The Optimist’s Telescope

Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age

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This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Read more about our 20th anniversary.

As an adviser in the Obama White House, Bina Venkataraman helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change—an experience that led her to probe a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our own future and do right by future generations?

In The Optimist’s Telescope, she draws on true stories and new research in biology, psychology, and economics to illuminate how we can make decisions that benefit us over time. For five years, Venkataraman, a former journalist and current MIT professor, traveled around the world studying how people and communities think about the future. With examples from ancient Pompeii to modern-day Fukushima, she dispels the myth that human nature is impossibly reckless and reveals the practices each of us can adopt in our own lives—and the ones we must fight for as a society. What emerges is a surprising case for optimism and a path to becoming the good ancestors we long to be.

Join the New America's Fellows Program, Future Tense, and New America NYC for a conversation with Bina Venkataraman and Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief at WIRED, on how we can make better long-term decisions in our lives, businesses, and society.

Follow the conversation online using #OptimistsTelescope and by following @NAFellows, @FutureTenseNow, and @NewAmericaNYC.

Registration and brief cocktail reception to begin at 5:30 PM; the discussion will begin promptly at 6 PM.

Welcome Remarks:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, @SlaughterAM
CEO, New America


Bina Venkataraman, @binajv
2015 & 2016 National Fellow, New America
Director of Global Policy Initiatives, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard
Author, The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age

Nicholas Thompson, @nxthompson
National Fellow, New America
Editor in Chief, WIRED

Copies of The Optimist’s Telescope will be available for purchase through our bookselling partner Books on Call, and a book signing will follow the discussion

This is a partnered event with:

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