The Next Big Idea

The Next Big Idea

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Think bigger. Create better. Live smarter. Ideas are coming at you every day from all directions. Where do you even start? Hosted by Rufus Griscom, and featuring thought-leaders Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink, THE NEXT BIG IDEA brings you the most groundbreaking ideas that have the power to change the way you live, work, and think. Each episode dives deep into one big idea through immersive storytelling, narration and curator interviews with the most interesting authors at work today.


LET’S BE REASONABLE: Sam Harris and Rufus in Conversation
Sep 25 • 62 min
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,…
MIND GAMES: What Poker Can Teach Us About Luck, Skill, and Ourselves
Sep 1 • 50 min
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…
TRANSCENDENCE: Finding Fulfillment Beyond Ourselves
Aug 25 • 51 min
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…
HUMANKIND: Finding Hope in Human History
Aug 18 • 47 min
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…
MIGRATION: Why Human Beings Were Built to Move
Aug 11 • 45 min
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…
BREATH: Harnessing the Power of a Lost Art
Aug 4 • 46 min
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,…
PERSUASION: How to Change People’s Minds
Jul 28 • 48 min
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…
ALCHEMY: How Our Creations Recreate Us
Jul 21 • 47 min
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…
UPSTREAM: Solving Problems Before They Happen
Jul 14 • 47 min
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…
CIVILIZATION: Recalculating the Price of Progress
Jul 7 • 48 min
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…
TOGETHER: A Doctor’s Prescription for Health and Happiness
Jun 30 • 47 min
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…
WEIRDNESS: How to Make it Your Superpower
Jun 23 • 45 min
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…
BOYS & SEX: Coming of Age in America
Jun 16 • 42 min
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…
FRIENDSHIP: The Science and Power of Life’s Deepest Bond
Jun 9 • 47 min
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…
THINKING AHEAD: How to Make Life’s Big Decisions
Jun 3 • 46 min
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…
LISTENING: What You’re Missing and Why it Matters
May 26 • 42 min
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…
Wondery presents The School of Greatness with Kevin Hart
May 23 • 3 min
Kevin Hart opens up about what it means to win, grow your intellect, and empower others on this week’s episode of The School of Greatness. The School of Greatness, hosted by bestselling author Lewis Howes, features conversations with world-class game…
SUCCESSFUL AGING: How to Live a Full, Long Life
May 19 • 44 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: Adam Grant on Finding Balance
May 12 • 48 min
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. Support us by supporting our…
Rethinking Big Ideas: Priya Parker on Gathering Apart
May 5 • 36 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: The Path to a More Generous World
Apr 28 • 32 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: Daniel Pink on the Future of Work
Apr 21 • 39 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: On Finding Joy in Simple Pleasures
Apr 16 • 29 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: Steven Johnson on Scientific Breakthroughs
Apr 9 • 32 min
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…
Rethinking Big Ideas: Susan Cain on Solitude
Apr 2 • 22 min
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…
STILLNESS: How to Find Peace in a Frantic World
Jan 28 • 44 min
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,…
FREE MONEY: Why Andrew Yang Thinks a Giveaway Can Save the Economy
Jan 21 • 45 min
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…
HABITS: How to Let Go of The Old and Bring in the New
Jan 14 • 45 min
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.…
GATHERING: How to Make Our Time Together Meaningful
Jan 7 • 44 min
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…
FUTURE: Can We Build a More Generous World
Dec 24, 2019 • 46 min
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. By the way,…
SUCCESS: The Dirty Secret of Getting Ahead
Dec 17, 2019 • 46 min
Most of us are taught that 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…
TRUST: Malcolm Gladwell on How We Talk To Strangers
Dec 10, 2019 • 42 min
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.…
POWER: Why You Have More Than You Think
Dec 3, 2019 • 41 min
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 —…
PERCEPTION: Why What You See Is Not Reality
Nov 26, 2019 • 47 min
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…
UNCENSORED: What Free Speech Debates Teach Us About Empathy
Nov 19, 2019 • 46 min
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…
CONFLICT: How to Have More Productive Disagreements
Nov 12, 2019 • 44 min
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.…
JOYFUL: Why Ordinary Objects Can Make You Extraordinarily Happy
Nov 5, 2019 • 42 min
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…
CODERS: The Invisible Architects That Shape Our Lives
Oct 29, 2019 • 41 min
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…
RACIAL BIAS: Why We Have It and What We Can Do About It
Oct 22, 2019 • 42 min
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…
INDISTRACTABLE: Staying Focused in a World of Distractions
Oct 15, 2019 • 45 min
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. Join the conversation at NextBigIdeaClub.com. Get an…
RANGE: Why Generalists Succeed in a Specialists’ World
Oct 15, 2019 • 47 min
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, Malcom Gladwell talks…
Introducing The Next Big Idea
Oct 1, 2019 • 1 min
The Next Big Idea premieres October 15th.