Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

bigthink.com/articles?blog=think-again-podcast
We surprise some of the world’s brightest minds with ideas they’re not at all prepared to discuss.


200. Robert MacFarlane (writer) – deep time rising
Jun 22 • 62 min
I’m underground as I write this, one day before taping the conversation you’re about to hear, speeding through New York City subway tunnels that aren’t all that ancient but whose darkness, and rats, and crumbling, esoteric infrastructure holds fear and…
199. Lama Rod Owens (RADICAL DHARMA co-author, Buddhist teacher) – the price of the ticket to freedom
Jun 15 • 70 min
Like Mick Jagger, the Indian prince we know as The Buddha taught that we can’t get no satisfaction from this world, though we try and we try, and we try, and we try … Buddha means “awakened one”. Awake to the fact that the world is impermanent and we…
198. Barbara Tversky (cognitive psychologist) – World makes mind
Jun 8 • 63 min
You’re a body in the world. From the moment you’re born, from that very first gasp of air, you’re taking in sensations, trying to get a handle on things and the relationships between them. There’s a lot of things to get a handle on. Too many. So your…
197. Eve Ensler (author, activist) – No way out but through
Jun 1 • 60 min
Note: I feel I should let listeners know that this episode of Think Again is about surviving and thriving in the face of unspeakable trauma and sexual violence. And in order to get to the thriving, we have talk about the trauma, which may be painful for…
196. Susan Hockfield (MIT president emerita, neuroscientist) – Extraordinary machines
May 25 • 59 min
“Are we in the best of times? Or the end of times? One of the oddities of the current era is that extreme pessimism about the world coexists with extreme optimism — and both have a plausible case to make.”I’m quoting Gideon Rachman from a recent Financial…
195. Adam Gopnik (essayist) – the rhinoceros of liberalism vs. the unicorns of everything else
May 18 • 60 min
If I had to choose one word to capture this moment in American (and maybe world) history, “patience” wouldn’t be it. From every direction, everything demands our urgent attention. Everything is a ticking time bomb, or one that’s just exploded, and we’re…
194. Jared Diamond (Historian) – Look inward, Nation
May 11 • 47 min
Imagine yourself a German citizen the day after the end of World War II. Much of your city is bombed to ruins. A good part of the population is dead. The Nazi ideology that has dominated your nation for the past decade has been repudiated as definitively…
193. Anaïs Mitchell (HADESTOWN creator, songwriter/singer) – sometimes the god speaks through you
May 4 • 56 min
Among other things, music can be medicine. Like a vaccine, it sometimes works by giving your body a little taste of the disease. Other times, of course, you just wanna dance, and James Brown might be just what you need. But the medicine songs I’m talking…
192. Delphine Minoui (journalist) – Land of paradoxes: the inner and outer Iran
Apr 27 • 54 min
I remember visiting New York when I was 18 and thinking about coming here for college. How badly I wanted to be “from” New York. How cool, how real, how substantial that would be. What does it mean to be “from” any place? At what point do you own the…
191. Simon Critchley (philosopher) – the philosophy of tragedy & the tragedy of philosophy
Apr 20 • 60 min
Well into her 90’s, my grandma Selma and I had this running conversation about the state of the world. She’d escaped Polish pogroms as a 5 year old, lived through the loss of half her relatives in World War II, and saw the founding of the UN in 1945 and…
190. Terry Gilliam (filmmaker) - The impossible dream
Apr 13 • 51 min
Faith in anything is its own special form of madness. It’s a challenge to entropy, and entropy takes no challenge lightly. If there’s any better metaphor for this struggle than trying to make a big budget movie with even a shred of integrity, I haven’t…
189. Ross Kauffman (Oscar-winning filmmaker) – Tigers and the humans who love them
Apr 6 • 39 min
I was thinking this morning that It’s funny how “humane” is the only word we have for that idea, since so much that’s inhumane has been created by us humans. When we talk about the humane treatment of animals, considering the ways we’ve treated animals…
188. Frans de Waal (primatologist) – You’re such a social animal
Mar 30 • 51 min
When I was a kid, there used to be a TV commercial for this series of animal videos you could order that were basically nothing but killing and sex. The tagline was “Find out why we call them … ANIMALS”! “Wait a minute …“ I used to think: “That’s not why…
187. Aml Ameen (actor) - how the world teaches you who you are
Mar 23 • 55 min
They say Confucius said “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” I did the research. Confucius probably didn’t say that. But whoever said it was right—revenge bites back.Victor Headley’s 1992 book YARDIE launched a genre of Jamaican…
186. Josh Clark (podcaster) - It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
Mar 16 • 60 min
I like to think. If I didn’t, this would be the wrong job for me. But I realize that as open-minded as I like to consider myself, I’ve taken a thick, black sharpie to certain areas of the philosophical map, scrawling “here there be monsters” and leaving…
185. Martin Hägglund (philosopher) – What happens to freedom when time is money
Mar 9 • 52 min
What gets a wolf or a pigeon up in the morning? No offense to wolves or to pigeons, but it’s probably not the desire to make the world a better place. As far as we know, humans are unique in the freedom to decide what’s worth doing with our finite time on…
184. Mitchell S. Jackson (writer) – Notes from the other America
Mar 2 • 55 min
We’re all living inside concentric circles of private and public, inner and outer. From the time we’re small we start to understand that these circles aren’t always friendly to one another. There’s friction at their borders. The stuffed bunny that keeps…
183. Will Hunt (explorer) – into the Earth: the mysteries and meanings of underground spaces
Feb 23 • 50 min
The first time I attempted to play Minecraft with my then-seven-year-old son, we immediately dug ourselves into a pit deep in the Earth and could not get out. In spite of the crappy 8-bit graphics, all of our primal, H.P. Lovecraftian terrors of the…
182. Ha Jin (writer) – the wild and tragic life of China’s greatest poet, Li Bai
Feb 16 • 48 min
Let’s start with a very old poem : On the bank of Caishi River is Li Bai’s grave Surrounded by wild grass that stretches to clouds. How sad that the bones buried deep in hereUsed to have writings that startled heaven and moved earth. Of course poets are…
181. Marlon James (writer) – don’t get too comfortable
Feb 9 • 54 min
At this point, it’s very rare to read something and find myself thinking: This is something new. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It doesn’t have to be written in hieroglyphs or be some kind of three-dimensional interactive reading…
180. Benjamin Dreyer (copy chief of Random House) – Really actually truly great English
Feb 2 • 57 min
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who don’t give a damn about grammar, style, or syntax, and those who write aggrieved letters to publishing houses about split infinitives. My guest today, Benjamin Dreyer, is neither. As the Copy Chief of…
179. Edith Hall (classicist) – from Aristotle to Oprah and back again: how to live your best life
Jan 26 • 59 min
We’ve been talking a lot lately on this show about happiness. What it is, where we can get more of it, why it does not yet seem to be available on the Internet. Author Ruth Whippman presented some compelling evidence that the way most Americans are…
178. Douglas Rushkoff (freelance intellectual) – It’s not the technology’s fault
Jan 19 • 54 min
For me, the very best Onion article of 2018 was this one about Jeff Bezos revealing Amazon’s new headquarters to be the entire Earth, as an Amazon-branded glass sphere clicked into place, encasing forever the horrified inhabitants of our planet. More than…
177. Joseph Goldstein (Buddhist teacher) – Lighten Up: mindfulness, enlightenment, and everyday life
Jan 12 • 73 min
Love, money, health, great sex, peace of mind—however you define it, happiness in this world is impermanent and unreliable. But we’re all invested in the illusion that we’re just one career move or one Amazon purchase away from permanent bliss. To quote…
176. Area 51 and the epistemology of the unexplained - Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell (filmmaker)
Dec 22, 2018 • 61 min
Between subjective experience and the things most people can accept as objective facts, there yawns a cavernous gulf. Imagine you’re on a stage in front of 50,000 strangers trying to explain what it felt like to fall in love for the first time. There are…
175. Helen Riess (psychiatrist) – Empathy in the brain and the world
Dec 15, 2018 • 46 min
Empathy is the basic stuff of human connection. It’s how we hear and are heard by one another. It’s how we deal with one another as people rather than objects. But with massive, relentless trouble in the world, the 24 hour news cycle, the pressure to…
174. Ruth Whippman (writer) – A mindful, productive, super-positive nation of nervous wrecks
Dec 8, 2018 • 47 min
In the years before the election of the impossible president rent forever the very fabric of being, the band Radiohead was busy channeling something many of us were feeling but nobody was really talking about. A kind of ambient, multivalent state of…
173. Wesley Yang (writer) - The Souls of Yellow Folk
Dec 1, 2018 • 56 min
Such and such “doesn’t suffer fools gladly”. That phrase has always bugged me a bit. It’s like someone has just squeezed a pillow infused with an admiration-scented vapor that then hangs in the air for just a second, leaving you to wonder: Who is this…
172. A trans family in the holy land
Nov 24, 2018 • 42 min
Everybody is always in a state of transition. All the time, your cells are dying and replacing themselves. Your mind, your emotions, your goals, your sense of self—all of these are shifting from year to year as you age. In families where there are…
171. Michelle Thaller (NASA astronomer) on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality
Nov 17, 2018 • 59 min
This morning on the way to the school bus, my almost 11 year old son was explaining to me that if you shrunk an elephant down to the size of a mouse, it would shiver, then die, because of its slow mitochondria, due to something called the Rule of Squared…
170. Lynsey Addario (photojournalist) – on art, love, and war
Nov 10, 2018 • 57 min
Think about all the images you see in a day. The advertisements. The photos and videos as you search the web or scroll through social media, if you do that. Now think back a century and a half or so to when photography was new. Imagine the first time a…
169. Ben Marcus’ reality is only slightly askew from our own
Nov 3, 2018 • 60 min
A “grow light” for humans that cooks a guy’s face. A pharmaceutical mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism. The year of All Hell Breaks Loose. The Year of the Sensor. Mudslides. Hurricanes. People who flee and people…
168. Michael Palin (writer and comic) – So long as there was laughter, I was safe
Oct 27, 2018 • 55 min
I recently spent several hours on a transatlantic flight zooming in and out of the interactive map of the Earth on my seat’s personal entertainment unit. Exploring tiny islands in the polar North…impossible inland seas in the middle of Central Asian…
167. Gary Shteyngart (writer) - Reality catches up to dystopian fiction
Oct 20, 2018 • 54 min
Gary Shteyngart’s new novel Lake Success is the evil doppelgänger of the Simon and Garfunkel song ‘America’. In what is surely destined to become one of those legendary novel openings, right up there with “it was the best of times, it was the worst of…
166. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) — How blockchain might save journalism. Maybe.
Oct 13, 2018 • 51 min
Why would two intelligent women running a hugely successful podcast at one of the most respected studios in the audio world, quit to start a small journalism company built on blockchain, a technology very few people have ever heard of?To quote someone on…
165. Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk (author) and Jennifer Croft (translator) — As fact and fiction blur, America’s finally ready for Olga Tokarczuk
Oct 6, 2018 • 49 min
Does it ever strike you as odd that we manage to inhabit two completely different realities at once? On one level, we have common sense and reason that orient us in the world. We make narrative sense of our own life and self and we go about our day with a…
164. Jill Lepore (Historian) – Why America keeps going to pieces
Sep 29, 2018 • 49 min
As Alexander Hamilton put it, the American Experiment puts to the test the question “of whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice…or whether they are forever destined to depend for their…
163. Four Letter You – Merve Emre (scholar and critic)
Sep 22, 2018 • 40 min
Did you ever see the 1951 Disney version of Alice in Wonderland? Where the caterpillar, voiced by actor Richard Haydn, sits laconically on his giant toadstool, wreathed in hookah smoke, peers at Alice under his drooping eyelids and…
162. Emily Nemens (Editor, The Paris Review) — The Literary Industrial Complex
Sep 15, 2018 • 47 min
I have a confession to make: Literary magazines have always kind of intimidated me. Give me an 800 page, impenetrable work of literature any day. Like Captain Ahab, I’ll pursue it relentlessly unto the ends of the earth until it unfolds its briny secrets.…
161. Congo: This Seemingly Impossible Knot – Daniel McCabe (documentary filmmaker)
Aug 18, 2018 • 55 min
THIS IS CONGO, a new documentary film, attempts to wrap its mind around the incomprehensible realities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, almost 60 years after it was founded. At one point, commenting on one of the more incomprehensible recent events, a…
160. Bassem Youssef (political satirist) – Now I Have to Answer for This?
Aug 11, 2018 • 46 min
My grandmother used to tell a story about coming to America from Poland. How she sang God Bless America to cheer up all the grownups on the ship. She was 5 or 6 years old, traveling alone with her mom. For her, it must have been a big adventure. I can…
159. Change is Made by the Ones Who Stay – Paula Eiselt (documentary filmmaker)
Aug 4, 2018 • 54 min
When I started college at New York University in 1990, nobody lived in Brooklyn. Brooklyn was the dark side of the moon. At least that’s how we NYU students thought about it. Lots of people lived in Brooklyn, of course. Just not us. It’s 2018, and…
158. Parker Posey (actor) – I See a Dachshund In You
Jul 28, 2018 • 68 min
The impulse to make art is with us from childhood. It’s the desire to play. To say “hey! Look what I made!” It’s the wild fun of making a big mess that’s nobody else’s but your own—and not having to clean it up. Above all else, art is wild. It’s…
157. The Spiders From Mars – Jason Heller (Hugo Award-winning writer)
Jul 21, 2018 • 57 min
The other day I was at a kid’s birthday party and a fellow dad was joking that “When we were kids, it was all ‘bang-bang-bang!’ and now it’s all ‘pew-pew-pew!’”He was talking about video games and lasers as opposed to, I’m guessing, cowboys? Actually, as…
156. While You Live, Shine – Christopher C. King (Grammy-winning music producer)
Jul 14, 2018 • 62 min
While you live, shine. Have no mourning at all. Life exists a short whileAnd time demands its fee. – From a 2000 year old tombstone in (then) Greek-speaking Asia MinorI’d like to do a little free-association exercise with you. I’m going to say three words…
155. Lauren Groff (writer) – We Should Die of That Roar
Jul 7, 2018 • 43 min
The places we live in shape us. I don’t care who you are how indomitable your will…your spirit is in dialogue with the place you live. For example, I live in New York City, a place I wrapped around me like a second skin when I was 18 years old. Back then…
154. Jonathan Safran Foer (writer) – One Thing We Can All Agree Upon
Jun 30, 2018 • 48 min
What is food? It’s nourishment. It’s comfort. It’s culture. It’s art. For millions of people, it’s not something you waste much time thinking about. You eat what you’ve always eaten. What everyone around you eats. What you can afford. For others, every…
153. Guns: The Genie and the Bottle – Priya Satia (Historian)
Jun 23, 2018 • 49 min
When you think of the industrial revolution what comes to mind? Steam engines probably. Lone genius inventors. Factories and coal mines, perhaps. And depending on your professional interests and political leanings, either suffering laborers in sweat shops…
152. Where You Gonna Run To? Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo (documentary filmmakers)
Jun 16, 2018 • 55 min
Imagine you’re a father or a mother of three kids. Your city is in the middle of a civil war. At any time a rocket might burst through your wall. Soldiers might round your family up, or kill them in crossfire. What do you do?You leave, of course. You do…
151. Jessica Abel (cartoonist, creative coach) – Practical Magic
Jun 9, 2018 • 64 min
On an earlier episode of this show the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk said something that I’ve never forgotten. He said that writing programs shouldn’t teach about plots or characters or how to structure a story. Instead, they should teach writers to manage…
150. David Sedaris (humorist) – Sir David of the Spotless Roadways
Jun 2, 2018 • 61 min
Life is full of horrible things. I dare you to deny it. Things like death, sickness, and alcoholism. And did I mention death, which lies in wait for us all? But if you talk about these things at dinner parties, or at work, or to someone you have just met…
149. Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister of Greece) – Happiness, Inc.
May 26, 2018 • 56 min
As the Wu-Tang Clan once put it: “Cash moves everything around me… Get the money. Dollar dollar bill, y’all.”I grew up not wanting to believe this. All the stuff that seemed worth having was hard to put a price tag on. but in a global capitalist world,…
148. Jonathan Lethem (writer) – Batman’s Greatest Enemy
May 19, 2018 • 57 min
There’s a famous line from a Bob Dylan song that goes “she’s got everything she needs…she’s an artist…she don’t look back.” As a person who loves art—music and literature especially—I’ve always been haunted by that line. Does an artist really not look…
147. Ronan Farrow (investigative journalist) — A Failure to Communicate
May 12, 2018 • 41 min
In Hollywood movies diplomats always get a bad rap. I’m picturing Claude Rains as “Mr. Dryden” in Lawrence of Arabia looking, as Clyde Rains always does, somewhat reptilian as he hunches over a map of the Middle East with General Allenby, smirking…
146. Think Again LIVE with Kristen Radtke (graphic novelist) – The Fascination of What’s Difficult
May 5, 2018 • 57 min
This episode is really something different. It’s a live show we did on April 21st in Green Bay Wisconsin, as part of Untitled Town Book and Author Festival, now in its second year. I’d never been to Green Bay before. Nice town! You may know about the…
145. Michael Gazzaniga (neuroscientist) – The Impossible Problem
Apr 28, 2018 • 46 min
Je pense donc je suis. (I think, therefore I am.)Huh? Who is this I?How do I know that it is thinking?What does it even mean to say that I am—that I exist, if it’s this mysterious, untrustworthy Ithat says so? To be fair, René Descartes didn’t invent…
144. Antonio Damasio (neuroscientist & philosopher) – Where is My Mind?
Apr 21, 2018 • 63 min
Why can’t we all just get along? And conversely, why do we sometimes get along so well, building cathedrals, inventing Democracy, symphonies, and stuff that that? According to my guest today, the answer is as old as life itself. In the behaviors of the…
143. The Way Brothers (documentary filmmakers) – City On a Hill
Apr 14, 2018 • 66 min
In New York City, where we all live in little boxes on top of one another, “Ignore thy neighbor” is a reasonable coping strategy. Live and let live, right? To each her own. But what’s the tipping point at which thy neighbor becomes simply too numerous,…
142. Meg Wolitzer (writer) – Messages From Another Planet
Apr 7, 2018 • 59 min
Ambition and loyalty. What we want versus what we already have and should be grateful for. When there’s conflict here, in some ways it’s a tension between loyalty to others and loyalty to ourselves…or maybe loyalty to who we are now versus another…
141. Tara Westover (writer, historian) – Nothing Final Can Be Known
Mar 31, 2018 • 62 min
What does your education mean to you? What would you be willing to sacrifice for it? For me and my sister, growing up, it was a given that you’d get “well-educated.” You’d get good grades, go to a good college, and most likely graduate, medical, law, or…
140. Martin Amis (writer) – The Spooky Art
Mar 24, 2018 • 49 min
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139. Neil Gaiman (writer) – And Then it Gets Darker
Mar 17, 2018 • 58 min
Adult life, with all its schedules and responsibilities, can turn into a kind of library of locked boxes. The ones we open every day sit on a shelf at eye level, their keys clipped to a carabiner at our waist: Set the alarm. Pack a gym bag. Pick up milk…
138. Steven Pinker (Cognitive Scientist) – The Defeat of Defeatism
Mar 10, 2018 • 37 min
I admit it. I confess. I’ve got a touch of what my guest today calls “progressophobia”. Ever since Charles Dickens got hold of me back in middle school, and William Blake after that, I’ve been a little suspicious of the Great Onward March of science and…
137. Amy Chua (author, attorney) – U.S. & Them
Mar 3, 2018 • 47 min
I don’t know about you, but for me, middle school was horrible. I arrived at an all-male school in a still very homophobic era as a small, nervous, Michael Jackson fanatic. Don’t worry - I’m going somewhere with this. For three years, life was hell. Then…
136. Michio Kaku (physicist) – Timid Monkeys on Mars
Feb 24, 2018 • 51 min
Back in the old days, if your species was faced with an existential threat, you were stuck hoping for some advantageous mutation. Maybe an extra fin or a slightly more sophisticated eyeball. Outwitting fate was pretty much out of the question. And as much…
135. Niall Ferguson (historian) – The Ghost of Future Past
Feb 17, 2018 • 45 min
Every time he sees a triangle these days, my 10-year-old son points and says “Gasp! the illuminati!” This is a meme he and all his friends absorbed from YouTube. It’s interesting that several centuries after the Illuminati first appeared, as basically a…
134. Jacob Sager Weinstein (children’s author) – Imaginary Histories, Possible Futures
Feb 10, 2018 • 56 min
Once upon a time, there was a rabbit. No…Not a rabbit. Lewis Carroll already did that… How about an Amazonian river dolphin. Ok. once upon a time there was an Amazonian river dolphin who wondered about his cousins in the wide, open ocean, free from mud…
133. Jeremy Bailenson (VR expert) – Through the Looking Glass
Feb 3, 2018 • 49 min
How do you know that you’re really where you are right now? I mean, where are you getting this sense of place from? A bunch of data from at least some of your five senses enters your brain where it’s cross-referenced with categories from memory. You’re…
132. Karl Ove Knausgaard (writer) – The Way I Should Be in the World
Jan 27, 2018 • 42 min
Wherever you are right now, take a look around you. Let your eyes rest on the first thing that catches your attention. For me, while writing this, it’s a bowl in Big Think’s offices. Highly polished, assembled, it seems, from curved, stained strips of…
131. Daniel Alarcón (writer) – There’s No Such Thing as Glamor, Really
Jan 20, 2018 • 58 min
A listener commented the other day on Twitter that on two completely different recent episodes of this show – one about technology and the other one about jellyfish, the same idea came up: that stories play a powerful role in shaping our real lives. This…
130. Mark Epstein, MD (Buddhist psychiatrist) – I, Me, Mine
Jan 13, 2018 • 57 min
All through the day… I, me mine, I me mine, I me mine… That George Harrison song on the Beatles’ last album pretty much sums it up. They recorded it in 1970, and 47 years later, our egos seem to be running just as rampant as ever. While the unchecked ego…
129. Fatih Akin (film director) – This Blood-Drenched Earth
Dec 16, 2017 • 46 min
All of us—you, me, everybody—we’re living our lives subject to often invisible forces beyond our control. Culture, politics, economics, history, even the weather. They all have the power to shape our lives or tear them suddenly to pieces. My guest today,…
128. Noël Wells (actor/director) – Out of Context
Dec 9, 2017 • 60 min
100,000 or so years of human history and young adulthood is still getting weirder. Jason Gots: My guest today is actor and filmmaker Noël Wells. She’s been a cast member of Saturday Night Live. She played Rachel on the Netflix series Master of None. And…
127. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) – The Upside of Downtime
Dec 2, 2017 • 61 min
When was the last time you were bored? I mean really, well and truly, staring at the patterns in the wallpaper bored? Statistics suggest that you’re probably listening to this show on a smartphone. Which means you own a smartphone. Which means it’s…
126. Maya Jasanoff (Historian) – Civilization and Its Discontents
Nov 25, 2017 • 63 min
Jason Gots: I want to read you a quote: “For reasons which can certainly use close psychological inquiry the West seems to suffer deep anxieties about the precariousness of its civilization and to have a need for constant reassurance by comparison with…
125. Reza Aslan (author) – Deus Ex Hominem
Nov 18, 2017 • 55 min
Jason Gots: As far back as we’re able to peer into human history, way past the written or pictoral record, into the gravesites of our most ancient ancestors, there’s evidence of what you might call spiritual or religious belief. From the idea of a…
124. Juli Berwald (writer) – Our Jellyfish Overlords
Nov 11, 2017 • 50 min
Jason Gots: What happens in your brain when I say the word “Jellyfish”? If you’re not a marine biologist, and if going to the beach almost anywhere in the world is a part of your life, the word probably makes you wince. Maybe you remember getting stung.…
123. (Henry) Rollins, Redux: Monogamy+Genius+Violence
Nov 4, 2017 • 45 min
Jason Gots: Let’s cast our minds back to June 2015, before Donald Trump as president seemed even a remote possibility. We had just launched Think Again, and for our second episode (and not much more than my second interview) ever I was talking with the…
122. David Eagleman (neuroscientist) – Your Creative Brain
Oct 28, 2017 • 46 min
Jason Gots: It’s 150,000 years ago. You’re a Homo sapiens, hanging out in a really cozy clearing protected from behind by a cliff wall. It’s a great spot. Temperate, isolated, pretty safe. Lots of good fruits and tubers nearby. Should you just hang out…
121. Van Jones (social entrepreneur) – Blind Spots & Sore Spots
Oct 21, 2017 • 47 min
Jason Gots: I want to tell you a story. It’s November 5, 2016, a few days before Election Day. I’m staring at Facebook, promising myself I’m going to delete the app once and for all from my phone, today. Enough of the political echo chamber. Enough of the…
120. Nancy Koehn (Historian) – Holdin’ on for a Hero
Oct 14, 2017 • 49 min
What do Rachel Carson, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ernest Shackleton, and Abraham Lincoln have in common, aside from being historical figures you’ve probably heard of? That’s the question my guest today tries to answer in her new book Forged…
119. Aaron Mahnke (of ‘Lore’) – The Hunger for Mystery
Oct 7, 2017 • 51 min
For thousands of years, all over the world, tales of monsters and the undead have populated the “whitespace” beyond the borders of our understanding. As the enormous popularity of the podcast ‘Lore” demonstrates, we’re still hungry for those stories…
118. Stephen Greenblatt (humanities scholar) – Irresistible Fictions
Sep 30, 2017 • 58 min
An ancient, one-and-a-half-page-story that just won’t let us go. Humanities scholar Stephen Greenblatt and host Jason Gots discuss how Adam and Eve have shaped and been shaped by Western art, culture, and science, in this, Big Think’s latest…
117. Kurt Andersen (writer) – The Sleep of Reason
Sep 23, 2017 • 56 min
Orthodox kookiness: the true American exceptionalism? Writer Kurt Andersen and host Jason Gots discuss America’s 500 year old tendency toward passionate belief in the preposterous in this, Big Think’s latest brain-fertilizing podcast. Writer and media…
116. Claire Messud (writer) – All These Falls From Grace
Sep 16, 2017 • 56 min
Author Claire Messud and host Jason Gots talk about childhood, growing up, and how cultures contain the things that scare them most. Also, how to give and receive good criticism on creative writing in this, Big Think’s latest brain-fertilizing podcast.…
115. Salman Rushdie (writer) – A Permeable Frontier
Sep 9, 2017 • 59 min
In this episode, the first one with a repeat guest since the show was launched (Henry Rollins was one taping split into two episodes) author Salman Rushdie and host Jason Gots discuss New York City, the surrealism of everyday life, comic books, and much,…
114. 2017 Mixtape #2 – Words, Values, Self, Other
Sep 2, 2017 • 60 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
113. 2017 Mixtape #1 – Mind, Body, Authenticity, Artifice
Aug 26, 2017 • 53 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
112. Richard Dawkins (biologist) – Red in Tooth and Claw
Aug 19, 2017 • 57 min
In this episode, which Dawkins described as “one of the best interviews I have ever had,” the eminent ethologist and host Jason Gots talk about whether pescatarianism makes any sense, where morality should come from (since, as Hume says, “you can’t get an…
111. Ari Shaffir (Comic) – The Golden Age of Trolling
Aug 12, 2017 • 60 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
110. Peter Frankopan (historian) – You Can’t Stop the Clock
Aug 5, 2017 • 75 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
109. Sheelah Kolhatkar (Writer, Former Hedge Fund Analyst) – The Most Dangerous Game
Jul 29, 2017 • 47 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
108. Jeff Garlin (Comedian) – K.I.S.S.
Jul 22, 2017 • 41 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
107. Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (Authors) – The Garden of Forking Paths
Jul 15, 2017 • 39 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
106. Alan Alda (Actor) – The Spirit of the Staircase
Jul 8, 2017 • 42 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
105. Jennifer Doudna (Geneticist) - Intelligent Redesign?
Jul 1, 2017 • 56 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
104. Timothy Spall (Actor) – That Double Want
Jun 24, 2017 • 61 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
103. Liza Jessie Peterson (Playwright, Arts-Educator) – The Sleeping Giant
Jun 17, 2017 • 53 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
102. Paul Theroux (Writer) – Saintly & Scowling
Jun 10, 2017 • 64 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
101. Ariel Levy (Writer) – Big Things That Are Not Talked About
Jun 3, 2017 • 46 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
100. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist) – The Only “-ist” I Am
May 27, 2017 • 47 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from…
99. Mary Gaitskill (Writer) – Their Animal Being
May 20, 2017 • 49 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
98. Lawrence Krauss (Physicist) – Lux Ex Machina
May 13, 2017 • 62 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
97. Dean Buonomano (Neuroscientist) – This is Your Brain on Time
May 6, 2017 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
96. Sarah W. Goldhagen (Architecture Critic) – Souls & Spaces
Apr 29, 2017 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
95. Kory Stamper (Lexicographer) – Lair of the Level 10 Word Mage
Apr 22, 2017 • 57 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
94. Joyce Carol Oates (Writer) – Oh, That’s Socialism
Apr 15, 2017 • 55 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
93. Adam Alter (Social Psychologist) – Ping!
Apr 8, 2017 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
92. Elif Batuman (Writer) – The Worst Appetizer in America
Apr 1, 2017 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
91. Daniel Dennett (Philosopher) – Thinking About Thinking About Thinking
Mar 25, 2017 • 50 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
90. Scott Aukerman (Comedy Writer) – The Buttons You Push
Mar 18, 2017 • 59 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
89. George Saunders (Author) – Self-Googling In Hell
Mar 11, 2017 • 55 min
“If I died right now, I’d still be self-Googling in hell.” – George Saunders, in this episode. George Saunders’ new book - his first novel, after many acclaimed collections of short stories including the NY Times bestselling 10th of December – is called…
88. Gish Jen (Author) – The Self in the World
Mar 4, 2017 • 52 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
87. Yuval Noah Harari (Historian) – Time’s Up
Feb 25, 2017 • 50 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
86. Ayelet Waldman (Author) – Yourself, Only Better
Feb 18, 2017 • 53 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
85. Ben Goertzel (A.I. Inventor) – The State of the Art of Artificial General Intelligence
Feb 11, 2017 • 42 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
84. Nato Thompson (Artistic Director) – The Friendly Face
Feb 3, 2017 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
83. Matt Taibbi (Journalist) – Bread and Circus
Jan 28, 2017 • 46 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
82. Bernard-Henri Lévy (Philosopher) – The Mirror of Our Better Selves
Jan 21, 2017 • 45 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
81. Isy Suttie (Comedian) – There’s Something a Bit Smug about the Sea
Jan 14, 2017 • 71 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
80. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (founder: MuslimGirl) – Who Tells Your Story?
Jan 7, 2017 • 39 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
79. Paul Bloom (Psychologist) – Cold-Blooded Kindness
Dec 31, 2016 • 51 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
78. Peter Godfrey-Smith (Philosopher) – Alien Intelligence
Dec 24, 2016 • 42 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
77. Anne Rice (Author) – In the Blood
Dec 17, 2016 • 47 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
76. Tim Ferriss (Author, Podcaster) – Productively Frivolous
Dec 10, 2016 • 46 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
75. David Salle (Artist) – The Enemy of Art
Dec 3, 2016 • 43 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
74. Jace Clayton AKA DJ/Rupture - Sonic Veils and Revelations
Nov 26, 2016 • 50 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
73. T.C. Boyle (Author) - Lost on Purpose
Nov 19, 2016 • 44 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
72. Slavoj Žižek (Philosopher) - Against Tolerance
Nov 12, 2016 • 53 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
71. Jelani Cobb (Historian) - Shiny New Skin, Same Old Snake
Nov 5, 2016 • 54 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
70. Margaret Atwood (Author) - The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid
Oct 29, 2016 • 44 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
69. Jodi Picoult (Author) - Popular Fictions/Not Yours to Tell
Oct 22, 2016 • 45 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
68. William Shatner (Actor, Author) – Yes, I Am Trying to Win This Podcast
Oct 15, 2016 • 40 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
67. James Gleick (Science Writer) - Everything All at Once
Oct 8, 2016 • 39 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
66. Alton Brown (Chef, Author) - Easy-Bake Oven/Hard Knock Life
Oct 1, 2016 • 50 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
65. Ian McEwan (Novelist) - A King of Infinite Space
Sep 24, 2016 • 42 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
64. Mixtape #4 – The Writers’ Room
Sep 17, 2016 • 43 min
In this episode: Big Think launched in 2008 as a “YouTube for intellectuals.” Since then, it has produced over 10,000 short-form video interviews with many of the most influential and creative thinkers of our time. Big Think’s videos are bits of “expert…
63. Eric Kandel (Nobel Laureate neuroscientist) - The Eye of the Beholder
Sep 10, 2016 • 41 min
Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview…
62. Mixtape #3 – a Soupçon of Ornithology
Sep 3, 2016 • 52 min
Big Think launched in 2008 as a “YouTube for intellectuals.” Since then, it has produced over 10,000 short-form video interviews with many of the most influential and creative thinkers of our time. In 2014, the podcast SERIAL burst on the scene and Apple…
61. Alison Gopnik (Developmental Psychologist) – Artificial Intelligence/Natural Stupidity
Aug 27, 2016 • 46 min
Alison Gopnik is an internationally recognized expert in children’s learning and development. A professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley, and the author of many books including the The Philosophical Baby. Her new book…
60. Teju Cole (Writer) – The World is Not a Settled Gift
Aug 20, 2016 • 45 min
Nigerian-born writer, photographer, and art historian Teju Cole is the author of the novel Open City and the novella Every Day is for the Theif. He’s also the photography critic of the New York Times magazine. His new book is a collection of deeply…
59. Jacqueline Woodson (Writer) – Bored Kid Dreaming/Apologies Long Overdue
Aug 13, 2016 • 38 min
Jacqueline Woodson, the Newberry, Caldecott, and National-Book Award winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, If You Come Softly and many other works of poetry and literature for children and young adults, has just released Another Brooklyn, her first adult…
58. Mixtape #2 – Staring at the Sea
Aug 6, 2016 • 49 min
Big Think launched in 2008 as a “YouTube for intellectuals.” Since then, it has produced over 10,000 short-form video interviews with many of the most influential and creative thinkers of our time. In 2014, the podcast SERIAL burst on the scene and Apple…
57. Mixtape #1 - Lies/Monsters/Friendship/Religion/Space Aliens
Jul 30, 2016 • 50 min
Big Think launched in 2008 as a “YouTube for intellectuals.” Since then, it has produced over 10,000 short-form video interviews with many of the most influential and creative thinkers of our time. In 2014, the podcast SERIAL burst on the scene and Apple…
56. Jonathon Keats (Experimental Philosopher) – The Trickster/Castles in the Sky
Jul 23, 2016 • 51 min
“Experimental philosopher” and science writer Jonathon Keats, who famously created pornography for plants and sold real estate in the alternate dimensions proposed by string theory, believes that we “need to ascend to the meta level” to find creative ways…
55. Mary Roach (Science Writer) – To Nietszche His Own
Jul 16, 2016 • 36 min
Sex toy book parties! Penis transplants! Decomposition labs! These are just a few of the places the intrepid, New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach takes us in hilarious, curiosity-driven books like Bonk:: The Curious Science of Sex and her latest,…
54. LIVE! Sarah Jones (actor/playwright) –
Jul 9, 2016 • 41 min
Sarah Jones is a Tony and Obie award-winning playwright and performer. She’s unlike any other artist in her uncanny ability to create, become, and instantly switch between characters, convincingly inhabiting their physicality and their consciousness.…
53. Sean Wilentz (Historian) – The Culture Strikes Back
Jul 2, 2016 • 38 min
The stakes are extraordinarily high in this election. We’re at a crossroads. I think the current politics are a continuation of the fight we’ve been having since the ‘60s.The expansion of an African-American middle class, the changes in family norms, in…
52. Jim Gaffigan (Comedian) – You’re Attacking My Grandpa?
Jun 25, 2016 • 41 min
“It’s funny or it’s not funny. In the end, people are not coming to my show because I’m not cursing” – Jim GaffiganJim Gaffigan is a Grammy nominated stand-up comedian and the New York Times best-selling author of “Dad is Fat” and other books, and he’s…
51. Krista Tippett (Author, Host, “On Being”) – We Are Made by What Would Break Us
Jun 18, 2016 • 45 min
“That is one of the most mysterious things about human existence: that we are made by what would break us, repeatedly. That life is hard, and the only guarantee we have is that even at our moments of greatest accomplishment, something will happen that we…
50. Ethan Hawke (Actor, Author) – The High, Hard Road/Ghosts of the Apache Wars
Jun 11, 2016 • 50 min
“Whenever we start seeing people as other, we just get lost. There were so many decent cowboys trying to do the right thing. And so many decent First Nation people trying to do the right thing. And there were so many liars, and cheaters, and people trying…
49. Geoff Dyer (Author) – Ordinary Epiphanies
Jun 4, 2016 • 40 min
Novelist and essayist Geoff Dyer is one of the English language’s most mordant and poetic observers of art, travel, and human behavior. He’s the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and the Windham Campbell Prize for Nonfiction.…
48. Mary-Louise Parker (Actress, Author): Virtual Empathy?/Lessons Relearned
May 28, 2016 • 35 min
Death, Bob Marley, parenthood, gratitude, and what to do in the face of incalculable suffering. These are just a few of the topics raised in this episode’s vulnerable, searching discussion with Tony, Emmy, Obie, and two-time Golden Globe award-winning…
47. Kate Tempest (rapper/poet/novelist): Lost and Found in South London
May 21, 2016 • 38 min
“When you’re writing a novel, it’s agony. It’s complete agony. It’s a horrible thing to put yourself through. All of the instinctive kind of rushes of creativity, the energized outpourings, anybody can do that. That’s not what makes you a writer. The bit…
46. Chris Gethard (Comedian) – a Blessing in Disguise
May 14, 2016 • 39 min
I’m starting to feel that what people in the future will actually want is something that feels small. That feels like not everyone has access to it. You’ll see more people making a modest living and less people making these massive superstar livings. –…
45. James McBride (Author) – Fear Sells Many a Car/James Brown is a Noun
May 7, 2016 • 35 min
“Fear is just a monster motivator. It sells many a car and harnesses many a vote.” – James McBride, in this episode. Fear, says National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author James McBride, was the most powerful force in the life of…
44. Douglas Rushkoff (Media Theorist) – Hack the $ystem
Apr 30, 2016 • 36 min
“The problem with our time is that we look at people for their utility value.”, says Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. Since the late Middle Ages, Rushkoff argues, money and businesses have been programmed to extract more and…
43. Michael Puett (Harvard Chinese Philosophy Scholar) – Freedom Through Ritual
Apr 23, 2016 • 34 min
Michael Puett teaches one of three most popular undergraduate courses at Harvard, on ancient Chinese philosophy and ethics: Daoism, Confucianism, Legalism, Moism, and more. What keeps students coming back year after year to this seemingly esoteric…
42. Joshua Cohen (Novelist) – Scrupulously Messy, by Which I Mean Human
Apr 16, 2016 • 34 min
In this week’s episode Joshua Cohen, author of the “great American internet novel” Book of Numbers, says that if a cliché sticks around long enough it can become a prayer.In conversation with host Jason Gots and prompted by video interview clips featuring…
41. Sarah Kay (Poet) – Kids See Right Through That
Apr 9, 2016 • 34 min
“Authenticity is something that cannot be fabricated.” – Sarah Kay On this week’s episode, poet Sarah Kay, whose 2011 TED talk “If I Should Have a Daughter” has been viewed over 9 million times, shares her thoughts on who gets (and who doesn’t get) to…
40. Nikhil Goyal (Education Activist) – Mind in a Box
Apr 2, 2016 • 35 min
Put 8 year old Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders together in a progressive 2nd grade classroom. What would happen? Since the dawn of compulsory schooling America has been experimenting on young minds with pedagogies and systems of control…
39. Maria Popova (Writer, Editor of Brain Pickings) – The Absurdity of Not Writing Poems
Mar 26, 2016 • 39 min
“I’m always pulled toward anything that helps me figure out how to live a meaningful and substantive life.” – Maria PopovaWhat does real friendship look like? How can something written a thousand years ago help us to navigate our lives in the 21st…
38. Amanda Palmer (Musician, Author) – Privacy Is Weird
Mar 19, 2016 • 34 min
“As human beings we all have this flaw, which is to think that there’s a right way of doing things. And it’s just bullshit.” – Amanda Palmer on Think Again Artist Amanda Palmer is a practitioner of radical trust –– On tour, she couch surfs with fans from…
37. Cory Booker (US Senator) – Cynicism: a Refuge for Cowards
Mar 12, 2016 • 25 min
“We all have so much power that we don’t use. And I think it’s because of cynicism, which is a toxic spiritual state. Cynicism is a refuge for cowards.” –– Cory BookerWhy do so many of us choose to remain in a state of “sedentary agitation” about…
36. Yann Martel (Author) – The Vacuum of Space Leaves Me Cold
Mar 5, 2016 • 33 min
Yann Martel, author of the Man Booker award-winning novel Life of Pi and The High Mountains of Portugal, is not a big fan of outer space. Nor of science in general. “Science,” he says on this week’s episode, “… is a truth that exists whether I’m there or…
35. A.O. Scott (Film Critic) – The Right to Be Wrong
Feb 27, 2016 • 29 min
A.O. Scott: The fantasy that I would use to comfort myself [as a child, about death] was…that I’d become other people. I would still be me, but I would inhabit different bodies…and eventually I would just get to see what it was like to be everybody.Jason…
34. Paul F. Tompkins (Comedian) – A Tiny, Cosmic Threat
Feb 20, 2016 • 29 min
Shockingly well-dressed comedian Paul F. Tompkins, host of Spontaneanation and the television show No, You Shut Up! joins host Jason Gots for improvised singing and conversation on subjects ranging from supervillains to presidential debates.Also! We debut…
33. Marc Goodman (Cybersecurity Expert) – Dark Web/Nigerian Princes
Feb 13, 2016 • 38 min
All technology is in effect “dual use.” You can use it for good, or you can use it for ill. – Marc GoodmanAt what point does government’s incompetence at policing sex predators and other internet criminals constitute breach of contract with the general…
32. James Doty, MD (Neurosurgeon) – Compassion and The Prison State
Feb 6, 2016 • 31 min
“Justice without the opportunity for redemption is torture.” — James DotyIn this week’s episode neurosurgeon James Doty, founder of the Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and author of Into the Magic Shop , and Think Again…
31. Michael Shermer (Author, Friendly Skeptic) – A Dirty Job/We Want to Believe
Jan 23, 2016 • 26 min
“We skeptics need evidence. And then, we’ll believe!” — Michael ShermerIn this week’s episode, Michael Shermer, author of Skeptic and The Moral Arc, and Think Again host Jason Gots discuss (among other things) compelling evidence that humanity’s getting…
30. Howard Gardner (Psychologist) – Porn/Art/Good Work
Jan 16, 2016 • 25 min
At the risk of alienating your southern listeners, the American South is by far the most religious, and on every measure of turpitude it gets very good scores. — Howard GardnerIn this week’s episode, Howard Gardner, creator of the theory of Multiple…
29. Sir David Hare (Playwright/Screenwriter) – Kleptocracy/A Thin Skin
Jan 9, 2016 • 31 min
I’ve written hit plays. I know what a hit feels like. It doesn’t significantly change your life. You still have to start again and try and write the next one. – David HareIn this week’s episode, celebrated playwright Sir David Hare opines along with host…
28. Daniel Levitin (Musician & Neuroscientist) – Rats/Risks/Rewards
Dec 26, 2015 • 30 min
“Now newness is coming at us continuously. And the brain hasn’t evolved to deal with that onslaught of newness. There has to be some sculpting of the input. Otherwise it just becomes random noise.” – Daniel LevitinDo you see yourself as in control of your…
27. Alva Noë (Philosopher) – The Upside of Boredom
Dec 19, 2015 • 31 min
“Art, by letting us get bored, reveals something to us about what we’ve been doing to avoid boredom.” – Alva NoëWhy are we so afraid to slow down and think? Is it possible, in any sense, to separate reason and emotion? Is there such a thing as “too far…
26. Ian Edwards (Comedian) – Sex/Guns/Honesty is Honesty
Dec 12, 2015 • 29 min
“How would you control yourself if you knew you were one of the only five people to have guns? You would be an asshole!” –– Ian EdwardsAre you “man enough” for non-monogamy? Could citizen gun ownership deter crazy cops? Can brutal honesty launch your…
25. Sam Harris (Neuroscientist) – Uncomfortable Conversations
Dec 5, 2015 • 43 min
What are the limits of tolerance? Can people with fundamentally different world views coexist peacefully? Is faith incompatible with reason? In the wake of the recent Paris attacks, these questions are more pressing than ever.In this week’s episode…
24. Maira Kalman (Artist) – Scared of Math/Psycho Killer
Nov 28, 2015 • 25 min
“My goal is always to be laughing. Do you lose the laughter once you become too good at something?” - Maira KalmanThink Again is a spontaneous, brainy variety show – The world’s brightest minds grapple with surprise topics.Artist and author Maira Kalman,…
23. Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Novelist) – Write to Live/No Logic In War
Nov 21, 2015 • 29 min
“There is no central logic in war. Victor Hugo wrote about street fights in Paris. In one street people are killing each other. In the next street people are enjoying their coffee. They’re not even aware of what’s happening.” – Orhan PamukThink Again is a…
22. Wendell Pierce (Actor, ‘The Wire’) – Godot Ain’t Coming
Nov 14, 2015 • 26 min
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, actor and New Orleans native son Wendell Pierce (‘The Wire’, ‘Treme’), author of the new book “The Wind in the Reeds,” about his work at the local and national level rebuilding New Orleans over the past…
21. Saul Williams (Poet, Musician, Actor) – An Army of Poets/the 10,000 Things
Nov 7, 2015 • 40 min
Send in the poets. Send in the seducers. Vulnerable people, not invulnerable drones who can mistake a wedding party for a terrorist cell. When those mistakes are made, that is how ISIS is born. – Saul WilliamsSaul Williams is a fiercely original,…
20. Jesse Ventura (Wrestler, Governor) – Off the Grid/Life on Mars
Oct 30, 2015 • 23 min
How to tell conspiracy and crazy apart. How six months a year “off the grid” in Mexico changes your perspective on everything. The “water bear”, a possible alien life form among us.This week on Big Think’s podcast, host Jason Gots talks with legendary…
19. Ruth Reichl (Food Critic) – Identity Crisis/The Cooking Cure
Oct 24, 2015 • 20 min
When you lose everything, what do you reach for first?This week on Big Think’s podcast, food critic Ruth Reichl, author of My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life talks with host Jason Gots about cooking, identity, and her year-long journey back…
18. Junot Díaz (Pulitzer-Winning Novelist) – Double Lives/Hidden Culture
Oct 17, 2015 • 27 min
Is everybody leading a double life? Why are great comic books STILL NOT part of the “literary canon”? Would having a gay president actually change anything in America?This week on Big Think’s podcast, Junot Díaz, Dominican-American, Pulitzer prize winning…
17. Norman Lear (TV Legend) – An Authentic Horse’s Ass/The Capacity to Choose
Oct 10, 2015 • 25 min
We surprise the world’s sharpest minds with unexpected topics. This week, legendary TV producer Norman Lear, author ofEven THIS I Get to Experience joins host Jason Gots to discuss Mars colonies, immigration, and the upside of stress.“If I learned…
16. Jane McGonigal (Game Designer) – Game On!/Death to “Gamification”
Oct 3, 2015 • 21 min
Fantasy can save your life but how much is too much? This week on Big Think’s podcast we discuss three surprise ideas with game developer and researcher Jane McGonigal, author of the new book SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger,…
15. Salman Rushdie (Novelist) – Happiness/Monsters
Sep 26, 2015 • 21 min
“For most of the time, writing any book, it’s not going well.”–– Salman Rushdie on Think AgainThis week on Big Think’s popular podcast, we’re joined by the brilliant and occasionally notorious Salman Rushdie, author of the new book Two Years, Eight…
14. Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner – Free $#!+/Hidden Costs
Sep 19, 2015 • 20 min
Are Pirate Bay (illegal, free) and Spotify (legit, really cheap) undermining artists’ incentive to create?This week on Big Think’s podcast, we’re joined by Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner.An interview clip from film producer Jonathan Taplin launches an…
13. “Reply All” Hosts PJ & Alex – Future Crime/Personal Yoda/Bonus Track
Sep 12, 2015 • 27 min
Can we escape our own irrationality? Is weaponized DNA something we should be worrying about? Does the future look like “Mad Max”?This week on Big Think’s podcast, we’re joined by the astounding Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt, creators and hosts of “Reply All,”…
12. George Takei (Actor + Activist) – Ego/Focus/Xenophobia
Sep 5, 2015 • 29 min
Is attention an endangered species? How do you collaborate with someone who hates you? Is xenophobia a natural side effect of religion?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by actor, activist, and internet…
11. Tina Roth Eisenberg (AKA @swissmiss) – Culture Theory/Color Theory
Aug 29, 2015 • 23 min
How do colors affect us psychologically? Will a less hierarchical, more collaborative society lead inevitably to robot wars?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by Tina Roth Eisenberg (AKA Swissmiss),…
10. Mark Epstein (Buddhist Psychotherapist) – Nature/Nurture/Neither
Aug 22, 2015 • 31 min
Will nanobots someday deposit Shakespeare directly into our brains? If we paid politicians tons of money would they do a better job? Does epigenetics solve the nature/nurture debate?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason…
9. Henry Rollins (Artist), pt. II – American Trauma/The Word “Genius”
Aug 15, 2015 • 24 min
Can anything cure what ails America? What’s a “genius”, exactly?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, we air part two of our conversation with legendary hardcore musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins. Interview clips from Paul…
8. Maria Konnikova (Author) – Mindset/Creativity/Suburban B-Boyz
Aug 8, 2015 • 22 min
Can “positive thinking” keep you physically and mentally young? Do schools kill creativity? Should white boys ever rap or breakdance?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by Maria Konnikova, author of The…
7. Baratunde Thurston (Comedian, Cultural Critic) – Stupidity Scaled/Robot Rights/Brand You
Aug 1, 2015 • 26 min
At what point do sex robots become sex slaves? How are bandwidth and storage capacity changing our lives? Can you have a “personal brand” and “be yourself” at the same time?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is…
6. Brian Greene (Theoretical Physicist) – Student for Sale
Jul 24, 2015 • 15 min
Can anyone afford college anymore? Would it help if we sold stock in students? Would Young Einstein have been a popular commodity?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots and sometime co-host Eric Sanders are joined…
5. Clint Smith (Poet, Educator) – Genetics/Racism/Harvard
Jul 18, 2015 • 21 min
Will our brainpower soon be exponentially enhanced by technology? Or will the world turn into a Terminator movie? Can genetics overcome its early history of racism?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by…
4. Bill Nye (Science Guy) – Geek Chic/TMI/Future Money
Jul 11, 2015 • 32 min
Was Einstein a fashion genius? Why is Malcolm Gladwell unimpressed by search engines? What will money look like in 500 years?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by beloved actor/educator Bill Nye, host of…
3. Wendy Suzuki (Neuroscientist) – Brain Health/Consumerism/Women In Science
Jul 4, 2015 • 23 min
Is the modern world designed to kill you? Do Fitbit and meditation apps make us healthier and happier? Are women changing science for the better?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, host Jason Gots is joined by neuroscientist Wendy…
2. Henry Rollins (Artist) – Monogamy/Sexual Opportunism
Jun 27, 2015 • 19 min
Is monogamy ridiculous? Does this change with age? What do we really want out of love and sex?In this week’s episode of Big Think’s Think Again podcast, we’re joined by legendary hardcore musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.This clip from…
1. Jason Silva (Futurist) – Awe/Information Overload
Jun 20, 2015 • 18 min
“Dealing with the everyday requires us to close ourself off… But when you see art you want the opposite of shutdown.… .How do you adjust the treble and the bass of experience as it’s coming in?”With everything competing for your attention, how do you…
Episode Zero – Think Again - Curiouser and Curiouser …
Jun 4, 2015 • 4 min
You’ve got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?Some of the best conversations happen when we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, thrust into…