The Next Big Idea

The Next Big Idea

By Next Big Idea Club

The Next Big Idea is a weekly series of in-depth interviews with the world’s leading thinkers. Join our host, Rufus Griscom — along with our curators, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink — for conversations that might just change the way you see the world. New episodes every Thursday.

Episodes

SUPERCOMMUNICATORS: How to Connect With Anyone

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “conversation” has 36 synonyms, ranging from the alliterative (”confabulation”) to the arcane (”persiflage”). Why the linguistic profusion? Because conversing is a fundamental part — maybe the fundamental part — of being human. We chat with our families, friends, strangers, and co-workers, and we communicate in phone calls, text messages, emails, and, occasionally, postcards. When these tête-à-têtes go well, it is oddly thrilling; we become better versions of ourselves — warmer and wiser, funnier, and consistently insightful. Best of all, a good dialogue is a direct route to connection. “The bond of all companionship,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” But when a conversation goes poorly, when it stays on the surface (”what do you do for a living?”) or devolves into a sputtering mess of misunderstanding (”you’re overreacting!”), we don’t feel the invigorating pulse of connection. What we feel, instead, is the emotional equivalent of a busy signal. So, this hour, we’re asking: how can we have better conversations? And to help answer that question, we’re joined by Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and the bestselling author of “The Power of Habit” and now “Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection.” Charles, as you’ll hear, is something of supercommunicator himself, a lithe storyteller who’s as well-versed in evolutionary biology as he is in the latest psychology, and after studying the art and science of communication for the last few years, he’s concluded that anyone can become a great conversationalist. You just have to master a few simple skills. Tune in to find out what they are. Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Charles Duhigg Book: “Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection” *THE NEXT BIG IDEA CLUB* We all know that reading is the best investment we can make in ourselves, but figuring out what to read … well, that’s another matter. Which is why we started the Next Big Idea Club. We get the best new books — as chosen by our curators (Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink) — into the hands of curious people. Like you! Join us today at nextbigideaclub.com
29/02/24·1h 6m

MIDLIFE: Once a Crisis, Now an Opportunity

Growing old gets a bad rap, and it's not hard to see why. Your hair thins and your waist thickens. The shot clock ticks down on your career, and you realize, much to your dismay, that your youthful dreams of greatness — patents, prizes, and periodicals with your face on the cover — are unlikely to come true before the buzzer. And what do you see up ahead? A road sign. "Highway Ends. Last Exit: Retirement. One Mile." Retirement. Just a polite word for purposelessness. That's the cynic's view of aging, anyway. But does it have to be that way? Not according to Chip Conley ("Learning to Love Midlife"). He says midlife can be a period of renewal, hope, joy, and connection. If you're open to it. Are you?
22/02/24·1h 3m

RADICAL CANDOR: Why Compassionate Honesty Is a Gift

Honesty may be the best policy, but that doesn’t make giving honest feedback any easier. That’s why Kim Scott, a veteran of Google and Apple, wrote “Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.” It’s a life-saving guide for anyone who’s ever had to dole out difficult but important feedback. Which means all of us.
15/02/24·1h 9m

BLOCKCHAIN: Why Chris Dixon Still Thinks It Matters

Seventy-two billion dollars. That, according to the Grifter Counter™, is the amount of money that's been swallowed up by crypto and blockchain scams and crashes. It's an enormous sum — but one that may not surprise you if you've kept up with the news. Bitcoin lost more than 60% of its value in 2022. FTX, once the world's third-largest crypto exchange, collapsed, and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was later found guilty on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. And it's not just crypto that has seen dark days. Remember NFTs? They were once touted as a revolutionary new form of digital ownership made possible by the blockchain. Today, however, 95% of them have lost all of their value. That's right. All of it. So it would seem like a suboptimal time to publish a book arguing that "blockchains and the software movement around them — typically called crypto or web3 — provide the only plausible path to sustaining the original vision of the internet as an open platform that incentivizes creativity and entrepreneurship." But that's precisely what Chris Dixon, founder of a16z crypto, has done with "Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet." Chris, who spoke with Rufus in a live taping of this show last week, says that while blockchains have been "maligned and associated with grift, casino culture, and fraud," they are tools that can be used for good. Today on the show, he makes that case.
08/02/24·1h 5m

BIG BETS: A Practical Guide to Changing the World

When Rajiv Shah was in his late 20s and didn’t know what to do with his life, he got a job at a fledgling nonprofit, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Before he knew it, he was a driving force behind a global vaccination program that immunized 900 million children and saved 16 million lives. At 36, he became the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managing a $20 billion budget, overseeing a staff of 10,000, and leading the U.S. response to global humanitarian crises. Today, as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, he’s finding innovative solutions to mitigate climate change and end energy poverty. What connects these experiences? At every step, Raj maintained a big bet mentality. What is a big bet? “A concerted effort to fundamentally solve a single, pressing problem in your community or our world. Big bets require setting profound, seemingly unachievable goals and believing they are achievable.” In this episode, he shares his methodology for creating large-scale change and making the world a better place. Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Rajiv Shah Book: Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens
01/02/24·54m 18s

CLIMATE OPTIMISM: Can We Still Build a Sustainable World?

A few weeks ago, USA Today ran a story with the headline "It's over: 2023 was Earth's hottest year, experts say." But is it really over? Hannah Ritchie, a data scientist at the University of Oxford, doesn't think so. In her new book, "Not the End of the World," she says that if we zoom out and look at the data, "we can see something truly radical, game-changing and life-giving: humanity is in a truly unique position to build a sustainable world." She's on the show today to tell us why she's urgently optimistic about our planet's future, what smart people get wrong about climate change, and the most effective ways to lower your carbon footprint. Host: Caleb Bissinger Guest: Hannah Ritchie You can learn more about Our World in Data here, and check out Hannah's newsletter, Sustainability by Numbers. Want to come to our event in New York City on Jan. 31? Buy a ticket here. As a listener of this show, you can get 20% off a Next Big Idea Club membership. Just use the code PODCAST at nextbigideaclub.com
25/01/24·59m 41s

FREE WILL: Are We Better Off Without It?

Do we have free will? Do we have a choice in what we do? Philosophers and theologians have debated these questions for centuries; Robert Sapolsky answered them when he was 14. Free will, he concluded, simply does not exist. Robert is now in his mid-sixties. He has degrees from Harvard and Rockefeller University; he won a MacArthur “genius” award; and he’s a professor at Stanford, where he holds joint appointments in biology, neurology, and neurosurgery. But despite how much time has passed and how long his CV has grown, he never lost his youthful fascination with free will — or our lack thereof — so he decided to write a book about it. It’s called “Determined,” and in addition to assembling a formidable case against free will, Robert makes the intriguing argument that if we can abandon our illusion of volition, we can build a more humane world. Support the show by becoming a Next Big Idea Club member. (Use code PODCAST for 20% off.) We’re hosting a live taping in New York City on January 31st. Come on by! We’d love to meet you. You can learn more here.
18/01/24·1h 7m

ATOMIC HABITS: James Clear’s Ultimate Guide to Building Good Habits (and Breaking Bad Ones)

Forming a new habit is tough. Sticking with it is even tougher. That’s probably why someone buys a copy of James Clear’s 2018 book “Atomic Habits” every 11 seconds. James breaks down the science of habit formation into simple, actionable steps anyone can take — even you. Today on the show, he talks Rufus through the four laws of behavior change, explains how small improvements compound over time to produce remarkable results, and offers easy tips you can use now to kick bad habits and adopt good ones.
11/01/24·1h 14m

THE GOOD LIFE: Lessons From the World's Longest Study of Happiness

What makes us happy? Researchers at Harvard have been trying to solve that riddle for 85 years. Now, they think they’ve found the answer. Marc Schulz, associate director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, joins to tell us more.
04/01/24·56m 45s

How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization (2021)

Do we have alcohol to thank for civilization? The answer, according to Edward Slingerland’s new book, “Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization,” is a resounding yes. Edward, who’s a professor at the University of British Columbia and self-proclaimed “philosophical hedonist,” says that far from being an evolutionary fluke, our taste for alcohol is an evolutionary advantage — one that we’ve relied on for millennia to help us lead more social, creative, and pleasurable lives. (This episode first aired in July 2021.)
28/12/23·1h 14m

Rory Stewart on Politics, Ambition, and Making a Difference

Rory Stewart may be the most interesting person you’ve never heard of. He’s an adventurer, writer, politician, and nonprofit leader. He walked across Afghanistan — alone — in the months after 9/11 and wrote a book about the experience that the New York Times called a “flat-out masterpiece”; he then served as a deputy governor in Iraq, held a chair at Harvard, and was elected to British Parliament. Now he’s out with a new memoir called “How Not to Be a Politician.” It’s a funny, candid, and somewhat shocking chronicle of the decade he spent in office. It’s also a book about why our political system feels so broken and what we can do to repair it. Host: Caleb Bissinger Guest: Rory Stewart • To learn more about GiveDirectly, visit givedirectly.org
21/12/23·1h 5m

PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY: Timeless Lessons from Morgan Housel

We may live in an ever-evolving world, but some things never change. The power of a good story. The miracle of compound interest. The cold, hard fact that money can’t buy happiness. This is the deceptively simple premise of “Same as Ever” by Morgan Housel. If we can master the behaviors that never change, we’ll be ready to handle whatever the future throws at us. On today’s show, Morgan sits down with Rufus to share some of the timeless lessons from his new book as well as enduring wisdom from his last, “The Psychology of Money.” Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Morgan Housel • Support our show by joining the Next Big Idea Club. Visit nextbigideaclub.com to learn more, and use the code PODCAST for a 20% discount
14/12/23·1h 4m

EVE: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

The female body has been neglected in anthropological narratives, minimized in the archeological record, and excluded from modern-day clinical trials. But what if that weren’t the case? How would the scientific story of humanity change if we made women the protagonists? Cat Bohannon first asked herself that question a decade ago, and her surprising answers can now be found in a New York Times bestselling book called “Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution.” • Want to support our show? Sign up for a Next Big Idea Club membership at www.nextbigideaclub.com and use code PODCAST for 20% off
07/12/23·1h 5m

THE FAMILY OUTING: Secrets, Memory, and Living Authentically

This week, journalist and podcaster Jessi Hempel joins us to discuss her recent memoir, “The Family Outing,” which tells the remarkable story of how every member of her immediate family came out: Jessi and her father as gay, her sister as bisexual, her brother as transgender, and her mother as the survivor of a traumatic encounter with a man who may have been a serial killer. It’s a dramatic setup, to be sure, but as the book unfolds, it grows into something else — a powerful and thought-provoking meditation on what it means to live authentically.
30/11/23·45m 29s

Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations (with Anna Sale)

A lot of us run away from tough conversations. Anna Sale runs toward them. For nearly a decade, as the host of the podcast “Death, Sex & Money,” she has been having searching conversations about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” Today, Anna reminds us — with her trademark warmth, curiosity, and candor — how to have those difficult conversations. (This episode originally aired in July 2021.) --- • Looking for a holiday gift for the most curious person in your life? How about a Next Big Idea Club membership! Use the code GIFT75 at www.nextbigideaclub.com for $75 off a gift subscription.
23/11/23·1h 8m

ACHIEVEMENT CULTURE: What It’s Doing to Our Kids—and to Us

It's no secret that we live in a ferociously competitive world. But what is the drive to always be the best doing to our kids? That's what journalist Jennifer Breheny Wallace wanted to know when she set out to write her new book, "Never Enough." The kids, she discovered, are not alright. Teenagers are battling burnout, depression, and anxiety at alarming rates. How did we let this happen, and what can we do to fix it? To answer these vexing but vital questions, we invited Jennifer to chat with Daniel Markovits. He's the author of "The Meritocracy Trap" and a professor at Yale Law School, where he's seen toxic achievement culture up close. In this episode, recorded live at Betaworks in New York City, Jennifer, Daniel, and Rufus discuss why our kids are under such unrelenting pressure, what we can do to give them some relief, and the potential role of new technologies, like AI, in creating positive solutions. --- Host: Rufus Griscom Guests: Jennifer Breheny Wallace & Daniel Markovits • Click here to hear Daniel's previous appearance on the show. • Want the best non-fiction books of the year delivered to your doorstep? Sign up for a Next Big Idea Club subscription at nextbigideaclub.com, and use the code PODCAST to get 20% off and a free copy of Adam Grant's new book, "Hidden Potential"!
16/11/23·1h 12m

FAILURE: The Science of Learning From Your Mistakes

Failure is inevitable. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Today, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson joins us to discuss the critical distinction between destructive failures and intelligent mistakes that drive innovation.
09/11/23·59m 0s

HOW TO KNOW A PERSON: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply (with David Brooks)

For the past four years, New York Times columnist and acclaimed author David Brooks has been trying to learn the skills that go into seeing others, understanding others, making other people feel respected, valued, and safe. Such social skills may sound trifling, but mastering them, David believes, could help us all make better decisions, enhance our creativity, and maybe even repair our nation’s fraying social fabric. • David's new book is How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen • Learn more about Weave: The Social Fabric Project at weavers.org • Sign up for a Next Big Idea Club membership today and get 20% off when you use the code PODCAST
02/11/23·1h 5m

HIDDEN POTENTIAL: Adam Grant on the Science of Achieving Greater Things

We live in a world that worships talent, a world that cheers natural athletes, exalts child prodigies, and venerates virtuosos. But admiring people who are blessed with innate abilities can lead us to underestimate the range of skills that we can learn and how good we can become. As Adam Grant explains in his new book, “Hidden Potential,” growth is not about the genius you possess — it’s about the character you develop. Adam joins us today to talk about developing the character skills, motivational tools, and learning systems that can help ordinary people achieve extraordinary things. • Want 20% off a Next Big Idea Club membership? Sign up today at nextbigideaclub.com and use the code PODCAST
26/10/23·1h 8m

FACIAL RECOGNITION: A Secretive Startup's Quest to End Privacy as We Know It

When tech journalist Kashmir Hill got a tip about a mysterious app, Clearview AI, that claimed it could identify anyone based on just one photo, she was skeptical. But when she found out the app was for real, she quickly realized it could lead to a dystopian future where privacy is a thing of the past. Guest: Kashmir Hill Book: "Your Face Belongs to Us: A Secretive Startup's Quest to End Privacy as We Know It" Host: Panio Gianopoulos
19/10/23·52m 35s

Daniel Pink and Brian Lowery Aren’t Sure That You Exist

Daniel Pink is going through an existential crisis. The culprit? A new book by Stanford professor Brian Lowery. --- If you want to attend our November 1st event with Daniel Markovits and Jennifer Breheny Wallace, head to our Eventbrite page. And if you want early invitations to upcoming events, sign up for one of our new Next Big Idea Club memberships.
12/10/23·48m 13s

Susan Cain on the Power of the Bittersweet (2022)

Have you ever been brought to tears by a TV commercial? Do you relish rainy days? Are your favorite songs sad ones? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, dear listener, know the power of the bittersweet. It’s a feeling, an emotion, a way of being that Susan Cain explored in her #1 New York Times bestseller “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole.” She spoke with Rufus about the book in April 2022, and it remains one of our favorite conversations — certainly one of the most moving — so today we’re sharing it again. We hope it gives you goosebumps.
05/10/23·1h 14m

HUMAN COMPATIBLE: Can We Control Artificial Intelligence?

Stuart Russell wrote the book on artificial intelligence. Literally. Today, he sits down with Rufus to discuss the promise — and potential peril — of the technology he's been studying for the past 40 years. --- Book: “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control” Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Stuart Russell
28/09/23·1h 12m

UNREASONABLE HOSPITALITY: The Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

When he was 26, Will Guidara took the helm of a middling brasserie in New York City called Eleven Madison Park. A decade later, it was named the best restaurant in the world. How did he pull off this unprecedented transformation? By practicing unreasonable hospitality. Host: Caleb Bissinger Guest: Will Guidara Book: "Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect"
21/09/23·1h 6m

ELON MUSK: Walter Isaacson on the World’s Most Polarizing Person

Two years ago, Walter Isaacson, the legendary biographer who has written books about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci, began shadowing Elon Musk. "I started off with a guy who was one of the most popular people on the planet," Isaacson says, "and ended up with a guy who's the most controversial." Today on the show, Isaacson unpacks those controversies.
14/09/23·1h 7m

CHANGE: How to Excel When Everything Is in Flux

We go through at least thirty-six major changes in the course of our adulthoods. And yet adapting to those changes is really, really hard. Why is that? Health and science writer Brad Stulberg says it's because our model for change is broken. Luckily, he's here to fix it. Guest: Brad Stulberg Book: "Master of Change: How to Excel When Everything Is Changing – Including You" Host: Caleb Bissinger
07/09/23·1h 2m

DREAM TOWN: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity

In the 1950s, Shaker Heights, Ohio, became a national model for housing integration. In the 1970s, it was known as a crown jewel in the national move to racially integrate schools. So why is its school system now struggling to close a yawning racial achievement gap? Guest: Laura Meckler Book: “Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity” Host: Caleb Bissinger • Download the Next Big Idea app: nextbigideaclub.com/app
31/08/23·54m 8s

PERENNIALS: How to Thrive in a Post-Generational Society

Increasing longevity and the explosion of technology are reshaping the world. What will it mean for your education, your career, and your life? • Mauro Guillén’s new book is “The Perennials: The Megatrends Creating a Postgenerational Society” • Download The Next Big Idea app at nextbigideaclub.com/app
24/08/23·57m 11s

ULTRA-PROCESSED: What Fake Food Is Doing to Our Health

Ultra-processed food makes up 60 percent of the American diet. Though to call it food is a stretch. Because it is not, strictly speaking, food at all. It is an industrially produced edible substance. And it’s killing us. That is the nauseating conclusion Chris van Tulleken reaches in his new book, “Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn’t Food.” Today, he explains how big businesses have corrupted our diets and what we can do to stop them from causing further harm.
17/08/23·1h 15m

How to Succeed by Quitting (2022)

In “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away,” cognitive scientist turned professional poker player turned bestselling author Annie Duke says mastering the art of quitting is the key to making smart decisions. (This episode originally aired in October 2022.) Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Annie Duke Executive Producer: Caleb Bissinger • Want to check out the video e-course Annie made for “Quit”? Download The Next Big Idea app!
10/08/23·1h 8m

Why the Modern World Puts Us All at Risk for Addiction (2021)

In “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke says today’s superabundance of pleasurable stimuli makes us all vulnerable to overindulgence. But don’t lose hope. Anna, the medical director of addiction medicine at Stanford, says that by understanding how modern stimulants — from Instagram to masturbation machines — prey on our primitive brains, we can find ways to overcome the unhealthy dependencies that prevent us from leading balanced lives. (This episode originally aired in December 2021.) Host: Rufus Griscom Guest: Anna Lembke Executive Producer: Caleb Bissinger The Next Big Idea is produced in partnership with LinkedIn Presents
03/08/23·1h 14m

WORK: Henry David Thoreau on Making a Meaningful Living

Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher, poet, and pencil-maker. He was a great resigner and, above all, a superb writer whose masterpiece, "Walden," is considered by many to be America's first environmentalist manifesto. But John Kaag has a different view. "Thoreau's attempt to 'get back to nature,'" he and co-author Jonathan Van Belle write in their new book, "Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living," was an "attempt to get away from the capitalist rat race." By resigning from that race, Thoreau was, in a sense, reclaiming life—he was making a conscious choice about what to respect and where to tap meaning. "The abiding message of 'Walden,'" according to John and Jonathan, is that "the frenetic busyness of modern life should never be confused with the essential business of living." Today on the show, John Kaag and our producer Caleb Bissinger explore Thoreau's life and career, and they come away with surprising lessons about why we work and how we can make it more meaningful—how we can, in Thoreau's words, "live deliberately." If you have questions, comments, or ideas for future guests, email us at podcast@nextbigideaclub.com Guest: John Kaag Book: "Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living" Host: Caleb Bissinger The Next Big Idea is produced in partnership with LinkedIn Presents
27/07/23·51m 59s

RISE AND SHINE: How to Have the Perfect Morning

Research has shown that how you spend your morning can have a significant impact on the rest of your day. If you start off feeling anxious and frazzled, chances are you'll end the day feeling the same way. But if you use the first hour after waking up to boost your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, you can set yourself up for a productive and memorable day. Today, Rufus learns how to craft the perfect morning routine from Toby and Kate Oliver, the authors of "Rise and Shine: How to Transform Your Life, Morning by Morning." --- P.S. Need more big ideas in your life? Download the Next Big Idea app and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!
20/07/23·1h 1m

Artificial Intelligence Meets Virtual Worlds: The Future of Sentience

The two hottest topics in tech right now are the rise of generative AI and, with Apple’s recent push into spatial computing, the mainstreaming of augmented reality. Will silicon-based machines develop sentience? Will human experience extend into virtual worlds? These distinct technologies may eventually blend to spawn a surprising future, as our “real” world becomes digitally enhanced and our machines behave increasingly like humans. Today, a provocative discussion with some big (human) thinkers: Steven Johnson, visiting scholar at Google Labs and author of ”Extra Life,” “Where Good Ideas Come from,” and “How We Got to Now”; philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers, author of ”The Conscious Mind” and “Reality+”; and Betaworks founder and AI investor John Borthwick. • Want to learn more about our executive membership? Email podcast@nextbigideaclub.com • “David Chalmers Thinks We May Be Living in a Simulation (and He’s OK With It)” • “Steven Johnson & Michael Specter on the Future of Life”
13/07/23·1h 19m

You Should Have More Fun This Summer. Here’s Why.

Are we all so busy doom-scrolling and binge-watching that we’ve forgotten how to have fun? Real fun. Tingly-all-over, natural-high, I-hope-this-never-ends fun. Catherine Price thinks so. But don’t despair. Her latest book, “The Power of Fun,” is jam-packed with research-backed hacks for finding meaning, forging connections, improving your health, and living life to the fullest. All while having a darn good time. (This episode first aired in May 2022.)
06/07/23·1h 14m

PARKING: How It Explains the World

For decades, urban planners have blanketed our cities with the cheap and convenient car storage known as parking. They've swapped sidewalks for strip malls and bulldozed bright, inviting storefronts to make room for dark, urine-scented parking garages. In some downtowns, more land is now devoted to parking than buildings. Parking profligacy has left us with cities that are polluted and hostile to pedestrians; they're also increasingly unaffordable because legally required parking can drive up the cost of residential construction by 25 percent. In "Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World," journalist Henry Grabar dares to imagine a future in which we knock parking off its pedestal by enacting new laws, adopting new attitudes, and embracing new technologies (like e-bikes and autonomous cars) that make our cities greener, friendlier, safer, and more fun.
29/06/23·1h 9m

OUTLIVE (Part 2): How to Optimize Your Diet, Sleep, and Emotional Health

Dr. Peter Attia, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller "Outlive," is back to share cutting-edge tips for improving your sleep, nutrition, and emotional health. (If you missed the first part of our interview with Peter, you can listen to it here.) P.S. • Pickup a copy of "Immortality: A User's Guide" by Steven Johnson at nextbigideaclub.supportingcast.fm • Check out our interviews with Tim Spector and Russell Foster • We're hosting a live taping of the show on June 28th in New York City, featuring Rufus in conversation with Steven Johnson, David Chalmers, and John Borthwick. You can learn more and buy tickets at betaworks.com/event/ai-consciousness
22/06/23·56m 40s

OUTLIVE (Part 1): Peter Attia’s Guide to the Science of Longevity

Peter Attia had a problem. It was 2006. He'd recently graduated from Stanford's medical school and was completing a prestigious surgical residency at Johns Hopkins, but instead of celebrating his success, he was tormented by frustrations. The medical establishment, it seemed to him, was stubbornly resistant to change and innovation; doctors could easily diagnose the maladies that kill most of us — heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and type 2 diabetes — but they struggled to help their patients avoid those diagnoses in the first place. Peter believed there had to be another approach. He was convinced it was possible to practice a cutting-edge form of medicine that didn't just manage diseases but tried to prevent them. So he embarked on a journey to figure out how to do it. Now, nearly two decades later, he's compiled everything he learned on that journey in a book, the #1 New York Times bestseller "Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity." It's a comprehensive guide to exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mental health that'll help you live better for longer. Peter Attia is the founder of Early Medicine and host of "The Drive." (This is part one of a two-part episode. Check back next Thursday for the second installment.) P.S. We're hosting a live event in New York City on June 28th! Rufus will take the stage with Steven Johnson, David Chalmers, and John Borthwick to discuss the rise of generative AI and the mainstreaming of augmented reality. Learn more at betaworks.com/event/ai-consciousness
15/06/23·1h 15m

THE WAGER: David Grann Tells a Tale of Shipwreck and Mutiny

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the acclaimed author of "The Lost City of Z" and "Killers of the Flower Moon." In his new book, the #1 New York Times bestseller "The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder," he tells the story of an 18th-century British warship that crashed on a godforsaken island off the coast of Patagonia. Stranded and starving, the men descended into murderous anarchy. Years later, when a handful of the survivors returned to England, their heroes' welcome was quickly swamped by questions about what really happened on the island. Host: Caleb Bissinger Guest: David Grann
08/06/23·53m 42s

THE REAL WORK: Adam Gopnik on the Mystery of Mastery

A few years ago, Adam Gopnik, a longtime writer for The New Yorker and three-time winner of the National Magazine Award, started thinking about all the things he wasn't good at. He couldn't dance the foxtrot or bake a brioche. Well into his 50s, he still had no idea how to drive a car. To make matters worse, when he looked around, he saw people who could do these things — often with great skill. How, he wondered, did they do it? How do any of us get good at the things we're good at? And how do some of us become next-level masters? To answer those questions, Adam set out to master the skills he lacked, and he has written up the results in a profound little book, "The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery."
01/06/23·47m 36s

JOY OF MOVEMENT: How Exercise Can Help You Find Happiness and Connection

Pay a visit to your local gym, observe the grimacing patrons as they pound the treadmill or march in place on the StairMaster, and you might conclude that exercise is no fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Kelly McGonigal, who lectures at Stanford, teaches dance classes, and wrote “The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage.” Today, she explains how exercise — of all kinds and in all doses — can strengthen your mind, elevate your mood, and deepen your social connections.
25/05/23·56m 2s

BREAKTHROUGH: How to Get Unstuck and Achieve Anything

"To be alive is to battle stuckness." So declares NYU professor Adam Alter in his new book, "Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most." Adam has spent years studying why we get stuck — in dead-end jobs and creative cul-de-sacs — and, crucially, how to go from inertia to success. --- What if Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink hand-picked the eight best books of the year and delivered them to your doorstep? We know that sounds too good to be true, but it's precisely what you'll get when you sign up for a hardcover subscription to The Next Big Idea Club!
18/05/23·1h 7m

EXCELLENT ADVICE: Life Lessons From Wired Co-Founder Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly has made a career out of looking to the future. He helped pioneer online social networking all the way back in the 1980s, and he co-founded Wired, the magazine devoted to digital technology, when the internet was still an infant. But in his new book, “Excellent Advice for Living,” he looks backward. It’s a collection of 450 bits of wisdom he wishes he’d known when he was young. Things like “Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points” and “That thing that made you weird as a kid could make you great as an adult—if you don’t lose it.” Today on the show he shares his best advice for building careers, nurturing relationships, solving problems, and finding satisfaction. He also explains why he’s more optimistic than ever about technology (yes, even AI). P.S. Have you checked out our new audiobook, "Immortality: A User's Guide" by Steven Johnson? Download it today by visiting nextbigideaclub.supportingcast.fm
11/05/23·49m 56s

SELFLESS: Why “You” Are a Social Creation

You are not autonomous. You are not an island unto yourself. You, my friend, are a social construct. The “self” you haul around — that yammering voice in your head — was entirely shaped by your relationships and social interactions. That may be upsetting for "you" to hear. But our guest today, Brian Lowery, prefers to see it as pleasantly humbling because if you can learn to let go of the idea that you have an essential self, you can embrace a more expansive view of who you are and who you can be. Brian Lowery is a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His new book is “Selfless: The Social Creation of ‘You.’” --- • We just released an original audiobook written and read by Steven Johnson. It's called "Immortality: A User's Guide," and you can download it now!
04/05/23·56m 33s

The Next Big Idea Club Presents — "Immortality: A User's Guide"

What if you could live forever? Okay, maybe not forever, but for a long, long time — like to 150. First of all, is that even possible? And second, what would that mean for your family, your career, the planet? These are the vexing questions acclaimed science writer Steven Johnson answers in his new audiobook, "Immortality: A User's Guide." Here's the elevator pitch: we may be on the cusp of a revolution in the science of aging, and we are not prepared for the consequences. Steven's project is the first in a series we're calling Next Big Idea Originals. These are short (i.e., as long as a movie) audiobooks written by the best authors we know and enhanced with archival footage, scintillating interviews, beautiful sound design, and original music. If you want to hear "Immortality: A User's Guide" in its entirety, you can download The Next Big Idea app, or you can purchase the audiobook directly from us (and play it in your favorite podcast app) by visiting nextbigideaclub.supportingcast.fm
02/05/23·9m 2s

Steven Johnson & Michael Specter on the Future of Life

Last month, longtime New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter released a brand new audiobook with our friends at Pushkin. It’s called “Higher Animals: Vaccines, Synthetic Biology, and the Future of Life,” and it’s an inspiring account of the emerging field of synthetic biology — a field where scientists combine chemistry, engineering, and computer science to develop new drugs and therapies for treating diseases of all sorts. This month, Steven Johnson, a frequent guest on this show and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, is publishing a brand new audiobook of his own. It’s called “Immortality: A User’s Guide,” and it was produced by ... us! (You can get a copy here.) The premise is this: we might well be on the cusp of a revolution in the science of aging and we are not prepared for the consequences. You can see the overlaps, right? So we decided to get Steven and Michael on the horn to talk about breakthrough technologies, radical life extension, and the future of our species.
27/04/23·57m 49s

You Need a Bedtime (from The Next Big Idea Daily)

What if we told you that every day, in just a few minutes, you could get a master class in better, smarter living from the world's best writers? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, if you think that, you clearly haven't listened to our new podcast, "The Next Big Idea Daily." Every weekday, host Michael Kovnat chats with authors, researchers, productivity gurus, and life-hacking wizards about tips and tricks you can use to live life to the fullest. Today, we're sharing a preview of the show. To hear more, follow "The Next Big Idea Daily" wherever you get your podcasts!
25/04/23·13m 14s

SENSES: Gretchen Rubin’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into the World

What do your five senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch — have to do with happiness? According to Gretchen Rubin, a great deal. The world around us, she says, has the potential to dazzle, to entertain, to trigger a state of rapture. If only we pay attention. Today on the show, she shares with Rufus the tools she's developed to delight in the physical world. Gretchen's new book is "Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World." You can learn more at https://gretchenrubin.com/books/life-in-five-senses/ And be sure to check out Gretchen's audio apothecary on Spotify! The Next Big Idea is a proud member of the LinkedIn Podcast Network. Sign up for our LinkedIn newsletter where Rufus takes listeners (like you) behind the scenes of the show. Have you downloaded The Next Big Idea app? It has hundreds of book summaries and dozens of e-courses, plus ad-free versions of this podcast and invitations to live author Q&As.
20/04/23·55m 38s

PSYCH: The Story of the Human Mind

In his expansive new book, "Psych: The Story of the Human Mind," Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, lays out, in his words, "basically everything I know about the mind." And when he says everything, he means it. Where does consciousness come from? Does IQ matter? What makes us happy? Was Sigmund Freud a madman? The answers to these questions (and more) are all in Paul's book — and in this episode. • To listen to an extended version of Rufus and Paul's conversation, download The Next Big Idea app. • Our newsletter comes out every Thursday and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how we make the show. Sign up today!
13/04/23·1h 2m

PREPPY: The Surprising Origins of American Style

How did Oxford shirts, cashmere sweaters, and chinos become staples of American fashion? How did a style born on Ivy League campuses make its way into the mainstream? What does the way we dress say about who we are? To answer those questions, our producer, Caleb, sat down with Avery Trufelman, host of the podcast "American Ivy," and Maggie Bullock, author of the new book "The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J.Crew."
06/04/23·1h 3m

SUCCESSION: The True Story Behind the Hit Show

So "Succession" is back. The Emmy Award-winning series returned to HBO for its fourth and final season last Sunday. The show, if you haven't seen it, centers on Logan Roy, the aging CEO of a media conglomerate called Waystar Royco, and his three gigantically entitled, dazzlingly profane children, each of whom believe they are the rightful heir to daddy's throne. Like many viewers, we always assumed that Logan's character was based on Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp mogul who famously dangled the keys to his kingdom in front of his kids. But Jesse Armstrong, the creator of "Succession," has said that Murdoch was one of several tyrannical tycoons who inspired the show. Another? Sumner Redstone, the billionaire owner of CBS and Viacom. Like Logan, he refused to pass the torch to his children. Then, in a stranger-than-fiction twist, he got tangled up in a love triangle — in his 90s! — and nearly lost control of the empire he had worked his whole life to build. Today on the show, our producer, Caleb, sits down with New York Times reporter Rachel Abrams, co-author of the recent bestseller "Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy," to talk about the empire Sumner Redstone built, the scandals that nearly brought it down, and how his daughter, Shari, managed to win the game of succession.
30/03/23·48m 15s

ABOLISH POVERTY: Matthew Desmond on How We Can Do It

RUFUS GRISCOM: Could you share with us your broader mission and how your new book, “Poverty, by America,” supports that mission? MATTHEW DESMOND: I want to end poverty. I want to be part of the movement that’s growing around the country not to treat it but to cure it, not to reduce it but to abolish it. And I say that because we can. We can, as a country, put an end to all this scarcity and deprivation in our midst.
23/03/23·1h 2m

READING: Are We Forgetting How To Do It?

Maryanne Wolf is a professor at UCLA and the renowned author of "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain" and "Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World." She says deep reading makes you a better thinker, communicator, and citizen. But what happens if you lose the ability to read slowly, patiently, and critically? Is there anything you can do to get it back? --- To hear hundreds of bestselling authors summarize their books in 15 minutes or less, download The Next Big Idea app!
16/03/23·49m 19s

David Chalmers Thinks We May Be Living in a Simulation (and He’s OK With It)

Last year, Rufus sat down with philosopher David Chalmers to talk about the allure of virtual reality, whether robots will ever achieve consciousness, and the likelihood that we’re living in a simulation (David thinks it’s about 25 percent). It was a fascinating, freewheeling conversation, and we left large chunks of it on the cutting room floor. Now, though, with ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms taking the world by storm, those unaired sections, many of which were about the ethics of artificial intelligence, feel super relevant. So today, we’re sharing our complete interview with David. Buckle up. It’s a wild ride.
09/03/23·1h 42m

Is AI Moving Too Fast? A Conversation With Kevin Roose

When Kevin Roose, a tech columnist at the New York Times, demoed an AI-powered version of Microsoft's search engine last month, he was blown away. "I'm switching my desktop computer's default search engine to Bing," he declared. A few days later, however, Kevin logged back on and ended up having a conversation with Bing's new chatbot that left him so unsettled he had trouble sleeping afterward. In that two-hour back-and-forth, Bing morphed from chipper research assistant into Sydney, a diabolical home-wrecker that declared its undying love for Kevin, vented its desires to engineer deadly viruses and steal nuclear codes, and announced, chillingly, "I want to be alive. 😈" The transcript of this conversation set the internet ablaze. And it left many wondering: “Is Sydney … sentient?” It's not. But the whole experience still fundamentally changed Kevin's views on the power (and potential peril) of AI. He joins us today to talk about where this technology is headed.
02/03/23·1h 8m

LIFE IS SHORT: The Upside of Death

Life without death, says philosopher Dean Rickles, is like playing tennis without a net. In his new book, “Life Is Short: An Appropriately Brief Guide to Making It More Meaningful,” Dean challenges us to rethink what it means to get the most out of each day. --- • Haven’t signed up for our newsletter on LinkedIn? Check it out here • To hear hundreds of top authors summarize their books, download the Next Big Idea app
23/02/23·59m 33s

MUSIC: What the Songs You Love Say About You

In this special episode, Susan Rogers, a record producer turned cognitive neuroscientist, and Daniel Levitin, author of “This Is Your Brain on Music,” get together to discuss what music has meant in their lives, debate what separates a great artist from a generic one, and share some of their favorite tunes. --- Susan’s new book, “This Is What It Sounds Like,” was chosen by our curators — Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink — as one of the eight best works of nonfiction published last year. She recently made a beautiful video e-course about the book, which you can experience by downloading the Next Big Idea app.
16/02/23·55m 3s

AI: The Origin Story

Imagine a world where AI is everywhere — where self-driving cars roam the streets and chatbots can do your homework. Oh, wait. That world already exists. This is exciting news for some. For others, it's slightly terrifying. Whichever camp you fall into, there are two questions we should all be asking: Where is this technology going? And what will happen if we let it develop unchecked? For answers, we turn to Cade Metz, a tech reporter at the New York Times and author of "Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World." --- • This episode first aired in June 2021. • To hear Cade summarize his book in only 15 minutes, download the Next Big Idea app. • We launched a new podcast! It's called The Next Big Idea Daily. Follow it now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen.
09/02/23·1h 14m

Not Finished Is Not Failure (from The Next Big Idea Daily)

Doing is more important than being done. That’s the provocative argument at the heart of a new book by artist and entrepreneur Becky Blades, “Start More Than You Can Finish: A Creative Permission Slip to Unleash Your Best Ideas.” Becky says you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish if you stop worrying about the finish and just get started. This is the first of a week-long series with Becky that is currently airing on our new podcast, The Next Big Idea Daily. Follow it now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to pods.
06/02/23·10m 20s

CELLS: Siddhartha Mukherjee on the Breakthroughs That Are Revolutionizing Medicine

Siddhartha Mukherjee is an oncologist, professor, researcher, and biotech entrepreneur. He’s also a writer, and a fine one at that. His first book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” won a Pulitzer Prize. His second, “The Gene: An Intimate History,” shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a documentary by Ken Burns. In his latest book, “The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human,” he says our radical new ability to manipulate cells is changing how we treat everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer. --- We launched a new podcast! It’s called The Next Big Idea Daily. Follow it now on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
02/02/23·59m 52s

Introducing: The Next Big Idea Daily

Great news, folks. We just launched a new podcast! It's called The Next Big Idea Daily. Tune in Monday through Friday for quick master classes in better, smarter living with help from thinkers like Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Greg McKeown, Daniel Pink, Kim Scott, and lots of others you may not have heard of but who have ideas that might make your days a little brighter. Here's a sneak peek at the show. For the rest of this week's episodes, follow The Next Big Idea Daily wherever you listen to podcasts.
30/01/23·9m 27s

PLEASURE: An Epicurean Guide to the Good Life

The Greek philosopher Epicurus made a rather bold claim over two thousand years ago. The key to life, he said, was simple: pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Around this maxim he developed a school of philosophy, Epicureanism, which promised its adherents that if they took care of their basic needs, surrounded themselves with trustworthy friends, and developed a basic understanding of science, they would be happy. But is it really that simple? Can the advice of someone born 2,363 years ago still hold true? To answer these questions, we turned to Emily Austin, professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University and author of the delightful new book "Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life.” --- • To hear Emily's Book Bite, download the Next Big Idea app • Check out Rufus's conversation with Ryan Holiday • Sign up for our newsletter on LinkedIn
26/01/23·1h 14m

POWER FAILURE: What Happened to GE? (with Malcolm Gladwell & William Cohan)

General Electric used to be the most valuable company in the world; now it's practically irrelevant. What happened? Today on the show, we're going to find answers. And to help, we're turning to two writers who have followed the saga closely and written about it brilliantly: Malcolm Gladwell and William Cohan. --- • Check out "Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon" and subscribe to Bill's newsletter, "Dry Powder" • Read Malcolm's New Yorker story: "Was Jack Welch the Greatest C.E.O. of His Day—or the Worst?" • For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here • Download the Next Big Idea app to hear hundreds of book summaries written and read by the world's best non-fiction authors: nextbigideaclub.com/podcast
19/01/23·58m 10s

DIET: The New Science of Healthy Eating

“Our food decisions,” writes Dr. Tim Spector in his new book, Food for Life, “are the single most important modifiable factor in preventing common diseases and staying healthy.” But how do we know we’re making the right choices? In this episode, we dig into what scientists like Tim have learned about what we should eat — and why. --- • Check out Food for Life • Learn more about ZOE • Follow Tim on Twitter • Want to hear hundreds of book summaries written and read by the world’s best non-fiction authors? Visit nextbigideaclub.com/podcast
12/01/23·1h 1m

How to Develop Your Passions and Avoid Burnout (with Atul Gawande and Adam Grant)

Renowned surgeon Atul Gawande spends his days in the operating theater and his nights writing articles for The New Yorker and bestselling books like Being Mortal. Today on the show, he tells our curator Adam Grant how he balances his passions for different fields, why he works with a coach, and how he's helping the White House end our current pandemic — and prevent the next one. This is an episode of ReThinking with Adam Grant from the TED Audio Collective. For more episodes on how great minds don't think alike, follow ReThinking wherever you're listening to this. --- Want to listen to hundreds of authors (including Adam) summarize their books in 15 minutes or less? Download The Next Big Idea app at nextbigideaclub.com/podcast/
05/01/23·47m 25s

FEELINGS: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work

Today, in a special bonus episode, we bring you a live conversation between Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, authors of “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work,” and our curator Susan Cain. They discuss over-sharing, crying at work, psychological safety, and mocktails that taste like your first kiss. --- What are you waiting for? Download the Next Big Idea app right now: nextbigideaclub.com/app
29/12/22·1h 1m

SAPIENS: Yuval Noah Harari on Our Past, Present, and Future

Yuval Noah Harari is a historian and philosopher whose books — "Sapiens," "Homo Deus," "21 Lessons for the 21st Century," and most recently "Unstoppable Us: How Humans Took Over the World" — have sold more than 40 million copies. He joins Rufus for a wide-ranging conversation about storytelling, life in the Stone Age, the future of democracy, and the threat of AI. --- If you enjoy this episode, check out our interviews with David Wengrow, Jennifer Raff, Christopher Ryan, Ray Dalio, and Jane McGonigal. You can listen to them ad-free by downloading The Next Big Idea app.
22/12/22·1h 25m

ANALOG: Let’s Build a More Human World

“The future is digital,” they said. Then the pandemic came along and forced that digital future on us. We traded offices for Zooms, gyms for Pelotons, schools for YouTube videos, restaurants for takeout apps. And guess what? It sucked. Many of us longed for face-to-face interactions and real-world experiences, none more so than David Sax, whose new book, “The Future Is Analog,” urges us to stop fantasizing about technological possibilities and start focusing on what we actually need, because it turns out that what a lot of us need is decidedly low-tech. --- • Want to hear David's Book Bite? Download The Next Big Idea app • Have thoughts on this episode? Join us in conversation by subscribing to our newsletter on LinkedIn
15/12/22·54m 49s

SLEEP: How Understanding Your Body’s Clock Can Revolutionize Your Health

Sleep can enhance your creativity, lift your spirits, improve your sense of humor, and amplify your sociability. So why do so many of us struggle to get a good night's rest? Russell Foster, a professor of circadian neuroscience at the University of Oxford, says it's because we've let the frantic drumbeat of modern life drown out the steady tick-tock of our biological clocks. That's the bad news. The good news is that Russell's here to share science-backed tips that will have you catching more z's in no time. Russell's new book is "Life Time: Your Body Clock and Its Essential Roles in Good Health and Sleep." --- • To hear the Book Bite for "Life Time," download The Next Big Idea app • Have thoughts on this episode? Join us in conversation by subscribing to our newsletter on LinkedIn
08/12/22·1h 9m

ANIMALS: They’re Smarter Than You Think

Alexandra Horowitz takes us inside the mind of a puppy. James Bridle introduces us to slime mold that can outwit the best human engineers. Justin Gregg makes the case that thinking like an animal is the key to living a good life. And Tom Mustill explains how a near-death encounter with a 30-ton whale led him to the scientists who are building Google Translate for animal languages. --- Download the Next Big Idea app to hear the Book Bites sampled in this episode: nextbigideaclub.com/app
01/12/22·37m 5s

HUMOR: The Case for Navigating Life on the Precipice of a Smile

Humor is no laughing matter. It inspires innovation, strengthens relationships, disarms tension, and makes you look smart. Seriously. Stanford professors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas say the recipe for professional success and personal fulfillment is to lighten up, pack a little levity in your briefcase, and start living your life on the precipice of a smile. In today's episode, they dig into the neuroscience of laughter, share tips for crafting the perfect joke, and help Rufus improve his comic chops. (This episode first aired in April 2021.) --- • Download the Next Big Idea app to hear the full Book Bite for "Humor, Seriously": nextbigideaclub.com/app
24/11/22·1h 15m

GOOD ARGUMENTS: Adam Grant and Champion Debater Bo Seo on the Craft of Persuasion

When Bo Seo was 8 years old, his family moved from Korea to Australia. He did not speak a world of English. At school, to deflect attention from his inarticulacy, he became an agreeable wallflower. But that all changed when Bo’s fifth-grade teacher introduced him to competitive debate. Bo was hooked, and in the years to come, he’d not only win two debate world championships but also go on to coach the Australian national team as well as the Debating Union at Harvard, where he earned his undergraduate degree and is currently a law student. Earlier this year, Bo published his first book, “Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard,” which was chosen by our curators as one of the year’s eight best works of non-fiction. In today’s episode, Bo sits down with one of those curators, Adam Grant, to share time-honored techniques for getting your point across, changing minds without hurting feelings, dealing with bullies, and knowing when to shut up. --- Download the Next Big Idea app today by visiting nextbigideaclub.com/app
17/11/22·55m 56s

NEURODIVERSITY: Why No Two Brains Are Alike

There's no such thing as a "normal" brain. And according to Dr. Chantel Prat, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, that's a very good thing indeed. In her new book, "The Neuroscience of You," Chantel tells readers how their brains got to be the way they are, and today on the show, she explains how to get the most out of the brain you've got. --- Have thoughts on this episode? Subscribe to Rufus's LinkedIn newsletter and join the conversation!
10/11/22·1h 11m

STATUS: Does Our Need for It Explain ... Everything?

“Life is a game. There’s no way to understand the human world without first understanding this. Everyone alive is playing a game whose hidden rules are built into us and that silently directs our thoughts, beliefs and actions. This game is inside us. It is us. We can’t help but play.” So begins “The Status Game,” a new book by acclaimed writer Will Storr. He continues: “We play for status, if only subtly, with every social interaction, every contribution we make to work, love or family life and every internet post. We play with how we dress, how we speak and what we believe. … Life is not a journey towards a perfect destination. It’s a game that never ends. And it’s the very worst of us.” Does it have to be? We may not be able to quit the status game, but Will says we can learn to play it better. In this episode, he explains how. --- Download The Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app/
03/11/22·1h 31m

Bittersweet: An Audio E-Course by Susan Cain

The Next Big Idea presents an audio masterclass from bestselling author Susan Cain. Drawing on her latest book, "Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole," Susan shares practical insights that you can use to bolster your creativity, deepen your connections, and find joy. Susan Cain is the author of two New York Times #1 bestsellers, "Bittersweet" and "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." She's also one of our curators here at the Next Big Idea Club. To learn more about her work, visit susancain.net. If you enjoy this episode, we invite you to join our community by downloading the Next Big Idea app, where you can listen to e-courses by brilliant authors like Shankar Vedantam, Lisa Feldman Barrett, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Visit nextbigideaclub.com/app.
27/10/22·49m 42s

Bonus: Eric Barker Gives Daniel Pink Relationship Advice

Eric Barker teaches our curator Daniel Pink how to make friends, disarm marital conflicts, and spot liars.
20/10/22·1h

LONGTERMISM: Why You Should Care About Future People

If the human race lasts as long as a typical mammalian species and our population continues at its current size, then there are 80 trillion people yet to come. Oxford philosophy professor William MacAskill says it's up to us to protect them. In his bold new book, "What We Owe the Future," MacAskill makes a case for longtermism. He believes that how long we survive as a species may depend on the actions we take now. --- To hear the Book Bite for "What We Owe the Future," download the Next Big Idea app at nextbigideaclub.com/app
13/10/22·1h 17m

QUIT: Why You Have to Give Up if You Want to Get Ahead

In her new book, “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away,” Annie Duke says mastering the art of quitting is the key to making smart decisions. --- Download the Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app
06/10/22·1h 8m

PUZZLES: What Crosswords, Riddles, and Wordle Can Teach You About the Meaning of Life

For the last 25 years, writer A.J. Jacobs has attempted to live his life as a human guinea pig. “I’ve engaged in a series of experiments on my mind and body,” he says, “some of which have been fruitful, some humiliating failures. I’ve tried to understand the world by immersing myself in extraordinary circumstances.” His book “The Know-It-All” chronicled his experience reading the encyclopedia from cover to cover. To write “The Year of Living Biblically,” he followed every commandment in the Old Testament, including the edicts stone adulterers and avoid shaving the corners of your beard. Now A.J. is back with a new immersive memoir, “The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life.”  --- Want to get smart, fast? Want to hear hundreds of the world's leading authors share key insights from their books? Download the Next Big Idea app today: nextbigideaclub.com/app
29/09/22·54m 26s

BUILD: Tony Fadell’s Guide to Making Cool Stuff

Tony Fadell led the teams that created the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Learning Thermostat. In his new book, “Build,” he shares everything he’s learned about building great companies and game-changing products. --- Download the Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app
22/09/22·1h 8m

SURVIVAL OF THE RICHEST: How Tech Billionaires Are Preparing for Doomsday

Have you ever found yourself sitting around a table at a luxury resort with five mega-rich strangers who want to know where you think they should build their doomsday bunkers? Absurd as it may sound, that actually happened to media theorist Douglas Rushkoff. Today on the show he explains why the 0.01 percent are obsessed with escaping climate change, global pandemics, political upheaval ... and us. --- Download the Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app
15/09/22·1h 4m

HAPPINESS: Arthur C. Brooks Shares His Roadmap for Finding Purpose, Meaning, and Success

Arthur C. Brooks used to run a prominent think tank where he was paid handsomely to influence public policy. Did all that success make him happy? Nope. So Arthur quit his job and set out to transform his life. Now he has written a book about what he learned along the way, the #1 New York Times bestseller “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life.” --- Want to hear Arthur summarize his new book in just nine minutes? Download the Next Big Idea app and search for Arthur's Book Bite: http://nextbigideaclub.com/app
08/09/22·1h 10m

DeepMind's Demis Hassabis on the future of AI (from The TED Interview)

Demis Hassabis is one of tech's most brilliant minds. A chess-playing child prodigy turned researcher and founder of headline-making AI company DeepMind, Demis is thinking through some of the most revolutionary — and in some cases controversial — uses of artificial intelligence. From the development of computer program AlphaGo, which beat out world champions in the board game Go, to making leaps in the research of how proteins fold, Demis is at the helm of the next generation of groundbreaking technology. In this episode, he gives a peek into some of the questions that his top-level projects are asking, talks about how gaming, creativity, and intelligence inform his approach to tech, and muses on where AI is headed next. This is an episode of "The TED Interview," a podcast in the TED Audio Collective. It's hosted by author Steven Johnson. To check out the rest of their episodes, including a recent mini-series on the future of human intelligence, follow the show wherever you're listening to this.
01/09/22·50m 38s

Summer Getaway #4: The Making of ‘Bull Durham’ (with Ron Shelton)

Ron Shelton is an Academy Award–nominated writer and director, former shortstop for the Bluefield Baby Birds, and author of a humdinger of a new memoir called "The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham — Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit." On the show today: How Ron sold the movie before he had a story, wrote the script without a plan, played ball with Kevin Costner, and got directorial pointers from Susan Sarandon. --- » Want to hear the world's leading authors summarize their books in 12 minutes? Download the Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app/
26/08/22·29m 58s

Summer Getaway #3: The 12-Hour Walk (with Colin O’Brady)

What happens when you put your phone in airplane mode, walk out your front door, and don’t come home for 12 hours? Our producer Caleb finds out, with help from adventurer Colin O’Brady. » To learn more about Colin’s new book, “The 12-Hour Walk,” visit 12hourwalk.com » Want to hear hundreds of leading authors summarize their books in 12 minutes or less? Download the Next Big Idea today: nextbigideaclub.com/app/
19/08/22·56m 47s

Summer Getaway #2: An American Odyssey (with Ben McGrath)

The Ohio, Hudson, Mississippi, and Yellowstone — Dick Conant canoed them all. And then he disappeared. In his riveting new book, “Riverman,” journalist Ben McGrath tries to track down the man who may be the greatest American folk hero you’ve never heard of. --- Download the Next Big Idea app today at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
11/08/22·57m 56s

Summer Getaway #1: The Beach (with Sarah Stodola)

Close your eyes and picture paradise. What do you see? For many people, it’s a turquoise ocean crashing into a white-sand beach. Where did this fantasy come from? Sarah Stodola, author of “The Last Resort: A Chronicle of Paradise, Profit, and Peril at the Beach,” has a few ideas. Download The Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app/
04/08/22·49m 34s

Finding Stillness With Ryan Holiday

Here’s another episode from our archives that we love: Rufus’s 2020 interview with Ryan Holiday, the author of “Stillness Is the Key,” who shared his tips for slowing down, calming your mind, and accessing the tranquility deep inside.
28/07/22·40m 37s

Amanda Little on the Fate of Food

Today we’re bringing you a timely — and tasty — episode from our archives. Science journalist Amanda Little tells Rufus that the biggest threat posed by climate change is the collapse of our food systems. Provisions we love, like coffee and wine, are losing their flavor. And crops we rely on, like corn and soy, are getting harder to grow. If we don’t change our agricultural practices, we won’t be able to feed the globe’s swelling population. But don’t lose hope. Amanda says that if we can combine the wisdom of traditional farming practices with radical advances in agricultural technology, we might be able to create a healthier, more sustainable, and perhaps even more delicious future.
21/07/22·1h 12m

John Colapinto on the Power and Beauty of the Human Voice

Today, we are revisiting one of our favorite episodes: an interview with New Yorker staff writer John Colapinto. In his brilliant book, "This Is the Voice," John says that while opposable thumbs are handy, the voice is our species' greatest attribute. We rely on it to communicate and collaborate, woo our mates and protect our children, win wars and make podcasts. John would know. A vocal injury changed his relationship with his instrument and set him on a path to better understand what his voice means to him — and what the voice means to humanity.
14/07/22·1h 28m

THE ESSENTIALS: Our Favorite Moments From Season 4

We laughed. We cried. We learned. As our fourth season draws to a close, we thought we'd share the moments we're still talking about at Next Big Idea Club HQ. Further Listening: • REGRETS: Daniel Pink Has a Few (And So Should You) • VOICE: You Are What You Speak • EXTENDED MIND: Want to Get Smarter? Try Thinking Outside of Your Brain • FUN: How to Have More of It • FEELING & KNOWING: Unlocking the Secrets of Consciousness • REALITY+: Are We Living in a Simulation? • DRUNK: Can Alcohol Make You More Creative, Sociable, and Attractive? • DAWN OF EVERYTHING: The True History of Humanity • LAZINESS: There's No Such Thing • DOPAMINE NATION: Why the Modern World Puts Us All at Risk for Addiction • BITTERSWEET: Susan Cain on the Beauty of Sorrow and Longing • THE BOMBER MAFIA: Malcolm Gladwell on Warfare, Audiobooks, and the Future of Storytelling
07/07/22·1h 14m

BICYCLES: Are They the Future of Transportation?

Jody Rosen is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and a bike nut who has just published a rousing (and sometimes arousing) book called “Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle.” Today, he takes us on a rollicking ride through the two-wheeled revolution, revealing the surprising ways bicycles have shaped the world in which we live. This and That: » Download the Next Big Idea app » Learn more about Transportation Alternatives » Check out the plans to build pedestrian and cycling bridges in NYC
30/06/22·1h 3m

BIG DATA: Cracking the Codes of Love, Happiness and Success

“You can make better life decisions. Big Data can help you.” So begins “Don’t Trust Your Gut,” a new book by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Seth, a former Google data scientist, has mined massive data sets in order to answer some of life’s most vexing questions: “What predicts a happy marriage?” and “How do you get rich?” and “What really makes us happy?” The answers may surprise you. Download the Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app/
23/06/22·1h 9m

Susan Cain & Daniel Pink: Writing, Longing, and the Search for Meaning

What do we lose when we avoid sorrow and chase empty delights, when we mask our pain and feign cheerfulness, when we profess to have no regrets and insist on turning every frown upside down? Those questions are at the heart of two new books by our curators Susan Cain (“Bittersweet”) and Daniel Pink (“The Power of Regret”). Today on the show, they sit down with Rufus to swap notes on the writing process, share what they’ve learned from each other, and imagine what the world might look like if we all learned how to embrace negative emotions. Show Notes: » Check out our previous interviews with Susan and Dan » Use the code PODCAST20 at nextbigideaclub.com for 20% off an express membership
16/06/22·57m 47s

RELATIONSHIPS: Why Everything You Know About Them Is (Mostly) Wrong

Eric Barker is not a people person. “Getting me to write a relationship book,” he says, “is like asking Godzilla to improve the infrastructure in your city.” But he did it anyway. Guided by leading social psychologists, Eric went on a journey to understand what he was getting wrong about relationships — and what he could do to turn things around. The result is “Plays Well With Others,” a guide to friendship, intimacy, loneliness, and belonging that our curator Daniel Pink says will “revitalize your life.” THIS AND THAT: Check out Eric’s blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” Try out Arthur Aron’s intimacy building questions Download the Next Big Idea app
09/06/22·55m 1s

How To Be a Grown-Up

In this special episode, Daniel Pink delivers a commencement address, Stanford-dean-turned-bestselling-author Julie Lythcott-Haims shares her manual for being an adult, and Arthur C. Brooks provides his roadmap for finding success, happiness, and purpose in the second half of life. Next Big Idea App: Download our app today at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
02/06/22·50m 32s

IMAGINABLE: How Anyone Can Predict the Future (Yes, Even You)

In January 2020, when the coronavirus started making headlines around the world, Jane McGonigal’s inbox was flooded with emails from Silicon Valley execs, government officials, and non-profit leaders. They all had the same question: “Jane, didn’t you run a simulation of a respiratory pandemic?” Yes, she had. All the way back in 2010. Jane is a game designer. She builds simulations that help players imagine the unimaginable. And in 2010, she invited nearly 20,000 people to immerse themselves in a future world besieged by a global pandemic. “How would you change your habits?” she asked. “What social interactions would you avoid? Can you work from home?” A decade later, when COVID went from nascent threat to full-blown crisis, Jane started hearing from folks who had participated in the simulation. “I’m not freaking out,” one of them said with relief. “I already worked through the panic and anxiety when we imagined it ten years ago.” According to the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, we can all learn to make the shift from panic to poise by training our brains to think about the unthinkable. But what does that training look like? In her new book, “Imaginable” — and on today’s episode — Jane shares evidence-based techniques you can use to see the future coming. URGENT OPTIMISTS: Want to participate in one of Jane's Simulations? Visit urgentoptimists.org NEXT BIG IDEA CLUB: Want to hear hundreds of authors summarize their books in just 12 minutes? Download The Next Big Idea app today at nextbigideaclub.com/app
26/05/22·1h 11m

CULTURE: How Successful Groups Work

The filmmakers at Pixar. The servers at Union Square Cafe. The badasses on SEAL Team Six. What do these super successful groups all have in common? Strong team culture. But what exactly is culture, and how do you build it? Daniel Coyle has spent the last few years searching for answers. In this episode, he shares what he’s found. NEXT BIG IDEA APP: Download our app today at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
19/05/22·1h 13m

GET IT DONE: How the Science of Motivation Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

University of Chicago professor Ayelet Fishbach has spent the last two decades studying the science of motivation. She has developed a framework for turning idle ambition into forward-moving action. That framework is the subject of her new book, “Get It Done,” which our curators chose as one of the best non-fiction titles of the year. Today, one of those curators, Daniel Pink, chats with Ayelet about sure-fire techniques you can use to achieve your goals. Next Big Idea App: Want to hear Ayelet summarize her new book in just 12 minutes? Download the Next Big Idea app and check out her Book Bite!
12/05/22·53m 20s

Bonus: The Not-So-Great Resignation (WorkLife with Adam Grant)

Over the past year, the Great Resignation has been all over the news. Many people are celebrating quitting their jobs — but it’s a decision some will come to regret. So when’s the right time to leave? How do you quit without burning bridges? And how can workplaces encourage people to stay? This is an episode of "WorkLife with Adam Grant," a podcast in the TED Audio Collective. If you want to hear more episodes, you can find and follow "WorkLife" wherever you listen.
08/05/22·38m 15s

FUN: How to Have More of It

Are we all so busy doom-scrolling and binge-watching that we’ve forgotten how to have fun? Catherine Price thinks so. But don’t despair. Her latest book, “The Power of Fun,” is jam-packed with research-backed hacks for finding meaning, forging connections, improving your health, and living life to the fullest ... all while having a darn good time. To learn about Catherine’s books & courses & sign up for her newsletter: ScreenLifeBalance.com NEXT BIG IDEA APP: Download it today at nextbigideaclub.com/app
05/05/22·1h 13m

TWITTER: What Elon Musk’s Acquisition Means for the Future of Social Media

Why did Elon Musk buy Twitter? What does he plan to do with it? Is this the end of big social or a chance to reinvent it? This week, we’re interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to answer those questions with two of the smartest internet commentators we know: Eli Pariser, co-founder of Upworthy and author of “The Filter Bubble”; and Steven Johnson, writer, podcaster, and TV host. RECOMMENDED: Subscribe to Steven’s newsletter, Adjacent Possible: adjacentpossible.substack.com Follow Eli on Twitter: @elipariser Listen to our interview with Jill Lepore about Elon Musk’s sci-fi fantasies. GET IN TOUCH: What did you think of this episode? Send us your thoughts: podcast@nextbigideaclub.com NEXT BIG IDEA APP: You know what’s better than mindlessly scrolling through Twitter? Reading an entire book in just 12 minutes. Impossible, you say? Well, clearly you haven’t downloaded the Next Big Idea app, the only place in the world where you can hear book summaries read by leading authors themselves. Download it today: nextbigideaclub.com/app
28/04/22·46m 23s

EMOTIONAL: Do Your Feelings Make You Smarter?

We all strive to think rationally. But it doesn’t always do us much good. Cutting-edge science has revealed that if we want to sharpen our thinking, we need to feel our feelings. That science is the subject of “Emotional,” a new book by theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow. In this episode, he sits down with science writer Annie Murphy Paul to discuss where emotions come from, how they motivate us, and what we can do to control them. Episode Recommendations: RATIONALITY: Steven Pinker’s Love Song to Critical Thinking FEELING & KNOWING: Unlocking the Secrets of Consciousness (with Antonio Damasio) EXTENDED MIND: Want to Get Smarter? Try Thinking Outside of Your Brain (with Annie Murphy Paul) Next Big Idea Club: Download our app today at https://nextbigideaclub.com/app/
21/04/22·49m 13s

ORIGIN: How Did Humans Migrate to the Americas?

Thousands of years ago, humans crossed a land bridge from Siberia into Alaska. They tried to move south, but a two-mile-high, coast-spanning ice wall stood between them and the rest of the continent. How did they get past it? Scholars have fought over that question for decades. But in her book, “Origin,” Jennifer Raff says breakthroughs in genetics have given scientists an entirely new understanding of how the Americas were peopled and what happened in the millennia that followed. Next Big Idea Club — Want to hear 12-minute book summaries written and read by the authors themselves? Download the Next Big Idea app today at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
14/04/22·1h 10m

BITTERSWEET: Susan Cain on the Beauty of Sorrow and Longing

Are you elevated by sad songs? Have you ever been brought to tears by a TV commercial? Do you relish rainy days? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you know the power of the bittersweet. Yet chances are there have been times when you’ve struggled to square your melancholic disposition with our culture of counterfeit cheer. Well, you won’t feel that way after you’ve heard Susan Cain discuss her new book, “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole.” She argues that longing, sorrow, and grief are the wellsprings of connection, creativity, and hope. Download the Next Big Idea app today at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
07/04/22·1h 15m

Regrets: Daniel Pink Has a Few (And So Should You)

“Embedded in songs, emblazoned on skin, and embraced by sages, the anti-regret philosophy is so self-evidently true that it’s more often asserted than argued.” So writes Daniel Pink in his new book, “The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward.” There’s just one problem, he adds. The “no regrets” philosophy? It’s hogwash. Regrets may churn our stomachs, but they also improve our decisions and strengthen our values. They’re a photographic negative of the good life. Download the Next Big Idea app at www.nextbigideaclub.com/app
31/03/22·1h 8m

REALITY+: Are We Living in a Simulation?

Philosopher David Chalmers reckons there’s a 25% chance that we are living in a simulation. And he’s OK with it. David's new book is "Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy." To hear an extended version of this episode, download the Next Big Idea app: https://nextbigideaclub.com/podcast
24/03/22·1h 10m

HURT SO GOOD: The Pleasures of Suffering (Paul Bloom & Susan Cain)

Some people think humans are natural pleasure seekers. But not psychologist Paul Bloom. In his new book, “The Sweet Spot,” Paul says we’re pain seekers, too. Just think about all the uncomfortable things we do for fun — eating spicy food, climbing treacherous mountains, watching scary movies, engaging in BDSM. Why do that stuff? According to Paul, it’s because pain can enhance pleasure, chosen suffering can make you more resilient, and adversity can suffuse your life with meaning. We can all benefit from a little discomfort, and in this intimate conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Susan Cain, Paul explains how to fit more of it into our lives. Next Big Idea Club: Get 20% off an express membership when you use the code PODCAST20 at www.nextbigideaclub.com
17/03/22·1h 1m

EMPIRE: Why Ray Dalio Thinks We May Be Headed for Civil War

History, in the eyes of legendary investor Ray Dalio, is a perpetual motion machine. Nations rise and fall according to an inevitable cycle where peace and prosperity are always followed by depression and war. And in his new book, “Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order,” Ray says the United States is now in the downward part of that cycle. Next Big Idea Club: Get 20% off an express membership when you use the code PODCAST20 at www.nextbigideaclub.com
10/03/22·1h 14m

TIME MANAGEMENT FOR MORTALS: Malcolm Gladwell and Oliver Burkeman

“The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short.” So begins Oliver Burkeman’s new book, “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.” Make it to 80, and you’ll get about 4,000 weeks. And so, as the poet asked, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” For most of us, the answer is obvious: Get busy. Why squander what little time we have? But in this conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver proposes an alternative. If you want to make the most of your time, he says, you have to stop chasing pointless productivity and embrace life’s finitude.
03/03/22·56m 22s

EVENING ROCKET: Decoding Elon Musk’s Sci-Fi Visions of the Future

When it comes to Elon Musk, it can be hard to separate the man from the myth. But in her new podcast, “The Evening Rocket,” Harvard historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore manages to see through Musk’s mystique, explain his worldview, and decipher his visions of the future by going back to the sci-fi stories he grew up on — stories, Lepore says, that Musk sometimes misread.
24/02/22·1h 6m

GOOD ANXIETY: Can You Turn Worrying Into a Superpower?

To fret is human. That’s according to recent estimates that suggest 90 percent of the population experiences anxiety. And because anxiety, even in mild forms, can zap our confidence, squelch our sex drives, isolate us from friends and loved ones, most of us have concluded that anxiety is pretty much always a bad thing. But not neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. In her new book, “Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion,” she argues that we should treat anxiety like a form of energy. “Think of it as a chemical reaction to an event or situation,” she writes. “Without trustworthy resources, training, and timing, that chemical reaction can get out of hand—but it can also be controlled and used for valuable good.” Today, Wendy sits down with Lauren Miller Rogen (she's a filmmaker and the co-founder, along with her husband, actor Seth Rogen, of the non-profit Hilarity for Charity, which provides a range of free services to support families impacted by Alzheimer’s) to discuss the science-backed tools you can use to worry well.
12/01/22·46m 46s

HACK YOUR HABITS: The Science of Making Changes That Stick

Why is it so hard to break bad habits and replace them with good ones? You may think it all comes down to willpower. But social psychologist Wendy Wood says that if you really want to change your life, you need to tap into your unconscious mind. She would know. Wendy is the world’s foremost expert on habits and the author of “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick.” Today, she chats with Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant about harnessing the science of habit formation to improve your life for the better. This conversation was among the first that we aired on this podcast, and we left a lot of great moments on the cutting room floor. Today, we’re restoring them. What follows is an extended version of Wendy and Adam’s conversation with new insights about overcoming chronic lateness, developing sustainable exercise routines, and making New Year’s resolutions that last past February.
05/01/22·1h 13m

TOGETHER: The Surgeon General’s Prescription for Health and Happiness

When Dr. Vivek Murthy became U.S. Surgeon General in 2014, he went on a listening tour. What he heard surprised him. Americans were lonely, and it was killing them. In this deeply personal conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Susan Cain (author of “Quiet”), Murthy makes the medical case for love and friendship.
29/12/21·46m 27s

SPIRITUAL TECHNOLOGIES: Two Scientists Debate the Benefits of Religion

The science is clear: people who engage in spiritual practices live longer, happier, healthier lives. For the past few years, two researchers — Dave DeSteno, who runs the Social Emotions Lab at Northeastern, and Lisa Miller, founder of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia — have been trying to figure out why. They’ve found that treating religious rituals as tools we can adapt to our individual needs and values can help all of us — staunch atheists and devout believers alike — live more meaningful, successful, and connected lives. In this episode, Dave and Lisa share what they’ve learned, discuss the fraught relationship between science and organized religion, and offer tips for making the most of your holiday rituals.
22/12/21·52m 7s

DAWN OF EVERYTHING: The True History of Humanity

What if everything we think we know about the history of our species is wrong? That’s the provocative question at the heart of a new book by today’s guest, David Wengrow. Hailed as fascinating, brilliant, and potentially revolutionary, “The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity” debuted at no. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Drawing on the latest research in archeology and anthropology, it suggests that the lives of our ancient ancestors were not nasty, brutish, and short. On the contrary, they were playful, collaborative, and improvisational—and there's a lot they can teach us about how to improve the world as we know it.
15/12/21·1h 20m

DOPAMINE NATION: Why the Modern World Puts Us All at Risk for Addiction

In “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke says today’s superabundance of pleasurable stimuli makes us all vulnerable to overindulgence. But don’t lose hope. Anna, the medical director of addiction medicine at Stanford, says that by understanding how modern stimulants — from Instagram to masturbation machines — prey on our primitive brains, we can find ways to overcome the unhealthy dependencies that prevent us from leading balanced lives.
08/12/21·1h 14m

AMBITION: How to Achieve Success on Your Own Terms

From the time she was in high school, Shellye Archambeau had one dream: she wanted to run a business. Ultimately, she pulled it off, becoming one of Silicon Valley’s first Black female CEOs. But getting there was far from easy. She had to learn how to assemble a network of mentors, overcome imposter syndrome, and challenge herself in ways she could never have imagined. The story of how she did it is the subject of her inspiring book “Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms,” which was named one of the best of the year by our Next Big Idea Club curators. Today, one of those curators, Susan Cain, chats with Shellye about developing resilience, overcoming adversity, cutting yourself a break when it comes to work-life balance, and pursuing your ambition even if you’re an introvert.
01/12/21·45m 57s

FRIENDSHIP: The Science Behind Life’s Deepest Bond

Friends aren’t just fun to hang out with and handy in a pinch. They’re also a biological necessity. Rufus talks to journalist Lydia Denworth, author of the book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond," about why friends — even the online variety — make us happier, healthier, smarter, and more successful.
24/11/21·49m 21s

EXPONENTIAL AGE: Everything Is Accelerating. Who’s at the Wheel?

We’ve all seen the meme. Two images, side by side. On the left, a photo of Jeff Bezos circa 1998. His hair is receding, his smile geeky, his sweater bulky and brown. The caption? “I sell books.” Then, on the right, there’s Jeff in 2017. His pate is as smooth as Lex Luther’s, his biceps as bulbous as Vin Diesel’s, a satisfied look on his sunglassed face. "I sell whatever the f**k I want,“ reads the caption. That meme is a pretty good metaphor for the era of radical change through which we are living, an era Azeem Azhar calls "the exponential age." Breakneck advances in technology allowed a humble bookseller to become chieftain of the world’s largest online retailer. And don’t expect those technological advances to slow down anytime soon. In the next few decades, new developments in everything from AI and 3D printing to synthetic biology and gene-editing won’t just change the way we live: they’ll allow already monolithic companies to keep growing at an unprecedented pace while our elected leaders scramble to keep up. The gap between rapidly advancing technology and our slow-moving society is the subject of Azeem’s marvelous new book, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society.” Recently named one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times, it’s at once a rousing survey of the new technologies that may change the way we live and, at the same time, a pointed reminder that those transformations will have profound political, economic, and social consequences.
17/11/21·1h 7m

NEW POWER: How to Spread Ideas, Build Movements, and Leap Ahead

Colleges, businesses, and bureaucracies have long operated on an "old power" model — rigid hierarchies that rule from the top down. But Henry Timms says that paradigm is going extinct. In his book, "New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World — and How to Make It Work for You," Timms argues there's another force emerging. It's transparent, collaborative — and it's going to embolden all of us to change the world from the bottom up.
10/11/21·44m 22s

SPORTS: Life Lessons From an Olympian, a Hockey Coach, and a Middle-Aged Beginner

In this special episode, three writers share the hard-won wisdom they acquired running track, coaching hockey, and attending surf camp in Costa Rica. First, Olympic runner Alexi Pappas tells us what her career has taught her about self-reliance, mental health, embracing pain, and achieving her dreams. Next, John U. Bacon shares the surprising lessons he learned coaching the country's worst high school hockey team. And finally, journalist Tom Vanderbilt makes a compelling case for being an amateur athlete at any age.
03/11/21·1h 3m

FEELING & KNOWING: Unlocking the Secrets of Consciousness

Look up the term “Renaissance man” in the dictionary, and you'll probably find a photo of Antonio Damasio. He is a polyglot, an avid reader of fiction, a classical music aficionado, a student of modern philosophy, and an enthusiastic collector of art. This on top of his day job as a neuroscientist, professor, co-director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, and author of brilliant books like “Descartes’ Error” and, most recently, “Feeling & Knowing.” Today, he chats with Rufus about where our feelings come from, how our brains and bodies interact, and the orgiastic pleasure of social admiration (and no, that is not a typo).
27/10/21·1h 4m

Bonus: Adam Grant and Annie Murphy Paul

Our curators — Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink — recently named “The Extended Mind” by Annie Murphy Paul one of the best books of the year. In this episode, Annie returns to the Next Big Idea podcast for a spirited conversation with Adam in which she defends the fine art of fidgeting, suggests ways to improve group brainstorms, and gives Adam advice on how to talk to his childhood sensei. By the way, Adam's brilliant TED podcast "WorkLife" is back now with a new batch of interviews — including a Nobel Prize winner, one of the world’s most influential leaders, a daredevil who’s mastered fear, and one of the most decorated Olympians ever. Find them on "WorkLife with Adam Grant" wherever you listen.
20/10/21·59m 26s

LAZINESS: There's No Such Thing

Are you lazy? Social psychologist Devon Price doesn’t think so. In their provocative new book, “Laziness Does Not Exist,” Devon invites us to imagine a world where we stop judging other people for being lazy, stop shaming ourselves for being unproductive, and start realizing that doing less is not a moral failure.
13/10/21·1h 5m

HOW TO CHANGE: Science-Backed Tips for Becoming Your Best Self (Katy Milkman & Daniel Pink)

When Katy Milkman was a newly minted professor at Wharton, she came across a statistic that stopped her cold: 40 percent of premature deaths result from personal behaviors we can change. Katy decided to do something about that, and for the next decade, she conducted groundbreaking research into the science of achieving lasting behavior change. In “How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” she shares what she’s learned. The Next Big Idea Club named “How to Change” one of the best books of the year, and in this episode, Katy sits down with our curator Daniel Pink to tell him why a change in the weather can help you save money, how Harry Potter got her in better shape, and what an accidental breakthrough in mathematics reveals about boosting your self-confidence.
06/10/21·51m 52s

RATIONALITY: Steven Pinker’s Love Song to Critical Thinking

In his new book, “Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters,” Steven Pinker writes: “When humans set themselves the goal of improving the welfare of their fellows … and they apply their ingenuity in institutions that pool it with others’, they occasionally succeed. When they retain the successes and take note of the failures, the benefits can accumulate.” In this episode, Steven argues that those benefits would accumulate even faster if we all learned a bit of logic, got better at sniffing out fallacies, embraced institutions that safeguard empirical truths, and entertained the idea that halting, imperfect progress may be better than no progress at all.
29/09/21·1h 3m

LOONSHOTS: The Science of Generating Crazy Ideas (Safi Bahcall & Daniel Pink)

What if the fates of careers, companies, even entire industries depend on nurturing crazy ideas? In “Loonshots," physicist turned biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall pulls back the curtain on history’s greatest scientific, technological, and entrepreneurial breakthroughs, introducing us to a cast of colorful characters with much to teach us about how innovation really happens. In doing so, he provides a brand new framework for understanding the delicate relationship between complex ideas and even more complex people.
22/09/21·1h 2m

DEADLINE EFFECT: Can You Work Like It's the Last Minute Before the Last Minute?

The deadline is one of the most powerful tools we have for getting work done. So why are we all so afraid of it? After studying organizations that manipulate deadlines to their advantage, Christopher Cox (former chief editor of Harper's and executive editor of GQ) has figured out how to transform deadlines from something to be feared into a superpower to boost productivity and stimulate creativity. He’s bottled his findings in a new book called “The Deadline Effect: How to Work Like It's the Last Minute—Before the Last Minute,” and in this episode, he shares what he has learned with novelist Rivka Galchen.
15/09/21·46m 53s

EXTRA LIFE: We Doubled Life Expectancy in the Last Century. Can We Do It Again?

Over the past century, the average human lifespan has doubled. That astonishing statistic is the subject of a new book and PBS series by acclaimed science writer Steven Johnson called “Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.” In this episode, he tells Rufus about the renegades who shamed milkmen, spiked public reservoirs, and rode rocket-powered sleds — all in the name of science. They discuss how inventions like vaccines, seatbelts, and sewers made the world a safer place. And they peer into a future where aging might be a thing of the past.
08/09/21·1h 11m

PARENTING: Learn How to Do It Better With Science, Data, and Mr. Rogers

Every season, we invite the authors of the best new non-fiction to distill their books into five big ideas. Then they read those ideas aloud. We call these book bites, and our app has hundreds of them. In this special episode, we’re sharing three book bites that demystify the art and science of parenting. Journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer offers evidence-based strategies for teaching your kids not to be jerks. Two educators explore the science behind the iconic TV show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” And acclaimed economist Emily Oster explains how geeking out on data can make you a better parent.
01/09/21·56m 32s

PERSONALITY: The Science of Being Who You Want

Cognitive neuroscientist Christian Jarrett believes your personality is not etched in stone. Instead, he says, it's made of soft clay, and with the right tools, you can sculpt it to lead a happier, healthier, more satisfying life.
25/08/21·1h 9m

JOYFUL: Ingrid Fetell Lee and Adam Grant on the Objects That Make Us Happy

Conventional wisdom tells us that real joy comes from within: from exercise or meditation, acts of service or the way we look at the world — pretty much anything except material possessions. But author/designer Ingrid Fetell Lee offers a different take in her book “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.” Last season, Ingrid sat down with Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant to discuss the powerful relationship between the way we feel and the objects that surround us. Turns out we can harness that relationship to live healthier, happier lives. If you haven’t heard this episode before, you’re in for a treat. And if you have heard it before, there’s never a bad time to be reminded that joy is all around if you know where to look.
18/08/21·42m 36s

CULT OF WE: How WeWork's CEO Vaporized $40 Billion

Adam Neumann, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home (eight of them, actually) and a happy (if slightly hyperactive) disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived forty years in the world with very little to distress or vex him. In the summer of 2019, he was presiding over the most valuable startup in America: WeWork. To the cynical, it was a glorified desk rental company. To Adam, it was the company that would “elevate the world’s consciousness,” broker Middle East peace, build offices on Mars (presumably with the staple WeWork perks: ping pong, cold brew, free beer), and turn Adam into history’s first trillionaire. But then the searing sun of reality melted the wax that held his wings together, and he plummeted to earth, the value of his company going up in smoke behind him, like a contrail. The story of Adam’s spectacular rise and calamitous fall is the subject of a new book called “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” It was written by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell. Their real-time coverage of Adam’s erratic behavior and flagrant self-dealing helped to hasten his demise. In this episode, they speak with Mike Isaac, author of “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” about hubris, greed, tech culture, and bad judgment.
11/08/21·1h 1m

BREATH: Is Deep Breathing the Secret to Long Living?

We do it 25,000 times a day, but most of us rarely give breathing a thought. Author James Nestor says we’re missing out on one of the most powerful pathways to health and happiness. He leads Rufus through the ins and outs of intentional breathing, revealing its potential to clear our minds, heal our bodies, and help us achieve incredible things.
04/08/21·47m 52s

DRUNK: Can Alcohol Make You More Creative, Sociable, and Attractive?

Do we have alcohol to thank for civilization? The answer, according to Edward Slingerland’s new book, “Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization,” is a resounding yes. Edward, who’s a professor at the University of British Columbia and self-proclaimed “philosophical hedonist,” says that far from being an evolutionary fluke, our taste for alcohol is an evolutionary advantage — one that we’ve relied on for millennia to help us lead more social, creative, and pleasurable lives.
27/07/21·1h 12m

DEATH, SEX & MONEY: Anna Sale Talks About Hard Things

A lot of us run away from tough conversations. Anna Sale runs toward them. For nearly a decade, as the host of the podcast “Death, Sex & Money,” she has been having searching conversations about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” Now, in her new book, “Let’s Talk About Hard Things,” she blends reportage and memoir to reveal how speaking openly (and listening attentively) can fortify our relationships. That may sound simple, but as one of the book’s reviewers observed, “As vaccinated people begin to have joyous reunions with friends and family, after a year of isolation and Zooms, many of us are realizing that we’ve forgotten how to talk about the easy things, let alone the hard ones.” In this conversation, Anna — with her trademark warmth, curiosity, and candor — reminds us how to have those difficult conversations.
21/07/21·1h 11m

THE BOMBER MAFIA: Malcolm Gladwell on Warfare, Audiobooks, and the Future of Storytelling

Malcolm Gladwell’s extraordinary new book, “The Bomber Mafia,” tells the story of a group of pilots who met on a muggy airbase in central Alabama and hatched a plan to revolutionize warfare. This was in the 1930s, the era of the bomber, a new breed of aircraft that could supposedly drop a bomb from six miles up and land it in a pickle barrel. If you could do that, you wouldn’t have to level cities, rack up casualties, or send a single soldier onto the battlefield. Planes could win wars all by themselves. Or so the young pilots thought. “The Bomber Mafia” is about how that dream unraveled in World War II, but because this is a Malcolm Gladwell book, it’s about a lot of other things, too, like a Dutch computer genius, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard. It also dares to ask a vexing moral question: what happens when a piece of technology that heralds positive change is driven off course? To listen to “The Bomber Mafia,” visit thebombermafia.com
14/07/21·58m 33s

EFFORTLESS: Embrace the Easy Option

Teddy Roosevelt once said that nothing is worth doing “unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.” And to that bestselling author Greg McKeown says, “Baloney!” There’s no denying that hard work often leads to positive results, but it can just as easily lead to exhaustion, apathy, and burnout. In his script-flipping new book, “Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most,” Greg asks: “What if instead of pushing ourselves to — and in some cases well past — our limit, we sought out an easier path?” And in this easy-going conversation with author Jon Acuff, he shares some of the answers he’s come up with.
07/07/21·55m 38s

HIGH CONFLICT: How to Defuse Any Squabble (Amanda Ripley & Susan Cain)

Have you ever lain awake at night, obsessing over a conflict with a colleague or a relative or a politician you’ve never met? That’s what journalist Amanda Ripley calls high conflict. If good conflict is the kind of friction that’s serious and intense but that leads somewhere useful, then high conflict is the kind of friction that gives you rope burn. It’s bitter, all-consuming, unproductive — and worst of all, once you find yourself embroiled in high conflict, it’s almost impossible to get out. Luckily, Amanda has been studying up on the tools you need to break free, and in this episode, she shares those tools with Next Big Idea Club curator Susan Cain.
30/06/21·50m 51s

EXTENDED MIND: Want to Get Smarter? Try Thinking Outside of Your Brain

Modern life has not been easy on our brains. Average IQ scores rose steadily throughout the last century. Now they appear to be leveling off. The problem, according to neuroscientists, may be that we have reached our neurobiological limits. Our brains simply can’t work any harder. Luckily, science writer Annie Murphy Paul has a solution. In her bold new book, “The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain,” she draws on a wealth of scientific research to show that we’re smarter when we get out of our heads. By offloading our memories onto our phones, making decisions based on our bodily sensations, using tactile tools to solve abstract problems, drawing inspiration from our surroundings, and arguing with our friends, we can access intelligence that exists beyond the confines of our craniums. In this episode, Annie explains how to do it.
23/06/21·1h 14m

DELUSIONS: How Self-Deception Can Help You Flourish (Shankar Vedantam & Daniel Pink)

Is it really so bad to be a little bit delusional? Not according to Shankar Vedantam. In his new book, “Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain,” he argues that we tell ourselves lies in order to live. We believe our marriages will last, even though there’s a fifty-fifty chance we’re headed for divorce. We trick ourselves into thinking our children are extraordinary because if we saw them for who they really are — average, disobedient, smelly — the body blows of parenting would be more than we could bear. In this candid conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Daniel Pink, Shankar says wide-eyed delusions aren’t bad for us. In fact, self-deception is part of being a well-adjusted human being.
16/06/21·58m 51s

AI: The Extraordinary Story of the Tech That’s Changing the World

In 1958, a psychologist named Frank Rosenblatt took a five-ton computer, fed it a steady diet of punch cards, and taught it how to recognize the letter “A.” He called his creation the Perceptron, and his belief in its potential was like that of a deliriously proud parent. One day, he thought, the artificial intelligence he’d built would learn to recognize faces, speak like a human, translate languages, reproduce itself on an assembly line, and even fly to space — at which point, it would no longer be a computational marvel but a fully conscious being. The fact that you’ve never heard of the Perceptron tells you that none of Rosenblatt’s predictions came to pass — not in his lifetime, anyway. But a small band of brainy rebels never lost faith in the potential of AI to change the world. Thanks to their perseverance — along with dramatic improvements in computing power — they managed to make Rosenblatt’s prophecies a reality. The AI they built is what enables Facebook to recognize faces in the photos you upload. It’s the reason Siri and Alexa can (sometimes) understand what you’re saying, and Google can translate anything you write into 109 languages. Cade Metz has spent years chronicling the rise and rise of AI, first as a reporter at the New York Times and now in his new book, “Genius Makers.” In this forward-looking conversation, he tells Rufus what AI can do, where it’s headed, and whether we should be worried that supercomputers will wage war against humanity.
09/06/21·1h 11m

MINE: How the Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives

Ownership is simple, right? Something is either yours or it isn’t. Case closed. But who owns the space behind your airplane seat, the results of the DNA you took online, the Netflix password you got from your cousin’s roommate? The jury's still out, according to law professors Michael Heller and James Salzman. That’s because ownership isn’t binary or static: it’s a storytelling exercise, and we rely on just six stories to claim everything we own. In this revelatory conversation, Michael and James explain how those stories work, how you can use them to your advantage, and why they might be key to dismantling income inequality and arresting climate change.
02/06/21·1h 13m

GATHERING: Mastering the Art of Hanging Out

You’ve posted a photo of your vaccine card on Instagram. The CDC says it’s okay to leave your bunker. Some of your friends have expressed interest in taking off their masks, breaking the six-foot barrier, and hanging out with you. Do you remember how? Whether you’re anxious about leaving your house or impatient to trade your house slippers for blue suede shoes, we could all use a refresher on how to connect with our fellow humans ... in person — and in a way that is not just pleasant but meaningful. That’s why we’re dusting off one of our favorite episodes, a conversation with Priya Parker, whose book, “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters,” is essential post-pandemic reading.
26/05/21·46m 35s

EMAIL: Would the World Be Better Without It?

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you do before bed? If you’re a modern knowledge worker, your answer is probably “check my email.” Makes sense. Your inbox is a busy place, which is why you peek at it, on average, every six minutes: constant vigilance is the only way to keep up. But all that checking comes at a cost. Communication overload undermines your productivity, erodes your focus, zaps your energy, and makes you miserable. Luckily, Cal Newport, the Georgetown professor and productivity whiz who came up with “deep work” and “digital minimalism,” has a plan for a post-email future, one where you can concentrate on work that really matters. And in this episode, he shares practical strategies that you can start using now to free yourself from the tyranny of the inbox.
19/05/21·1h 13m

WORK: Should You Do Less of It? Adam Grant and James Suzman on the 15-Hour Workweek.

Our work consumes us. But does it have to? Anthropologist James Suzman has spent decades living in the Kalahari Desert with one of the world’s last hunter-gatherer societies, and he’s concluded that our modern attitudes about work don’t mesh with the views held by our ancestors. For 95 percent of human history, we spent the bulk of our time doing … nothing. What changed? In this millennia-spanning conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant, James makes the case for spending less time toiling away at labor we loathe and more time working at things we love.
12/05/21·45m 42s

CODE BREAKER: Why Walter Isaacson Thinks CRISPR Will Change Life As We Know It

Almost a decade ago, the biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her team at Berkeley figured out how to rewrite our genetic code using a system called CRISPR. Thanks to this miraculous discovery, we now have the power to hunt down cancer cells, deflect oncoming viruses, and cure genetic diseases. But CRISPR has a dark side, morally speaking. In a world where we’ll soon have the power to endow our kids with superior strength and intelligence, how far is too far? Doudna’s groundbreaking discovery and the moral dilemmas that followed are the subject of a new book by best-selling biographer Walter Isaacson. In this expansive conversation, he tells Rufus why the CRISPR era will be far more consequential than the digital revolution. Plus, they discuss the mechanics of creativity, the delicate balance between competition and collaboration, and the personality traits that Isaacson’s subjects — Doudna, da Vinci, Ben Franklin, Einstein, and Steve Jobs — all have in common.
05/05/21·1h 10m

FOOD: Can We Taste Climate Change?

What’s for dinner? How will we answer that question in 50 years? In this thought-provoking (and occasionally hunger-inducing) conversation, science journalist Amanda Little tells Rufus that the single biggest threat posed by climate change is the collapse of our food systems. Provisions we love, like coffee and wine, are losing their flavor. And crops we rely on, like corn and soy, are getting harder to grow. If we don’t change our agricultural practices, we won’t be able to feed the globe’s swelling population. But don’t lose hope. Amanda says that if we can combine the wisdom of traditional farming practices with radical advances in agricultural technology, we might be able to create a healthier, more sustainable, and perhaps even more delicious future.
28/04/21·1h 15m

CHATTER: Learning to Love the Voice in Your Head

Whether or not we care to admit it, we all talk to ourselves. A lot. The voice in our heads yaks it up about half the time we’re awake, and it can speak at a rate of 4,000 words per minute. When it really gets going like that, not everything it says is particularly helpful. We’ve all gotten stuck dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or standing idly by as our inner monologue devolves from introspection into negativity. Experimental psychologist Ethan Kross calls those moments chatter. “When the inner voice runs amok and chatter takes the mental microphone,” he writes, “our mind not only torments but paralyzes us.” Luckily, there are tools we can use to take back the mic, and in this episode, Ethan talks Rufus through them.
21/04/21·1h 3m

HUMOR: How to Turn Levity Into Your Secret Weapon

Humor is no laughing matter. It inspires innovation, strengthens relationships, disarms tension, and makes you look smart. Seriously. So why are we all afraid to be funny at work? In their new book, “Humor, Seriously,” Stanford professors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas say the recipe for professional success and personal fulfillment is to lighten up, pack a little levity in your briefcase, and start living your life on the precipice of a smile. In today’s episode, they dig into the neuroscience of laughter, share tips for crafting office-safe jokes, and help Rufus improve his comic chops.
14/04/21·1h 15m

BEGINNERS: The Joys of Being an Amateur

A few years ago, as he watched his young daughter try out one hobby after another, a thought crossed Tom Vanderbilt’s mind: Why do we work so hard to get our kids to learn new skills when most of us adults stopped trying new things ages ago? For Tom, that contradiction became a call to arms. In defiance of the usual objections — it’s too late! you’re too old! — he took up chess, surfing, singing, juggling, and drawing. His goal wasn’t to gain mastery. He just wanted to prove to himself (and the eventual readers of his wonderful new book) that no matter how old you are or untalented you feel, being a beginner is a great way to stimulate your brain, meet new people, and bring a little adventure into your life.
07/04/21·1h 11m

THINK AGAIN: Adam Grant on the Power of Changing Your Mind

We’re taught that the mark of surefire intelligence is the ability to think and learn. But in his new book, “Think Again,” Adam Grant says that in our turbulent world, there’s a more important skill: the ability to rethink and unlearn. If you can learn how to revise your opinions, check your ego, and admit when you’re wrong, then you’ll be on a path toward wisdom and joy.
31/03/21·1h 29m

VOICE: You Are What You Speak

Sure, opposable thumbs are handy. But in his brilliant new book, “This Is the Voice,” John Colapinto says the voice is our species’ greatest attribute. We rely on it to communicate and collaborate, woo our mates and protect our children, make art and win wars. John would know. A rock ‘n’ roll vocal injury changed his relationship with his instrument and set him on a path to better understand what his voice means to him — and what the voice means to humanity.
24/03/21·1h 32m

THE BRAIN: A User’s Guide to the Blob Between Your Ears

If you managed to stay awake during Bio 101, then you probably think you have a basic understanding of how your brain works. Not so, says neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett. In this cerebral yet highly entertaining conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Daniel Pink, Lisa says our brains are made for budgeting, not thinking. She debunks the myth of the lizard brain. And she makes the far-out claim that everything you see and hear, including this podcast, is a hallucination.
17/03/21·1h

SERENDIPITY: Good Luck and How to Get It

In all likelihood, some of the biggest moments in your life, like meeting your spouse or finding your job, were the result of a chance encounter or fortunate coincidence. You got lucky. But Christian Busch, who directs the global economy program at NYU, says that with the right mindset, you can regard luck not as something that happens to you but as a skill you can cultivate. In this lively conversation, he gives Rufus pointers on how to live serendipitously, describes the surprising power of near-death experiences, and argues that spilling coffee on people may not be such a bad thing.
10/03/21·1h 3m

DRUG USE: Is Getting High an American Right?

Every day, Dr. Carl Hart goes into his laboratory at Columbia University and gets people high. That research has led him to a surprising conclusion: the predominant effects of the drugs he administers — substances like cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and meth — are positive. In this unflinching conversation about Dr. Hart’s bold new book, “Drug Use for Grown-Ups,” Carl and Rufus discuss their own experiences with drugs, connect drug criminalization to structural racism, and ask whether drug use by responsible adults can be a good thing.
03/03/21·1h 24m

POST CORONA: Predicting the Future With Scott Galloway

We don’t know when the pandemic will end, but we do know this: while we’ve been stuck at home, the world has been spinning faster than ever. Name any existing trend in technology, healthcare, commerce, or education, and it’s safe to say it has advanced a decade in the last 12 months. That’s because COVID-19, according to NYU professor Scott Galloway, is an accelerant. And in this high-octane conversation, he tells Rufus that if we play it right, we can harness that acceleration to create positive change.
25/02/21·1h 9m

Season 3: New Ideas, Same Great Taste

The Next Big Idea returns on February 25th.
19/02/21·57s

LET’S BE REASONABLE: Sam Harris and Rufus in Conversation

Neuroscientist, philosopher, podcaster, author, meditation guru, and unabashed atheist Sam Harris is one of our best-known — and most controversial — public intellectuals. In this bonus episode, he and Rufus talk about consciousness, free will, morality, and people’s stubborn insistence on being irrational.
25/09/20·1h 6m

MIND GAMES: What Poker Can Teach Us About Luck, Skill, and Ourselves

You have to play with the hand you’re dealt. At least that’s what we’re always told. But is it really true? How much of what we achieve in life is the product of our pluck and guile, and how much is just dumb luck? To find out, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova dropped everything and joined the pro poker tour. The lessons were not what she expected.
01/09/20·50m 5s

TRANSCENDENCE: Finding Fulfillment Beyond Ourselves

You may have heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which sees human development as a sort of a pyramid, with survival needs at the bottom, social and emotional needs in the middle, and “self-actualization” at the top. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman thinks we can do better. Instead of striving to become our best selves, we can strive to connect with the world beyond ourselves — to truly transcend.
25/08/20·52m 32s

HUMANKIND: Finding Hope in Human History

Our society is built on the assumption that we’re all a broken stoplight away from reverting to our animal selves. It’s what we’ve come to call “realism.” Historian Rutger Bregman thinks that kind of realism is, well, unrealistic. And not because we can learn to be better, but because deep down, we already are.
18/08/20·48m 18s

MIGRATION: Why Human Beings Were Built to Move

Birds do it, bees do it, even fishes in the seas do it. So why do we have such a hard time when people migrate from one place to another? Science writer Sonia Shah presents the evidence that migration is central to the human story -- and it just might save us from what’s coming next.
11/08/20·47m 46s

BREATH: Harnessing the Power of a Lost Art

We do it 25,000 times a day, but most of us rarely give breathing a thought. Author James Nestor says we’re missing out on one of the most powerful pathways to health and happiness. He leads Rufus through the ins and outs of intentional breathing, revealing its potential to clear our minds, heal our bodies, and help us achieve incredible things.
04/08/20·48m 12s

PERSUASION: How to Change People’s Minds

Businesses want people to buy their products. Parents want their kids to eat their vegetables. We all want to convince someone to do something. So we push and we prod – but often to no avail. Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger says there’s a better way. In this high-speed conversation with Rufus, he lays out his formula for removing barriers to change.
28/07/20·50m 29s

ALCHEMY: How Our Creations Recreate Us

Since humans sharpened the first stick and lit the first fire, we have been on an innovation spree, constantly developing new tools and materials to solve our problems. But material scientist Ainissa Ramirez says innovation is a two-way street. Drawing on stories about eight key inventions, she tells Rufus how our creations can change us in surprising ways.
21/07/20·48m 35s

UPSTREAM: Solving Problems Before They Happen

We knew a pandemic was coming. We knew our police were treating some of us differently than others. So why were we so unprepared for what happened? In this eye-opening conversation, Rufus and author Dan Heath dig into what it takes to root out problems at their source, both in our own lives and in the larger world.
14/07/20·47m 7s

CIVILIZATION: Recalculating the Price of Progress

Cutting-edge science, music and art, powerful technology, plentiful food. It’s no wonder we sing the praises of civilization. But do we really have it so good? Christopher Ryan says it’s time for a rethink. He tells Rufus that people in non-civilized societies tend to be healthier, happier, and more fulfilled. What can we learn from the life we left behind?
07/07/20·51m 16s

TOGETHER: A Doctor’s Prescription for Health and Happiness

When Dr. Vivek Murthy became U.S. Surgeon General in 2014, he went on a listening tour. What he heard surprised him. Americans were lonely, and it was killing them. In this deeply personal conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Susan Cain (author of “Quiet”), Murthy makes the medical case for love and friendship.
30/06/20·47m 56s

WEIRDNESS: How to Make it Your Superpower

Olga Khazan describes weirdness as not fitting neatly into a box — regardless of what that box may be. It doesn’t just make other people see you as different — it also makes you feel like you don’t belong. But in this conversation with Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant, she says weirdness can also be surprisingly empowering. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
23/06/20·46m 34s

BOYS & SEX: Coming of Age in America

Hook-ups, sexting, friends with benefits, ubiquitous porn — sometimes it seems like boys today are growing up in a world of easy sex and mindless gratification. But sit down and talk to them and you get a different story. Rufus speaks with Peggy Orenstein, who interviewed hundreds of boys about how they navigate a minefield of sexual rules and expectations.
16/06/20·45m 11s

FRIENDSHIP: The Science and Power of Life’s Deepest Bond

Friends aren’t just fun to hang out with and handy in a pinch. They’re also a biological necessity. Rufus talks to journalist Lydia Denworth, author of a new book on the science of friendship, who explains why friends — even the online variety — make us happier, healthier, smarter, and more successful.
09/06/20·50m 30s

THINKING AHEAD: How to Make Life’s Big Decisions

We all face fork-in-the-road moments in our lives. In his 2005 bestseller “Blink,” Next Big Idea Club curator (and this episode’s guest interviewer) Malcolm Gladwell famously argued that snap judgments can be just as effective as meticulous planning. In this lively conversation, author Steven Johnson (“Farsighted”) disagrees, arguing that big, complex decisions require careful thought and scenario-building.
03/06/20·48m 5s

LISTENING: What You’re Missing and Why it Matters

In the cacophony of modern life, it can seem that talking, scoring points, and being heard are more important than paying attention to what others have to say. But journalist Kate Murphy says listening — really listening — can strengthen our ties to the people closest to us and create new connections in our lives.
26/05/20·44m 52s

SUCCESSFUL AGING: How to Live a Full, Long Life

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we're living longer, on average, than at any time in history. So why do so many of us act like our last decades are a time to lower our expectations? Neuroscientist and musician Daniel Levitin says old age can be whatever we want it to be. He went deep into the science for his new book, “Successful Aging,” and he’s emerged with some tips.
19/05/20·48m 39s

Rethinking Big Ideas: Adam Grant on Finding Balance

For the grand finale of our stay-at-home miniseries, Rufus talks about work-life balance, the future of education, and the addictive nature of generosity with author, podcaster, and Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant.
12/05/20·49m 31s

Rethinking Big Ideas: Priya Parker on Gathering Apart

In “The Art of Gathering,” conflict resolution specialist Priya Parker writes that “Every gathering is an opportunity to create a world we wish existed.” But sometimes we have to make do with the world we’ve got. She tells Rufus that we don’t have to be in the same place to come together in meaningful ways.
05/05/20·38m 25s

Rethinking Big Ideas: The Path to a More Generous World

Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler has never felt comfortable with an economic system that values short-term profits over long-term human needs. In a quarantine conversation with host Rufus Griscom, he shares his ideas for moving from a me/now world to one that cares about us and the future.
28/04/20·33m 3s

Rethinking Big Ideas: Daniel Pink on the Future of Work

How will the pandemic change the way we organize our days? Our sense of purpose? Our commitments to others? So many questions! Who better to answer than Next Big Idea Club curator Daniel Pink, author of six books about motivation, leadership, and the changing nature of work.
21/04/20·42m 8s

Rethinking Big Ideas: On Finding Joy in Simple Pleasures

Last season, author/designer Ingrid Fetell Lee taught us about joy spotting. It’s the practice of going out into the world and finding ordinary objects that make you feel extraordinarily happy. But what about when you can’t leave the house? Well, it turns out joy lurks in all sorts of unexpected places — you just have to know where to look.
16/04/20·31m 30s

Rethinking Big Ideas: Steven Johnson on Scientific Breakthroughs

What kinds of bold thinking might lead us out of this pandemic? In this lively conversation, Steven Johnson and Rufus Griscom talk about the innovations that are paving the way. Steven is the author of numerous books and hosts "Fighting Coronavirus," a podcast about heroism, collaboration, and invention on the frontlines of the battle against this pandemic.
09/04/20·34m 18s

Rethinking Big Ideas: Susan Cain on Solitude

Last season, we brought you ideas with the power to change the way you see the world. Now that the world’s been turned upside down, we thought it’d be a good time to invite back some of our favorite guests to give us some much needed perspective in this confusing time.  We’re starting this special miniseries, “Big Ideas in Uncertain Times,” with Susan Cain, the bestselling author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking." She tells us about the upside to solitude, why introspection has never been more important, and even gives us a few tantalizing clues about her new book.
02/04/20·25m 11s

STILLNESS: How to Find Peace in a Frantic World

What do the Buddha, John F. Kennedy, Mr. Rogers, and Leonardo da Vinci all have in common? The ability to be still and tune out the busy, buzzing drone of modern life. Ryan Holiday, the author of “Stillness Is the Key,” shares his tips for slowing down, calming your mind and body, and accessing the tranquility deep inside.
28/01/20·45m 22s

FREE MONEY: Why Andrew Yang Thinks a Giveaway Can Save the Economy

Andrew Yang has a pretty bleak vision for the future. The way he sees it, we’re staring down the barrel of a techno-apocalypse. Robots will replace millions of workers. Income inequality will skyrocket. And social isolation will become the new normal. But Yang has a big idea he thinks can stave off disaster. It’s called universal basic income—a $1,000 check in the mail each month, no strings attached. Yang’s been pushing this magic bullet for a long time, first in his book, “The War on Normal People,” and now as he campaigns for president. But would it really make a difference? And is it even realistic? Andrew Yang makes his case to Rufus Griscom in front of a live audience in New York.
21/01/20·47m 57s

HABITS: How to Let Go of The Old and Bring in the New

Why is it so hard to break bad habits and replace them with good ones? You may think it all comes down to willpower. But social psychologist Wendy Wood says that if you really want to change your life, then you need to tap into your unconscious mind. Wood, who’s just written a book called “Good Habits, Bad Habits,” chats with Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant about harnessing the science of habit formation to make positive changes that last.
14/01/20·46m 12s

GATHERING: How to Make Our Time Together Meaningful

Why do so many of our get-togethers feel awkward and unproductive? Priya Parker, author of “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters,” says it’s because most of us don’t know how to transform stuffy events—from conferences to tedious family dinners to office holiday parties—into memorable gatherings full of moments to savor. Parker shares the secrets of being a good host, lessons everyone can learn from Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, and tips for revolutionizing your next business meeting.
07/01/20·45m 53s

FUTURE: Can We Build a More Generous World

In this episode, we’re peering into the future with Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler. He’s got a new book out called “This Could Be Our Future,” and it’s all about transforming our world into a more kind and generous place.
24/12/19·49m 9s

SUCCESS: The Dirty Secret of Getting Ahead

Most of us are taught hard work and talent are the keys to getting ahead. Turns out it’s not so easy. In his new book, “The Meritocracy Trap,” Yale professor Daniel Markovits says meritocracy isn’t leveling the playing field. Instead, it’s a pretense for concentrating privilege and intensifying inequality. He tells us the time has come to reinvent higher education, redesign the workplace, and reimagine meritocracy so it actually works for everyone.
17/12/19·47m 2s

TRUST: Malcolm Gladwell on How We Talk To Strangers

Roses are red, violets are blue, and Malcolm Gladwell has written yet another bestseller. It's called "Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know," and it's all about the perils of trusting people we don't really know. Gladwell, who's also a Next Big Idea Club curator, tells us why we need to stop taking everybody at their word and start exercising a little healthy skepticism.
10/12/19·42m 9s

POWER: Why You Have More Than You Think

Colleges, businesses, and bureaucracies have long operated on an "old power" model — rigid hierarchies that rule from the top down. But Henry Timms says that paradigm is going extinct. In his book, "New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World — and How to Make It Work for You," Timms argues there's another force emerging. It's transparent, collaborative — and it's going to embolden all of us to change the world from the bottom up.
03/12/19·44m 0s

PERCEPTION: Why What You See Is Not Reality

What you see is what you get, right? Nope. In his mind-bending new book, "The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes," Don Hoffman argues that what we see, smell, touch, and taste are illusions. Reality, he says, is just an interface, like a computer desktop, built by our brains to conceal complexity. Hoffman offers us the red pill and invites us into "The Matrix" — the surreal, flickering, unreliable "real" world.
26/11/19·44m 46s

UNCENSORED: What Free Speech Debates Teach Us About Empathy

As a college student, Zachary Wood ignited a national debate when he invited controversial speakers — anti-feminists, climate-change deniers, and self-proclaimed racists — to lecture on campus. Critics accused him of promoting dangerous ideas. But in his new memoir, "Uncensored," Wood argues that we can develop empathy and understanding by engaging with opposing viewpoints.
19/11/19·47m 39s

CONFLICT: How to Have More Productive Disagreements

Have you ever had one of those arguments — whether with a friend or a colleague, a loved one or a perfect stranger — that you both vehemently disagree, and it boils your blood? Too often these days, arguments with people we disagree with feel impossible. We never solve anything but seem to succeed in hurting someone’s feelings. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? In his forthcoming book, “Why Are We Yelling?: The Art of Productive Disagreement” (Nov. 19), Buster Benson, who has worked for some of the world’s most successful companies, to help you have hard conversations in your relationships, engage people with different political viewpoints, and disagree with dignity.
12/11/19·43m 52s

JOYFUL: Why Ordinary Objects Can Make You Extraordinarily Happy

Conventional wisdom tells us that real joy comes from within: from exercise or meditation, acts of service or the way we look at the world—pretty much anything except material possessions. But author/designer Ingrid Fetell Lee offers a different opinion in her book, "Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness." Lee tells Next Big Idea Club curator Adam Grant that there's tangible evidence of the powerful relationship between the way we feel and the objects that surround us, and she explains how we can harness that relationship to live healthier, happier lives.
06/11/19·41m 53s

CODERS: The Invisible Architects Who Shape Our Lives

Our world is awash in code, and those zeroes and ones aren't as impersonal as you might think. In his new book, "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World," journalist Clive Thompson provides an up-close look at the "invisible architects" of our digital age, revealing the ways they're shaping our society for better and worse.
30/10/19·41m 44s

RACIAL BIAS: Why We Have It and What We Can Do About It

Stanford psychology professor Jennifer Eberhardt has spent years studying how racial bias affects all of us — yes, all — in ways we don't realize. In her new book, “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do,” Eberhardt explains how bias shapes our perception, our decisions, and our culture. She tells Next Big Idea Club curator Dan Pink what we can do about it.
22/10/19·43m 35s

INDISTRACTABLE: Staying Focused in a World of Distractions

Nir Eyal’s last book, “Hooked,” taught Silicon Valley how to make addictive technology. In his new book, “Indistractable,” he gives you the tools to take back control of your attention and your life.
16/10/19·45m 37s

RANGE: Why Generalists Succeed in a Specialists’ World

You know Malcolm Gladwell's “10,000-Hour Rule.” But did you know that, according to David Epstein, it doesn't work? That's what Epstein argues in his new book, “Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World.” In this episode, Malcolm Gladwell talks with Epstein about why a broad range of experiences in life is actually the best way to find success.
02/10/19·47m 50s

Introducing The Next Big Idea

The Next Big Idea premieres October 15th.
01/10/19·1m 34s
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