Dangerous Vision with Randy Cohen

In Season two of Dangerous Vision, Randy Cohen talks about work. What people do for work, how we are defined by work, and why it is tough for some in the blind community to gain competitive employment. As a professor, Randy gets students enrolled at Harvard Business School ready to enter and be become leaders in the workforce. But when you are blind it isn’t easy. Randy talks to other blind people about their jobs and to those with sight who either stand up or stand out. Randy, who has Retinitis Pigmentosa, loves to learn and talk and he applies all of his professorial skills that reveal remarkable insights about what it’s like to be blind.

What does Randy Cohen and Cyrus Habib have in common? Vision loss /blindness is top of mind. Both went to Ivy League schools--Randy went to Harvard and Cyrus to Columbia then Yale Law School.  But it is something called parliamentary debate that they bond over.   Cyrus opens up about his decision to leave politics, the pull of becoming a Jesuit Priest, and the importance of being a mentor.  Cyrus calls out his friendship with Erik Weihenmayer as being a pivotal relationship in his adult life.  Cyrus encourages us all to be a mentor to someone.

New York Times: A Politician Takes a Sledgehammer to His Own Ego

Reading List

No Barriers By Erik Weihenmayer

Far From The Tree  By Andrew Soloman

Mountains Beyond Mountains By Tracy Kidder

House By Tracy Kidder

Soul of the New Machine  By Tracy Kidder





Randy and Peter were in the same class at college. Years after their 25th reunion Peter hears the story that Randy has been telling for years.  The story was a bit long to be included in the podcast episode but perfect for a bonus.

Season 2 of Dangerous Vision is about work.  What we do for work,  why we do our work, and what are the barriers that keep some from working. In Episode 1 of Season 2 host Randy Cohen catches up with Peter Sagal.  

To many who listen to him on  NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me he is curious and witty.  To runners, Peter Sagal's column in Runner's World offers insight into the sport and a look into how the activity shaped  Peter's adult life.  Yet running can be dangerous to those who are visually impaired or inaccessible to those living with blindness unless a guide is available. In 2013 and 2014 Peter was a guide with Team With A Vision--the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired's marathon team.  In the first episode of Season 2 host, Randy Cohen chats with Peter about how he got into guiding and why he credits it for changing the way he views running. 

The Boston Marathon Virtual Experience happened between September 7-14, in this one-hour LIVESTREAM Event hosted by Peter Sagal learn more about the team past and present. 

Listen to Peter

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me

Run with Peter

Runner's World Peter Sagal Column

Read Peter

Peter Sagal the author

Learn About Guiding


Washington State's Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, has made a fast ascent in the world of politics, quickly climbing the rungs of political power--becoming lieutenant governor by the age of 35.  

His ascent impressed people all the more because of his disability. At the age of 8, he lost his sight: A rare cancer forced the removal of both of his retinas. He attended Columbia University. He won a Rhodes scholarship. He graduated from Yale Law. “From Braille to Yale” was how he described this journey.  Last month Habib, now 38, announced that instead of being on the ballot in November for a second term as lieutenant governor, he would soon leave office to become a Roman Catholic priest.

In the final episode of Season 1 of Dangerous Vision Randy and Cyrus talk about this unique career change and  current events that continue to shape our country.  

To Learn More about Cyrus Habib 

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib: Why I am giving up elected office and joining the Jesuits

Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not seek re-election in order to join the Jesuits

A Politician Takes a Sledgehammer to His Own Ego






This edition of Dangerous Vision dives deep into the science of music.  Randy's guest is Byron Walker from Stanford's CCRMA Listening Room. What changes in a musician's brain after hours and years of daily practice? How do skills that make a great violinist transfer to other abilities? Can directed neuroplasticity be used to target skill learning?  Byron's knowledge of gaming as a science as directed his passion for creating videogames that are strictly audio.  Byron calls them audio games though, given there's technically no visual component!

Team See Possibilities is accepting applications for the second round of TSP Scholars. 

• Up to a $5,000 scholarship

• Mentorship through personal interaction with world-class professionals who are vision-impaired

• Peer-to-peer connection through a private group with like-minded vision-impaired Scholars 

For more information and to apply, click here


Dan Berlin is a successful entrepreneur and endurance athlete who happens to be blind.  After more than 12 years of working in large, multi-national corporations, he co-founded Rodelle, a world-leading vanilla extract company which sold to Archer-Daniels-Midland Company in 2018, and subsequently exited as CEO at age 48.  In addition to serving on several non-profit boards, he is a co-founder and President of Team See Possibilities, a non-profit organization which empowers young people with vision loss to thrive by providing scholarship and mentorship to high achieving college students who are vision impaired.  He also enjoys taking on epic endurance challenges around the world, challenging the perception of what a person with vision loss is capable of achieving.  Dan was the first blind runner to complete the 46-mile rim to rim to rim run across the Grand Canyon and back, and has subsequently run over a dozen marathons, Ironman triathlons, as well as trail-ultramarathons in South America, Africa, Asia, and New Zealand. Dan’s passion is finding and uplifting ability in himself and others. 

To learn more about Team See Possibility Scholarships and how to apply click here:


Or have questions for Dan email


Applications are live from March 2-April 30th 2020

Innovation comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  Meet Matthew Shifrin.  As a 13 year he wanted to do one simple thing--build legos from the directions lego provided. The directions are pictures of each step, pictures that are not accessible.  In this episode of Dangerous Vision host, Randy Cohen asks Matthew how he got the company to do something about this problem. Today Matthew is a college at the New England Conservatory of Music majoring in contemporary Improvision. Matthew is a countertenor and an accomplished accordion player. This is one Dangerous Vision you must listen to. For more information go to mabvi.org.  Book mentioned:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

   By Chris Voss


As the president and chief executive officer of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Kirk Adams is a longtime champion of people who are blind or visually impaired and is committed to creating a more inclusive, accessible world for the more than 20 million Americans with vision loss.

Randy Cohen jumps into the alphabet soup once again to find out how this AFB is different from NFB (National Federation of the Blind) and ACB (American Council of the Blind). Randy and Kirk talk about research, policy, and creating an app to navigate public bathrooms. What is the novel that they both are reading and love? Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi.  For more information visit www.mabvi.org/resources/dangerous-vision/



At the age of 45, San Fransicso architect Chris Downey lost his sight.  It was dramatic and sudden yet it didn't alter Chris's chosen profession.  In fact, Chris thinks he is a better architect because he designs with inclusion in mind.  In this episode of Dangerous Vision, Randy and Chris talk about how an architect without sight designs, he experiences the building in a much different manner, ie feeling parts of the building and hearing other parts. From loss of sight came a new perspective and the discovery of Outsights – lessons learned that form an expanded vision for architectural work, research, service, and talks.

Chris's top tech go-to piece continues to be his iPhone as well as Aira. 

Chris has designed 

The new Lighthouse for the Blind's new building

The Salesforce Transit Center

Sustainability Pavilion UAE

For more information visit The Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired



Part 2 of Randy's conversation with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck passes between basketball and blindness.  Wyc's candid conversation shares the human sides of Celtics legends Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.  However, he shares his most touching story about his son, Campbell.  (this is at 30:20). There is much about Wyc that isn't talked about here but is worth noting. 

1. The French Lick Band.  

2. Wyc and his wife Emilia own a Tequila brand named Cincoro with other NBA superstars/owners including  Michael Jordan, Jeanie Buss, and Wes Edens. 

3. Wyc is chair of the board for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.   

This is the second part of a two-part episode with Wyc.  For more information visit www.mabvi.org/resources/dangerous-vision/ 

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