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Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | A Fireside Chat with Guy Raz

October 19

Join us for a conversation with Guy Raz, the host, co-creator, and editorial director of three NPR programs, including one of its most popular ones, "How I Built This." Using the podcast as inspiration for his new book, Raz offers priceless insights and inspiration from the world’s top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture.

Raz will be joined by moderator, The Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet, 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business agency. The discussion will address how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted small business and budding entrepreneurs. Is the pandemic lockdown an ideal time to start a business? Can you still be entrepreneurial within an organization?

HOW I BUILT THIS is much more than a business book – it’s a book about human beings: their dreams, their fears, their hopes, their failures, their vulnerabilities, and their personal journeys. It’s a story about the idea of possibility. It still allows for burn-out failures, dashed hopes, and bad outcomes, but it also offers an avenue for recovery, resilience and purpose. In this book, Guy Raz talks to hundreds and hundreds of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, idealists, tinkerers, and inventors to uncover amazing true stories. He shares tips for every entrepreneur’s journey.

You may order “How I Built This” direct to home by following this link.  Or you can order curbside pickup (or shipping direct to home) by sending an email to or calling the bookstore at (323) 465-1334.


Guy Raz is the creator and host of the popular podcasts How I Built This, Wisdom from the Top and The Rewind on Spotify. He’s also the co-creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and the children’s programs Wow in the World and Two Whats?! and a Wow!. He’s received the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, and the NABJ Award, among many others and was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard. 

The Hon. Maria Contreras-Sweet (Host) served as an Obama cabinet member, California state cabinet official and investor/entrepreneur.  Her achievements in bringing efficiencies and modernization to large scale organizations have earned her international acclaim. Honorable Contreras-Sweet, was sworn in as a member of President Obama’s cabinet as the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  She was charged with supporting America’s 28 million small businesses, which create a majority of US jobs and employ half of our nation’s private-sector workforce. As an entrepreneur, Contreras-Sweet is one of a few in the US to start a publicly-traded bank.  Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, the bank focused on the small and mid-size market.  She served as its founding and executive chairwoman, successfully steering it through the great recession. Prior, she served as the California cabinet Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.


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