The idea behind National Public Radio's essay series This I Believe is that we all can learn something from giving anybody three minutes to explain their beliefs. The current series, a revival of a 1950s version created by Edward R. Murrow, has sparked something of a literary phenomenon. Writing programs in prisons and schools alike have used the format to get people to explore their philosophical bedrock. Essayists disclose all kinds of things within three minutes. For instance, Bill Gates believes as strongly in the creativity unlocked by computers as he does in saving children's lives in Africa. Tony Hawk thinks that doing what you're passionate about is more important than just about anything else. And graphic novelist Frank Miller discusses how he found patriotism when he didn't think he would. First-person revelations like these from the famous participants are entertaining, but the essays from the nameless waitresses, homemakers, and high school students that fill our everyday lives are more compelling. Series executive producer Dan Gediman will discuss the second book collection of This I Believe essays, from which all the profits—which must be pretty hefty as the first book was a bestseller—go toward the nonprofit This I Believe Inc.
Mon., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2008