It is not every day that the Blair community comes together to hear from a celebrated academic, investor and author who has lectured at Harvard and Yale and also appears among Worth magazine's 2017 "Power 100" alongside presidents, prime ministers, Supreme Court justices, and CEOs of the world's leading commercial and investment banks.
To be grouped with visionaries such as Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, world politicians like Chinese president Xi Jinping and leading entrepreneurs including PayPal founder Peter Thiel is, of course, a huge honor, and one of many that Vikram Mansharamani '92, has received over the course of his eclectic career.
Dr. Mansharamani will return to Blairstown on January 9 to speak at the Society of Skeptics. During his presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration's Collaboration Forum, he will "connect seeming irrelevant dots to help us understand and navigate the world's uncertainty." He plans to lay out the global pressures and trends that dominate today's interconnected world.
His remarks will detail his journey from Blair as a Bogle Brothers Scholar to Yale University as an undergraduate to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned two master's degrees and a PhD. More recently, Dr. Mansharamani has served as a faculty member at some of the world's most prestigious universities and an expert on global markets. He is also the bestselling author of Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst (2011) and is currently completing another book that offers advice for "harnessing the power of a generalist approach in a world full of specialists."
His personal story is an interesting one, in part because he practices what he preaches: Worth magazine lauded Dr. Mansharamani for his "global generalist approach" and the way he uses it to "understand how worldwide trends create winners and losers." This allows him to offer advice through speeches and in a wide range of written commentary on topics ranging from geopolitics and cybersecurity to supply-and-demand trends in the salmon trade and art markets.
His ability to explain complex ideas in an easy-to-digest way led LinkedIn.com (the 500-million member online professional network) to name Dr. Mansharamani their #1 top voice for both 2015 and 2016 on the topics of money, finance and global economics.
"Although my professional work focuses on high-level trends, I am going to talk about how my work relates to Blair students," said Dr. Mansharamani, a former Harvard Kennedy School senior fellow who started the Kelan Global Opportunities Fund in 2017 to invest in the long-term trends that he has spent his career analyzing and sharing. "I want to help young people think about the future in a way that may lead them in different directions."
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.'65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.