July 10, 2013

Best-selling author William Powers will speak Oct. 8

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — William Powers will give the talk, "The Next Tech Revolution," on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

Powers is the author of Hamlet's Blackberry, a New York Times best seller that explores our growing dependence on digital devices.

Powers challenges the assumption that more connection through technology is better by arguing that it's also important to disconnect. The book has been selected as the first-year common reading for the Class of 2017.

Widely praised for its insights on the digital future, Hamlet's Blackberry grew out of research Powers did as a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. Bob Woodward called it "a brilliant and thoughtful handbook for the Internet Age."

Powers was born in Arizona and grew up in Rhode Island. He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude with a degree in U.S. history and literature, and did graduate study in Spain as a Rotary International Scholar.

He began his career as a U.S. Senate staff member working on foreign relations, intelligence and military affairs before joining The Washington Post, working initially for Bob Woodward in the investigative unit. He did reporting and research for The Commanders, Woodward’s international bestseller about the first Gulf War.

As a Post staff writer and columnist in the 1990s, Powers covered business, media, politics, popular culture and ideas. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times and many other publications. He created The New Republic’s first media column, and for 10 years wrote an influential column on the intersection of media and politics for National Journal.

He has been featured in dozens of major news outlets, including interviews with Katie Couric, NPR, Good Morning America, PBS NewsHour, CNBC and the BBC, and coverage in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Wired and The Guardian.

Powers has been a speaker at such high-profile venues as South By Southwest, the Aspen Festival of Ideas, Google and Facebook. Reporting on one of his dynamic presentations, The New York Times called him an “apostle” of the next wave of digital thinking.

Twice a winner of the National Press Club’s Rowse Award for best American media commentary, Powers has been a resident fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and studied the technology culture of Japan on a fellowship from the Japan Society of New York.

Powers' talk is free and open to the public, presented in conjunction with the Class of 2017 Common Reading project, re-established at Bucknell with the Class of 2014. First-year students were asked to read the book over the summer in order to discuss it in a number of seminars during the fall semester, including the Transition to College course.