

Mike:

In building nurturing and creative environments.

Mike:

And then in his eighties, he sat down

Steven D Lavine:

and recorded valuable.

Steven D Lavine:

What a story,

Mike:

isn't that a fuck, but, I think he carried that with him for 60 years

Mike:

and then that very circuitous route of business and finance and banking, and

Mike:

then got him to the position where he could sit down and say, now it doesn't

Mike:

really matter if I'm good enough or not.

Mike:

Good enough.

Mike:

I can record the complete works of Chopin.

Mike:

And I just think that's a beautiful story.

Mike:

It's says something about the Securitas nature of human life.

Steven D Lavine:

They tend to go at a sort of, a parallel many artists

Steven D Lavine:

turn out to be very good business people in some ways to survive at all.

Steven D Lavine:

As an artist, you have to be very entrepreneurial.

Steven D Lavine:

Unless again, you're the Viola operator at an orchestra.

Steven D Lavine:

Just, you're part of a large crew.

Steven D Lavine:

I love orchestra music don't get me wrong, but it is a different activity.

Steven D Lavine:

Where one person is allowed to be creative.

Steven D Lavine:

The conductor and a lot of people are his troops which is not common.

Steven D Lavine:

I was talking to one of our alumni.

Steven D Lavine:

I got to pick it up this time.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm so sorry.

Steven D Lavine:

Yes,

Steven D Lavine:

I'll be there.

Steven D Lavine:

And I'm very sorry.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah, I probably someone is supposed to be coming over this

Steven D Lavine:

morning and I assume that was.

Steven D Lavine:

Them saying you're not answering the door, but it wasn't what it was.

Steven D Lavine:

Anyway, he was a serial after and I said, how did you learn to do this?

Steven D Lavine:

And he said I studied jazz at the camp.

Steven D Lavine:

College jazz is about improvisation.

Steven D Lavine:

You take a chord sequence that already exists and you start doing changes on it.

Steven D Lavine:

He said, that's what most entrepreneurship is.

Steven D Lavine:

Not actually inventing something totally out of nothing.

Steven D Lavine:

But at least that's a lot of what digital entrepreneurship is doing

Steven D Lavine:

changes on an existing mode.

Steven D Lavine:

And we find that a lot of our acting students end up starting restaurant

Steven D Lavine:

chains they know about performance.

Steven D Lavine:

It's people underestimate what goes into it.

Steven D Lavine:

And then let's talk about, and they know some about him and they know something

Steven D Lavine:

about trusting their own creativity which in a way is a very big piece of it.

Steven D Lavine:

Anyone who has a has a new idea or tries to make changes for the better is bound to

Steven D Lavine:

find a lot of people who say you're wrong.

Steven D Lavine:

It's just the way it is because it doesn't exist yet.

Steven D Lavine:

And it takes a very strong backbone to stick with something or a very deep

Steven D Lavine:

level of conviction about something.

Steven D Lavine:

In my case, I was really sustained by this conviction about again, with

Steven D Lavine:

going back to my mother and it's getting part of what that book traces.

Steven D Lavine:

I just knew that equal opportunity had to be, or.

Steven D Lavine:

The fundamental nature of successful democracy in my country being

Steven D Lavine:

successful well, and that we weren't doing very well in that regard.

Steven D Lavine:

And in a way that helped frame the answer to questions.

Steven D Lavine:

When you went into unknowable territory, it had to decide in areas you didn't know

Steven D Lavine:

much about what the right answer was.

Steven D Lavine:

It gave you something solid to hold onto.

Steven D Lavine:

I remember McCullough wrote this book about Truman as president Harry Truman

Steven D Lavine:

saying Truman was not really very smart.

Steven D Lavine:

But that in fact, presidents don't have to be very smart because however

Steven D Lavine:

smart they are, they're going to be confronted every day with problems that

Steven D Lavine:

they know nothing about that the trick is you have to know what you believe,

Steven D Lavine:

what you, what your core convictions are and know how to relate that, to

Steven D Lavine:

what your, the challenges you face.

Steven D Lavine:

And I like to think that's a core piece of at least one kind of leadership.

Steven D Lavine:

Not probably not the only kind but one kind of leadership.

Steven D Lavine:

I remember Hewlett of Hewlett Packard used to use to walk on those sort of

Steven D Lavine:

floor of the early fat Hewlett Packard factories, always asking what's new.

Steven D Lavine:

The only question you wanted to answer w what's new?

Steven D Lavine:

That's, that was a driving force for him.

Steven D Lavine:

That's what was going to make our country, our company.

Steven D Lavine:

We've got to keep asking what's what are we invented today?

Steven D Lavine:

And I that's and go ahead

Mike:

and there's, what's new, what have we invented?

Mike:

And I think he backs in rich Robert Kegan's model now, there's,

Mike:

what's new in the external world.

Mike:

And that's important.

Mike:

It matters, but I can almost hear him saying, but what's new in your internal

Mike:

world now, where are the innovations in the way you're thinking in the way

Mike:

you're opening up what are you giving sanctioned to about the criticism

Mike:

that's coming from the outside?

Mike:

What are you not giving sanction to how, how are your internal

Mike:

filters working with that?

Mike:

And I sometimes think that we've we've lost our way a little bit on

Mike:

this clarification of the inner work.

Mike:

What's new in your convictions, what's emerging for you in your values.

Mike:

There's something for me, w which again, links to this

Mike:

work of strangers is only one.

Mike:

I encounter a stranger that I can learn something different about myself.

Mike:

And when I meet people that are like me all like it is information or critique

Mike:

from a well-known base, it's only what I it's through the encounter with strangers.

Mike:

In some sort of respectful field, some sort of a holding container

Mike:

that we can really do that in a work on what's new in us.

Mike:

And as you were talking, I was wondering about how you'd found

Mike:

your inner convictions and what that inner work is for you now,

Mike:

because we're far from retired.

Mike:

You're still busy.

Steven D Lavine:

This is this book about me is really about, is I

Steven D Lavine:

think you have a life of both of discovering what's in most to you.

Steven D Lavine:

I like to think it's planted there by your family and your heritage.

Steven D Lavine:

You just have to uncover it.

Steven D Lavine:

And it's really easy to be misguided.

Steven D Lavine:

I went through a period where I thought being a university scholar was what

Steven D Lavine:

I was meant to be when in fact it should have been obvious to me that

Steven D Lavine:

I like to work with people, not to sit alone in isolation, but I missed

Steven D Lavine:

entirely that I was choosing a career.

Steven D Lavine:

That went against my inner nature.

Steven D Lavine:

And yet the way you keep looking at since leaving Cal arts I got

Steven D Lavine:

drafted right afterward to help start something called the Thomas Mon house.

Steven D Lavine:

Tell Thomas Mon in exile from Nazi, Germany lived in Los Angeles for a

Steven D Lavine:

decade and his house was up for sale.

Steven D Lavine:

As a $14 million tear me down, they were just selling the lot it was on.

Steven D Lavine:

And the president of Germany said he was foreign minister, Frank Walter.

Steven D Lavine:

Steimer just couldn't stand the fact that without any thought this Nobel

Steven D Lavine:

Laureate, their greatest writer of the 20th century, they were just going to tear

Steven D Lavine:

down the record of him having been there.

Steven D Lavine:

And with real leadership He in three weeks got the parliament to basically

Steven D Lavine:

decide to buy the house and establish this center that would bring the, basically

Steven D Lavine:

the idea was our government can't talk to the Trump government but we've got

Steven D Lavine:

to keep the intellectual communities of Germany and Europe and the United

Steven D Lavine:

States together that we are, we still are on the same side as the world goes.

Steven D Lavine:

Even if we're pulling among ourselves and we need our thinkers to stay connected

Steven D Lavine:

and we especially need to stay connected about the future of liberal democracy,

Steven D Lavine:

which is threatened basically in every country right now practice, particularly

Steven D Lavine:

in the United States and Britain.

Steven D Lavine:

And

Steven D Lavine:

so he wanted to start turn this house into a place where those people dealing

Steven D Lavine:

with urgent, contemporary issues would get together to share what they knew.

Steven D Lavine:

And maybe make some contribution both to keeping the communities together.

Steven D Lavine:

Friends said to me, things said to me, after a life in the

Steven D Lavine:

arts, how w what are you doing?

Steven D Lavine:

You spend your whole life accumulating knowledge about the arts, and now you're

Steven D Lavine:

dealing in what political science, political economy you're reading,

Steven D Lavine:

what you're reading pick carefully.

Steven D Lavine:

What are you doing?

Steven D Lavine:

And in fact what, to me, it felt totally natural that all along, what

Steven D Lavine:

had been driving me in the arts, was this opening up a possibility.

Steven D Lavine:

I believed in the substance of the arts, but I also believe we needed

Steven D Lavine:

voices from the whole society if the arts were going to function.

Steven D Lavine:

So it was always a social vision as well as an artistic vision.

Steven D Lavine:

And suddenly I was getting to to deal with the sort of structural underpinnings.

Steven D Lavine:

Of that social and political situation.

Steven D Lavine:

And then I realized that 20 years before the books, I was reading some of

Steven D Lavine:

them 20 years before our education for general education faculty, accountants

Steven D Lavine:

was assigning to students and I didn't understand why they were signing it.

Steven D Lavine:

I thought it was extraneous.

Steven D Lavine:

And in fact, they were way ahead of me and understanding that there,

Steven D Lavine:

this art making fit into a political economic context and that the students

Steven D Lavine:

needed to understand what that is.

Steven D Lavine:

And if I were going to go back now, I would say the one crucial course for

Steven D Lavine:

every artist is basically a course in political economy for understanding just

Steven D Lavine:

where, just so you could understand, not that you have to be a political artist,

Steven D Lavine:

but you can understand where you fit in the economic and social structure

Steven D Lavine:

of the country you're in the world.

Steven D Lavine:

You occupy.

Steven D Lavine:

And that's bound to make you more effective citizens of your area.

Steven D Lavine:

I'm having to get your voice because

Mike:

I think electoral democracy here it's sometimes seems once every

Mike:

four or five years, we get to go to the ballot box, we drop the votes in

Mike:

nothing really changes, it's I think we're in a similar position to you.

Mike:

The vote actually matters in two or three key states, the rest of us as well.

Mike:

It's not bother or and and I've been thinking a lot here about if

Mike:

electoral democracy is not quite a busted flush but that doesn't seem

Mike:

to be delivering for us anymore.

Mike:

What does it mean to be a part of a participative democracy, a

Mike:

democracy where it's our lives and our contributions that really shaped

Mike:

the nature of our communities.

Mike:

And then it just seems to me I don't use the language of equal opportunities

Mike:

or inclusion or, but it certainly seems to me that unless every life finds its

Mike:

voice in that participative process, then not only is that just, but it's also

Mike:

gravely suboptimal, those differences.

Steven D Lavine:

No, absolutely.

Steven D Lavine:

Absolutely.

Steven D Lavine:

And I think what, so actually as I read and think about democracy

Steven D Lavine:

now, in a way, at least the United States, it's the emergence of social

Steven D Lavine:

movements that are having, that are doing the role that elections.

Steven D Lavine:

And political parties once occupied that the black lives matter movement

Steven D Lavine:

has produced a whole generation of leaders, both political and

Steven D Lavine:

cultural in a very short order.

Steven D Lavine:

And they're continuing to put pressure on the Biden administration to

Steven D Lavine:

act so in a way we've, and I'm not sure this is a great development,

Steven D Lavine:

but it just, it is what it is.

Steven D Lavine:

The political parties have lost their credibility by Sisi to stand for

Steven D Lavine:

very much accepted reelected that we, that participation has become key.

Steven D Lavine:

And then moving from participation to organize participation.

Steven D Lavine:

And then I think what we need as the next step is recognizing

Steven D Lavine:

that our narrow interest group.

Steven D Lavine:

Participation needs to be part of larger, there are many people who

Steven D Lavine:

fit parallel to our own and that if we could bring them together, if you

Steven D Lavine:

could bring the plight of poor white workers and declining white middle-class

Steven D Lavine:

together with African-Americans, who've never had equal opportunity.

Steven D Lavine:

And new immigrants, you really would have a vast majority of the country

Steven D Lavine:

and the ability to exert power.

Steven D Lavine:

But you've got to think your way, you've got to fight for your own thing and

Steven D Lavine:

figure it out that the way to win is to make common cause with others who are

Steven D Lavine:

parallel to your search, but that's rough.

Steven D Lavine:

That's hard, right?

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

It's interesting.

Mike:

We've just started a new piece of work here in Leeds, looking

Mike:

at extreme health inequalities.

Mike:

And for a while, there've been full groups that have come together

Mike:

because they all suffer extreme health inequalities, but really that's about it.

Mike:

That's about what they have in common.

Mike:

The four groups five groups actually gypsies and travelers.

Mike:

So Romanism and travelers sex workers, LGBTQ plus community, and people suffering

Mike:

with HIV and asylum seekers and refugees.

Mike:

Now these groups have all recognized that they are suffering extreme health

Mike:

inequalities and are in our communities for a number of different reasons.

Mike:

There's not always a lot of common ground between these groups, but they

Mike:

recognize that what they are suffering is stigma, stigmatization sets of

Mike:

beliefs about their communities.

Mike:

That mean policies either officially in place or informal policies

Mike:

emerge the end up with them.

Mike:

Living less full lives, less long lives.

Mike:

And the concept that's holding them together is this concept of solidarity

Mike:

and a renewed interest in solidarity.

Mike:

And what is it that we can do together?

Mike:

Now, my, my fear is that still might be too focused on what is it we can

Mike:

do together to put pressure on those who we perceive to have power, either

Mike:

state as perhaps it's, what is it that we can do together with our

Mike:

power in order to solve our problems?

Mike:

Yeah, I'm just, I'm interested in whether it's about lobbying for a broken system

Mike:

to use its power differently or whether there's actually something more crazy

Steven D Lavine:

total sentence.

Steven D Lavine:

I have to say from my distant knowledge of your situation it seems to me

Steven D Lavine:

that to say the disinvestment in the national health service over the

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last some decades ought to give more people reason to share common cause.

Steven D Lavine:

With with those groups of radically disempowered by the situation, but

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that's a leap in the United States.

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In some ways it's easier because about 70% of the population is without it is without

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health service and in significant ways.

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And you think that, would you think that would be one thing you could get

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together around that the government ought to help us at least stay alive?

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But so far they're there, racism is so fundamental to our culture that

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people think if African Americans get health services, somehow I'm not going

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to, as opposed to I need them just as much as they do that's all happened.

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And so you have find people voting against their own health benefits, which is, I

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still haven't quite figured out how to absorb that into my vision of the world.

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People voting so clearly against their own.

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I can explain it based on deliberately confusing political rhetoric, but it still

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seems like you want to, at the end of the day, be able to find out that if you're

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not getting your health care taken care of and the government's proposing to do with

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it, maybe you ought to support doing that.

Mike:

It's interesting over here.

Mike:

I my worry with what's happening over here is actually the healthcare

Mike:

budget keeps going up and up.

Mike:

We're up to 130 billion now.

Mike:

So there's no, it's not so much disinvestment, but it's just famous.

Mike:

Keep up with the level of illness that we're creating.

Mike:

So if you look at the number of prescriptions that are being

Mike:

created for statins and for the depressants and for antidepressants

Mike:

and for, so much of of what we are medicating and treating medically.

Mike:

I would say is caused by a failure to give people meaning in their lives,

Mike:

the failures give people a sense of something to live for a failure to

Mike:

recognize that they have an autistic.

Mike:

So I, again it's fascinating here.

Mike:

We th the creating jobs left right.

Mike:

And center, and you can have three or four of them and still not pay your bills.

Mike:

This is where we've got to now, I plenty of jobs to be hard.

Mike:

It's just, they're not paying what people need to live.

Mike:

I remember there was

Steven D Lavine:

some dignified lives,

Mike:

and I suppose there's something, oh, just, I

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remember there was a moment I went to a play called nickel

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and dimed which was about the fact that at minimum wage you can't both afford

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a roof over your head and food to eat that it just doesn't go far enough.

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And so you ended up having to have at least two jobs just to cover that.

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And I went back to my own institution and realized that we have people in

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physical plant janitors, basically, who were just tiny bit above minimum wage.

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And I had been blind to the fact that right under my own eyes and community,

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that it was my job to take care of.

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I was allowing this.

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And so we started a program even while the technically the most valuable members

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of the faculty wanted improved salary.

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I started a program to raise the salaries of the most underpaid in the community.

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And I think no one objected.

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I They understood that, but you gotta, yeah, you have to understand that you have

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to look at the truth of where you are.

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It's.

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Yeah.

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Yeah,

Mike:

but of course, until you've got some level of economic stability, art

Mike:

can feel like a tremendous luxury either to indulge in it yourself for fun or

Mike:

to, experience others are the same song.

Mike:

I don't necessarily see it that way round, I, that's the

Mike:

message we're sold by society.

Mike:

Isn't it?

Mike:

I suppose if you do well enough, you can afford the arts.

Mike:

You can participate in that as if it's some benefit rather than some.

Mike:

But

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I think Paul, again, I can only describe the American situation,

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but if I look at let's say and music and basically African-American blues and

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African in fact, people who are have very little are finding in music a way at least

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to express their city, their situation.

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Or to hear their situation expressed that at least someone is saying what

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they feel to be the truth of their world.

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And I don't know if this is really true.

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I like to believe that pretty much everybody is, has to find it somewhere.

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Unless you have enough hardcore religious belief to find that meaning in church

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which at least the United States declining number of people find it insurance.

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You ha you need it to you.

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It's how do you hold yourself together without something to hold on to?

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Yeah.

Mike:

I, one of my One of my core beliefs about beliefs is that whether

Mike:

they're true or not is beside the point is whether they're helpful or not.

Mike:

That really matters, the notion of true beliefs who knows what's true

Mike:

in this socially constructed world, but is it a belief that's helpful?

Mike:

Is it a belief that brings joy?

Mike:

Is it a belief that brings care?

Mike:

And when you were talking there about those policies for some of your Genesis

Mike:

and those that were barely above minimum wage, or barely above the living wage, you

Mike:

talked about taking care and I'm really, again, interested in the connections

Mike:

between what we take care of and our kind of artistic souls, if you like.

Mike:

Because I think one of the things we don't take care of is

Mike:

our humanity and our dignity.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

I

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sell that.

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What, one of the, one of the pleasures of being at an arts institution

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is you, are, you are dealing with it with what is deeply human.

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As your job and if you're paying attention, you want there to

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be less dissonance between what you're doing and what you believe.

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Now we're finding that in a way, the bigger the arts institution,

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the less likely that is to be true.

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We're looking at the way museums treat their, their security

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guards, and they're the people at the bottom of their totem pool.

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And it's no, no better than anybody else in this society.

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In many cases.

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And again, I said to me that one of the old fashioned styles of leadership

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was that it's my job to take care of the people that work for me.

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That's a declining notion.

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But I think that there are cases where that's a very successful

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way to run a company as well.

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The nice thing about being in a college that is about the arts is in a way

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those it's easier to have those things be front and center, not easier to

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pay for it, but easier to have it be.

Steven D Lavine:

You just feel the dissonance between supporting creative work and stifling

Steven D Lavine:

people's lives for lack of support.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

One of the mantras, it was interesting.

Mike:

COVID for me was a bit of a gift because, just over a year ago I stopped

Mike:

doing consulting work, basically, there was no work to be done.

Mike:

And I got off this very busy treadmill of doing lots and lots of work and

Mike:

was able to stop and start doing some learning and some thinking

Mike:

and talking to different people.

Mike:

And again, found my development edge, which was great.

Mike:

And one of the things that I bumped into was

Mike:

The ethics of care, which came out of feminism.

Mike:

And if you'd the dominant ethic that I think we work in as a utilitarian

Mike:

ethic, so if we do this, we'll get that sort of consequentialist.

Mike:

It's an ethic that's based in knowing that in the preeminence of our ability

Mike:

to manage the world and dominate it, and the ethic of care just

Mike:

says actually we don't really know.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

So let's practice love, we don't really know what, where

Mike:

our actions are going to take us.

Mike:

So let's just be as loving as we can.

Mike:

And one of the mantras that I picked up on from a woman called

Mike:

Joan Tronto wrote on that field was she said, care is always present.

Mike:

Seldom seen this always demands something of us.

Mike:

And I've been wondering about whether the artists are able to see the

Mike:

things that are seldom seen, lay them in front of us and say, careful

Steven D Lavine:

me.

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I hate this.

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It sounds very wishy-washy, but I think most do, but some don't there's always

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this challenge of to do anything.

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It takes a certain amount of certainty in your own ego, and that can get that can

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blind you to everything that surrounds you and can still lead to good work in

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your art, if not necessarily in your life, but it takes a kind of a tent attentive.

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Again, it's a little easier institutionally because than it

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is as an individual, because.

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Again, you've got employee you have various kinds of

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responsibility that surrounds you.

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And you don't have, you're not spending your time making art

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yourself out of your you're.

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You're creating an institution out of your deepest convictions, as

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of, as opposed to supposed to art out of your deepest convictions.

Steven D Lavine:

And that's, I dunno,

Mike:

and I S I suppose I, so what is it you're caring for?

Mike:

You're caring for an environment in which others can produce.

Mike:

And this notion of, what is it I'm caring for my caring, for my ego.

Mike:

Am I caring for, what is it that I'm caring for?

Mike:

When I look in the mirror and a brutally honest, what does I'm caring for and

Mike:

what is it that I'm not caring for?

Mike:

And then what does that demand of me?

Mike:

And I just find that deeply, both powerful and challenging way to yeah,

Steven D Lavine:

I know when I progressed in the world really,

Mike:

And this humility, the humility requires because it says I don't know if

Mike:

I'm doing the right thing, but I'll do it.

Mike:

And then I'll check up on what the consequences are and what comes out of it.

Mike:

And then I'll keep learning on that development ledge.

Mike:

I'll keep trying, I'll keep learning.

Mike:

So it seems to me that it's more in, in in that sense, the ability of always meeting

Steven D Lavine:

strangers, I would frame it slightly differently, but

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to the same end which is, it's always about listening that if you work at a

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foundation, which I did before going to Cal arts, Everybody says you're right all

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the time, because they want your money.

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They don't, it's not.

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And so you live in this bath of flattery and it's easy to believe it.

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And people go wrong in the field because they start to believe that

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they're the talent, not the people who are giving through their giving

Steven D Lavine:

the money to and then I went to Cal arts where artists were in your face

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all the time, but what you weren't doing and it was very easy to become

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defensive and to just feel threatened.

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Especially when you were uncertain about your presidency anyway,

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that you knew how to do the job.

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And realizing that part of the job is to fight your own defensiveness.

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That's a safe, my job is to listen.

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We hired these people for a reason.

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We know they have something to say.

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Just because it's not what I want to hear them say.

Steven D Lavine:

In a way it's more, I, when it's uncomfortable, when it's uncomfortable,

Mike:

it's only when it's uncomfortable, but you're actually listening.

Mike:

You're hearing his

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music too.

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His core leadership group.

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I always wanted people who disagreed with one another.

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And they all hated it.

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The vice principal administrations that why should I have to listen to

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the vice president for advancement about how my administration is

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going or the Dean of admissions?

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Why should I have to listen to a physical plant?

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And my view always was, this is your chance.

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We're all here together.

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We all support the same, cause we all want the same success.

Steven D Lavine:

Maybe someone can actually tell you something and they, they really thought

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we were wasting time by debating.

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I felt we made better decisions as a result.

Steven D Lavine:

And again,

Steven D Lavine:

there's an old Buddhist mantra that says B requires different modes.

Mike:

Oh, I probably messed it up this notion that harmony doesn't come through

Mike:

with all the same, most played at the same time, it comes from different boats.

Mike:

And so how do we find the rhinos and structure

Steven D Lavine:

them together?

Steven D Lavine:

There's no particular reason anyone should read a book about me.

Steven D Lavine:

It's nice that it exists.

Steven D Lavine:

There's a reason for someone to want to read about me.

Steven D Lavine:

Again, that book is Stephen dealer, vine failures.

Steven D Lavine:

When it's all about life devoted to leadership, I think actually

Steven D Lavine:

it is a book about leadership and what's useful about it.

Steven D Lavine:

Is that it admits that in a way, very few do the doubts and uncertainties

Steven D Lavine:

and the coming to understanding and all the ways of going wrong.

Steven D Lavine:

I think as I talked to now doing some consultant, not basically not

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for profit groups, that can't afford someone with my experience, I'm doing

Steven D Lavine:

some consulting with, for token fees.

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And I think what I have to do that's useful is I was wildly successful.

Steven D Lavine:

And I was, I had self doubt the whole time and fear of failure the whole time.

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And I had good moments and bad ones.

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And you will choose that.

Steven D Lavine:

And I also had an evolving understanding of what the job was.

Steven D Lavine:

And you will too, that it's good to hear that.

Steven D Lavine:

I know when I went into this, I thought, boy, there are people who

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really know what they're doing.

Steven D Lavine:

And I'm sure somewhere in the world, there are people who

Steven D Lavine:

really know what they're doing.

Steven D Lavine:

But my experience is that most people are making it up as they go along and hiding

Steven D Lavine:

what they don't, but they don't know how to do or what they don't understand.

Steven D Lavine:

And some are good at filling in the gaps and some are not

Steven D Lavine:

good at filling in the gaps.

Mike:

You've just got me thinking there.

Mike:

I'm sure there are some people somewhere in the world really know

Mike:

what they're doing, but I'm guessing that they're in tribes that have

Mike:

been studied many thousands of years, little pockets of India, where

Mike:

they've been in a stable environment.

Mike:

So I'm thinking, maybe in U S they know exactly what they're doing

Mike:

when they're going out to hunter.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

But for the rest of us caught up in this modern rapidly, changing world, I

Mike:

don't think there's anyone that really knows what they're doing is that.

Mike:

No, in terms of the results they're going to get.

Steven D Lavine:

We're all going lost.

Steven D Lavine:

I think Robert Keegan would say cover this at the booklet in 94, haven't gotten

Steven D Lavine:

to school back to a balanced budget and actually a little growing endowment.

Steven D Lavine:

We then had a huge earthquake that destroyed the campus and we're

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faced with a huge rebuilding job.

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And we were very successful.

Steven D Lavine:

We rebuilt it.

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And I was talking to, I don't think he's a billionaire, but a vastly

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wealthy not trustee, but sort of friend of the institution who said,

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you want to write a book about that?

Steven D Lavine:

And I said, I don't know how to, why would I write a book about,

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I don't know how to do this.

Steven D Lavine:

I just did.

Steven D Lavine:

They ended up as I went along, you should write a book about things like this.

Steven D Lavine:

Look how successful you've been.

Steven D Lavine:

And he said, I don't know anything about finance, which is how he made his money.

Steven D Lavine:

He said, I was saying it to be a lawyer.

Steven D Lavine:

And it was a wonderful admission to hear that he also was just making

Steven D Lavine:

his best bets about what made sense of what didn't which, which

Steven D Lavine:

is pretty much any of us can do.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

This is Steven the way we were an hour and a quarter.

Mike:

And I am so grateful for time.

Mike:

And two books arrived today.

Mike:

What is your book, which I'm looking forward to reading?

Mike:

And the other one was behind the shades the Bob Dylan biography which was 1.2

Steven D Lavine:

kilograms.

Steven D Lavine:

And the two I'm looking for parents about domes Grant's parents were

Steven D Lavine:

part of the same immigration that brought my grandparents.

Steven D Lavine:

To Northern Wisconsin and Northern Minnesota.

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And he is a distant cousin.

Steven D Lavine:

I never met him.

Steven D Lavine:

I know his uncles and aunts and relatives.

Steven D Lavine:

He's a few years older than me.

Steven D Lavine:

And so I just never had occasion to beat him.

Steven D Lavine:

I was in his uncles.

Steven D Lavine:

Mr.

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Berkowitz is a hardware store one day sporting goods at hardware store.

Steven D Lavine:

And he said, you gotta hear this terrible.

Steven D Lavine:

This was 1965, maybe no.

Steven D Lavine:

Earlier 62 baby is he gotta hear this terrible album?

Steven D Lavine:

My, my nephew just made he said, he's not even the talented one in his family.

Steven D Lavine:

It's his older brother who plays piano.

Steven D Lavine:

Who's talented.

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And it played, I think it was the blowing in the wind album and it was my one.

Steven D Lavine:

And it was in, in one sense, it was my discovery of contemporary.

Steven D Lavine:

Of something that was, that felt totally true to the moment I lived in.

Steven D Lavine:

So you could enjoy the connection between the two books as you read them.

Mike:

beautiful.

Mike:

I saw a beautiful I'm the course you both made.

Mike:

I wouldn't

Steven D Lavine:

compare mine, but we both have done useful things in our lives,

Steven D Lavine:

which is what any, what we really want to do is something useful with our lives.

Mike:

Another Buddhist comparison

Steven D Lavine:

is that doesn't happen.

Steven D Lavine:

And always, you can always find a way to make yourself smaller.

Steven D Lavine:

Yeah,

Mike:

I did.

Mike:

All right.

Mike:

I'm mobile.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

Listen, thank you for your time, Steve.

Mike:

I've really enjoyed it.

Mike:

I'll get this edited.

Mike:

Let you have a listen through and make sure that you're happy

Mike:

with it before I publish it.

Mike:

Cause that's what I always do.

Mike:

But that's been a real pleasure.

Mike:

I hope the next

Steven D Lavine:

time I'm in California.

Mike:

It's been beautiful.

Mike:

Thank you so much.

Steven D Lavine:

Take care, Steven.