Abha Dawesar: Life in the “digital now”
One year ago, Abha Dawesar was living in blacked-out Manhattan post-Sandy, scrounging for power to connect. As a novelist, she was struck by this metaphor: Have our lives now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what’s real?
Abha Dawesar writes to make sense of the world — herself included
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
Abha Dawesar began her writing career as an attempt to understand herself — at age 7. It’s a goal that remains at the center of her work: Sensorium, her most recent novel,explores the nature of time, self, and uncertainty, using Hindu mythology and modern science as prisms. “At a very basic level, writing was always my way of apprehending the world,” she has said.
Dawesar moved from India to the United States to study at Harvard, and Delhi appears at the center of her novels Family Values and Babyji. But the oversimplified genres of immigrant fiction or ethnic fiction do not appeal to her. “Those looking for a constant South Asian theme or Diaspora theme or immigrant theme will just be disappointed in the long run from my work,” she has said. “The only label I can put up with is that of a writer. And my ideas come from everywhere.”
Margaret Heffernan: The dangers of “willful blindness”
Gayla Benefield was just doing her job — until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of “willful blindness” and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up. (Filmed at TEDxDanubia.)
The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
How do organizations think? In her book, Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious — with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Heffernan’s third book, Willful Blindness was shortlisted for the Financial Times/GoldmanSachs Best Business Book award in 2011.
Margaret Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association, IPPA. In the United States, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business and was named one of the Internet’s Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999.
In addition to writing books, Heffernan blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET.com and is a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and the Executive in Residence at Babson College.