The Big TED

Back from Vancouver, where TED hosted its first flagship conference since 2019, and what an event it was. We were greeted by anti-vaxxers who have it out for Bill Gates, one of this year’s speakers. Nearly 2,000 participants took part from all over the world, dozens of speakers and performances enchanted, empowered and enlightened us, … Continue reading The Big TED

What Do We Know

How many people have I interviewed in my lifetime? Thousands? More like tens of thousands, surely. One of the conversations that most sticks with me is with artist and author of How To Do Nothing, Jenny Odell.  We called her up to talk about travel, but really, being the deep thinker that she is, the … Continue reading What Do We Know


I’ve arrived! A puzzler let me know that I was a clue in today’s USA Today crossword. (Check out 13 down). This might be cooler than getting that vegetarian sandwich named after me in 2020. The sentimental part is USA Today is the first newspaper that’s ever published my writing. I appeared in it in … Continue reading E-L-I-S-E

My 23 Books of 2021

I read the fewest books in years in 2021. It makes sense, as I spent much of the year heads down, writing my own book. The bulk of the reading I did wasn’t books. It comprised of chapters of academic texts, research studies and a lot of interview transcripts and news stories. That said, thanks … Continue reading My 23 Books of 2021

TED 2021: Veni Vidi Vici

TED hired me to be the voice of its daily podcasts at the start of the pandemic, so that means this year’s in-person conference was my first chance to attend a non-virtual TED conference. To be fair, I’d been to TED Women in 2013, but this was the flagship co-ed TED. It was held in Monterey … Continue reading TED 2021: Veni Vidi Vici

Commonlaw Cousins

We have been on so many squad vacations together, in so many places and across so many continents, that today when our family parted from The Wan-Yau’s of San Francisco, Isa said, “They’re not friends, they’re our cousins!” COVID-19 kept our families from coming together at all in 2020, and Sarah had worried that maybe … Continue reading Commonlaw Cousins

Rest In Power, Caesar

Caesar Hu-Stiles, born July 2004 in South Carolina, died this morning in his sleep in Southern California. He was gentle giant with the loudest purr. Caesar was my very first cat — I only had dogs growing up. He came to me as a soft, black kitten with soft medium-length hair and a long poof … Continue reading Rest In Power, Caesar

Exiting the Pandemic

There was a fleeting moment in the middle of the first lockdowns, when everyone nurtured sourdough starters and kitchen gardens, when I thought we’d emerge from the pandemic more human, more connected with nature, more deeply connected with one another. Instead, as my kids returned to school in real life this week (first time in … Continue reading Exiting the Pandemic


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