Sharpen your mind.
Fuel your soul.
Excel in life.
Fight for liberty.
Freedom and flourishing are not givens. They are consequences of certain ideas that were developed over thousands of years and are still being refined today.
TOS-Con is a conference for people who want to understand and act on these ideas, to thrive in their ventures and relationships, and to support liberty on solid ground. If these are your goals, this conference is for you.
Join us July 21–24 for an intense, challenging, and life-changing examination of the principles and practices on which freedom and flourishing depend.
Scholarships for Students & Young Adults
Students and young adults aged 18 to 29 are eligible to apply for an Active-Mind Scholarship to attend TOS-Con.
High school, college, or Praxis
Age 29 and under
Sponsors low pricing for young people
*Student, Young Adult, and Adult registration include access to all lectures, workshops, and performances. (Children younger than 13 attend free with a parent.) Tickets to the opening and closing banquets are offered separately.
**Atlas registration includes access to all lectures, workshops, and performances—as well as the opening and closing banquets. Atlases are also invited to a special luncheon with Craig Biddle and other TOS-Con speakers on Saturday, July 24 to discuss ideas for advancing rational philosophy in the culture. If you are unable to attend the conference, you can register as a non-attending Atlas. To select this option, proceed through registration as an Atlas and enter the code JohnGalt in the “Non-Attending Atlas” field. The code will reduce the price from $2900 to $2330 and register you as a non-attending Atlas. (Please note: All Atlases, attending and non-attending, will be listed and thanked below unless anonymity is requested.)
Thank You, Atlases of TOS-Con 2021!
We extend our deepest gratitude to the following individuals, who are sponsoring extremely low pricing for students and young adults to attend TOS-Con.
|Carl Barney||Pete Masterson|
|Doug Basberg||Vicki Masterson|
|Helen Basberg||Thomas Ricucci|
|Annag Rose Chandler||Dave Walden|
|David Clayton||Tim & Amy White|
|Bill & Rosemary Gately||Stephanie & Gary Worley|
To join these forward-thinking individuals in sponsoring youth attendance at TOS-Con 2021, register as an Atlas.
Or . . .
If you are unable to attend the conference, register as a non-attending Atlas. To select this option, proceed through registration as an Atlas and enter the code JohnGalt in the “Non-Attending Atlas” field. The code will reduce the price from $2900 to $2330 and register you as a non-attending Atlas.
Please note: Non-attending Atlases will be listed and thanked as Atlases on this page as well, unless anonymity is requested.
* We are sad to report that David Hall died in December 2020. He was a great man and a substantial supporter of TOS-Con. We will miss him dearly.
Main Stage Talks
Do Process: A Strategy for Thriving
When considering principles and practices for thriving, do you find the countless alternatives overwhelming, even confusing? If so, you’re not alone.
Advice regarding success abounds. And much of it seems contradictory:
- Focus on goals
- Forget goals—focus on systems
- Become a specialist
- Become a generalist
- Always say “yes” to opportunities for growth, and many doors will open
- Say “no” to practically everything—say “yes” only to relatively few opportunities
- Choose your future, design your life
- Renounce the illusion of free will—only then can you find your bliss
And so on.
How to thrive is not obvious. And few people truly do thrive in the full sense of the term. This is because few have a reality-based, non-contradictory system for assessing, integrating, and applying ideas toward that end.
Do Process is such a system. Based on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, and incorporating powerful ideas from various personal-development thinkers, Do Process will help you declutter your mind, focus your efforts, build good habits, and transform your life.
Your Superpower for Success in a Distracted World
How do people reach elite levels in their careers? How do people find life’s work that is meaningful—and sustainable? These questions are central to Cal Newport’s work. And he answers them with a combination of case studies and actionable advice.
In this presentation, Dr. Newport will discuss principles and practices for engaging in what he calls deep work: “activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.” This, Newport argues, is the means to achieving focused success in a distracted world.
“The ability to focus without distraction is a superpower in the multi-tasking, Internet-obsessed 21st-century economy,” Newport argues. Come learn tried-and-true ideas and strategies for transforming your mind and habits to achieve your most ambitious goals.
Capitalism: The Social System for Human Flourishing
Having experimented with governments that substantially protect individual rights and free markets—and having witnessed a century of carnage caused by various forms of statism (socialism, communism, nationalism, etc.)—America and other countries around the world are now flirting with or even embracing statism in one form or another.
Why would people who have tasted the fruits of freedom turn back to the treachery of tyranny? What ideas are behind this shift? What history has been forgotten? What confusions have muddied the waters?
In this talk, Gloria Álvarez will highlight facts and principles that are essential to thinking and communicating clearly about this matter. Looking at various iterations of statism—from the Soviet Union to present-day Venezuela to the mixed economies of Europe and North America—and comparing these to the freer countries and eras, she will point out key distinctions and integrations that are crucial to understanding what capitalism is and why it is the only social system for human flourishing.
How to Forge a Meaningful, Self-Directed Career
Creating a meaningful career is one of the most important aspects of a happy life. It’s also one of the most complex and challenging.
Many people struggle to discover what truly makes them come alive. And many struggle to advance their career even when they know what they want to do. Adding to the difficulty, our culture perpetuates the narrative that success requires a linear path: Go to college. Get good grades. Get a good job. And so on.
But real success does not follow a linear path. It requires blazing your own trail.
In this talk, Mitchell Earl, who has helped hundreds of people launch successful careers, will share strategies and tactics for creating a career that fills your life with meaning and joy. These include: how to make yourself valuable in the marketplace, how to become a prolific creator in the craft of your choice, how to learn from successful people in your field, and more. You’ll gain proven, practical knowledge that you can put into action immediately.
Physical Conditioning for a Lifetime of Flourishing
The physical health and functional capacity of adults in modern, first-world societies typically begin to decline as early as the teenage years—and continue diminishing throughout the course of their lives, culminating in a state of dysfunction and dependence during the final decades. Although this has become commonplace, it is neither normal nor necessary.
Our pre-modern ancestors enjoyed high levels of physical health and functionality that, barring injury or infection, continued into advanced age. Likewise, modern-day hunter-gatherers tend to remain physically healthy and agile well into their later years.
What is the difference that makes the difference?
In this presentation, Dr. McGuff will discuss the science of “health-span” and how a regimen of brief and infrequent high-intensity exercise can dramatically improve your health and (barring injury or infection) foster a lifetime of flourishing.
Racism: Real, Imagined, and Inverted
In recent decades, the use of the term “racism” has become increasingly convoluted and confusing. Whereas thinkers from William Wilberforce to Martin Luther King Jr. to Ayn Rand understood that racism means judging people by their skin color, race, or genetic lineage rather than their character, choices, and actions, modern-day “antiracists” have turned this idea on its head. Now, according to some, if you refuse to judge people on the basis of their race—for instance, if you refuse to judge white people as racist for being white—you’re a “racist.”
The misuse of this concept is extremely dangerous. It can lead to racist behaviors, racial attacks, racist laws, and, ultimately, to racial genocide.
In this talk, Dr. Hill will discuss the history and meaning of “racism,” key turning points in the misuse of the term, the recent inversion of its meaning by some, and what individualists can do to help correct the widespread misuse of the term and advance the principles of individualism.
Edmond Rostand: Soul of a Romantic, Smuggler of the Ideal
Edmond Rostand is best known for Cyrano de Bergerac, his immortal play about the swashbuckling romantic with an extreme devotion to principle and an exaggerated nose. Rostand had grand ambitions for this masterwork. He hoped that with its heroic spirit and lyrical French verse, it would reintroduce beauty and idealism to the French stage, and more broadly, to French culture—and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
In this talk, Lisa VanDamme will describe how this play inspired her to take a journey that included the discovery of lesser-known and equally beautiful plays and poems, a pilgrimage to Rostand’s exquisite home in the Basque country of France, and a renewed commitment to carrying Rostand’s torch of idealism forward and into our world today.
Heroes of Philosophy
Thinkers such as Thales, Socrates, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and Ayn Rand advanced our knowledge of fundamental issues. For example, Thales reasoned that the teeming diversity of nature could be explained by a small number of principles. Socrates recognized the importance of rigorously defining key moral concepts. Aristotle invented the sciences of logic and biology. Thomas Aquinas reintroduced Aristotle’s rational philosophy in a medieval culture dominated by religion. John Locke emphasized that all knowledge originates in observation and taught that individuals have an unalienable right to their own lives and property. Ayn Rand created a complete philosophic system glorifying man’s mind and validating the objectivity of knowledge.
These great thinkers are towering heroes of philosophy. But what is a hero? What’s the value of understanding the characteristics of a hero? And how can we emulate heroes? In this talk, Andrew Bernstein will address such questions.
A Brush with John Singer Sargent
At the dawn of the 20th century, John Singer Sargent was among the world’s most admired painters. The most sought-after portraitist in Europe and America, he painted such renowned figures as Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry James and set a new standard for elegance.
Yet he was also a cutting-edge innovator whose painting Madame X sparked a national scandal when it was displayed in Paris. Within a few years of his death, however, leading intellectuals had come to view Sargent as a contemptible relic of an unsophisticated age.
In this presentation, Timothy Sandefur will take a new look at Sargent’s art and discuss why Sargent came to be despised for his virtues—and why his art is experiencing a long-overdue revival today.
History: Who Needs It
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” wrote the philosopher George Santayana. Today, though, history—the story of the past—is widely regarded as a means of inducing sleep. Among those few who enjoy history, many regard it as a mere pastime with little or no power to impact their lives.
That’s unfortunate because, with the proper approach, history can be a fountain of spiritual fuel, a guide for achieving the good life, and a means to continue the upward trajectory of mankind.
History is the laboratory of humanity, and in this talk, Eric Daniels will discuss how to use it to promote personal flourishing and defend political freedom.
Music and Life
Like romantic love, music is something many people value, yet fail to pursue in a thoughtful, intentional way. In this talk, David Crawford will home in on how music affects our souls and how we can approach it in ways that add greater meaning and joy to our lives.
When you better understand how music affects your soul, and thus your life, you can make better decisions about how to invest your time and energy in music and the musical arts. You can explore music more effectively, listen more actively, notice more aspects, and gain more each time you listen. You can engage more knowledgeably, and thus more enjoyably, in playing an instrument, singing, or dancing—whether as a newbie or a seasoned artist.
Come expand your understanding of the nature and role of music in life. You’ll enjoy richer emotions, stronger memories, and closer connections with people you love.
Designing Your Life around a Central Purpose
A healthy, successful life, like a healthy, successful business, requires a central purpose—a central aim that animates and motivates you, a productive purpose that pays the bills and helps you to profit and thrive.
In this session, Rajshree Agarwal will present an approach to your work-life called My Enterprise (ME) Inc. Using methods and tools of successful business leaders, ME Inc. positions you as the CEO of your life, helps you discover or further develop your “why”—or the central purpose in life— and helps you leverage your core skills and capabilities, the “how.”
Come and learn or deepen your understanding of the importance of a central purpose and how to leverage it to enhance your life. You’ll expand your knowledge of how to pursue such a purpose creatively by marshaling your assets and developing win-win relationships.
The Role of Science in the Industrial Revolution
Did deep ideas in science and philosophy create the modern world, or were they merely incidental? Nassim Taleb argues that the Industrial Revolution was created by tinkerers, not scientists; and famouusly it has been said that “thermodynamics owes more to the steam engine than the steam engine owes to thermodynamics.”
What was the true role of science—and by implication, of the mind—in the birth of the industrial age?
In this talk, Jason Crawford will explore the links between science and invention through historical examples, from the steam engine to the conquest of infectious diseases, showing the influence of the Scientific Revolution in creating our modern standard of living. His discussion will bolster your understanding of the roles of science and industry in human flourishing.
America’s Revolutionary Ideas: Their History and Future
C. Bradley Thompson and Timothy Sandefur
In his new book America’s Revolutionary Mind, C. Bradley Thompson examines the philosophical essentials of the American Revolution—looking at the founding of the nation not in terms of historical incidents but as the culmination of a series of insights about the nature of mankind and of the proper role of government.
This “new moral history” opens the door for a better grasp of the nation’s constitutional system—and a better refutation of those who argue that America was founded on the basis of slavery and inequality.
In this session, Thompson sits down with Timothy Sandefur, author of The Conscience of the Constitution, for a conversation about America’s fundamental principles and how they may—or may not—impact the future.
Benjamin Franklin’s Principles for Freedom and Flourishing
Benjamin Franklin’s life story is a testament to the fact that free men may rise as high as their ambition will take them. His inventions include not only useful gadgets and live-saving devices but also the genre of self-development nonfiction. With only two years of formal schooling, he managed to become one of the greatest scientists of his age and one of the greatest statesmen in history. In this talk, Jon Hersey will spotlight the principles of freedom and flourishing that we can learn from “the First American” and apply in our own lives today.
Secular Spirituality: The Nature and Nurture of Your Mind and Soul
We are beings of body and mind, matter and spirit. To live a fully integrated, wonderful life, we must attend to our physical and psychological needs. But whereas information regarding the care of our bodies abounds, information about how to care for our minds and souls is harder to come by—and often harmfully wrong.
Religion, for instance, calls for faith in a higher power and for letting that higher power somehow guide us in life. But faith is not a means of knowledge, and there’s no evidence for such a higher power. Secular philosophies often are equally problematic—rejecting key features on which spirituality depends, such as consciousness, free will, or the self.
In this presentation, Craig Biddle will survey traditional views of spirituality, highlight ways in which they are problematic or detrimental, and offer a secular approach to this crucial aspect of human flourishing.
Come gain a deeper understanding of the nature of your mind and soul, how to care for them, and how to live a spiritually rich and meaningful life.
The Romantics, a play by Edmond Rostand
Directed by Lisa VanDamme
The Tortoise and the Hare: The Case for Slowing Down Your Exercise
Exercise should enhance your life. This session will explore the case for one seemingly small adjustment to your workouts that can yield loads of benefits: slowing down your movements during weight training. This is especially relevant for maximizing your long-range benefits, whether you are currently in your twenties or your eighties.
In what situations can slowing down benefit you? What trade-offs are involved? What difficulties might you encounter when you try to slow down? What are the solutions to these difficulties?
Drawing on more than twenty years of one-on-one work with clients, Morris will discuss proven principles and techniques for getting more benefit from exercise along with common pitfalls to avoid. You’ll leave with valuable knowledge and new exercise techniques that can begin benefitting you immediately—whether you are young or old, male or female, experienced in fitness training or completely new to the gym.
Freelancing Your Way to Felicity and Financial Freedom
The ideal job is one that you love doing, that challenges you to advance your skills, and that adds real value to the world. Finding such a job can be enormously difficult, especially in today’s market, where seemingly 99 percent of résumés and applications disappear into digital black holes and are never seen by human eyes. Fortunately, finding a great job isn’t your only option—you can create one for yourself.
In this workshop, White will discuss the pros and cons of freelancing, how to determine whether it’s for you, and actionable strategies for carving out your own career, on your own terms.
Optimism is fuel for the soul. It can even be medicine for the soul. And one of the best ways to achieve and maintain it is by consuming or creating romantic art. Few know this as well as artist Jon Wos.
Born with a genetic bone disorder known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Wos began drawing and painting as a child, and his art often reflected the futility he felt due to his condition. In time, though, he discovered Objectivism—along with romantic art—and he soon realized their power to transform his life.
In this session, Wos will share his story, show his artwork, and discuss the philosophic and aesthetic principles that helped him carve a successful career and fulfilling life from an inauspicious start.
Beginner Lindy Hop Workshop
Lindy hop is one of the most popular social dances in the world today. It’s also one of the most energetic, athletic, and unabashedly joyful dances ever devised.
In this workshop, David Crawford will teach the basics of Lindy hop for absolute beginners. You don’t need to know anything about dancing, and you don’t need to bring a partner. Just bring your feet—even if you have two lefties—and your willingness to try something new.
David will have you dancing in no time. As he puts it, “I’ll take you from no dance experience to being able to dance to a three-minute song while smiling at your partner the whole time.” Then you’ll be all set to Lindy hop the night away at the TOS-Con dance on Saturday.
Concert on the Lawn
Canoeing & Kayaking
If you’re looking for outdoor activities, rent a canoe, kayak, or a SUP board from the historic boathouse in Newton.
Hourly and daily rates are available, or you can unwind after the conference with a relaxing moonlight canoe tour.
This mellow stretch of flatwater is the perfect place to get out with nature. You can catch sight of herons and river otters while exploring the Boston area.
The program is subject to change.
Reception, Banquets, and Dance
Opening Reception & Banquet (evening of 7/21)
The opening reception and banquet will be a blast. Meet other attendees, catch up with friends, and enjoy the first evening of the most life-enhancing conference of the year.
Closing Banquet & Dance (evening of 7/24)
Celebrate new friendships, brainstorm new ventures, have fun on the dance floor, and enjoy the final hours of TOS-Con with fellow lovers of life and liberty.
Main Stage Speakers
C. Bradley Thompson
C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D. at Brown University, and he has also been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.
More speakers coming soon.
Breakout Session Speakers
David Crawford has been dancing Lindy Hop for seventeen years. He has danced and competed at events around the world, and has taught dance in New York City. He also plays jazz trumpet and works as a software engineer in San Francisco.
More speakers coming soon.
Hotel & Area
TOS-Con 2021 will be held at the Boston Marriott in Newton, Massachusetts, where TOS-Con’s group rates on guest rooms start at $149 per night. The supply is limited, so please book your room soon using this special TOS-Con page or by calling 617-969-1000. Please let us know if you have any questions or trouble—we’re here to help!
If you’d like to find a roommate, please post a note on TOS-Con 2021’s Facebook page, which is a great place to meet other attendees and make plans in general.
Subscribe below to receive updates, scholarship information, and more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is TOS-Con for?
TOS-Con is for anyone who wants to live free and flourish. The theme of the conference—the thread connecting all of the lectures—is that freedom and flourishing are consequences of certain ideas that were developed over thousands of years and are still being refined today. The conference will help you to better understand and act on these ideas, to thrive in your ventures and relationships, and to support liberty on solid ground. If those are your goals, this conference is for you.
How can I meet other attendees before TOS-Con?
A great way to meet other attendees is to join TOS-Con 2021 on Facebook. Simply click “Join,” say hi, and enjoy a warm welcome. You can meet other attendees, find roommates, ask questions, post suggestions, and discover fun things to do in the Boston area.
Where should I stay?
The conference will be held at the Boston Marriott Newton, where TOS-Con’s group rates on guest rooms start at $149 per night. We recommend staying at the Marriott, as that’s where all the action will be. The number of discounted rooms is limited, so book your room early. TOS-Con’s discounted rates apply for three days before and after the conference as well (based on availability), so if you’d like to arrive early or stay in the area for a few additional days, you can do so on the cheap.
Can I share a hotel room and split the cost?
Absolutely! Attendees are welcome to share rooms and split costs. If you’d like to find a roommate, we recommend posting a note on TOS-Con 2021’s Facebook page, where others will be looking for roomates as well.
How do I get to the hotel?
What are the parking options?
The Boston Marriott in Newton offers on-site parking for $4 per hour or $14 per day.
What's the dress code at TOS-Con?
Dress comfortably! We recommend casual attire for the opening banquet and daily lectures, and cocktail attire for the closing banquet and dance.
What are the dining options?
Tickets for the opening and closing banquets (Wednesday and Saturday nights) can be purchased through TOS-Con’s registration page. There is a bar, a restaurant, and a Starbucks in the hotel, as well as several great places to eat within walking distance.
Is there a charge for Internet access at the conference hotel?
Internet access for conference attendees is free throughout the hotel.
Will TOS-Con lectures be livestreamed?
Information about livestreams will be posted at a later date.
What is TOS-Con's recording policy?
Presentations at TOS-Con will be professionally recorded and made available at a later date. No other audio or video recording of the lectures or performances is permitted. You are welcome to take photographs, but please refrain from using a flash during lectures and performances.
When is the registration deadline?
Registration will remain open until the conference sells out. We encourage you to register and book your hotel room early, as space is limited.
What is the cancellation policy?
If for any reason TOS-Con 2021 is canceled—or if for any reason you personally are unable to attend—TOS-Con will refund your registration fees, including banquet tickets, in full through July 21, the day the conference begins.
In the event that the conference is cancelled, refunds will be issued automatically. In the event that you personally cannot attend, you need only email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Cancel TOS-Con Registration,” and we will refund your registration fees in full. It’s that simple.
For Active-Mind Scholarship recipients, please understand that we will NOT reimburse you for unused travel tickets. We recommend that you purchase refundable travel tickets and/or appropriate cancellation insurance.
By registering, you agree to TOS-Con’s Terms and Conditions. TOS-Con reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.