In the wake of a mass murder, the images of the victims flicker and fade while the images of the killer fix, as if in some chemical bath, leaving a permanent stain on society. We watch helplessly as the killer’s self-propaganda videos and fire-arm poses outpace and eventually obscure the images of the victims in gentler moments of beauty, joy and love.
Sometimes winning can be as dangerous as losing. Take James Altucher, blogger, podcaster, provocateur and occasional Observer contributor. Rewind to 1998 when Altucher had just sold Reset, his web-design business, for $10 million. With his windfall he set out on a mission to teach the stock market a lesson. His first trade? As he told us, he “poured all of his money” into a software company, the name of which he no longer remembers. But he does remember this: In one hour he made a cool million. That jackpot was proof of Altucher’s genius. And he was primed to keep at it, going mano a mano against the market to make another million dollars every day for the rest of his life.
What do high-rise construction workers, laboring on the vertical frontier, tell themselves about their work, the risk and the reward?
At last count, in a single year, over 800 workers died on U.S. job sites according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What does it mean to be part of a highly ambitious man-made endeavor that rises tall enough to kiss the clouds? Recently, we had the opportunity to find out, interviewing dozens of high-rise construction workers (whose jobs include battling shredding winds, freezing cold and the scorching hot summer sun) on two of the tallest new construction buildings in New York City—3 World Trade Center and 10 Hudson Yards. We asked them about their work, the risk and the reward. And alongside the images of highly talented young photographer, Jack Davison, who captures the grit and the glory of these highest of high-rise workers, a collection of their thought-provoking responses are in an article for The New York Times Magazine called
Sticking to a dream can be as hard as founding a country, but someone’s gotta do it. Find out how 3 fifth graders are working to make their dream come true. And consider joining them!
The Broadway show Hamilton began to seep into our lives through our ten-year-old daughter, one staccato rap couplet at a time. Pretty soon she had a whole song. Then another and another. She was Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Lafayette and George Washington, famous sisters Angelica and Eliza Schuyler, Hamilton’s wife. Choreography followed and then of course, the pulsing red desire to PLEEEEEEEASE SEE THE SHOW.
When Amazon drops off a package at your home, it’s as if you are at one end of a wormhole in the space-time continuum. Amazon has mastered the art and science of moving packages from point A to point B. Like Amazon, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry owes his success to his ability to move an object from point A to point B with great speed, accuracy and frequency. Continue reading “What Stephen Curry, Amazon and Wormholes Have in Common”
Pediatrician Michel Cohen founder of Tribeca Pediatrics had a booming business, a best-selling book and downtown NYC celebrity baby cred until the bottom dropped out. How did he get back on top?
From the outside, fit and photogenic French-born physician Michel Cohen was on his way to becoming the 21st century’s answer to Dr. Spock. In the early 2000s he ran Tribeca Pediatrics, a smart, hip, high-quality New York City practice that catered to the neighborhood’s smart, hip parents, whose children he saw in his signature quirky medical office — think Pee-wee’s Playhouse meets a Wes Anderson film set. The media loved him and parents appreciated his common sense, low-intervention medical approach to children’s health.
Things were going so well that he opened up another office in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the healthcare industry was in flux with expanding regulations, upheavals in technology, rising pharmaceutical prices and dramatic cuts in insurance reimbursements. As a result, many doctors were abandoning their private practices to join corporate healthcare clinics and hospitals. (A report from Accenture shows that the percentage of U.S. independent physicians plummeted from 57 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2016.) But Cohen, who spent his days biking back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge, managing his growing practice, seemed to be bucking the trend.
Or so he thought. One morning in 2008, he received a very disturbing call from his bank. “They told me I was $400,000 in debt,” Cohen says. “I was in complete shock.” To make payroll that month he had to borrow $30,000 from a friend.
Our story in Entrepreneur’s Startups Magazine here
Ellsworth Kelly, visionary artist of the abstract and the everyday, on aging (excerpt from my interview with Kelly in The New York Times Magazine).
“The most pleasurable thing in the world for me is to see something and then translate how I see it.” – Ellsworth Kelly
Visionary painter Ellsworth Kelly died last month. I (Camille) had the pleasure of interviewing Ellsworth one bright autumn day in 2014 for a story I was working on “Old Masters” for The New York Times Magazine. Ellsworth Kelly, who was 91 at the time, became a nature lover and avid bird-watcher at a young age. After a stint in the army designing camouflage, Ellsworth combined as art critic Holland Cotter described in his obit for The New York Times, ‘the solid shapes and brilliant colors of European abstraction with forms distilled from everyday life.’ My art, Ellsworth said, is an attempt “to get at the rapture of seeing.” This was a path that he sought everyday. “I want to work like nature works,” he told me. His work is a testament to maintaining a life-long vision.
What’s different about your life now that you’re older?
When I was 79, I asked my doctor, ‘‘I’m 79 and you say I’m in good health, what should I expect from the 80s?’’ And he said: ‘‘If you haven’t got any of the Mayo diseases, you’re pretty good. You can slide right through.’’ And I said, ‘‘What about the 90s?’’ And he said, ‘‘Well .?.?. we’ll talk about that.’’ But I didn’t sail through exactly. What happened five years ago is I discovered that painting with turpentine, which I’ve been doing since the 1940s, had ruined my lungs. So I’ve been on oxygen ever since.
I don’t travel now. That’s the big thing. But I’m here [in Columbia County, N.Y.], and I love it. Each year I’m very surprised by the color. . . It’s one thing about getting older, you see more. . . . Everyday I’m continuing to see new things. That’s why there are new paintings.
What are your days like now?
I’m in the studio everyday. I draw a lot. . . I chose plants because I knew I could draw plants forever. I want to work like nature works. I want to understand the growth of plants and the dead leaves falling. Oh, how I connect with that!
What does it take to be radically creative? What does being radically creative even mean? Come find out at our talk “Radical Creative” part of the Provocateur Series at Parsons Design Center Friday, 11/13.
What is radical creativity? Who is radically creative? How? And why? Find out tonight how Sir John Harington, Bob Dylan, Cindy Sherman and others come up with radically creative ideas, and how you can, too.
Friday Nov 13 at 6pm our talk on “Radical Creativity” at the “Provocateur Series” at the Parsons Design Center 66 5th Avenue at 13th street
When the Taliban tried to kill her for speaking out, Malala Yousafzai only got stronger.
In conversation with Malala Yousafzai and filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth” “Waiting for Superman”) whose film, “He Named Me Malala,” is in theaters this week, we found out what makes Malala a true leader.
You probably wouldn’t think to look to a high school junior for lessons in leadership. But the 18-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is no ordinary high school student. In her short life, she’s not only drawn international attention to a massive problem—that of the 61 million girls around the world who don’t have access to an education—she’s persuaded world leaders to start taking real action to fix it.
As the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s new documentary He Named Me Malala hits theaters this week, it’s worth drawing a few lessons from someone whose influence, courage, and resolve have been felt around the world before she’s even hit 20.
Philippe Petit may go where no man (or woman!) dares to go. But what he returns with is a set of principles we can all use when we take on big challenges of our own.
Philippe Petit offers us a glimpse of what’s possible
It’s 1974. A man has decided he’s going to walk across a wire stretched a quarter of a mile in the air between the Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Center. As he does it, pedestrians below gawk in awe. An entire city swoons. Wire-walker Philippe Petit becomes an international celebrity for performing what many called the artistic crime of the century.
Forty-one years later, Petit’s feat is the subject of director Robert Zemeckis’s 3-D spectacular, “The Walk,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit. The film, which hits theaters this weekend, puts audiences right there on the wire with Petit, and is a powerful reminder that even the most perilous feats can be accomplished one careful step at a time.
And indeed, when we interviewed Philippe Petit for our book The Art of Doing, he told us there was a method to his madness. Having gone on to perform dozens of other high-profile wire-walks, authored several books, and become an adept equestrian, fencer, carpenter, rock-climber, and even bullfighter, Petit would bristle at the idea that his work could be reduced to a system. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons that any entrepreneur, artist, or aspirer to big deeds can’t learn as they gear up for their next big challenge. Our story HERE.