The Blake Street House Speaker Series brings a wide-ranging, thought-provoking selection of authors to the Bentonville area to lead stimulating conversations and transformational workshops. The series focuses on all aspects of wellness—health and healing, neuroscience, work and productivity, relationships, creativity, psychology, movement, communication, and more. The events are held monthly in the Great Room at Blake Street. It is hosted in collaboration with The Center for Nonfiction, based at Columbia University in New York.
About The Center for Nonfiction
The Center for Nonfiction is a project with Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program that seeks to empower first-time authors with practical advice on writing, publishing, and monetizing rigorous, yet accessible, projects.
The Speaker Series is curated by:
Brain Health for Life: How Scientific Research Shows a Flicker of Hope for Alzheimer’s disease
Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. There is no way to predict who will get it. Your DNA alone does not determine if you’ll get it. And if we live long enough, we’ll be faced with the devastating effects of the disease either as a patient or a caregiver.
But there’s hope. The cure for Alzheimer’s disease may be preventative. Scientists have discovered new therapies and habits that could stave off cognitive decline. It’s important to understand the science behind cognitive decline and then learn about convenient, nurturing brain health and wellness routines that could have dramatic positive effects on you and your loved ones.
Event: How You Say It: Understanding the Surprising Ways that Speech Structures Our Lives
Theme: Society & Culture
We gravitate toward people like us; it’s human nature. Race, class, and gender affect our feelings of social identity. Yet something is often missing from the study of social grouping—and from public discourse about tribalism, prejudice, and human nature in general – language and the accent you speak with.
Where we belong, whom we connect with, whom we love, and whom we hate: almost every aspect of social life is shaped by the way we speak. This is true in personal relationships, employment decisions, and many other facets of our lives in society. language can divide us, but it can also bring us together. By better understanding the power of speech in defining our lives, we can take this power in hand and use it for the good.
Event: How to Tackle the New York Times Crossword Puzzle
This workshop weaves information about the crossword with real-time puzzle construction and solving. Adrienne will give a brief history of the crossword puzzle, from its stint on Broadway to its role in World War II to the A.I. trying – and failing – to beat the best human solvers. Adrienne will discuss what the crossword world looks like today, and give practical advice about how to solve your next Sunday New York Times crossword. Over the course of the session, teams will create grids, write clues, and solve puzzles.
Event: A Grown A$$ Adult’s Guide to Re-Parenting
We often think that parenting ends when mom and dad send us off to college (or kick us out of the house!) but this transformative session will persuade participants that they urgently need to take on the role of being their own parents.
Tara will provide humorous, hard-won, practical tools for growing into our best selves at any age.
This talk examines re-parenting ourselves through creating a sense of safety for ourselves, giving ourselves structure, and finally learning to unconditionally love ourselves the way a parent would.
Tara’s first book, BUY YOURSELF THE F*CKING LILIES: and Other Rituals to Fix Your Life from Someone Who has Been There, was published by Penguin Random House in 2020. The hilarious and relatable self-help/memoir tells the story of Tara’s path to re-parenting herself and becoming a “ninja of self-love.”
Event: Sound Medicine—A New Frontier in Human Potential
Theme: Body-Mind connection
Why does a baby’s cry instantly flood a mother’s body with a myriad of stress hormones? Why does sound itself evoke such primal and deeply felt emotions? What are the other untapped properties of sound as a technology for human potential?
Through this interactive workshop, Dr. Chaudhary demonstrates how we all can use sound to improve our mental and physical wellbeing. Dr. Chaudhary explains how sound impacts the human body and brain uniquely, and explores the physiological effects of sound vibration, from altering mood to healing disease to connecting to one’s higher consciousness. This revolutionary approach combines biology, quantum physics and ancient mystical practices.
Event: Decipher Your Attachment Style and Transform Your Life
Dr. Levine has harnessed decades of research findings about how we behave in close relationships and turned them into a tool we can use in our daily lives to improve our interactions with others and to understand our specific attachment styles. Be it at work, with friends, family or in a romantic relationship, Dr. Levine provides a blueprint of how to improve our close relationships and in the process learn to understand our social brain and our neurobiology better.
In this evening’s event, Levine will help us explore and understand own attachment styles and that of others, providing us with crucial keys to unlock the secrets of how we understand ourselves and the people around us.
Currently at Columbia University, Amir is a Principle Investigator, together with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel and distinguished researcher Dr. Denise Kandel, on a National Institute of Health sponsored research project. He also has a private practice in Manhattan.
His book ATTACHED: The New Science of Attachment, co-written with Rachel S.F. Heller, is a New York Times Bestseller.
Event: This Is Your Life: How to Write Your Memoirs . . . and Why!
Everyone thinks they have a book in them. . . . and, the truth is we all do. We all have stories to tell about our lives—important stories, meaningful stories, humorous stories. While not all our stories can (or should!) be written to become Oprah or Reese Book Club picks or New York Times bestsellers, writing a memoir—or writing about a particularly important moment in your life – begins with actually sitting down to do it. The benefits that can come from the writing process are manifold: inner clarity, new understanding, and communicating important family stories, for example.
In Kevin and Stephen’s memoir writing workshop, two long time publishing professionals—with almost decades of storytelling, editing and publishing experience between them—will guide the group in how to think about writing about yourself and the process of writing itself. Special emphasis is on communicating story – the emotional transformation we undergo based on our decisions – rather than the situations we find ourselves in.
Event: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
Theme: Work/Life Balance
Overwork seems unavoidable in today’s always-on global economy. In many companies and professions, long hours are seen as an engine of high productivity, and a way to accelerate learning, and a filter for identifying your best and most passionate workers. But what if our assumptions about overwork are wrong? Using insights from the neuroscience and psychology of creativity, we look at the hidden role that exercise, downtime, and leisure play in making us more creative, and more prone to creative insights and investigate how the movement toward shorter work hours may boost both productivity and wellness.
Event: Thriving in Our Technological Future
Theme: Ethical Tech
The Intelligent Machine Age is upon us. We are becoming irreversibly reliant on computers and algorithms, cognitively offloading tasks, problem-solving, and learning at a rapid rate. In this interactive workshop, Flynn Coleman will walk us through how we can thrive as teams, organizations, and as humans as we move into our brave new technological world. Based on ideas from Flynn’s work, we’ll examine how we can build a more humane future and employ transformative tools to move more conscientiously into a new frontier of our own design and to help us flourish in our careers, our communities, and our lives.
She is the author of the book, A HUMAN ALGORITHM (2019), a groundbreaking narrative on the urgency of ethically designed AI and a guidebook to reimagining life in the era of intelligent technology.
Event: Taking Time for You: Adventures in Creative Health
Creativity is elemental, we need it to survive and to thrive, whether we are an artist, a scientist, or a teacher. Creativity fuels innovation, it drives us forward. We often think of wellness as a balance between two things: physical and mental/emotional health. But there’s one crucial component of wellness that doesn’t get as much attention as the other categories: our creative health. In this talk, we’ll learn how to develop our habits to promote creative health.