Why you should care
Because these people have changed the world and can help you do it too.
You know the old question: If you could have any person from history over for dinner, who would it be? Well forget about metaphorical dinner plans and think bigger — like an entire weekend. At OZY Fest, in Central Park this Saturday and Sunday, we bring you some of the deepest thinkers of the age, for a two-day festival full of thoughtful discussions and brilliant, world-changing ideas with some of our greatest minds.
Just a few of the names include Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, female drag queen Vicky DeVille and trans YouTube sensation Natalie Wynn. There’s also Dr. Oz, author Deepak Chopra and The Good Place actress and body-positivity guru Jameela Jamil (Holy shirt!). These thinkers and game-changers (and many others) will be discussing core issues facing our personal lives and the world around us — from the future of happiness to the “Pink Tax” and how to change the world in 60 seconds. But a key refrain will be a simple question: What does success look like, and how can we achieve it?
Malcolm Gladwell, attending his fourth-straight OZY Fest, will speak about the different ways society measures success — and whether that is healthy. He explores the value of criticism in finding it, how successful people shrug off conformity and the way structural factors often prove more meaningful than individual ones. “If you don’t care one iota what your peers think of you, you are essentially a sociopath. But it is also a precondition for doing things that are extraordinary,” Gladwell said last year.
The “skinny Canadian,” podcast host and best-selling author tossed out another fascinating idea: a recipe to avoid reinforcing the notion of likeability. “It would be good if Twitter added a dislike button. What if we thought the criticism we got was much more useful than approval?” he asked. “We are at a point where we are such sheep that I consider it an act of transgression to buy a Google laptop instead of an Apple one.”
Major politicos have broken news at OZY Fest in the past, from Hillary Clinton warning that Russia could hack the 2018 midterms to Cory Booker reflecting on criminal justice reform (in that on-stage interview, OZY co-founder Carlos Watson correctly predicted Booker would one day be a presidential candidate). With two other contenders attending this year — former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and current U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — plus Georgia statehouse minority leader Stacey Abrams and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the table is set for more powerful discussions.
“Believe in yourself,” Gillibrand told Watson in Breaking Big, an OZY Media television series airing on Amazon, explaining her own success story. “It took 10 years, literally … of working on other people’s campaigns, and helping others elected, to build up enough self-confidence to say that I could do this job.”
Attendees will also learn lessons from the sports world. Famously outspoken Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe, fresh off the U.S. women’s national soccer team World Cup victory, will kick things off at noon on Sunday. Meanwhile, three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest players in baseball history, will use his second career as a business mogul to talk about everything from unconventional paths to money mindfulness (last year, he shared the worst business advice he had ever received: “Someone once said to me, ‘You don’t need cash, cash is trash!’ and I said, ‘Meeting over.’”).
Things may get a bit trippy — particularly with the thoughts of Dr. Ira Byock, a palliative care specialist who believes psychedelics should be used to ease the pain of those who are dying. But at least you know the discussion will never be boring. And who knows … after hearing their thoughts, next year it could be you on stage talking about your breakthrough moment.
Reserve your spot here.