Conversations with Tyler

Conversations with Tyler
Tyler Cowen engages today’s most underrated thinkers.

Audrey Tang on the Technology of Democracy
Oct 7 • 53 min
How [lessons from] programming can improve our politics.
Alex Ross on Music, Culture, and Criticism
Sep 22 • 61 min
Plus, the occult power of conductors.
Matt Yglesias on Why the Population is Too Damn Low
Sep 9 • 66 min
How more people would solve (some of) America’s problems.
Jason Furman on Productivity, Competition, and Growth
Aug 26 • 61 min
How do we balance human rights with technological and economic progress?
Nicholas Bloom on Management, Productivity, and Scientific Progress
Aug 12 • 63 min
And why periodicals and podcasts trump books.
Nathan Nunn on the Paths to Development
Jul 29 • 61 min
What historical factors predict future wealth?
Melissa Dell on the Significance of Persistence
Jul 15 • 63 min
The surprising ways historical events and institutions still shape our modern world.
Annie Duke on Poker, Probabilities, and How We Make Decisions
Jul 1 • 54 min
How do gamblers stay rational and happy?
Rachel Harmon on Policing
Jun 17 • 57 min
While there’s no silver bullet, real reforms are possible.
Ashley Mears on Status and Beauty
Jun 3 • 61 min
How many academics can claim to have modeled on the side?
Paul Romer on a Culture of Science and Working Hard
May 20 • 59 min
From charter cities to mass testing for COVID-19, Paul Romer doesn’t always think his ideas are good—they’re just better than the alternatives.
Adam Tooze on our Financial Past and Future
May 6 • 65 min
What economic history can tell us about navigating the current crisis.
Glen Weyl on Fighting COVID-19 and the Role of the Academic Expert
Apr 29 • 55 min
His ambitious strategy to return to (something like) normal.
Philip E. Tetlock on Forecasting and Foraging as a Fox
Apr 22 • 54 min
Is accuracy really what we want from forecasters?
Emily St. John Mandel on Fact, Fiction, and the Familiar
Apr 8 • 55 min
How film and literature can help us navigate reality.
Ross Douthat on Decadence and Dynamism
Mar 25 • 67 min
What social forces are trending toward stagnation—and how can we stop them?
Russ Roberts and Tyler on COVID-19
Mar 19 • 79 min
Tyler and Russ Roberts joined forces for a special livestreamed conversation on COVID-19. How are they both adjusting to social isolation?
John McWhorter on Linguistics, Music, and Race (Live at Mason)
Mar 11 • 78 min
Who can you ask about the Great American Songbook, the finer Jell-O flavors, and peculiar languages like Saramaccan all while expecting the same kind of fast, thoughtful, and energetic response? Listeners of Lexicon Valley know the answer.
Garett Jones on Democracy (More or Less)
Feb 26 • 56 min
And, as always, what can we learn from Singapore?
Tim Harford on Persuasion and Popular Economics
Feb 12 • 59 min
Why storytelling is still underrated.
Ezra Klein on Why We’re Polarized
Jan 29 • 70 min
In his second appearance, Ezra talks about what we get wrong when we talk about politics.
Reid Hoffman on Systems, Levers, and Quixotic Quests
Jan 15 • 60 min
Have someone named “Quixotic” on your network? It might be Reid Hoffman.
Slavoj Žižek on His Stubborn Attachment to Communism
Jan 8 • 86 min
Why not leave the label behind and join Tyler at a Singapore food stall?
Abhijit Banerjee on Theory, Practice, and India
Dec 30, 2019 • 62 min
Tyler’s former grad school classmate has made quite a name for himself.
Tyler Looks Back on 2019 (BONUS)
Dec 23, 2019 • 52 min
Take a peek behind the scenes of #cowenconvos
Esther Duflo on Management, Growth, and Research in Action
Dec 18, 2019 • 61 min
How Duflo found her calling in the midst of revolution.
Daron Acemoglu on the Struggle Between State and Society
Dec 4, 2019 • 55 min
How institutions shape the fate of nations.
Mark Zuckerberg Interviews Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen on the Nature and Causes of Progress (Bonus)
Nov 27, 2019 • 68 min
Patrick and Tyler are obsessed with progress—and they think you should be too.
Shaka Senghor on Incarceration, Identity, and the Gift of Literacy
Nov 20, 2019 • 60 min
How do you survive seven years in solitary? Escape into books.
Lunch with Fuchsia Dunlop at Mama Chang (Bonus)
Nov 13, 2019 • 76 min
Three years after her first appearance, Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop joins Tyler for a delicious homestyle Chinese meal.
Ted Gioia on Music as Cultural Cloud Storage
Nov 6, 2019 • 63 min
With music, forget about “high brow” versus “low brow.” The real distinction is between the innovative and the formulaic.
Henry Farrell on Weaponized Interdependence, Big Tech, and Playing with Ideas
Oct 23, 2019 • 71 min
The one concept most valuable for understanding the news today might be Henry Farrell’s theory of weaponized interdependence.
Ben Westhoff on Synthetic Drugs, Dive Bars, and the Evolution of Rap
Oct 9, 2019 • 60 min
Does it matter that Hasbro owns Death Row Records?
Alain Bertaud on Cities, Markets, and People
Sep 25, 2019 • 80 min
The Indiana Jones of urban planning shares what he’s learned.
Samantha Power on Learning How to Make a Difference
Sep 11, 2019 • 66 min
Power’s chronicled genocide, but the memoir may have been the hardest thing she’s had to write.
Hollis Robbins on 19th Century Life and Literature
Aug 28, 2019 • 50 min
And why aren’t there more operas about tech founders?
Masha Gessen on the Ins and Outs of Russia
Aug 14, 2019 • 68 min
And what did The Americans get right that Chernobyl missed?
Kwame Anthony Appiah on Pictures of the World
Jul 31, 2019 • 61 min
What can one learn from farming sheep in New Jersey?
Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality
Jul 17, 2019 • 54 min
If you want to speculate on the development of tech, no one has a better brain to pick than Neal Stephenson.
Eric Kaufmann on Immigration, Identity, and the Limits of Individualism
Jul 3, 2019 • 56 min
Is now a good time to buy property in Northern Ireland?
Hal Varian on Taking the Academic Approach to Business
Jun 19, 2019 • 56 min
And why kale is the key to understanding Google’s inner workings.
Russ Roberts on Life as an Economics Educator
Jun 5, 2019 • 61 min
The OG econ podcaster tries out the guest chair.
Ezekiel Emanuel on the Practice of Medicine, Policy, and Life
May 22, 2019 • 62 min
He’s worked at the highest levels of medicine, policy and academia. But the intense interest in jam and chocolate might be most impressive.
Karl Ove Knausgård on Literary Freedom
May 8, 2019 • 60 min
Knausgård’s real struggle is answering all of Tyler’s questions.
Margaret Atwood on Canada, Writing, and Invention (Live at Mason)
Apr 24, 2019 • 74 min
Turns out, Canada is really big.
Ed Boyden on Minding your Brain
Apr 10, 2019 • 61 min
Ed Boyden builds the tools and technologies that help us think about the brain, an organ we still know surprisingly little about.
Emily Wilson on Translations and Language
Mar 27, 2019 • 56 min
The literary translator’s toolkit must include pen, paper, various dictionaries, a big desk, and a huge orange cat.
Raghuram Rajan on Understanding Community
Mar 13, 2019 • 56 min
Would online education work better if teachers could text insults to students?
Sam Altman on Loving Community, Hating Coworking, and the Hunt for Talent
Feb 27, 2019 • 68 min
He’s renowned for assessing talent - so would he fund Peter Parker? How about Bruce Wayne?
Jordan Peterson on Mythology, Fame, and Reading People
Feb 13, 2019 • 53 min
And what the Intellectual Dark Web gets wrong.
Noel Johnson and Mark Koyama on *Persecution and Toleration*
Jan 30, 2019 • 76 min
How did religious freedom emerge - and why did it arrive so late?
Larissa MacFarquhar on Getting Inside Someone’s Head
Jan 16, 2019 • 60 min
One of the best profile writers working today shares what motivates her work.
Rebecca Kukla on Moving through and Responding to the World
Jan 2, 2019 • 60 min
Philosophers and comedians have almost the same job.
Daniel Kahneman on Cutting Through the Noise
Dec 19, 2018 • 69 min
You might be surprised by what occupies Daniel Kahneman’s thoughts these days.
Paul Romer on the Unrivaled Joy of Scholarship
Dec 5, 2018 • 52 min
Warning: there are 185 “ands” present in this conversation.
John Nye on Revisionist Economic History and Having Too Many Hobbies
Nov 21, 2018 • 58 min
Is John Nye the finest polymath in the George Mason economics department?
Eric Schmidt on the Life-Changing Magic of Systematizing, Scaling, and Saying ”Thanks” (Live)
Nov 7, 2018 • 54 min
“There’s no simple formula for success. But it is well understood that if you yell at people enough, they will quit.”
Ben Thompson on Business and Tech
Oct 24, 2018 • 60 min
And why Taiwanese breakfast is the best breakfast.
Rob Wiblin interviews Tyler on *Stubborn Attachments*
Oct 16, 2018 • 150 min
Finally we find out what Tyler — and Tyrone — really believes.
Paul Krugman on Politics, Inequality, and Following Your Curiosity
Oct 10, 2018 • 52 min
“Be interested in a lot of things, but when you find something that really grabs your attention, work at it seriously. Figure stuff out.”
Bruno Maçães on the Spirit of Adventure
Sep 26, 2018 • 57 min
Political scientist Bruno Maçães has built a career out of crossing the globe teaching, advising, writing, and talking to people. His recent book, born out of a six-month journey across Eurasia, is one of Tyler’s favorites. So how does it feel to face…
Michele Gelfand on Tight and Loose Cultures
Sep 12, 2018 • 56 min
Where is Tyler most at risk of getting shot at a bar?
Claire Lehmann on Speaking Freely
Aug 29, 2018 • 47 min
This Aussie thinks Americans are too afraid to speak their mind.
Michael Pollan on the Science and Sublimity of Psychedelics
Aug 15, 2018 • 59 min
Plus, his latest thoughts of food production, GMOs, and writing well.
Michelle Dawson on Autism and Atypicality
Aug 1, 2018 • 53 min
No one in the world more appreciates the challenges facing a better understanding of autism than Michelle Dawson.
Vitalik Buterin on Cryptoeconomics and Markets in Everything
Jul 18, 2018 • 52 min
Is he secretly the best young economist today?
Juan Pablo Villarino on Travel and Trust
Jul 3, 2018 • 61 min
The world’s best hitchhiker shares the tricks of the trade.
Elisa New on Poetry in America and Beyond
Jun 20, 2018 • 54 min
Anyone can have a blast reading a poem. Even you!
David Brooks on Youth, Morality, and Loneliness (Live at Mason)
Jun 6, 2018 • 82 min
“This is the most intimidating interview I’ve ever sat down for because (a) you know me, and (b) you actually read my stuff.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Self-Education and Doing the Math (Plus special guest Bryan Caplan)
May 23, 2018 • 97 min
The best thing to do on an airplane? Twitter fight!
Bryan Caplan on Learning across Disciplines (Live at Mason Econ)
May 9, 2018 • 71 min
“For me, the main value of a colleague is lunch.”
Balaji Srinivasan on the Power and Promise of the Blockchain
Apr 25, 2018 • 54 min
The new CTO of Coinbase shares his excitement for a world where finding financing is as easy as sending a tweet.
Agnes Callard on the Theory of Everything
Apr 11, 2018 • 59 min
Is parenting undertheorized? Should we fear death? And if granted immortality, would we bore of bodily pleasures? Tyler wants to know.
Martina Navratilova on Shaping Herself (Live at Mason)
Mar 28, 2018 • 65 min
“Tyler, you need to drink more water. You’re not hydrating at all.”
Chris Blattman on Development, Conflict, and Doing What’s Interesting
Mar 14, 2018 • 60 min
Chris Blattman’s made his career as a development economist by finding a place he likes and finding a reason to live there.
Robin Hanson on Signaling and Self-Deception (Live at Mason Econ)
Feb 28, 2018 • 65 min
Listening to this podcast says a lot about you.
Matt Levine Live at Bloomberg HQ
Feb 14, 2018 • 66 min
Weird is just a synonym for interesting.
Charles C. Mann on Shaping Tomorrow’s World and the Limits to Growth
Jan 31, 2018 • 55 min
And he doesn’t do meetings.
Ross Douthat on Narrative and Religion (Live at Mason)
Jan 17, 2018 • 85 min
Has Ross succeeded in convincing Tyler to believe in God — or at least go to church more?
Andy Weir on the Economics of Sci-Fi and Space
Dec 20, 2017 • 52 min
The author of The Martian and Artemis joins Tyler Cowen to talk about his unique blending of economics and engineering into hard sci-fi.
Doug Irwin on US Trade Policy
Nov 29, 2017 • 57 min
“I prefer the sprawling mess.”
Sujatha Gidla on being an Ant amongst the Elephants (Live)
Nov 15, 2017 • 62 min
“My main thing is to be free and intellectually free and free to pursue culture.”
Steve Teles and Brink Lindsey on *The Captured Economy*
Nov 1, 2017 • 52 min
“We originally had the idea that this podcast was gonna be called Prisoner’s Dilemma.”
Mary Roach on Disgust, Death, and Danger (Live at Mason)
Oct 18, 2017 • 75 min
“I’m just balls out with my curiosity.”
Larry Summers on Macroeconomics, Mentorship, and Avoiding Complacency (Live)
Sep 20, 2017 • 73 min
“Working in the White House, that was fine, but being interviewed by Tyler Cowen, that meant I had really arrived.”
Dave Barry on Humor, Writing, and Life as a Florida Man
Aug 16, 2017 • 57 min
And why aren’t there joke books anymore?
Dave Rubin on Digital Media, Crowdfunding, and Comedy (Live)
Aug 2, 2017 • 32 min
Today many YouTube channels have more influence than traditional TV shows. This fact is not lost on Dave Rubin, who started his talk show career in traditional media, but soon decided to strike out on his own. He now hosts The Rubin Report, which has…
Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small
Jul 19, 2017 • 57 min
Thankfully coming on the podcast was one of them.
Ben Sasse on the Space between Nebraska and Neverland (Live at Mason)
Jun 28, 2017 • 81 min
One is home, the other is a dystopian hell.
Edward Luce on The Retreat of Western Liberalism (Live)
Jun 21, 2017 • 54 min
Edward Luce has a new book out about the rising crisis in Western liberalism, so naturally Tyler’s first question to him dealt with James II and William of Orange. In this bonus audio recorded at a Mercatus event last week, Tyler and Edward…
Jill Lepore on Traveling through Time
Jun 14, 2017 • 68 min
Is time like a line, a stretched out accordion, buried silos, or a flat circle? And how does Doctor Who fit into all this?
Tyler Cowen and Steve Davies talk Theresa May, Brexit, and Europe (Live)
Jun 7, 2017 • 24 min
The UK is holding a big election on June 8, so today we’re bringing you some bonus audio on that topic featuring Tyler and Steve Davies of the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs. They talk about how the general election could shape the terms…
Raj Chetty on Teachers, Social Mobility, and How to Find Answers to Big Questions
May 24, 2017 • 62 min
The most influential economist in the world reveals his approach to meaningful research.
Garry Kasparov on AI, Chess, and the Future of Creativity
May 10, 2017 • 67 min
Change is inevitable, says the chess grandmaster, and we should speed up our search for the edge of human potential.
Patrick Collison has a Few Questions for Tyler (Live at Stripe)
Apr 12, 2017 • 93 min
The Stripe CEO flips the script for a special Conversations with Tyler.
Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity (Live at Mason)
Mar 15, 2017 • 92 min
“I think that it would be really useful to ban graduates of elite colleges from ever disclosing that they went to an elite college.”
*The Complacent Class* with Katherine Mangu-Ward (Live at Mason)
Mar 13, 2017 • 56 min
In this bonus episode, Editor-in-chief of Reason Katherine Mangu-Ward interviews Tyler about *The Complacent Class.* Make sure to listen all the way to the end for an answer Katherine describes as . Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter More CWT…
Rabbi David Wolpe on Leadership, Religion, and Identity (Live at Sixth & I)
Feb 15, 2017 • 80 min
And does playing chess break the Sabbath?
Chef Mark Miller on Food as the Ultimate Intellectual Exploration
Jan 25, 2017 • 75 min
…and the merits of eating your next hamburger upside down.
Jhumpa Lahiri on Writing, Translation, and Crossing Between Cultures (Live at Mason)
Jan 11, 2017 • 86 min
“This is one of the things about writing in Italian that people aren’t prepared for: that I don’t pretend anymore.”
Joseph Henrich on WEIRD Societies and Life Among Two Strange Tribes (Live at Mason)
Dec 14, 2016 • 85 min
To anthropologist Joseph Henrich, intelligence is overrated. Cultural evolution is what really sets our species apart.
Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese Food, Culture, and Travel
Nov 16, 2016 • 75 min
China’s had a foodie culture for centuries. No one understands this better than Fuchsia Dunlop, one of Tyler Cowen’s favorite writers.
Steven Pinker on Language, Reason, and the Future of Violence (Live at Mason)
Nov 2, 2016 • 86 min
Steven Pinker believes deeply in the power of reason to understand the world and ourselves. But can he convince Tyler?
Ezra Klein on Media, Politics, and Models of the World
Oct 6, 2016 • 77 min’s editor-in-chief chats with Tyler Cowen about biases in digital media, politics, the morality of meat eating, and more.
Margalit Fox on Life, Death, and the Best Job in Journalism
Aug 24, 2016 • 47 min
Margalit Fox has penned over 1,200 obituaries for the New York Times. Read to discover what she’s learned along the way.
Michael Orthofer on Why Fiction Matters
Jul 27, 2016 • 56 min
One of the world’s most prolific book reviewers talks to Tyler Cowen about how and why we should read fiction — particularly from abroad.
Cass Sunstein on Judicial Minimalism, the Supreme Court, and Star Wars (Live at Mason)
Jun 22, 2016 • 77 min
On Star Wars, judicial minimalism, Bob Dylan, nudging, the Supreme Court, James Joyce, Hayek, and the merits of a ‘banned products store.’
Camille Paglia on her Lifestyle of Observation (Live at Mason)
Apr 25, 2016 • 86 min
On David Bowie, lamb vindaloo, her lifestyle of observation, why writers need real jobs, Star Wars, Harold Bloom, Amelia Earhart, and more.
Jonathan Haidt on Morality, Politics, Disgust, and Intellectual Diversity on Campus
Mar 23, 2016 • 69 min
On morality, politics, disgust, free speech on campus, LSD, and antiparsimonialism.
Nate Silver on the Supreme Court and the Underrated Stat for Finding Good Food (Live at Mason)
Feb 23, 2016 • 81 min
On data, forecasting, My Bloody Valentine, gambling, Donald Trump, vacation advice, Supreme Court picks, and the wisdom of Björk.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Fighting Bruce Lee, Growing Up in Harlem, and Basketball (Live at Mason)
Feb 2, 2016 • 82 min
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on segregation, Islam, Harlem vs. LA, Earl Manigault, and jazz.
Cliff Asness on Comics and Why Never to Share a Gym with Cirque du Soleil (Live at Mason)
Nov 18, 2015 • 82 min
Tyler and investment strategist Cliff Asness discuss momentum and value investing strategies, and disagreeing with Eugene Fama.
Dani Rodrik on Premature Deindustrialization and Why the World is Second Best at Best
Oct 1, 2015 • 84 min
On premature deindustrialization, the world’s trilemmas, the political economy of John le Carré, RCTs, Orhan Pamuk, and more.
Luigi Zingales on Italy, Google and Conglomeration, and Donald Trump (Live at Mason)
Sep 16, 2015 • 76 min
Tyler and Luigi talk Donald Trump, Antonio Gramsci, Google, and Luchino Visconti.
Jeffrey Sachs on Charter Cities and How to Reform Graduate Economics Education (Live at Mason)
Mar 30, 2015 • 92 min
Tyler and Jeffrey on the resource curse, Paul Krugman, premature deindustrialization, the middle income trap, and Sach’s favorite novel.
Peter Thiel on Stagnation, Innovation, and What Not to Call your Company (Live at Mason)
Mar 24, 2015 • 80 min
On stagnation, the Bible, company names, chess, favorite TV shows, and the “Straussian Christ.”