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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Julie Burstein fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: We’ll find out how Michelle Rhee’s attempts to reform Washington, D.C.’s, schools made her a highly controversial national figure. Actor Jeff Bridges and his Buddhist teacher Roshi Bernie Glassman talks about their decades-long dialogue on life, friendship, and the movies. Woodcarver David Esterly talks about being asked to replace a destroyed masterpiece. And Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan look at the trade-offs and inefficiencies inherent in every organization—from McDonald’s to Al Qaeda.

Guests:

Julie Burstein

The Education of Michelle Rhee

Producer John Merrow discusses the Frontline documentary “The Education of Michelle Rhee,” about the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, who is one of the most admired and reviled school reformers in America. The film looks at Rhee’s tumultuous three-year tenure as she attempted to fix D.C.’s school system. "The Education of Michelle Rhee" airs tonight at 10 pm on PBS.

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Jeff Bridges and the Zen Master

Academy Award–winning actor Jeff Bridges and his Buddhist teacher, renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman, talk about their long friendship and their new book, The Dude and the Zen Master.

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David Esterly on the Lost Carving

Woodcarver David Esterly talks about the art and craft of carving wood. He is the foremost practitioner of Grinling Gibbons’s forgotten technique, which revolutionized ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s with its spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage.  When fire at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace destroyed a Gibbons masterpiece, Esterly was asked to replace it. He tells the story of that challenge in The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, and explores the connection between creativity and physical work.

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The Underlying Logic of the Office

Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan explain why everyday dysfunction is actually inherent to the very nature of organizations. In their book The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, they show the economic logic of why organizations exist in the first place and look at how they’re structured—from the cubicle to the CEO’s office.

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Tributes: Ada Louise Huxtable

The Wall Street Journal just published what was Ada Louise Huxtable’s last article about the 42nd Street Library’s restructuring on December 4th of last year.  Her prose was vigorous as ever, belying her 91 years. She had accomplished many “firsts” in the course of her long career at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – including as the first full-time architecture critic at an American newspaper, as well as winning the first Pulitzer Prize for criticism, awarded in 1970. You can hear her December 2008 interview with Leonard here.

 

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