Bernie Sanders at Berklee Performance Center

Bernie Sanders at Berklee Performance Center

Forum Network's Best Talks of 2016

December 31, 2016

All around the Boston metro area, Annie Shreffler and Jack Doyle show up with their cameras to record great public speaking from the world's foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policymakers, and community leaders. They make it all available in the Forum Network's growing digital video library at


1. Bernie Sanders: Our Revolution—A Future To Believe In

Senator Bernie Sanders has a new memoir out recalling his time on the 2016 Presidential campaign trail. But more than that, it outlines his progressive economic, environmental, racial, and social justice agenda that he says would create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, and provide healthcare for all. For Sanders, the political revolution has just started. The campaign may be over, but his struggle goes on.


2. The Politics Of Hope: Four Historians Take On The Obama Presidency

Perhaps no president came into office with greater challenges or higher expectations than Barack Obama. Four prominent historians rank our first African-American president and discuss what will he be best remembered for.


3. Alan Cumming: You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams

In his latest book, Alan Cumming recounts his real-life adventures—and often, misadventures—each illustrated by his own equally entertaining photographs.


4. Lawrence Wright: The Terror Years

In a new collection of powerful pieces first published in The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Lawrence Wright recalls the path that terror in the Middle East has taken, from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS.


5. Negin Farsad: How To Make White People Laugh

Negin Farsad is an Iranian-American-Muslim female stand-up comedian who believes she can change the world through jokes. Farsad shares her personal experiences growing up as the "other" in an American culture that has no time for nuance.


6. Disrupted: My Misadventure In The Start-Up Bubble

At the age of fifty, with a wife and two young kids, Dan Lyons was laid off after 25 years as a journalist covering the tech sector. He got a crazy idea: he knew Silicon Valley so well, why not join it? He took a position at HubSpot, a Boston start-up, where he was twice the age of his co-workers. With wry humor he describes a work culture he could never really embrace.


7. Amy Goodman On Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering The Movements Changing America

In 1996, Amy Goodman began hosting a show on Pacifica Radio called Democracy Now! to focus on the issues and movements that are too often ignored by the corporate media. Amy and her brother David share stories of the heroes - the whistleblowers, the organizers, the protesters - who have brought about remarkable change.


8. Shah Selbe: Using Technology To Save The World

Earth is currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, where poaching, overfishing, and habitat destruction are driving wildlife populations to critically low levels. Shah Selbe, through his work as a National Geographic Explorer, has developed innovative conservation technologies to deal with protecting wildlife and protected areas globally.


9. E. J. Dionne: Why the Right Went Wrong

In his new book, Dionne analyzes the American political right from the 1960s onward, argues that the origin of the radicalism of some twenty-first-century conservative groups lies not with the Tea Party, but rather with Barry Goldwater's views.


10. The Blockchain: Enabling a Distributed and Connected Energy Future

Bitcoin’s underlying protocol, called “the blockchain”, is a distributed consensus-driven infrastructure enabling trust between connected assets. While currently considered only a financial tool, the blockchain’s actual capability is extremely broad and could someday enable us to sell energy to each other.


11. The Connected Soldier

Today's soldier is a walking network of systems, connectors, sensors, and communications capabilities that define the concept of the internet of things. A well-connected, well-informed, lighter-loaded soldier of the future means the internet will be part of a soldier's uniform, as well as his or her weapons and other equipment.


12. Let's Think About What We Put On Our Feet!

Dr. Irene Sprague Davis is the only speaker we've ever recorded who showed up barefoot! She says we were born to be barefoot, and shares research on the impact footwear has had on our feet. We may think that cushioned and supportive footwear is good for us...but actually it may not be.

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