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tv   Interview with David Rubenstein on the National Book Festival  CSPAN  August 25, 2019 5:30pm-6:15pm EDT

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they get to keep the money. the contract done get your money back. you have to go to court put smile enforcing the contract and the constitution is the same way. to watch the rest of the program, visit our web site, and search the author's name. ... really led by jim billington who would stand in library of congress he served for 28 years. he retired a few years ago. he told me that the national book festival was something that he needed some help with. it had been started early in 2001. it was an idea really they came from or bush. laura bush asked jim billington
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around the time of the inauguration of 2001, whether or not there was a national book festival comparable to the one she had started in texas. the texas book is full. he said there isn't yet there will be. so we came up with the idea of how to put together a national book festival, the idea was to put it into a normal, intense. it turned out that getting sponsorships was more difficult than they had thought it would be. so he asked me if i would get involved. i told him i would do so. i began to be a sponsor and a cochair of the event. i did that now for maybe ten years or so. it's very important to me that the book festival does well and i enjoyed a great deal. it's really great gift for the country to have this national book festival as you probably know we can about 200,000 people coming on the day of the festival every year. this year is going to be labor day weekend. the saturday of labor day weekend. >> peter slen: what is the madison counsel that you
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reference. >> david rubenstein: the library of conference gets most of its money from the congress. like many organizations, the smithsonian national archives come the money that comes from the federal government is not really adequate to deal with all of the needs of the organization involved. so these organizations have a tendency to build support arms. they'll have them and the national park service, all of these organizations try to separate subsidize with the what the federal government gives them. the medicine was set up to be the first one. john clooney gave a gift many years ago. other people are now involved in supporting the library of congress. the last number of years i have served as the chairman of the madison counsel. >> peter slen: define race and give gifts yourself? >> david rubenstein: i also fund raise and i gift. the number of people from all of the country donate actually sometimes they give part of
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their collections to the library of congress, they also give money, we try to raise money for various things that the library of congress is doing. for example, now the library of congress is considering making the building that is known as the jefferson building, the main building, somewhat more user-friendly. we are trying to get the money from congress without. the private sector sector would contribute as well. it's easier to get money from congress if you can get some support from the private sector as well. for example, the smithsonian, the african american history museum, they came about because congress put up $270 million and the public put up $270 million. now, the air and space museum is being redone because the walls are coupling a bit, as a result the congress has agreed to put more money. they're putting up $650 million in the private sector will raise $250 million. this formula of giving
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additional money to an organization if the organization can get money from the private sector, is a formula that can work somewhat well. for example, in the kennedy center, we are building a new addition there, on the wing is called reach. all of the money is coming from the private sector. the federal government will help with the upkeep of the new addition called the reach. roughly $250 million raised from private sector. >> peter slen: you called your donations patriotic philanthropy. >> david rubenstein: i've said that when i give gifts to the smithsonian in the kennedy center, bonsallo and the washington monument, i'm trying to remind people of the history and heritage of our country. also about the good things that our country stands for. also some of the things that are not so wonderful. the good and the bad. when i do that, i regard that as patriotic philanthropy, is misleading.
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all philanthropy p can probably benefit from. it's a way to remind people of the specially between our history and our heritage. >> peter slen: what is the role of the cochair of the book festival full? >> david rubenstein: is probably los impressive than the title would sing. i have put up for the last ten years or so, roughly a million dollars a year to support the national book festival. cost roof roughly million. it cost roughly 2 million a year. it's enabling them to do things as they would not normally be able to do. about 200,000 people come the last couple years and originally held it in the mall, and the mall is a great site but national park service thanks is maybe not so great for the grass in the mall. additionally, the weather problems. so if you years ago, we moved it to the convention center in
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washington. mayor washington convention center. it's a great facility and we didn't intend it to be a permanent move but we actually like it better because we don't have to worry about whether in the facilities are pretty good. as a result of that, we do rot draw roughly 200,000 people come for free, they come mostly from washington metropolitan area but some cases from all over the country. people get to see the authors to write great books, get to hear the authors be interviewed and others makes features, they cosign the books they do many different things that would otherwise wouldn't be able to do with the readers. it's really a great thing to see people of all ages go there. they really learn from the authors have the books came about and with the authors were trying to do. we have about 140 offer authors that will be coming this year. >> peter slen: you do several of those interviews oh two. >> david rubenstein: i do about five of them year. i know something about the book so i am interested in them. in some cases maybe i have already in interviewed them.
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i enjoy doing the interviews. i don't regard it as a tour, i regard it as a pleasure. >> peter slen: how do you choose or do you get to choose who the authors are? >> david rubenstein: the authors are invited by maria orellana, she really help select the authors. she's known them for quite a while and she is not there herself, and editor for quite a while. she really helps with the invitations and then she sits down with me and says to me would you like to interview of the people who are coming and sometimes i know people reasonably well. a variety interviewed them. or maybe i'm more interested in knowing more about them. my pushed me to read a book that i might not otherwise read. >> peter slen: what is your interview style question mark. >> david rubenstein: i've seen you do this before, and every style like yours. i tried to read the book and make sure i know it reasonably well.
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i then, and write out the questions in my long hand and then i get them typed up, and then i try to memorize the questions about. i have a conversation with the person, not unlike what we are having. i'm not using notes. my view is on when you are doing an interview, if you have notes in front of you, your i will look down, and as soon as you look down, you have lost the eye contact with the person you're talking to. i would rather have a conversation in an interview. if i remember 40 questions i might remember 37 of them. don't go down your list of questions but divert if necessary. i try to do the interview where i asked a little bit about how the other him about to like this book a lot it took, how does the author enjoy writing, phrase these kind of things when he or she is writing a book in terms of how to put the words fourth
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and get the message out. then i try to take the person through trajectory of the book. usually, there is a bit and getting in the middle and an end. i try to take this through that. i try to ask questions like a normal person would ask you might not have read the book. >> peter slen: is that the same style you use in bloomberg). >> david rubenstein: on the bloomberg show that i have, i try also not to use notes. i'm interviewing the people, i usually know them reasonably well. there i tend to focus on what made the person a leader. i'm usually not talking about a book that somebody is written but what made that person a leader that i am interviewing. i don't take them through the trajectory of their lives and find out what competition they might've had or hardships they had in getting to the.where they are now or later. almost everybody is and hardships and setbacks and having people talk about that is something i think people find interesting. >> peter slen: who are some of the favorite interviews you've done of the years question mark. >> david rubenstein: i have so many is like asking me which of your children do you like the
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most. i am very hesitant to say who i like most but let me say of the interviews i've done, on the show, i think oprah winfrey is obviously very talented person and i have said to her, i think she does have a good future in television if she was to pursue that. interviewing bill gates several times warren buffett jeff basil, of interviewed people and known in government for quite some time. jim baker he was in our firm for sometime in carlisle. former president bush and clinton, and interviewed them as well. they've all been very good. sometimes a person is not as well-known, might be a more interesting interview. and authors, i've interviewed a number of people at the library of congress for a program i've started that i have my own book coming out on. this is a book where it's called the american story. i'm not promoting it now, it will be out until after the book festival in october. about five or six years ago i decided it would be a good idea to educate members of congress
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about american history. i decided with jim ellington to have a program where i was sponsored at the library of congress so we can invite members of congress only to come. they can bring a guest. we would have them come to a reception were democrats and republicans could talk together. we would go down and have a nice dinner and then i would interviewed author. about a very important book about american history. we've now done about 45 of them. the first book that i have coming out about that the market story being published by simon & schuster. it will contain the interviews of some of the people who are in the best of the interview so far. dave mccullough, john meacham, ron turtle among other well-known authors. >> peter slen: i have an advance copy of the american story. it did one ask you when you look at the list of historians 99 percent white male. does that affect how we are telling our american story. >> david rubenstein: no doubt it
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does. we tried and we do have some women who are authors and their, and we also have other ones and others who are african-american, on the bench about what he is done with the african-american street truly is in. we also have some white authors who have written about black subjects. he has written a definitive book about black history. we try always to get more women and minority authors and we are striving to do a better job than we have done. there is no doubt that many of the best historians to date, have been white males. there are others who have done a great job. >> peter slen: there is a literary award named after you what is that? >> david rubenstein: it's illusory award. here's what it is.
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literary award. i went to a library as a young boy near my home in baltimore, you could take out your first set of books when you're six years old. in my library card and i could take out 12 books a week. i would rate all 12 books in the first day and then i would have to wait to next week to take out 12 more. i love reading. i came from a very modest background. my parents were not high school or college educated. i was able to get the love of books from them. books have been very very important to me. sadly, not that many people in the united states really can read as much as i take it should be the case. for example, 14 percent of adults are functionally illiterate. and at 32 million americans cannot read fat past the fourth grade level. if you can't read at all, give a pretty good chance of being in a federal criminal system. something like two thirds of the prisoners in the federal criminal system are functionally illiterate doing the can't read past the fourth grade level. 80 percent of those in our
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juvenile liquids a system are functionally illiterate. you're not going to get a great job, you're probably going to be involved in some things that are wonderful, so i thought it was important that we do more to promote literacy. there is a lot of great organizations that are doing that in the united states. i simply brought the library of congress to do something in that way as well. i put up some money so it enables them to select award winners each year for literacy. organizations have done many wonderful things for literacy. we try to give them attention and give them some money. it's a drop in the bucket to what's needed that's what it's about. all of the proceeds for my book will go to that literacy fund. >> peter slen: who are some of the past winners. >> david rubenstein: will give you one, reading is fundamental is one that's well-known. this organization is been around for a long time. the wife of robert mcnamara. a terrific organization against books in the hands of people who would otherwise not get them in their hands.
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there are many other organizations in the world. we gave of an hour and a couple of years ago, if you learn how to read, very often children learn how to read from the parent. at the age of three or four, redo your children. if your military and the united states, sometimes you're not going to be held to retell to your child. so this particular organization and a very clever idea which they would get a video screen and having the father or mother who might be over station sees. your reading the book to the child and the child is now able to hear from their parents on how to read the book. that's an example of what we are trying to support. in some awards and attention. >> peter slen: what are your current reading habits? >> david rubenstein: i love reading and i try to read 100 books a year. it's an upset save. i recognize that. two a week. but not raining physics textbooks, and i'm not reading
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books that are outside my area of expertise. therefore i tend to read biographies, history, business books, and medical books. there are subjects that i know about. i also have a mechanism that forces me to read books i have a lot of programs where i'm interviewing people so if you're interviewing the person, you've got to redo it. the national book festival i have to prepare for that. in the library of congress, i am in the program at the new york historical society right into the authors, and that is one also requires me to read the books. i think if you are interviewing 70 about a book, you have to read the book you should give them that courtesy. i actually do read the books. some of them are not easy. i am reading now, joe laporte, american history. it is almost 1000 pages. i'm about halfway through it. i'm rushing to get through it before i have to meet with her in a couple of weeks.
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steve to. >> peter slen: who are you interviewing at the national festival question mark. >> david rubenstein: moonshot, president kennedy really launched. it's on the back the apollo 11 about what god is there but what led to the effort to get us to do the effort of getting to the moon at the end of the decade in the 1960s. also interviewing michael josh on his book president support. this book that i've interviewed him about. it's quite a book good book. i look forward to that as well. i am also interviewing second mountain. i haven't interviewed him before in the book. that's a book i am looking forward to doing. andrew roberts about his book on churchill. which may be the definitive walt one volume book on churchill. i have interviewed him before.
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i am interviewing to other people about economic related people. what about asian and one about the us economy. i'm looking forward to that. >> peter slen: you've interviewed several supreme court justices about their books. define that there's a uniqueness to that group? >> david rubenstein: i've interviewed the chief of justice, not about his book but about his life. i've interviewed mayor, ginsberg and will do so again shortly at the 96 second white in new york. recently i interviewed justice thomas, this is spring historical society event. all of them are very intelligent people they love the law and they live the law. they really are quite articulate and they really are quite good interview subjects. i've also interview justice kagan for a name meant at the library of congress. i should have that.
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for my book, the american story, i interviewed the chief justice. we describe that. i've gotten to know the chief reasonably well because i currently serve as the chairman of the smithsonian institution. the chancellor is the chief justice. so get a chance with him from time to time. i thought it would be a good idea for the program i have at the library of congress to interview somebody who is maybe not another. maybe somebody who could be an interesting person from the members of congress. if done that twice now. one is with bill gates who came in interviewed in oneness with the chief justice. the chief justice is a person who told a very interesting story. i went through his life, recounted in my book. i said what did you do always want to be the chief justice of united states. he said no. did you want to be a justice of the united states supreme court question mark no i judge no lawyer no. what did you want to be question mark i wanted to be historian.
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i really loved english in an american history. his father said it would not make him a prosperous person. the lot of money being made. but the young john roberts and i don't really care. i want to do this because i really love history. so sure enough he was a good student he went to harvard and he majored in history. as he was coming back i think from his sophomore year from home in indiana, he landed in the logan airport and in boston and got into a camp, it's into the cab driver can you please take me to cambridge massachusetts. the cab driver said i going to harvard? yes student yes what is staying at harvard question mark setting history. the cab driver said well that's what i study when i went to harvard. so john robert sought will maybe this is not as lucrative of a present profession as i thought. but he actually did continue to stay with his major. and he did add courses that help him prepare for law school. >> peter slen: health yet have your reading habits contributed
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to your personal success? >> david rubenstein: i think i reading a lot, i think you learn more. i am privileged and being able to read relatively quickly and absorbed relatively well what read. so i don't have a photographic memory, which i did but i love reading books. i tell people when they make speeches about reading, but it's important to read and read a lot of newspapers and i read a lot of magazines, but the books absorb the mind and focus the mind much more. i think is much to read a book that he go from the beginning middle and end and take that with you for some time. you will get more out of that than a newspaper or magazine because you have to focus your brain for a longer period of time. i think it's made me a better person by having the knowledge again for meeting books and i am much more informed about the world that i was when i was much younger. i worry that at some.i will say it's hard to read all of these books maybe i will just take life easier. but i don't really want to do
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that, i want to read more books out fewer books. i love talking to authors, i love interviewing them about their books and how they came about. >> peter slen: is cochair of the book festival, will see him on labor day weekend. >> david rubenstein: thank you very much. bangmac saturday august 31st watch book tv starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern. our coverage includes my own words. david tyer, his book is the heartbeat avoided me. sharon robinson talks about her book child of the dream. rick atkinson author of the british are coming. and thomas malone, sounding director of the mit center for collective intelligence. he discusses his book super mines. the national book festival, life saturday. august 31st at 10:00 a.m. eastern on book tv on c-span two.
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[inaudible conversation] >> iran is an immigrant. 1905, he and her two little sisters witnessed the russians revolution when she was just 12. from the window of her paris apartment. after the revolution, the communist came and took her parents business. all of the money, their home, for many years. she wandered and struggled but she has been inspired by what she saw on here and she was inspired by what she could do with pursuing her dream in america. she came here just six years after the franchise to vote.
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she did not speak a word of english. she became a writing machine. she wrote screenplays, she wrote books and then she wrote of course the epic novel we know her best buy. the fountainhead. in atlas shah rug. between those two books, she wrote anthem. it was a short sci-fi novel in this the one we seem to have chose to adapt as an graphic novel. >> will get to that in just a minute. what was her philosophy and why is she still relevant among a segment of society today. >> emily guendelsberger: if you've been watching politics lately, what we are seeing a lot of is entitlement, free this free that, the rich are to blame, the 1 percent of the ones
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that are causing the problems in our society. we are seeing an epidemic of envy which iran called to hatred of the goods. we are seeing an epidemic of greed. not it that is popular but greed again defined as the desire. actually as a country, where capitalism is being questioned in our free market is being questioned on a very fundamental basis of fairness. that's why i think people are searching for answers. erin challenged all of those ideas and those values, she saw what collectivism and socialism had brought in how it had destroyed her country. she came to america wanting to see these ideas being glamorized and popularized.
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she stuck out. it was none too appreciated at the time. in her book, capitalism celebrated the entrepreneur. celebrated individualism. unlike anything else they came along. a lot of people including myself, said well, i just came from a board meeting and one of our board members heard about this book. he said in reverse as a child in his class he was bored and he heard the teacher writing shop in a chalkboard. the teacher said this is a dangerous woman. as a 12 -year-old boy, he perked up and said she's a very dangerous. our ideas challenges the premises upon which the politics
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are faced. >> what board is this? >> is the board of the alice society which is the nonprofit philosophy which i am privileged to run. for about three and half years. it's been around for 30 years, it was founded by philosopher david kelly. it has been dedicated to philosophy. called object to get objectivism. it's open objectivism. and the time i have been involved with the organization, i've been very involved with making sure that we correctly identify our market. to younger people who are being influenced by socialism. that we communicate to them in ways that would be easily accessible to them.
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as a result, we do a lot of meetings and animated, top engaged proposed facebook page in the liberty movement. all the conferences and also we are doing traffic on the polls. that's another thing that is become very popular over the past ten years. public libraries, suddenly graphic novels have become very popular with young people. we thought this was the good in that. why. >> why did she call it objectivism. back is a very good question. she called it objectivism because it was a branch of philosophy, five branches, symbology, politics and ethics and aesthetics. in his metaphysics, is believed that this world is reality. the reality does exist. it's not what you think it is.
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her system ologies logic and reason. we can use our minds to identify and so it was premised upon the idea that reality exist. her axioms identity axioms. asa. that's why she calls it objectivism. she believes that there is an objective reality. it's very different than the postmodern idea that things are really just based on your perspective. >> is it a moral philosophy. his deeply moral philosophy. that is actually historically, you think how could it be that you have issues with conservatives of this and that. because back to the morals. the morality the ethics, which were based on individualism and self ownership. we have a right to our own
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lives. our vendors believe that too. it is not a moral any sense. it is deeply moral. not religious but moral. as in some sense, these are lives and our lives are estate. ellis rug and anthem is well known. atlas shrugged area written in 1938, and dystopian role. it is the premises of collectivism come to full fruit. it is a society in which the word i has been abolished. names have been abolished with individual choices been abolished and it's really a story about what happens when someone who is a true individual in some ways very talented and curious, capable individual
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finds himself in the society and starts to think for himself. anthem. he does his research and creates an invention that you think will be of great service to my fellow man and that is the highest is to serve our fellow man. as the story about what happens to him. along the lines with stories, like hunger games, popular culture, it also hamza moral message to it. >> it predates the bike ten years. >> it is similar, in some ways. its order. i think it's enormously appealing and we have been shocked to see how popular it
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has gotten. we came out with it a year ago it for you best and we have distributed 25000. in our overwriting, we wanted to make it work accessible. we want people to read graphic novel so i have taken the artwork which was owned by dan carson who is an award-winning model, illustrator, and we've animated the artwork into an 18 part series. that's also available. it's proved very popular. >> did anthem salad essay? >> it was popular but not to the extent that atlas shrugged or the fountainhead was. >> who is your co- editor? or your co- adapter dan carson's and he did the illustrations.
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>> as we speak, at the san diego comicon, one of the great benefits working and branching out into the space is that a lot of vegetarians do go to these conference. we do white paper, where you are now also exhibiting not just every single student conference, but we have been out, tons are in the country and reducing new audiences to this book. >> jennifer, is it fair to ask that this utopian society can exist on the left or the right, the extremes of the left or the right. >> i guess you would have to talk about what or how do we define that the left and the right. i think if you define it, you could define it that the right is nationalistic the left is socialist but i'd like to tend
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to look at things in terms of the scope of are you really in favor of minimal government and maximum freedom or are you really believing that the government should make most of our choices. it's not extreme in terms of having most of the minimal government possible. there are some anarchists and probably some around here. we are not anarchists. we do believe that government is necessary to secure property rights. i could possibly see a utopian future. i probably would get a lot of argument around here. >> how did you come to believe in this philosophy #. >> that's a very good question. i came to it a little bit later than most. i was born and you cilia india, my parents were in the peace corps. so i was raised to visit peace
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corps baby i grew up in massachusetts which isn't very liberal community. my parents are democrats. i don't think i've ever met a republican or conservative or anything and all of my childhood years. i really grew up believing that anybody who didn't think like us was either very down or really bad people. i went to harvard and even there which is not exactly a huge vastly converses schism. i began to be meet people who weren't necessarily, they weren't dumb and it didn't really seem to be two things. they didn't get up thinking how hurt people. i started to do a little bit of research. mac these similar to what i think the taking and is an enema
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i learned. the more i learned, the more i really found that i believed in individualism. i believed in values like achievement and so the nativity and liberty and that's what resonated with me. when i read and ran. i figured that was it, this is absolutely what i believe in. i felt adept of attitude. and gratitude is a new thing where we are promoting and working on at the atlas society as an antidote to the entitlement that we see in our society today. i have a lot of gratitude, want to repay that debt by sharing this philosophy with others. i think we are social beings and we do have a for neblett and like to create communities and i would like to help others. i would like to make the world a
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better place. i so am deeply empowering for me. >> what are the difficulties for turning anthem into anthem the graphic novel. >> that's another good question. i think one of the challenges is that the atlas society, we are a small nonprofit. we are dependent on people believing and investing in us. they say, resources are finite. finite resources in order to accomplish this. we found an artist that also really believes in this book. he wanted to work with us. was willing to do it at a cost that we can afford and that he could afford and one interesting challenge was that.
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we see it as a labor of love, he was believed in this kind of how it works. this is my creation. given any directions and asking him to change his artwork or asking him to change the characters, they had to be done very diplomatically because i think you he was doing this because he wanted to. that was a challenge. >> did you have to edit it down. >> not at all. >> the entire book #. >> there is some adaptation. i would say 90 percent is in their, there is a little bit of passages of punctuations have been changed. think his back to your other question which was was it a challenge in creating a piece of art and piece of literature like this. people who are comic book consumers. they are used to seeing their
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contents their products in a particular way. it's not a lot of work. comic books, this is probably a skill or still a little wordy. i was trying to balance two goals here. one was being authentic and justice to what iran wrote and it could have written it any better but at the same time, making sure that it was accessible and popular with people i believed could benefit. their ego. >> any thought about atlas shrugged and fountainhead become graphic novel. >> we will add to the process. we do not own the copyright. >> who owns the copyright? >> institute.
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i heard a couple of years ago right after we announced that we were going to be doing this novels, there was an announcement that they were going to do a graphic novel also. on atlas shrugged and that was maybe three years ago. i haven't heard anything about that sense. we would love to do it. we'll do it well. give us a call. >> is a tension between the iran institute or state and atlas of society? >> the atlas society, was founded by david kelly, was actually founded in part it was because of attention. it is between the group. he was formally rejected by the ativan institute and sort of and
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so it's kind of tragic because it's not that many philosophers around. he founded his own organization. from that data society has grown. twomac where is the anthem the graphic novel available? >> on amazon, giveaways, tens of thousands of people sign up for giveaways. also available as a video series on youtube and all of our facebook, website. >> ceo of the atlas society. i ran anthem. the graphic novel.
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thank you for joining us about tv. >> thanks for having me. >> book tb covers hundreds of author programs every year. recently harvard university, critical of the congress. >> let me begin with a story. two things today. i was sitting in a senate hearing on mooring and the hearing was pursuing pretty much like any other hearing. witness testified and the senators took turns. republicans and democrats asking questions making comments to the witness. one senator finishes comments back of his papers and stood up to turn to go. he hesitated. i was kinda drawn to this. because i could see from where i was sitting where he was sent hesitating, there were two doors there. way too large, in lakewood for brass fittings and all. i could see he was not sure
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which went to the whole. one did, the other went to a very small supply closet there's maybe 4 feet by 6 feet dimension. i'm sure renée can see where this story is heading. unfortunately our center chose the wrong bar. he opened the door to the closet. at that., he did something astonishing. rather than to acknowledge he admitted mistake publicly, which by the way in the 40 years i've worked with or for or against or around the time i've only only seen maybe two or three times, rather than to acknowledge publicly he made a mistake, he opened the door when in the closet and pulled the door shut behind them. at which.i was concerned with that. then 15 or 20 seconds elapsed, nothing. il boyd the guy next to me and said there's a unit us senator and the supply closet. he said no it's it's not could
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not be. another 15 to 22nd elapsed and mike credibility when away. i really could not have guessed what happened next. at that., the door opened and senator backed out and said audibly. he said, okay good great good talking to you and i'll see you again. [laughter] equals the door and walked out the door to the hallway. i thought to myself, what a remarkable recovery. [laughter] i often wondered what this actually says about congress and the people who represent us. it says i think two things, which two things i'd like to talk about today. both are well illustrated by our center in the closet. one is, what is the quality of these people who represent us. secondly then, what can we say
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about the rules and processes and procedures they adopt to do their own work. just in book his vanishing congress. book tb .org. [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] >> hello everyone. i think there are a few more seats. come up to the front here. my name is nick and i work here at powerhouse arena. and i want to thank you all for being here tonight. for the launch of on the clock


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