Boston Book Festival 2020 Boston Book Festival 2020

How to Be a Better Human

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Crowdcast 14
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Brad Aronson
HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time

Brad Aronson is a seasoned entrepreneur-turned-investor and now family man, who volunteers his time on nonprofit boards and teaches entrepreneurship at Hopeworks, a local nonprofit dedicated to teaching programming to students in recovering communities. His first company, i-Frontier, was started in his bedroom at the age of twenty-four but became the 33rd largest agency in the United States. Aronson also works with tech startups and writes books. His latest, HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time, will, according to Forbes, leave you “feeling wholesome and urged to do good, starting with little acts of kindness.”

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Max Bazerman
Better, Not Perfect: A Realist's Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness

Max H. Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where his research focuses on negotiation, behavioral economics, and ethics. He is an award-winning scholar and mentor and the author of over two hundred research articles and chapters as well as numerous books. Bazerman was named one of Ethisphere's 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics and a Daily Kos Hero. His consulting, teaching, and lecturing includes work in thirty countries. Better, Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness is, according to Publishers Weekly, “a much-needed and sane approach to personal betterment” and “an encouraging call for readers to keep moving in the right direction, even if they aren’t on the fast track to perfection.”

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Molly Howes
A Good Apology: Four Steps to Make Things Right

Molly Howes is a practicing, Harvard-trained clinical psychologist and an award-winning writer of nonfiction and memoir. She is the author of several academic papers and presents at conferences for professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association. A MacDowell fellow, she has also been published in the New York Times's Modern Love column, Best American Essays, the Boston Globe, NPR's Morning Edition, and elsewhere. Her latest work, A Good Apology: Four Steps to Make Things Right, has been called an “approachable demystification of the art of apology” by Publishers Weekly.

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Meghan E. Irons is a veteran journalist at the Boston Globe, covering a range of topics that touch on how culture, politics, and social issues intersect with everyday life. She was a member of the award-winning project 68 Blocks, has explored the diverse communities in Boston, and currently serves as the City Hall Bureau Chief, where she has been focusing on the administration of Mayor J. Walsh.


Let’s start with an apology. When we hurt someone else or have been hurt by someone else, the true pain often lies in the inability to fix the breach, rather than the incident itself. In A Good Apology, clinical psychologist Molly Howes guides readers through the steps of a meaningful apology, illustrating her principles with stories of clients who healed broken relationships as well as with apologies that have played out in the public sphere. From there, we move to ethical living. According to Harvard Business School professor Max Bazerman, ethics are not something reserved for philosophers—we all make ethical decisions daily. In Better, Not Perfect, he offers a guide for how to clarify goals and balance competing claims to attain “maximum sustainable goodness.” And finally, if you have ever wondered how one person can have a positive impact on the world, Brad Aronson has some answers. Small, simple acts of humankindness, such as the ones that Brad and his family experienced when they went through a very dark time, can change lives. In HumanKind, he tells the stories of the transformative effects of small acts and offers over fifty ways that you too can change someone’s life. Our session on goodness will be hosted by the great Meghan Irons, who writes for the Boston Globe on how culture, politics, and social issues intersect with everyday life. The Boston Globe is the media sponsor for this session.