I went to an excellent lecture by David Cannadine about his latest book, Mellon: An American Life. I ended up buying the huge book--it's hundreds of pages. If he is coming to your area, I highly recommend seeing him--he's very knowledgeable and his lecture is very interesting.
He also answered the audience's questions--they were quite good. Whenever I am in a non-academic setting surrounded by intellectually curious people, I'm quite impressed because once people are out of school, they really don't "have" to be interested in different stuff--they can just turn off their brains outside of work and veg.
Another thing that was noticeable was how Cannadine was self-effacing. Even though he's a highly educated, accomplished academic and author (and whatever else that's applicable), he downplayed all the work he did and people's positive reactions to the book. He would say something that sort of was humorously apologetic, but then he'd launch into all this incredible information and how he was qualified to make certain conclusions. He's British, so maybe that self-effacement is typically British--I've heard that some Brits tend to be like that.
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