tv Q A CSPAN December 6, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EST
people use that phrase, which i suspect has been invented by a publicist. it describes something that has been going on for years, intellectually engaged narrative nonfiction. but i did not invent it. that was around before i came along. like i say, i think it is an example of promotion by my publisher. >> if you look at the new york times best-seller list, and i do not know how often this has happened, you have four books either on the paperback or hardback best seller. just explain -- you are no. 8 on the hardback -- i'm going to get myself messed up -- you are no. 8 on the paperback. that is with "tipping point." >> it is a book that takes the
metaphors of epidemiology and applies it to behaviors. the clothes we wear. it is a primer on how change happens. >> any idea how many books have been sold by now? >> i do not know. it is curiously difficult to find the question now. >> do you pay any attention to numbers? >> not really. i never go back and read what i've written. i think it is important to always be looking forward. if you dwell too much on what you have done, you fall in the bad habits and repeat yourself and get trapped, i think, a little bit. >> so you do not go back and read anything you written. >> not since it was published.
>> does it bother you that you might forget something? >> someone will write to me and say something and i will say, did i write that? i'm horrified to learn that i wrote that. or quietly pleased. >> this is early in december when we're recording this. no. 7 on the paperback list for nine weeks is "blink." -- 109 weeks. >> this is about decisions that we make in an instant, when they go bad and when they get better. >> an enormous amount of what we do is something that we do like that. i found it interesting and wanted to explore that phenomenon. >> that was done in 2005. and now "outliers," what is
that about? >> it is about success. it's important to understand what are the reasons why certain individuals are outliers. why they are outside normal experience, what sets them apart. it looks at culture and luck and generation, all those things that lead to success. >> and the current one, "what the dog saw, " what is that about? >> it is a collection of essays for the "new yorker" over the last years. the first is a profile of cesar millan, the dog whisperer on national geographic.
my first thought was to write an essay about what does he see when he sees a dog. he has this extraordinary ability to calm dogs. it is incredible. he would walk into a room and the dog simply looks at cesar and stops. and i thought, no, the interesting question is not what does cesar see when he looks at adult but what does the dog see when he looks at cesar? anytime you put dog in the title of a book, i think you're doing well. >> did you pick the essays for the book? >> with some suggestions for my editors -- from my editors. sometimes your favorite pieces, they're not always the best pieces. people had idiosyncratic reasons
for liking things that are not shared with the rest of the world. you have to check your preferences of against others. >> i read, and you tell me, but you got as much as $4 million for this book. >> that is not even -- way less. >> does that drive you crazy to see something printed like that? >> i think that people know well enough that if that number does not come from me or my publisher, then chances are it might not be true. i do not really -- i think that most readers are properly skeptical about the things that they read. >> 1996, you went to work for the "new yorker." nine years before that at the "washington post prat quoting yu
grow up in a town called the ma representative. -- elmira. >> down the road is where the blackberry comes from. >> this last book is no. 5. we're talking of all the books that you have done before, when you go out and speak, which book do people ask you the most about? >> that is interesting. "tipping point" has probably been read by the most people. it has been out along the longest. it has in the -- it has an idea that applies to different domains. that is an occasion for much
discussion. but "outliers," it affects everyone's interest in one way or the other. it is hard to say what the -- which one has provoked the most responses. but it would probably be "tipping point." >> some say you are paid as much as $80,000 to give a speech. >> i hate to talk about money. it can be a very good living, it is true. >> anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 to give a speech. what is the experience like as a writer to stand up and speak for 90 minutes? do you worry about it? >> not really. i do not get nervous before
public speaking. for a very simple reason. i am a nervous person, but i used to be a runner and would get insanely nervous before races, so much so that i could not sleep for weeks beforehand. ever since then, everything else i have ever had to do which seemed scary, i would say, is it as scary as running a race? no, so i never get nervous. i really like giving talks, because i think that the discipline of being forced to tell a story in front of people and explain yourself through spoken word, opposed to written, is very important for writing. there are parts that beautifully translate to the task of writing on paper. since i started to do my speaking, i think i have become
a much better storyteller. and the other thing that is crucial about it is that it forces you to get outside your world. and that is hugely important if you're going to do, as i do, this journalism. i am by nature somewhat reserved and reclusive. but i need by virtue of my job to meet people and hear about new ideas, here stores, get some perspectives, and so what speaking has allowed me to do -- i have met people that i never in a million years would have met before. it is fascinating. it constantly replenishes my store of information about the world. >> how often do people come up and give you an idea for a story? >> more often, you start a chat with somebody, they will tell you something that is incredibly interesting. and they did not realize it is
interesting because it is familiar to them. it does not have to be as formal as that. the amazing thing is that -- this is one of my rules of conduct -- i think that everyone is interesting. i honestly, seriously believe that, that when people are talking about things that they know well and do well, they are almost always interesting. and if they are not, it is generally your fault because you are not asking the right questions and making people comfortable and so not their fault. once i learned that lesson, my journalism became a lot easier. >> use it to a group recently, in times of crisis -- this was november 19 --
>> this comes from -- i wrote a talk after the financial crisis, part of it in the "new yorker," the battle of chancellorsville. lee beat hooker, and he should not have. hooker had him outnumbered two to one. it is an incredibly interesting battle. there are all reasons -- there are many reasons why hooker blew it, but he was arrogant and overconfident. he thought he had lee so completely outgunned that he no longer had it taken seriously as an opponent. and i thought that there was a truly extraordinary lesson in that. overconfidence turns out to be
-- psychologists tell us -- the most common kind of flaw. if incompetence is the disease of the novice, overconfidence is the disease of the expert. one of the ways to explain what happened on wall street two years ago is precisely this. the financial industry began to behave as hooker did. they began to be so confident of their decisions that that they became -- -- there were no longer capable of failure. this notion that our leaders need to be humble more than they need to be good is really important. not to say that they do not need to be good, of course they do. but as we get better and better at what we do, we run an increasing risk of overconfidence, and we need to keep that -- the task of a
leader is to keep that psychological problem in check. and they need our help to do that. >> can you name a leader that you think shows humility? >> interesting, i thought you were going to ask another question which would be more difficult to answer. -- easier to enter. -- to answer. there is a wonderful book written a couple of years ago called "overconfidence and war," which walks through virtually every major conflict of the last few years trying to find a humble military leader. and he can rarely find one. the preponderance of the leaders he looks at suffer from some kind of major overconfidence. so in that realm, it is hard to
find. but that is not to say that there is not humility at all kinds of levels. i had a conversation a couple of weeks ago, giving a talk, and i was seated next to a guy who ran a regional bank in akron, ohio. we talked about his business. how was your business? he said, we are more than fine, we have been bought by a big bank in chicago. i asked, why are you fine? and he is an older man, and he said, i had been through this three times before. i suspected that he got humbled 25 years ago in the early 1970's. and he never forgot that lesson. it is in times like that that we understand why experience and learning from experience is so important.
that is not a meaningless triviality. experience matters because there are things that you only learn when you have been humbled. you cannot explain to a 28- year-old that things are going to get bad. it is not going to sink in. but to this man whom i was speaking to, who saw it firsthand and dealt with that, and i am sure went through all manner of crises before, it is a lesson that he kept with him. colin powell, before the iraq war, he was the in-house skeptic, because he had been through vietnam. he had made the decision that others had not. he had never forgotten those lessons. there is another case of someone who appropriately was humbled and learned from experience. and you have got to have people like that around, right?
>> i have a stack of stuff here that includes praise and criticism. what about your own humility after four enormous successes? this has been 10 years. it has not happened that many times in history. what does that do your head and your own humility? >> it is a good question. there is no denying that it changes you and how quickly people return your phone calls. it changes how much money you have in the bank. these are things that have positives and negatives to them. i'm lucky in a number of ways. one is that writers -- we have built in a support system that to keep us humble. i have an editor who is not dazzled by any of my words. if anything, more willing today
to tell me what is not a success than he was 10 years ago. i have a mother who was resolutely unswayed by the opinion of the outside world. after "outliers," she said, i really like this book, which means, there's not so much to criticize. when you have people that keep you in check, it is easier. and i don't have any real power. i'm not running a major country or investment bank. so the kind of damage i could do if i got overconfident is limited. >> has anything happened from one of your articles, cause and effect, one of your books? people saying i had changed because of this? >> yes, the nature of influence
that a writer has is very specific. we do not change the world. what we do is we start conversations and maybe if we're lucky those conversations way down the road are developed and enhanced and some idea may affect change. there is a piece in "what the dog saw," called "million- dollar murray." it's about homelessness. it describes a man who was an extraordinary public servant in the bush administration. he ran the homelessness policy and he was responsible for dramatically changing the way that we treat the homeless. in city after city, he was the paul revere of this. he traveled incessantly for four years, making the argument that it is cheaper to solve
homelessness than to treat homelessness. the homeless person who stays on the street costs us far more money than if you simply go and give that person an apartment, someone to watch over them, and find a job. i wrote a piece about his ideas, his crusade, and the larger intellectual context in which he was operating. i did not create that movement, but i publicized what he was doing and a great many people tell me that it made their work a lot easier to have an argument, making the case for what they're doing, and helping them overcome skepticism. that was a way in which the writing of the sort that i do is valuable. it helps people -- when i shed
and i think she is a very smart person. i have to say, i have no idea what those two sentences mean. i am a little bit at a loss at how to respond to them. i have struggled with that a little bit. there is a little bit -- when people do comment on what i do, there is a dissatisfaction not with me but with my audience, a feeling that they cannot believe so many people would go out and read that. >> we're going to turn that back on if you can get it on, and i will read that. in this piece, she writes --
>> do you go to a lot of publishing parties? >> i almost never go to a publishing party. when you are making a list of -- when you're setting someone up, one of the things that you do is you pretend that they are fixtures of publishing parties. i have been to one in about three years. >> what about the man calling you an idiot? >> leon of the "new republic,"
who i obviously like. -- who i used to write for. i wrote many articles for him. it is very odd that he would call me an idiot. i think that he meant that facetiously. >> steven pinker. you take out by saying this -- >> what are you getting at? >> i wanted to make the point, and i should say, i generally have a lot of respect for stephen pinker.
i thought "the language instinct" was a classic. but this comes from a specific scientific and ideological perspective. we're somewhere along the continuum, how much of the nature or nurture guy are you? he is over here -- he thinks that iq means a great deal. and i'm talking about the power of culture and environment. when he criticizes me, he is doing so not because i am violating the rules of scientific understanding, but just because we are at different points on the continuum. and it's not right or wrong or legitimate or illegitimate. it's just a different perspective. >> he is a harvard professor. and you write --
>> explain that. >> one of the things that he had to quibble with in his review is an essay i wrote about quarterbacks and teachers. he made this point, i was talking about, teachers are the most important variable in an education. teacher quality explains more than any other factor. i talked about how it is really difficult to predict whether someone is going to be a good teacher until they actually teach, right? so you can get someone with really great grades. you can get someone who has all
manner of degrees. but none of those things are terribly helpful in figuring out who will be a good teacher and who is not. the only way that you have is to start people teaching and pick people who are good. this is analogous with what works with quarterbacks. if you look at the history of the nfl team's decisions in drafting college quarterbacks, you'll see that they do not do a good job of figuring out who will be a good pro quarterback or not. it is not because they are stupid or not trying hard enough, but just because the college game is so dramatically different from the pro game. doing good at one does not predict how well you would do at the other. he had a problem with this. i e-mailed him and said why are you so sure that they do a good job of predicting a good quarterback?
can you give me your scientific sources? i had an article in the journal of -- an economics journal. he e-mailed me back and his sources were not from a scientific journal at all. they were a blogger and some other blogger. i was like, why are you attacking me? it was meant in good fun. there's nothing wrong with the dustup now on again. >> going back to your first book, when was the malcolm gladwell tipping point? >> it was getting the job at the "new yorker." once you get into that magazine, your audience grows dramatically. people take you seriously that would never take you seriously before. you have an opportunity to write about things at length and leisure that you have never
had before. that was clearly -- i was one of many "washington post" reporters. i was anonymous. i was not much of anything and then i got the job and everything changed. >> but at some point along the way, "tipping point" sold a million copies at least. and then "blink" and "outliers,"something happened where people are anxious to get that next book that you write. >> there is this thing where people get comfortable with the way that you look at the world. i loved that book of a "freakonomics."
it was a distinctive way of looking at the world. it was an economist and journalist who combines storytelling. it shed a light on things that you never thought that economists would have interesting things to say about. i read that book and loved it. the new one comes along, i'd buy it. why? that way of looking in the book -- they have won me over to their particular perspective. it is so -- i will not get it anywhere else. i am delighted to have another go with them, hoping for another ride with them. part of what is happening with me is that people read "tipping point", and even if they do not agree with everything i said, they found something exhilarating or exciting about the way in which i approach topics. >> any analysis on the way that
your book sells in the country? talk about your audience. >> i don't think i am defined by geography or class or income. i typically think of an attitude. i think that they are kind of curious, open-minded, people. i just get that vibe from them. >> where, more often than not, would you be traveling to speak? >> well, all over. but if you do lot of conventions and company meetings, you do them in warm weather places in the winter. the people come from all over to san diego. so you are in san diego.
but when you think about where they're coming from to hear you, it is from all over the country. >> i will go back to the original analysis in the "new york times" back in the middle of november. do you agree? >> very much. that is a little strong. i would not go quite that far. >> for an apolitical writer -- are you an apolitical writer? >> i am a canadian writer. >> he is right in the sense
that i am not explicitly political. i am not interested in playing those games. i am interested in providing a different view of things. it never comes up when i'm talking to an audience -- political matters. so there is no opportunity for people to divide themselves along ideological lines when they're listening to me or reading me, because we're not touching on those issues. >> "what the dog saw," 19 articles from the "new yorker." are you working on another book already? >> i am working on articles for the "new yorker." my next book is, i am sure, many years away.
>> many years. >> to get a good idea. if i never have another good idea for a book, i would never write another book. i think you have to have an idea that is good for a book and then you do it. >> i will not put words in your mouth, but you say, you sold 6 million books, you get $18 million -- you did not have to agree with that but that is a lot of money. what has money done to you? >> i am not a very -- it's all in the bank somewhere. i'm not a big spender. i read my apartment. -- rent my apartment. i drive a volkswagen. i don't have an extravagant lifestyle. i grew up in a very -- my family was fundamentally agnostic in its spending of money.
-- its feelings toward money. we did not lack, but we were not terribly concerned with it. it was not meaningful. and i have the same attitude towards it. it's fine. it is better than not having it. but it is not something that makes a great deal of difference in how i live my life. >> at one point, you say that one woman change the way you view the world. >> she's a psychologist who i wrote about years ago when she wrote a book called "the nurture assumption." she makes a number of arguments, one of which is when you talk about what we mean by environment or influence, all of us are shaped in part by our genes and by the world that we grew up in. she wanted to argue, and i
think she convincingly did so, that what we mean by that is really peers and not parents. parents are less an influence on your life than co-workers and friends. what appealed to me was that -- a lot of my writing is trying to understand the nature of the environment. that is what i come back to again and again. "outliers" is trying to understand the context of the world that people are born into. "blink" is understanding what is going on around you, how that affects your snap decisions. coming back to the issue of what she gave me and my thinking, she clarified what
that means, what the environment means, and she said even more powerfully that we have only the dimmest understanding of what the environment means. we can offer up all kinds of myths that are untested. we need to rethink that important word. that was a crucial motivation for me to write some of the books i have written. >> a fellow named paul greenberg, a conservative paper and a conservative writer, he probably has as harsh a criticism as i have seen.
>> he does not sound very happy, does she? >> do you get a lot of that? >> i don't think i am pretentious. i try not to be. >> are you ponderous? >> people will read you how they read you. i had to sit down and think about how well i deal with criticism. criticism as a writer is absolutely inevitable. you always have the paul greenbergs. how do you want to respond to them? i decided early on that i was never going to make it a sign of my own success, that i had
silenced the critics. i am not out to convert the world. i simply want people to engage in ideas. if they disagree, fine. the other thing that i decided early on, i would be happy if the people that i cared about, the people closest to me, thought what i was doing was meaningful. if my mom likes it, if my editor likes it, if my best friend bruce likes it, i am happy. those are important rules. if you can have some version of that, some kind of system for making sense of criticism, it is easier to function. >> he goes on to quote joseph epstein.
that you grew into, the book is one long attempt to complexify this thing. so that is odd. and we were talking about court practice and teachers and have the impetus for that article was all about that we cannot predict this. we have been trying over and over again to simplify this and make it out -- if you simply have a teacher's to greet an aba and the certification, you will be a good teacher. and my article's point was, no, it is messy. you have to let a lot people try and pick the ones and say sadly goodbye to the rest. i spent most of my riding doing the opposite of what he said. >> of university of toronto? >> yes.
>> canadian history major? what is the difference between studying canadian history and american history? >> so much. how can you say that? >> what is it that the canadian history professors are teaching -- what is the difference? >> we are a very minor player in the world. so when you are in canadian history, you are learning the history of everybody else, because everything they do is so hopelessly influenced by our larger neighbors and larger allies. so you learn a lot about england and france and america, all kinds of other places. which is useful, i think. i remember as a kid listening to the radio, listening to the news on cbc, and the thing about the news at 6:00 on the radio in canada is that they talk
about the rest of the world. in canada, you cannot give a sophisticated account of what happened that day and confine yourself to a country of 18 million. not enough happened in consequence. as a little kid, i grew up hearing about africa and south america in the news every night. all these places. it is very different when you are in a country like america, where you actually can give the news every night and don't -- i am not saying it is a bad thing. america is so complex and sits at the center of so much that happens, you can have sophisticated conversations about this world just about america. it is a matter of where you are. in canada, we were forced to look outward. and that was a really wonderful experience for someone who wanted to go into business and be professionally curious.
>> i will not stay on this, but in america you hear about george washington and thomas jefferson. who do you hear about in canada? >> john macdonald, the man who brought independence to the canadian federation. but you hear about lots of other -- you hear about english kings. all my memories of childhood history are completely -- i would hear about the founder of jamaican independence. >> because of your mom. >> it was always up there. >> since we last talked, a man named barack obama became president of the united states. and he is like you. >> biracial.
>> any impact? did you instinctively like him because he was like you? and what do you think of him now? >> i will confess to being a huge fan of his. i would hope not just because he and i are both biracial, but i was initially fascinated by him like many americans. he is exotic, he really is. and he has that princely air about him. he is really quite an extraordinary -- the man he reminded me of was pierre trudeau, the great canadian prime minister who was cosmopolitan and regal in that same kind of way, but a little bit aloof. but also charismatic. there is really a lot of similarities between them.
and i was profoundly hopeful that his election represented some kind of turning point in the way we think about race. i'm less convinced of that now, actually. >> are you very political? >> i am not. like to say, i am canadian, so i have never quite wrapped my mind around american politics. >> of all the stories you have done since 1996, which one did you spend most time on? >> very easy one to answer. "late bloomers," which it took three years to get into the magazine. it went through so many drafts, i cannot even count how many.
it was because i had a really interesting idea, which was, i read this book by an economist in chicago which i thought was so fascinating, in which he talked about how genius comes in two very different forms. we talk about the conceptual innovator, the big, bold idea, and the experimental innovator, who is the person who succeeds -- who creates through trial and error. the conceptual innovator is the prodigy, right? and the person who works through trial and error is the late bloomer. he was dignifying the late bloomer. i had the devil of a time finding the right story to illustrate that point.
sometimes you have to be persistent. >> and you focused on two people. >> i ended up choosing this novelist, ben fountain, who had written a collection of short stories. magical. he was my late bloomer. he published that in his late 40's, after spending 20 years sitting at a kitchen table in dallas writing stories and being rejected. and my prodigy, the brightest of the young novelists. >> he is on the nonfiction best-seller list. >> an interesting book about vegetarianism. and there's such fascinating contrasts. they beautifully illustrate what i think david ellison was talking about. i don't know why it took me so
long to find -- but sometimes finding the right story is really difficult. if you rush into print with something that does not quite work, you throw away that idea. that is something you should never do. >> one of the people critiquing you suggests you feel close to nassim taleb. >> i wrote a piece about him maybe four or five years ago. 2002, and he had just written a book, "fooled by randomness." we greatly underestimate the frequency of catastrophic events in our life. we also greatly overestimate
our ability to control events. underestimate the role of luck and overestimate our own efficacy. nassim is a brilliant man, one of the most gregarious and charming and hilarious people i have ever met. as one does sometimes when you write a profile, i just fell in love with the guy. and he has recently written a book called "the black swan," a huge best seller. and he hugely predicted the events that took place last year on wall street. he predicted it. they're using these justifications for enormous
risks based on fiction. but i'd do feel an enormous intellectual kinship. if i had to list the people whose thinking have powerfully influenced mine, i would have nassim very high on that list. i think he is right. it is part of this desire that we have as humans to pretend we are far more in control of things than we actually are. we're not respecting the mystery and the complexity of the world we operate in. >> explain how he made his money. >> nassim had a contrary trading strategy. what he would do is buy "out of the money" options. he would buy a series of options on the stock market which would pay off only if stocks either wind up
extraordinarily or, more important, dropped extraordinarily. he had an investment strategy where 99 days out of 100, or more likely 499 days out of 500, he would lose a little bit of money. but he was waiting for a crash. when the crash came, he could make millions of dollars. i think the trading firm in which he is involved with made last year an utter fortune. it is really hard to do that. he wakes up every day knowing that there is a 99.9% chance that he will lose money that day. he is banking -- he does not know when it will happen. at some point, there is going to be a big catastrophe. it could be seven years away, right? he will lose money every day for seven years.
he gets it all back. nobody does that. one of the things that is so fascinating about him is he tries to get at that question, why don't people do that more? it is a very rational way of hedging your risk in the marketplace. be prepared for catastrophe. >> where is he from? >> he is from lebanon. he is an american now, but his family is from lebanon. i e-mail with him sometimes. one of the great wonderful things about writing these pieces for the "new yorker" is that you get to meet these extraordinary people that you would never be otherwise and spend time with them and get to know them and keep in touch with them. i did a piece a couple of
months ago about this brilliant software mogul in silicon valley, who began to coach his daughters basketball team. he encounters one of our little closed cultural worlds. what happens? he took this team of girls to the national championship. you write the story and you get to know these people. >> what story did you write that was the easiest? >> the opening piece in the volume, the profile of ron popeil, the great kitchen gadget entrepreneur.
the king of late-night infomercials. one of my favorite pieces that i have ever written, and far away the most interesting. because he is so effortlessly interesting. everything -- you turn on the tape recorder, the person you're writing about starts talking, and you realize, i have to do nothing else. i have to go home and transcribe the tape and it is done. it was literally that way with ron. he started talking, and i went out and talked to his cousin and a guy he worked with and one other guy. i transcribed the tapes and put blocks of text in and it was done. sometimes it happens. it is a miracle when that happens. you don't forget that. >> what have you done with all those tapes? >> i'm not very organized. they are somewhere in a box. >> you are not thinking of that future malcolm gladwell
collection. >> not very much. all be forgotten long before someone collects my belongings. >> you could not go to graduate school because of your grades? >> i was not a superb student. >> who would you thank for your writing ability? >> my mom was a writer. she is a lovely ridinwriter. >> is your dad still alive? >> yes, but he also has -- both my parents have an extraordinarily clear way of expressing themselves, both in speaking and in print. and that has always been my model. if you can express yourself, complicated ideas in a clear,
simple matter, people will read you. >> you still live in the west village. you intend to live in the united states for the rest of your life? >> i do not know. i like it here. all of my friends are here. but if i ended up in europe or back in canada, i would not be terribly surprised. >> here they are, all four of them on the new york best-seller lists. still on after 10 years. "tipping point," "blink," "outliers," and "what the dog saw." malcolm gladwell, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q-and-
a.org. "q&a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> up next, prime minister gordon brown at the british house of commons. after that, house republicans discuss the group known as acorn. and in portions of the senate for debate on health care legislation. >> this week the senate continues debate on health care bill. see it all live on our companion network, c-span2, the only network with the whole debate and edited and commercial-free. read the senate bill and a house
version and to watch video on demand, though it is c-span's health care of. >> the fact is that is his policies that have to give us the longest and deepest recession. only this prime minister thinks that we should all be pathetically grateful for this long and deep recession for it somehow he has led the world when he leaves britain behind. >> now from london, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. this week, prime minister gordon brown responded to several questions about president obama's speech on afghanistan. recently, the prime minister said that he would send 500 additional british troops to afghanistan. members also questioned mr. brown on the british economy and the upcoming climate change conference in copenhagen. >> questions to the prime st