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Think Again: A Big Think Podcast by Jason Gots

Think Again: A Big Think Podcast

by Jason Gots

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Big Think has been serving up bite-sized ideas from a wide variety of thinkers on their website and their popular YouTube channel since 2008. In their podcast (which now has over 50 episodes) they interview leading thinkers and entertainers. But they don't stop there. In this unique podcast they present the interviewee with three short Big Think ideas from their archive and then get their reactions to these ideas. Host Jason Gots carries out these podcasts with an wide-ranging group of guests including musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins, science guy Bill Nye, physicist Brian Greene, Buddhist psychiatrist Mark Epstein, actor George Takei, Freakonomist Stephen Dubner, author Salman Rushdie, the multitalented Jesse Ventura, philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris, comedian Paul F. Tompkins, NY Times film critic A.O. Scott, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, On Being host Krista Tippett, and many, many more interesting guests. Each podcast episode typically runs 30 minutes.


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  • 135. Niall Ferguson (historian) The Ghost of Future Past
    Sat, Feb 17, 2018

    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 idealistic secret boys’ club, followed by the Freemasons, these kinds of shadowy organizations still exert so much power on our imaginations. That’s because power doesn’t always come in the shape of Queens, Presidents, CEOs or Members of Parliament. Often it exists in the more or less invisible relationships between people.

    My guest today is renowned historian Niall Ferguson. His new book The Square and the Tower: Networks and Hierarchies, from the Freemasons to Facebook looks at the two ancient power structures that continue to move the world today.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Derek Thompson on why successful people don’t try appealing to everyone’s tastes




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  • 134. Jacob Sager Weinstein (children's author) Imaginary Histories, Possible Futures
    Sat, Feb 10, 2018

    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 and muck and strangling roots.

    Hey - It’s not much, but it’s a start. Think back to any story you really loved as a child. Chances are, it starts with a tiny thread like this one. After that, it's up to the courage, imagination, and perseverance of the storyteller to write it, rewrite it, and get it out into the world, with all the perspiration that entails.

    My guest today, Jacob Sager Weinstein, has pulled this trick off brilliantly. He's the author of a smart, funny, utterly charming adventure trilogy for kids, the first book of which is called HYACINTH AND THE SECRETS BENEATH. It weaves together a semi-mythical history of London with details like a giant boar who communicates by handing out elegantly printed cards appropriate to any occasion, including if the Queen of England happens to spill peanut butter on your pet electric eel.

    Andre C. Willis on the real meaning of hope, Michelle Thaler on the next stage in human evolution

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  • 133. Jeremy Bailenson (VR expert) Through the Looking Glass
    Sat, Feb 03, 2018

    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 making a probabilistic calculation: This sure looks, feels, and smells like my office.

    Jeremy Bailenson, my guest today, has been experimenting with cutting edge virtual reality for over a decade now. His Virtual Human Interaction Lab studies the ways VR’s unique sense of presence—of putting you into a different place (and maybe time) from the one you’re in can be used for education, healing, and—yes—generally making the world a better place. His new book is called: EXPERIENCE ON DEMAND: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Michael Schrage on Apple, the FBI, and data privacy, Beau Lotto on technology and empathy




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  • 132. Karl Ove Knausgaard (writer) The Way I Should Be in the World
    Sat, Jan 27, 2018

    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 wood. If I kept going, I might get to a particular wooden coffee table of my childhood. Its reassuring warmth and sturdiness. How I turned it into a fort and camped out under there, watching Saturday Night Live. All the abuse it took over the years from me and my sister, without complaint. And how unaware and ungrateful we were for its patient suffering.

    My guest today, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, has taken this kind of unflinching observation, association, and  insight to a level few of us can imagine doing, writing a six-volume series about his life and world called MY STRUGGLE. He followed this 2500 page, addictively readable masterpiece with a seasonal series of vignettes. The newest book, WINTER, has short meditations on everything from toothbrushes to Owls to alcoholism, and it’s one of the wisest, saddest, and most beautiful things I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Eric Kandel on “The Beholder’s Response”, Steven Kotler on Mind Uploading






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  • 131. Daniel Alarc?n (writer) There's No Such Thing as Glamor, Really
    Sat, Jan 20, 2018

    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 idea comes up so often, in so many different forms and contexts, that I’ve begun to think of it as maybe the crucial truth for understanding why people do the things we do. The stories we wrap around ourselves, our neighbors. our children. The invisible stories we struggle against.

    Nobody I know of understands this better, nor writes more cleanly and poetically about these struggles than my guest today Daniel Alarcón. He’s the co-founder of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language podcast now on NPR, and he’s the celebrated author of novels and short stories including his newly published collection The King is Always Above the People.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    André Dubus III on violence, Ariel Levy on surviving grief





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  • 130. Mark Epstein, MD (Buddhist psychiatrist) I, Me, Mine
    Sat, Jan 13, 2018

    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 might be popular at parties, it can get us into all kinds of trouble. This is not breaking news. Over 2000 years ago an Indian prince sat under a tree and thought about the problem of self. His insights and solutions became what we now call Buddhism. And a century ago in Vienna, Sigmund Freud came at the same issue from a somewhat different angle, giving us psychotherapy.

    Our guest today, Mark Epstein, MD, is a psychotherapist and author who combines both approaches to help his patients and readers live with their demanding egos. His new book is Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Drew Ramsey on diet and depression, Manoush Zomorodi on the wandering mind







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  • 129. Fatih Akin (film director) This Blood-Drenched Earth
    Sat, Dec 16, 2017

    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, Fatih Akin, has first-hand experience of strong cultural cross-winds. Ethnically Turkish and raised in Germany, he has made many films dealing with sudden dislocation and how people respond to it.

    Akin won Best Screenplay at Cannes for THE EDGE OF HEAVEN, and he’s also justly celebrated for the intense drama HEAD-ON and for CROSSING THE BRIDGE – a documentary about the Istanbul music scene. His latest, IN THE FADE will be released in the US on December 27th, 2017. it was nominated for a Palme D’Or and its star, Diane Kruger, won Best Actress at Cannes for her gripping performance in it.  




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  • 128. No?l Wells (actor/director) Out of Context
    Sat, Dec 09, 2017

    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 she’s making her directorial debut with Mr. Roosevelt, a sweet, moving indie comedy that’s ostensibly about a dead cat, but that’s really about that very awkward and for some of us very protracted moment of coming to terms with life as a grown up.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Reza Aslan on what religion is for, David Eagleman on creativity










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  • 127. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) The Upside of Downtime
    Sat, Dec 02, 2017

    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 probably always close at hand, full of apps and podcasts to distract you the instant that uncomfortable feeling of boredom creeps in. Which means your brain almost never gets the chance to sit with that restlessness and come up with creative alternatives, from daydreaming to doing something brilliant (or at least less boring) in real life. If that’s not you, awesome. But it’s a lot of us these days. 

    My guest today, Manoush Zomorodi, is the host of Note to Self - a popular radio show and podcast on how we live with technology. An experiment she did on the show with the eager help of 20,000 fans became the subject of her new book Bored and Brilliant: how spacing out can unlock your most productive and creative self.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

    Tim Ferriss on mastering any skill quickly and efficiently, starting with cooking, Bryan Cranston on working together across generations 



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  • 126. Maya Jasanoff (Historian) Civilization and Its Discontents
    Sat, Nov 25, 2017

    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 Africa.”

    That’s Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe writing about Joseph Conrad and his famous book Heart of Darkness. We’ll come back to that. Born in Poland in 1857, Conrad, like us, lived at a time of rapid globalization, of technological disruption, and of all the wonders and horrors that unleashes. My guest today, Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff, has written all about it in her beautifully written, fascinating new book The Dawn Watch.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Molly Crockett on social media outrage, Robert Steven Kaplan on globalization





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  • 125. Reza Aslan (author) Deus Ex Hominem
    Sat, Nov 18, 2017

    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 separate soul to animal spirits, to the anthropomorphization of trees and natural elements, pantheons of superhuman gods, and ultimately the inscrutable, sometimes indivisible gods of Monotheism, we’re Homo Credulous…creatures hardwired to believe in a reality that transcends the evidence of our senses. 

    In his new book God, a Human History, my guest Reza Aslan looks at this history of belief, asking not so much why but how we’ve made and remade God in our own image since our very beginnings.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Max Tegmark on AI and Human Intelligence




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  • 124. Juli Berwald (writer) Our Jellyfish Overlords
    Sat, Nov 11, 2017

    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. Maybe you remember someone putting meat tenderizer on it (is it good for anything else?)

    But as my guest today, Juli Berwald, knows, Jellyfish are neither a fish, nor the cartoon villains we make them out to be. They’re a fascinating, complex, diverse lifeform whose tentacles are tangled up in all of our lives in ways we’re only dimly aware of.

    Juli Berwald is a science writer with a PHD in Ocean Science. Her new book is Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Joscha Bach on free will, Richard Dawkins on animal cruelty 





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  • 123. (Henry) Rollins, Redux: Monogamy+Genius+Violence
    Sat, Nov 04, 2017

    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 musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins, who I’d admired since high school. This was over the phone, New York to LA, on a Friday or Saturday night, and it was EPIC. Henry is a man of many thoughts and words, and noob interviewer that I was I could barely get a word in edgewise, which was just fine. He had plenty to say.

    So lengthy was this episode in fact that we originally split it into two. Today, for your listening pleasure, with our old theme song intact, along with our old way of having the producers introduce the surprise clips they picked for us to discuss, I give you Henry Rollins Redux – two classic episodes of Think Again, reunited at last.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Dan Savage on monogamy, James Gleick on genius, Paul Ekman on police violence





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  • 122. David Eagleman (neuroscientist) Your Creative Brain
    Sat, Oct 28, 2017

    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 here forever? Well…you could…but something’s nagging at that medial frontal cortex of yours. There’s a hill in the distance. What’s beyond it? Something different, maybe! Something new and shiny! Maybe today you’ll just take a quick look. 

    My guest today is neuroscientist David Eagleman. In The Runaway Species, How Human Creativity Remakes the World, David and his co-author Anthony Brandt explore that ancient tension between mastery and curiosity - the known and the unknown. And how the human imagination exploits it to make new things. 

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

    Isaac Lidsky on how going blind showed one man the light, Michael Slaby on a 30-hour work week



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  • 121. Van Jones (social entrepreneur) Blind Spots & Sore Spots
    Sat, Oct 21, 2017

    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 ranting. Then I’m sucked into a video, because that’s what happens.

    It’s CNN’s Van Jones sitting in the living room of a family in Pennsylvania. Unlike me and most every other liberal coastal elite I know, he’s talking to people who support Donald Trump for President. Listening. Trying to understand. And pulling no punches in expressing his own anger and anxiety over where our country might be headed.

    In the year leading up to this moment, I had seen nothing like it. And it gave me hope.

    I’m so happy to welcome CNN Contributor and former Obama Administration adviser Van Jones to Think Again. His new book is Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Cass Sunstein on libertarian paternalism

    --

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.





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  • 120. Nancy Koehn (Historian) Holdin' on for a Hero
    Sat, Oct 14, 2017

    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 in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times. At a time when trustworthy leadership seems in short supply, it examines what real leadership is and how it comes about.

    Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School whose research focuses on how leaders, past and present, craft lives of purpose, worth, and impact.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

    Liv Boeree on lessons learned from professional poker for clear thinking






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  • 119. Aaron Mahnke (of 'Lore') The Hunger for Mystery
    Sat, Oct 07, 2017

    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 today.

    Why? 
    Today's guest Aaron Mahnke and host Jason Gots talk about the hunger for mystery, a human need almost as powerful as our thirst for knowledge. We also get into the meaning of work in people's lives, and how Aaron started the podcast as a "last ditch effort" at turning his passions into a sustainable career. 

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

    Andrew Taggart on the cultural obsession with work, Stephen Greenblatt on the power of the Adam and Eve story

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.







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  • 118. Stephen Greenblatt (humanities scholar) Irresistible Fictions
    Sat, Sep 30, 2017

    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 brain-fertilizing podcast.

    Greenblatt is the Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and the author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer prize-winning The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. His latest, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, traces the cultural history of that most primal of stories about a man, a woman, God, and a snake. It’s a couple thousand years old and only about two pages long, but it’s still exerting a powerful cultural influence today.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode: Salman Rushdie on recent white supremacist clashes in America and Virginia Heffernan: The Internet is not a neurotoxin

    --

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.







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  • 117. Kurt Andersen (writer) The Sleep of Reason
    Sat, Sep 23, 2017

    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 polymath Kurt Andersen is the NY-times bestselling author of the novels Heyday, Turn of the Century, and True Believers, and he’s the host and co-creator of the Peabody-award winning public radio show Studio 360. Kurt’s latest book Fantasyland – How America Went Haywire – is a 500 year history of a different kind of American exceptionalism.

    Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode: Neuroscientist Beau Lotto on diversity, Neil DeGrasse Tyson on science education

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.






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  • 116. Claire Messud (writer) All These Falls From Grace
    Sat, Sep 16, 2017

    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.

    Claire Messud is the author of seven novels, including The Woman Upstairs and The Emperor’s Children. Messud has been awarded an Addison Metcalf award and the Straus Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other literary honors. The New Yorker calls her “adept at evoking complex psychological territory”, which is most definitely the case in her latest novel, The Burning Girl, about the tortuous course of a childhood friendship.

    About Think Again: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Surprise clips from our video interview archives in this episode: Russell Simmons on the (then) presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, Alan Alda on communication and connection








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  • 115. Salman Rushdie (writer) A Permeable Frontier
    Sat, Sep 09, 2017

    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, much, more in this, Big Think's latest brain-fertilizing podcast.

    Salman Rushdie is the author of twelve previous novels and four books of nonfiction, including Joseph Anton, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights which we discussed two years ago on this show.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

    His kaleidoscopic, funny, philosophical new novel The Golden House has been called a “return to realism” but maybe only because the present-day American realities it draws upon and reimagines are so indistinguishable from fantasy.

    About Think Again: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Richard Dawkins on religion and anti-science,

    Ariel Levy on "having it all"









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  • 114. 2017 Mixtape #2 Words, Values, Self, Other
    Sat, Sep 02, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    In the second year of what’s becoming a tradition here on Think Again, this is a mixtape of some of Jason's favorite moments from the past year’s shows. Things that stuck with him because they were funny, or especially wise, or because of something extraordinary about the conversation that he can't quite put his finger on.

    This episode — 2017 Mixtape #2 — features lexicographer Kory Stamper, novelist and essayist Teju Cole, fiction writer George Saunders, philosopher Slavoj Zizek, geneticist Jennifer Doudna, and actor Timothy Spall.

    Among the many ideas that come up: language pet peeves, human rights, neighbors, cyborgs, the ethics of gene editing, stillness. 







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  • 113. 2017 Mixtape #1 Mind, Body, Authenticity, Artifice
    Sat, Aug 26, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    In the second year of what’s becoming a tradition here on Think Again, this is a mixtape of some of Jason's favorite moments from the past year’s shows. Things that stuck with him because they were funny, or especially wise, or because of something extraordinary about the conversation that he can't quite put his finger on.

    This episode — 2017 Mixtape #1 — features philosopher of mind Daniel Dennett, architecture critic Sarah Goldhagen, novelist Ian McEwan, child psychologist Alison Gopnik, neuroscientist Erik Kandel, and actor Alan Alda.

    Among the many ideas that come up: minds, buildings, Hamlet, A.I., the nature of evil, communication. 






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  • 112. Richard Dawkins (biologist) Red in Tooth and Claw
    Sat, Aug 19, 2017

    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 'ought' from an 'is'), the greatness of Christopher Hitchens, and the evils of nationalism.

    About the guest: Today’s guest is internationally best-selling author, speaker, and passionate advocate for reason and science as against superstition Richard Dawkins. From 1995 to 2008 Richard Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.  Among his many books are The Selfish Gene, the God Delusion, and his two-part autobiography: An Appetite for Wonder and A Brief Candle in the Dark. His latest is a collection of essays, stories, and speeches called Science in the Soul, spanning many decades and the major themes of Richard’s work.

    About Think Again: 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 Big Think’s interview archives.






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  • 111. Ari Shaffir (Comic) The Golden Age of Trolling
    Sat, Aug 12, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Today's guest Ari Shaffir is a stand-up comic and the host of Skeptic Tank – a super popular weekly podcast that’s on its 299th episode (at this writing). Ari grew up orthodox Jewish, spent two years in a yeshiva in Israel, and then turned into an atheist comedian who did an outrageous web video series called “The Amazing Racist” and runs a yearly “Shroomfest” where he’s like a benevolent Dionysus, presiding over a worldwide three-day celebration of psilocybin mushrooms. He co-created and hosts Comedy Central’s storytelling series “this is not happening”. And he got a two part comedy special on Netflix called “Double Negative”.

    Ari and Jason talk about outrageousness in comedy, bipartisan e-rage on social media, growing up and growing out of bad habits, the transgender bathroom debate, and much, much, much more.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Barbara Oakley on the rigidity of geniuses’ thinking and Elijah Nealy on the transgender bathroom debate





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  • 110. Peter Frankopan (historian) You Can't Stop the Clock
    Sat, Aug 05, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Today's guest Peter Frankopan is a historian at Oxford University, where he is Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He works on the history of the Mediterranean, Russia, the Middle East, Persia, Central Asia and beyond, and on relations between Christianity and Islam. Peter's new book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, is an international bestseller, described by William Dalrymple as a 'historical epic of dazzling range, ambition and achievement'.

    At an anxious moment in Western history, Frankopan encourages us to take a historical perspective, understanding how change happens in societies and how people typically react to it. This conversation unpacks the fascinating and dense history of the Silk Road countries and digs deep into the economic and social forces that shape our lives.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Michael Slaby on the 30 hour work week and Geneticist Jennifer Doudna on designer babies  





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  • 109. Sheelah Kolhatkar (Writer, Former Hedge Fund Analyst) The Most Dangerous Game
    Sat, Jul 29, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Sheelah Kolhatkar is a staff writer at the New Yorker  and a former “risk arbitrage analyst” for two hedge funds in New York City. For the New Yorker, Sheelah writes about Wall Street, Silicon Valley, economics and national politics, among other things. Her latest book is the New York Times bestseller Black Edge, about the largest insider trading investigation in history and the transformation of Wall Street and the U.S. economy.

    This week’s episode is a departure for us – a deep dive into the personalities, culture, and ideas driving the big banks and the hedge funds of Wall Street. Jason and Sheelah talk about what it was like for her as a woman in that male-dominated industry, how hedge funds have reshaped the whole Wall Street landscape and with it, the global economy, and why billionaire investors are almost required to collect Picassos.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Neuroscientist Tristan Harris on how companies exploit our brains’ vulnerabilities.






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  • 108. Jeff Garlin (Comedian) K.I.S.S.
    Sat, Jul 22, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Today, one of our wildest episodes ever, with comedian Jeff Garlin, who cuts one of our surprise clips short to call B.S. on neuroscience and complexity.

    Wikipedia succinctly describes Jeff Garlin as a comedian, actor, producer, voice artist, director, writer, podcast host and author. You might know him best from Curb Your Enthusiasm, which he produced and acted in as Larry David’s friend and manager Jeff Greene, whose relationship with his wife was one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever seen on television. Jeff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the 2017 film Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie as the befuddled yet capable Detective Handsome.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Neuroscientist Beau Lotto on Perception, Documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux on Scientology







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  • 107. Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (Authors) The Garden of Forking Paths
    Sat, Jul 15, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Today, for the first time, we welcome TWO guests to Think Again – writers Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland – and talk to them from New York to a Los Angeles hotel room over a horrible wi-fi connection. And it all works out beautifully.

    Nicole’s typically a writer of historical fiction including The Fool’s Tale and Iago, and Neil’s known for complex, speculative science fiction  including Seveneaves, Snow Crash, and many other novels. Together, they’ve written a new novel: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – a massive and massively entertaining epic involving magic, time travel,  quantum physics, secret government organizations, and an ancient banking family called the Fuggers — with all of the jokes that implies.

    In this episode, we delve into Schroedinger's Cat, why humans make such terrible decisions, and how linear a story has to be to be a story at all.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Salman Rushdie on video games and the future of storytelling, Robert Sapolsky on brain regions and impulse control







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  • 106. Alan Alda (Actor) The Spirit of the Staircase
    Sat, Jul 08, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Today's guest is actor, writer, director, and science-curious artist Alan Alda. Jason says: "I grew up watching him in reruns of MASH, where his character Hawkeye Pierce was so specific and relatable that he feels in my memory like a not-too-distant relative. And in Horace and Pete, Louis CK’s 2016 brilliant web-tv dramedy, Alan underwent a miraculous metamorphosis into a bitter, racist barman who is also a fully-fleshed human being.  But wait - there’s more! For decades, Alan has been helping to heal the ancient rift between highly technical science and ordinary curiosity. Alan’s new book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? Shares what he (and science) have learned about how we can communicate better. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is a matter of life or death."

    Inspired by a passage in Alan's book, Jason puts away his interview notes. What follows is a funny, honest, connected conversation unlike anything else in the show's two-year history.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    James Gleick - Humans are Information-Seeking Creatures




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  • 105. Jennifer Doudna (Geneticist) - Intelligent Redesign?
    Sat, Jul 01, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Jennifer Doudna is a Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular and Cell Biology at the UC Berkeley, and until around 2012 she was quietly and contentedly studying the three dimensional structure of RNA molecules. Then she and her colleagues started looking into a thing called CRISPR-Cas9. It’s a kind of bacterial immune system, and it led to an invention that will change everything for all of humanity, forever.

    In this episode Jennifer and Jason discuss the implications of the gene editing tool her lab created, and how humanity should (and likely will) yield the power to rewrite our own evolutionary destiny.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Richard A Clarke on averting global catastrophes, Deepak Chopra on secular spirituality (clip not available online)









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  • 104. Timothy Spall (Actor) That Double Want
    Sat, Jun 24, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.

    Timothy Spall is an extraordinary actor, best known perhaps for the many films he’s done with director Mike Leigh, including Secrets & Lies and Mr. Turner, for which he won best actor at Cannes. You may know him from a number of Hollywood films, too, including the Harry Potter series and The Last Samurai, with Tom Cruise. His latest is THE JOURNEY. It’s based on a real road trip that happened in 2006, when two arch-enemies — the heads of Ireland’s warring factions, spent about an hour together in the backseat of a car. This was the prelude to a historic peace deal, cementing the end of Ireland’s long Civil war.

    In this episode we dig deep into questions like what people really want from their political leaders, whether it's possible (or even advisable) to overcome desire, and whether and when just sitting on a park bench, enjoying a tree, is enough.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Scott Barry Kaufman on Solitude






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  • 103. Liza Jessie Peterson (Playwright, Arts-Educator) The Sleeping Giant
    Sat, Jun 17, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives.
    Liza Jessie Peterson is an actress, poet, playwright, and arts-educator who’s been working with adolescent boys and girls incarcerated on Rikers Island for the past 18 years. Her fierce, funny, powerfully written new book is All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids At Rikers Island. The loving and specific portraits she paints of her students highlight the cruelty of the systems (economic, school, police, prison) that fail so many young black men, landing them and keeping them in prison.

    In this episode we talk about cultural icons and the realities behind them, hip-hop, the trauma of poverty and the tragedy of the American prison system, and how to make impossible situations better. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Marie Gottschalk on solitary confinement




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  • 102. Paul Theroux (Writer) Saintly & Scowling
    Sat, Jun 10, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives. 100 episodes in, like the universe itself, the show continues to expand and accelerate at speeds that boggle the imagination.
    One of seven siblings, Paul Theroux is the author of over 50 works of fiction and non-fiction, including The Great Railway Bazaar and The Mosquito Coast. His latest novel Mother Land is a scathing, semi-autobiographical, often painfully funny portrait of a mother’s long and insidious reign over her seven children.

    In this episode, Paul talks about the claustrophobia of big families, the mass migrations of peoples, colonizing Mars, and an important difference between humans and cockroaches.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the geopolitical challenges of climate change, Stephen Petranek on colonizing Mars






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  • 101. Ariel Levy (Writer) Big Things That Are Not Talked About
    Sat, Jun 03, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives. 100 episodes in, like the universe itself, the show continues to expand and accelerate at speeds that boggle the imagination.

    After 12 years at New York Magazine, Ariel Levy became a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she’s written about remarkable women, sex, Ayahuasca, madness and Silvio Berlusconi. Her new book The Rules Do Not Apply is a memoir that grew out of the loss of her son soon after his birth and the subsequent collapse of her marriage.

    Here she talks with Jason about assertiveness and doubt, the silence around the animal facts of women's physical lives, her comically awkward experience with the shamanic hallucinogen Ayahuasca, and much more.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Lexicographer Kory Stamper on the word 'bitch", Gish Jen on imitation in China vs. the West






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  • 100. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist) The Only "-ist" I Am
    Sat, May 27, 2017

    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 Big Think’s interview archives. 100 episodes in, like the universe itself, the show continues to expand and accelerate at speeds that boggle the imagination.
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the spiritual heir to Carl Sagan in getting us all worked up about the Cosmos. He’s been appointed to special NASA commissions, hosted multiple TV specials and podcasts, and written many excellent books, the latest of which is Astrophysics for People in A Hurry – a succinct, wryly funny book that’s surprisingly informative for its size - it has the informational density of a black hole.

    In This, Our 100th Episode: Can Neil tell the entire history of the universe in 30 seconds? When is it possible to move faster than the speed of light? Why is "dark matter" a terrible name for dark matter? And what does Neil's esteemed colleague Lawrence Krauss have in common with a pit bull?

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Lawrence Krauss on Optimism, Dean Buonomano on "Presentism" and "Eternalism"






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  • 99. Mary Gaitskill (Writer) Their Animal Being
    Sat, May 20, 2017

    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 archives.

    “How strange it is to be anything at all.” – from the song In the Aeroplane Over the Seaby Neutral Milk Hotel 
    Mary Gaitskill is the author of three short story collections including Bad Behavior and Don’t Cry, and three novels, including Veronica and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. Her latest book is a collection of essays and reviews called Somebody With a Little Hammer. The topics are diverse, from the Hollywood version of Mary’s story Secretary, to date rape, to Celine Dion, to Mary’s experience losing her cat, Gattino. In every case Mary writes with startling, otherworldly clarity, peeling back the surface of things we might think we understand to peer into the slippery psychological realities underneath.

    In this episode: Threaded through with personal anecdotes, relevant moments from Gaitskill’s novels and essays, and striking observations about human nature, this intimate, starkly honest conversation goes wide and deep. So deep, in fact, that there’s barely time to get to the surprise clips! 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips: Google's Tristan Harris on the attention economy




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  • 98. Lawrence Krauss (Physicist) Lux Ex Machina
    Sat, May 13, 2017

    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 archives.
    Physicist Lawrence Krauss directs the Origins Project at Arizona State University, which fosters scientific research and collaborations on origins – of life, the universe, and everything. His own research focuses on the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, including investigations into dark matter and the origin of all mass in the universe. His latest book The Greatest Story Ever Told - So Far is a deeply entertaining and informative account of the progress of knowledge in modern physics.

    In this episode: To what extent and in what sense does science represent "reality"? You don't have to paint like Picasso to enjoy a Picasso...so why are non-scientists often reluctant to engage with complex scientific concepts? Is tribalism an essential part of human nature?

    A passionate, witty back-and-forth with a leading physicist who is also one of our most poetic defenders and explainers of science.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Sebastian Junger on tribalism and democracy, Kevin Kelly on “cognification”, David Bodanis on Einstein’s rejection of a random universe




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  • 97. Dean Buonomano (Neuroscientist) This is Your Brain on Time
    Sat, May 06, 2017

    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 archives.

    Dean Buonomano is a professor of neurobiology and psychology at UCLA and a leading theorist on (and researcher into) the neuroscience of time. His latest book, Your Brain is a Time Machine, the Neuroscience and Physics of Time convinced Jason that time is far weirder than he knew it to be (and he already knew it was mind-bogglingly weird).
    In this episode: Does time exist at all, or is it an illusion of consciousness? If the latter, what's the evolutionary advantage of seeing time as linear and one-directional? Which is right: the Einsteinian view that the universe is a four dimensional box in which all time is already present, or the "common-sense" view that time is uni-directional? How does comic timing work? What's the evolutionary advantage of comedy? And oh so much more. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Scott Aukerman on comedy as a survival skill, Kevin Kelly on optimism as an engine of progress



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  • 96. Sarah W. Goldhagen (Architecture Critic) Souls & Spaces
    Sat, Apr 29, 2017

    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 archives.

    Sarah W. Goldhagen taught for ten years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and spent many years as the Architecture Critic for the New Republic. She’s written about buildings, cities, and landscapes for publications all over the world. Sarah’s new book Welcome To Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives is a thoroughly entertaining, eye-opening manifesto arguing that the buildings we live and work in deeply affect us, physically and psychologically, and that we can’t afford the soul-crushing architecture we mostly subject ourselves to.

    In this episode: why we tolerate design that’s bad for us, startling parallels between a passage from a Chekhov short story and Sarah's book, the many ways concrete can be beautiful, and why schools shouldn’t look like prisons (maybe prisons shouldn’t, either?).

    "Surprise idea" clips in this show:

    Jeffrey Sachs on optimism in America and Alison Gopnik on School and the Developing Mind






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  • 95. Kory Stamper (Lexicographer) Lair of the Level 10 Word Mage
    Sun, Apr 23, 2017

    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 archives.

    Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, often seen on their “Ask the Editor” video series. Her funny and fascinating book Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries is about the how the sausage of dictionaries is made, and about the slipperiness of words themselves. This is not a “prescriptivist” manifesto, fussily criticizing people’s misuse of apostrophes or words like “irregardless.” On the contrary, like any lexicographer worth her salt (and salt, as Kory will tell you, was once so valuable it was used as money, which is where we get the word “salary” from…) Kory’s a professional “descriptivist”, painstakingly trying to pin down how words are actually used even as they try to wriggle away from her.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Adam Mansbach on the term "political correctness" and Rob Bell on the word "Hell"








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  • 94. Joyce Carol Oates (Writer) Oh, That's Socialism
    Sat, Apr 15, 2017

    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 archives.

    The writer Joyce Carol Oates grew up on a farm, tending chickens in what she describes as a very desolate part of upstate New York, and grew up to write around 90 (and counting) novels and collections of essays and short stories, many of them while teaching at Princeton University. She’s won many, many awards, including the National Book Award, the Pen/Malamud Award and the National Humanities Medal. Her powerful new novel, A Book of American Martyrs, begins with a terrible act of violence – and then deals with its complex aftermath.

    Today's conversation starts there, weaving through the political and religious landscape of America, past and present. We also talk about whether writing, for Joyce, is as "effortless" as critics have described the experience of reading her. Trump comes, up, inevitably but briefly. Stick around for a fascinating discussion of the challenges early success can pose for young writers, including Oates' former student, Jonathan Safran Foer.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Gish Jen on Identity and Choice in the West, Nicole Mason on Poverty in America





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  • 93. Adam Alter (Social Psychologist) Ping!
    Sat, Apr 08, 2017

    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 archives.
    Adam Alter is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, and has written for the New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, WIRED, Slate, Washington Post, and Popular Science, among other publications. He’s an associate professor of marketing at New York University and also teaches in the psychology department. His fascinating and chilling new book, Irresistible: the Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked has, among other things, convinced Jason to stop charging his cellphone in his bedroom.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    James Fallon on Voting for an Actual Psychopath and Margaret Atwood on Anti-Science Sentiment




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  • 92. Elif Batuman (Writer) The Worst Appetizer in America
    Sat, Apr 01, 2017

    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 archives.

    Elif Batuman has written articles for the New Yorker on everything from the horrible-smelling "corpse flower" to the complex politics of present day Turkey, her parents' native country. Her first book, The Possessed, was a series of "comic, interconnected essays about Russian Literature." Her latest, "The Idiot", is a lucid, disarmingly funny coming of age novel set in 1995. Jason calls it "one of the most delightful books" he's read in years.

    Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:

    Maria Popova on an Unsung Hero of Children's Literature and Salman Rushdie on the Left's Taboo Against Criticizing Islam




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  • 91. Daniel Dennett (Philosopher) Thinking About Thinking About Thinking
    Sat, Mar 25, 2017

    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 archives.

    Daniel Dennett is one of the foremost philosophers of mind working today to unravel the puzzle of what minds are and what they’re for, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His latest book of many is called From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, and it’s a sweeping (but detailed) attempt to demystify how we get from inanimate matter to cathedrals, symphonies, and of course, podcasts.

    In this fun and meaty episode of Think Again, Dennett waxes wicked and wise on consciousness, Dolphins, Artificial Intelligence, and much, much more.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Andrew Keen on the Internet and social isolation and Ben Goertzel on Artificial General Intelligence








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  • 90. Scott Aukerman (Comedy Writer) The Buttons You Push
    Sat, Mar 18, 2017

    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 archives.

    Scott Aukerman is a comedy writer, director, and producer who started out on HBO’s Mr. Show with Bob and David. He’s the creator of Comedy Bang Bang - the podcast and the long running IFC show, and he co-created and directs Between Two Ferns with Zach Galafanakis, for which he’s won two Emmys.

    In this episode, Scott and Jason talk Michael Bolton, transgression in comedy, and a United States in cultural turmoil.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Jelani Cobb on military vs. moral power and Chris Gethard on comedy and political correctness





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  • 89. George Saunders (Author) Self-Googling In Hell
    Sat, Mar 11, 2017

    “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 Lincoln in the Bardo. A kind of play for voices about the death and afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, who died at age 10. It's a strange, wise, funny and beautiful book about impermanence and the tenacity of the self.
    In this episode, George and Jason talk writing, death, and how much easier it is to talk about kindness than to live it.

    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 archives.

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  • 88. Gish Jen (Author) The Self in the World
    Sat, Mar 04, 2017

    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 archives.

    Novelist and essayist Gish Jen's work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four times, including The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and her work was featured in a PBS American Masters’ special on the American novel. Her 2017 book, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, takes an unflinching, funny, and deeply insightful look at how fundamental East-West differences in the sense of self play out in art, culture, business, education, and more.

    In this episode, Gish and Jason discuss the benefits and downsides of our fundamental assumptions about who we are, and what's to be gained by escaping your cultural bubble, even for a moment.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Nato Thompson on individualism as a corporate product. Paul Root Wolpe on self-enhancement & culture




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  • 87. Yuval Noah Harari (Historian) Time's Up
    Sat, Feb 25, 2017

    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 archives.

    Yuval Noah Harari holds a PhD in History from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in World History. His 2014 New York Times bestselling book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, is published in nearly 40 languages worldwide. His new book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, uses historical and current trends to look at where we might we headed as a species.

    In this conversation, Harari and Jason discuss giving credit where it's due to genuine signs of human progress, and the dizzying ethical questions that surround what's coming next –– from superhuman cyborgs to algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.
    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Lawrence Levy on Pixar, mindfulness, and the Middle Way. Daniel Dennett on the evolution of cultural memes






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  • 86. Ayelet Waldman (Author) Yourself, Only Better
    Sat, Feb 18, 2017

    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 archives.

    Ayelet Waldman is a novelist and essayist, a former federal public defender who taught at Loyola and UC Berkeley schools of Law. Her latest book, A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life is an honest, funny, informative account of her month-long experience “microdosing” on LSD – after a ton of research into the practice and potential psychological benefits of taking subperceptual doses of the chemical. Spoiler: overall it helped her. The book also digs into the history and ramifications of the criminalization of psychoactive drugs, and the philosophy of "harm reduction" in parenting.

    In a funny, free-ranging, rapid-fire dialogue, Ayelet and Jason dive into topics as diverse as the split between art and science, how not to mess up your kids too badly, and the benefits of neuroplasticity.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

    Bill Nye on Art vs. Science, Andrew Solomon on Parenting and Empathy





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  • 85. Ben Goertzel (A.I. Inventor) The State of the Art of Artificial General Intelligence
    Sat, Feb 11, 2017

    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 archives.

    Ben Goertzel is a hugely influential computer scientist and author in the area of artificial general intelligence, among others. Just a few of the many hats Ben wears or has worn: Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics which makes some of the most advanced robots in the world, Co-founder of AIDYA – artificial intelligence for financial trading, and Chairman of the OpenCog Foundation, an open source project to build a radically new form of artificial intelligence.

    What's real and what's hype in all the talk about artificial intelligence these days? Will teaching AI to solve humanity's biggest problems keep robots from harming us if and when they become autonomous? Is the human brain, with all its limitations, a good model for AI at all?

    In this episode, Ben explains to Jason some of the theory behind various existing and potential AI systems, weighs in on the idea of the Singularity, and touches on his "panpsychist" belief that consciousness is an omnipresent force of nature, suggesting that they drop LSD together at some point to discuss it in depth. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

    Alva Noë: “You are Not Your Brain”








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  • 84. Nato Thompson (Artistic Director) The Friendly Face
    Fri, Feb 03, 2017

    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 archives.

    Nato Thompson is the Artistic Director of Creative Time, which commissions and presents ambitious public art projects with thousands of artists throughout New York City, across the country, around the world—and now even in outer space. They did Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, a free public performance in hard-hit New Orleans neighborhoods after the flood that Jason talked about with actor Wendell Pierce on this show (episode 22). Nato’s new book is called Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life

    In this episode he and Jason talk about the ways the tools of art now permeate every aspect of our culture, from advertising to politics to always-on digital entertainment. They also discuss uploading human consciousness onto computer chips, the DIY, anti-"selling out" discourse of punk and hardcore music, and the weird relationship between art and commerce. 







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  • 83. Matt Taibbi (Journalist) Bread and Circus
    Sat, Jan 28, 2017

    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 archives.

    Hard-hitting, darkly funny journalist Matt Taibbi has reported on on politics, media, finance, and sports, winning the National Magazine Award for Commentary in 2008 and is the author of three NYTimes bestsellers on politics and culture. For Rolling Stone, continuing in the tradition the magazine started with Hunter S. Thompson’s coverage of Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign, Taibbi has covered the last four election cycles. His dispatches from the 2016 election circus are the basis of his new book Insane Clown President.In this week's Think Again, Jason and Matt talk about Hunter S. Thompson, family, career, media, and, inevitably, President Donald Trump. Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Susan David on our unhealthy obsession with happiness, and Tim Wu on celebrities as modern-day gods.

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.









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  • 82. Bernard-Henri L?vy (Philosopher) The Mirror of Our Better Selves
    Sat, Jan 21, 2017

    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 archives.

    The Washington Post has this to say about today's guest: "There is no American equivalent of Bernard-Henri Lévy. Known as “BHL,” he is among the last of a quintessentially French breed, the 20th century intellectuel engagé. As a “nouveau philosophe” disenchanted with Marxism, communism and the excesses of 1968, when civil unrest roiled France, Levy has enjoyed a long and theatrical career since the 1970s, embracing journalism, philosophy, film and an outspoken advocacy for human rights."

    BHL's films include the documentaries Bosna! And A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racisme and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government. His newest book The Genius of Judaism explores what he sees as the crucial metaphysical role of Jewish thought and the Jewish people in the life of nations.

    Today's episode addresses torture, the question of evil, and the tipping point at which democracy becomes something else. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Paul Bloom on Torture, and Ian Bremmer on America as a Superpower.

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.






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  • 81. Isy Suttie (Comedian) There's Something a Bit Smug about the Sea
    Sat, Jan 14, 2017

    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 archives.

    Isy Suttie is a comedian, actress, and writer who played the character Dobby in the British TV comedy Peep Show, of which Jason has watched all 54 episodes. Isy has written for the Guardian, the Observer, and Glamour, and is a regular writer and performer on BBC Radio 4. Her book The Actual One: How I Tried and Failed to Avoid Adulthood Forever will be released on January 31st, 2017 in the United States, but thousands of British people will have already read and enjoyed it, three days earlier. So there.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Maysoon Zayid on the media representation of people with disabilities, Slavoj Žižek on love, and Paul Bloom on empathy and politics

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.






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  • 80. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (founder: MuslimGirl) Who Tells Your Story?
    Sat, Jan 07, 2017

    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 archives.

    Amani Al -Khatatbeh is the founder and editor of Muslimgirl.com, the number one Muslim women’s blog in the United States. She regularly provides commentary on social, cultural, and political issues through outlets such as CNN, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, and has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, and made Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. Her new book is called Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age.

    In this episode, Amani and Jason wrestle with tough questions about identity, power, and Islamic feminism.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips: Oliver Luckett on the 2016 election and a "divided America"

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  • 79. Paul Bloom (Psychologist) Cold-Blooded Kindness
    Sat, Dec 31, 2016

    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 archives.

    Paul Bloom is an internationally recognized expert on the the psychology of child development, social reasoning, and morality, and the author of numerous books including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil. His newest book is Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. Is managing a hedge-fund a better way to do good in the world than joining the Peace Corps? Does donating for disaster-relief (without really thinking it through) often make matters worse? At the risk of being mistaken for a Scrooge-like figure, Paul Bloom advances a smart, nuanced argument that empathy, in the sense of feeling others' suffering, is a terrible guide to moral decision-making.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Juanita Rilling on the psychology and the realities of disaster relief, David Eagleman on mass shootings, Wesley Lowery on freedom of the press




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  • 78. Peter Godfrey-Smith (Philosopher) Alien Intelligence
    Sat, Dec 24, 2016

    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 archives.

    Peter Godfrey-Smith is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney in Australia. He has also spent a lot of time floating around in an octopus colony in Australia, studying smart cephalopods and taking photos and videos that have been used by National Geographic. His fascinating new book is Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.In today's episode, Peter and Jason discuss free will, what it might be like to be an octopus, and which prehistoric animal would be the most interesting to resurrect.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Bill Nye on extinct animal cloning, Michio Kaku on free will and physics

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  • 77. Anne Rice (Author) In the Blood
    Sat, Dec 17, 2016

    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 archives.

    Anne Rice is the author of over 30 novels. Her first, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her latest book, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, continues the story of Lestat while also reaching back millennia to a mysterious, vanished empire -- the lost realms of Atlantis. A past that is inextricably linked to the fate of Lestat and the Vampire kingdom he rules. In today's episode, Anne shares many thoughts on superstition, science, and why, in spite of everything, she believes humanity's going to figure things out.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Alison Gopnik on the Science of Ghosts, Kathleen McAuliffe on the Biological Origins of Vampire Stories, Wesley Lowery on Facebook's responsibility for fake news

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  • 76. Tim Ferriss (Author, Podcaster) Productively Frivolous
    Sat, Dec 10, 2016

    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 archives.

    Above all else,  Author, Podcaster, and "Human Guinea Pig" Tim Ferriss is focused on learning how to learn, then applying those lessons to everyday life -- aiming at increased productivity, efficiency, and success, however you may define it. His books The Four Hour Workweek, the Four-Hour Body, and the Four-Hour Chef shared his learning experiments in the culinary, physical, and business realms. His latest book “Tools of Titans” distills lessons learned from guests like Maria Popova, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rick Rubin in conversation on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Tim Wu on "the attention merchants" of social media, Simon Sinek on the idea of having "a vision" 

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  • 75. David Salle (Artist) The Enemy of Art
    Sat, Dec 03, 2016

    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 archives. David Salle's paintings are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Galerie Berlin and many others. His book How to See is a collection of essays, mainly on the work of other artists, that delves deep into questions about how art is made and what happens when we experience it.

    In this episode, David and Jason wrestle with questions like why there are no bad cave paintings, whether or not Francis Bacon's work is "decorative," and why it's impossible to say anything really prescriptive about how to make art.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Dave Evans on prototyping in design, Alva Noë on art as a "strange tool", and Julian Schnabel on art and the internet

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  • 74. Jace Clayton AKA DJ/Rupture - Sonic Veils and Revelations
    Sat, Nov 26, 2016

    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 archives. As DJ /Rupture, Jace Clayton has spun music all over the world in every imaginable kind of venue (including not only big arenas but also, once, a refrigerated truck) and released several critically acclaimed albums. He’s also one of the most gifted writers about musical culture that Jason has ever read. His book Uproot: Travels in 21st Century Music and Digital Culture digs deep into the back-bins of hyper-local musical traditions and zooms out to take in the whole shifting global landscape.

    This conversation delves deep into the ways music disseminates and morphs in our digitally connected world, originality in cut-and-paste culture, and the fragility of beauty and culture.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Bill Burnett on Brainstorming Innovative Ideas, Jonathan Harris on Social Networks and Human Connection, Mary Aiken on Trump as an Internet Troll

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  • 73. T.C. Boyle (Author) - Lost on Purpose
    Sat, Nov 19, 2016

    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 archives.

    T.C. Boyle is the author of 26 books of fiction, including The Tortilla Curtain, The Harder They Come, and World’s End (which won the Pen/Faulkner award). His latest is The Terranauts--it’s about an ill-fated, very expensive and highly publicised experiment in which 4 men and 4 women try to live together for two years in a Biodome in the Arizona Desert.

    In this conversation, taped a couple weeks before Donald Trump was elected president, Boyle and Jason talk about the apparent implosion of the Republican party, how to grapple with existential despair when you don’t have religion to fall back on, what on Earth (or off it) humans should do when we run out of resources, and why Jason’s 8 year old son shouldn’t be afraid of getting lost in the woods.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Kathleen McAuliffe on Conservatives and Disgust Sensitivity and Sean Wilentz on Why the Two Party System is Good for America



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  • 72. Slavoj ?i?ek (Philosopher) - Against Tolerance
    Sat, Nov 12, 2016

    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 archives.

    Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher,  Lacanian psychoanalist, and political activist. He’s the international director of the Birbeck Institute for the Humanities, and Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University. His newest book is Refugees, Terror, and Other Troubles with the Neighbors: Against the Double Blackmail.

    In this spirited, wide-ranging discussion, the voluble Žižek talks about why he hates being called the "Elvis of philosophy," argues against liberal notions of tolerance, and promises to arrange for Jason to get cigarettes and whiskey in the gulag when the revolution comes.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Daniel Bergner on Women and Monogamy and Scott Barry Kaufman on Standardized Testing




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  • 71. Jelani Cobb (Historian) - Shiny New Skin, Same Old Snake
    Sat, Nov 05, 2016

    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 archives.

    Historian and journalist Jelani Cobb is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress and other books, and one of our most powerful writers on the complexities of race in America. Jelani is a staff writer at the New Yorker, where he’s given readers nuanced insight into gun culture, police brutality, the #blacklivesmatter movement, and much more, and a professor of Journalism at Columbia University. 

    Although Jelani was hoping the surprise format might involve watching fun nature videos, the topics that came up included mathematical symmetry as a defining principle of the universe, whether and to what extent liberals should try to empathize with Trump supporters, and the ethics of human-animal and human-robot relations. Sorry, Jelani.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Jim Gaffigan on Political Intolerance, Glenn Cohen on AI Ethics, and Frank Wilczek on Symmetry





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  • 70. Margaret Atwood (Author) - The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid
    Sat, Oct 29, 2016

    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 archives.

    Today's guest is novelist, essayist, poet, and as of late, comic-book writer Margaret Atwood. She’s also got some really funny mini-comics about bad interviews, so Jason tries extra-hard to bring his a-game here. She’s the Booker prize winning author of The Blind Assassin, Oryx & Crake, The Handmaid’s Tale, and around 40 other beloved books. Her latest, Hag-Seed, is a total and delightfully wicked reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

    In this episode Margaret talks with Jason about genomes in the cloud, Bob Dylan's Nobel prize, the elusiveness of dead authors, and why technology's a three-edged sword.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Michael Schatz on storing our genomes in the cloud, Alison Gopnik on Narcissism




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  • 69. Jodi Picoult (Author) - Popular Fictions/Not Yours to Tell
    Sat, Oct 22, 2016

    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 archives. 

    In this episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, author Jodi Picoult and host Jason Gots talk comic books, social justice, and why white Americans need to take the risk (and the consequences) of talking honestly about race and class privilege. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: C. Nicole Mason on Poverty and the 2016 Election,A.O. Scott on Anti-Intellectualism



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  • 68. William Shatner (Actor, Author) Yes, I Am Trying to Win This Podcast
    Sat, Oct 15, 2016

    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 archives. 

    William Shatner created the role of Captain James T Kirk on the original Star Trek, and won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Denny Crane on “The Practice” and “Boston Legal”. He’s also written nearly 30 bestselling books of fiction and non-fiction and released two albums of music with the artist Ben Folds. His new book Zero-G, coauthored with Jeff Rovin, is a science fiction terrorism thriller set in the year 2050. It begins with an unnaturally powerful Tsunami that destroys most of the coast of Japan, and follows FBI Field Agent Samuel Lord as he attempts to unravel the mystery.

    In this extra feisty episode, Shatner and host Jason Gots talk ego, the extinction of the human race, bullying, and whether or not it's a dog-eat-dog world out there. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:Ryan Holiday on egoNikhil Goyal on Bullying



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  • 67. James Gleick (Science Writer) - Everything All at Once
    Sat, Oct 08, 2016

    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 archives.

    James Gleick is one of our greatest living science writers,  author of The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. His first book, Chaos, was a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist and a national bestseller. His other books include the best-selling biographies, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, and Isaac Newton, both shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. James’ new book Time Travel: a History, is an utterly fascinating journey through the history of an idea that has become part of the fabric of philosophy, science, and our daily lives, even though we can’t really do it yet. Not really.

    In this episode, James and host Jason Gots talk about why we're so obsessed with something that's evidently impossible. 

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:Penn Jillette on "atheist prayers" and David Eagleman on our perception of time



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  • 66. Alton Brown (Chef, Author) - Easy-Bake Oven/Hard Knock Life
    Sat, Oct 01, 2016

    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 archives. 

    Cook, writer, and director Alton Brown is a living legend in food TV. Alton was the creator and host of the show “Good Eats”, which ran for 14 seasons on Food Network and has a 9/10 rating on IMDB which is basically unheard of (Casablanca is 8.6). He’s also known as the host of Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Feasting on Asphalt, and is the author of many books. Alton’s latest book is “Everdaycook”, in which he shares his favorite personal recipes including the amazing looking Breakfast Carbonara, which makes pasta for breakfast not only ok, but mandatory.

    Alton and host Jason Gots talk about fire, their mutual childhood lust for the Betty Crocker Easy-Bake Oven and how everything worth doing might get you killed.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Alison Gopnik on Parenting,Ethan Hawke on goal settingDrew Ramsey on diet and depression






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  • 65. Ian McEwan (Novelist) - A King of Infinite Space
    Sat, Sep 24, 2016

    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 archives. 

    This week's guest is novelist Ian McEwan. He’s the bestselling author of 16 books, including Atonement, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the WH Smith Literary award and Amsterdam, which won the Booker Prize. His latest book, Nutshell, is a darkly funny, brilliant riff on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, told from the point of view of an extremely articulate, nine month old fetus, viewing an unfolding murder plot from the limited vantage point of his mother’s womb.

    In this far-ranging, lively dialogue, McEwan and host Jason Gots discuss Hamlet, moral quandaries, and how to set boundaries in a world that threatens to pull you in every direction.

    Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:Charles Duhigg on focus and productivityGlenn Cohen on the ethics of abortion




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  • 64. Mixtape #4 The Writers' Room
    Sat, Sep 17, 2016

    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 wisdom", presented confidently and definitively against a white screen background. With THINK AGAIN, we wanted to revisit these ideas the way the audience encounters them––spontaneously, messily, and often out of context. We wanted to bring the experts to that state some thinkers call "beginner's mind" and see what would happen. 

    The format: Jason sits down with artists, scientists, historians––all accomplished experts in their fields. They chat a bit about the guest's work. Then, they watch three surprise Big Think interview clips (chosen by the video producers), emailed to Jason just before the interview, and discuss them. And the conversation goes where it goes.  

    Some amazing moments have happened this past year––fun, profound, profoundly painful. This, the fourth of our first year "mixtapes", focuses on the most memorable bits of writerly wit and wisdom from the first year of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast. With playwright and screenwriter Sir David Hare on (not) resting on your laurels, National Book Award Winner James McBride on writing with a roomful of giant talents, rapper and first-time novelist Kate Tempest on writers' block as "fear of writing", and Nobel Laureate Turkish author Orhan Pamuk on why writing programs should teach writers to manage their own psychology. 

    Surprise clips in this episode:

    Sheila HeenBessel Van Der KolkCharles Duhigg, and Augusten Burroughs

    About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.



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  • 63. Eric Kandel (Nobel Laureate neuroscientist) - The Eye of the Beholder
    Sat, Sep 10, 2016

    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 archives. 

    On this week's episode: Professor Eric Kandel of Columbia University and host Jason Gotsdiscuss abstract art, memory, identity, and the nature of evil. When he was 9 years old, Eric Kandel listened on a short-wave radio his brother had made as Hitler marched into Kandel's hometown of Vienna, Austria. The next day, a non-Jewish classmate told him "Kandel, I'm never to speak to you again." In the year 2000, He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for pioneering work on understanding how memory is stored in the brain by studying a particular type of sea snail with a relatively simple nervous system. In his recent books, he’s been pioneering in a different way––trying to bridge the gap between the “two cultures” of the sciences and the humanities. His current book Reductionism in Art and Brain Science continues this essential work by looking at the ways both modern art and science “reduce” complex phenomena down to their component parts to achieve new insights and effects.

    Surprise "conversation starter" interview clips in this episode:Janna LevinSusan DavidGeorge Musser




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  • 62. Mixtape #3 a Soup?on of Ornithology
    Sat, Sep 03, 2016

    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 put a "podcasts" app in the iPhone's OS, and suddenly podcasting, which had existed for over a decade, was widely considered to have entered its Golden Age (wonder how all the veteran podcasters felt about that...). So Big Think decided it might be a good time to start a podcast, too––to find its voice in this newly energized space. Jason Gots (who had been a writer and editor there since 2010), more or less leapt out of his chair at the meeting where this was announced and volunteered to create and host it. Thus THINK AGAIN - A BIG THINK PODCAST was born. 

    Big Think's videos are bits of "expert wisdom", presented confidently and definitively against a white screen background. With THINK AGAIN, we wanted to revisit these ideas the way the audience encounters them––spontaneously, messily, and often out of context. We wanted to bring the experts to that state some thinkers call "beginner's mind" and see what would happen. 

    The format: Jason sits down with artists, scientists, historians––all accomplished experts in their fields. They chat a bit about the guest's work. Then, they watch three surprise Big Think interview clips (chosen by the video producers), emailed to Jason just before the interview, and discuss them. And the conversation goes where it goes.  

    Some amazing moments have happened this past year––fun, profound, profoundly painful––we're stepping back and taking stock. This, the third of our year one mixtapes, features direct, powerful, and hilarious conversations with actor Ethan Hawke, comedians P.F. Tompkins and Chris Gethard, and musician Amanda Palmer

    Surprise clips in this episode:

    Andrew Keen on the cultural impact of the internet, Bill Nye on infinity, and Baratunde Thurston on information overabundance.  




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  • 61. Alison Gopnik (Developmental Psychologist) Artificial Intelligence/Natural Stupidity
    Sat, Aug 27, 2016

    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 The Gardener and the Carpenter is a response to the fact that “parenting” has become a verb, a powerful middle class trend, a lucrative self-help industry, and sometimes a kind of bloodsport. Meanwhile developmental science paints a very different picture of how children grow and learn, and what it means to be a good parent. As Gopnik puts it, “It’s easy to say ‘just chill,’ but the advice is, basically, just chill!”  

    On this week's episode of Think Again–a Big Think Podcast, Alison Gopnik and host Jason Gots discuss play, artificial intelligence, and the trouble with "parenting" as a verb. 

    Surprise "conversation starter" interview clips in this episode:Ryan HolidaySteven Pinker, and Sonia Arrison



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  • 60. Teju Cole (Writer) The World is Not a Settled Gift
    Sat, Aug 20, 2016

    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 insightful and beautiful essays about things read, seen, and experienced. It’s called Known and Strange Things

    On this week's episode of Think Again–a Big Think Podcast, Teju Cole and host Jason Gots discuss first drafts, the complexities of home, and the greatest innovation in human history. 

    Surprise "conversation starter" interview clips in this episode:Jacqueline Woodson, and Virginia Heffernan



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  • 59. Jacqueline Woodson (Writer) Bored Kid Dreaming/Apologies Long Overdue
    Sat, Aug 13, 2016

    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 novel in twenty years. Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.

    On this week's episode of Think Again–a Big Think Podcast, Jacqueline and host Jason Gots discuss collective amnesia, organized religion, the power of photographs, and why never being bored is bad for for kids. 

    Surprise "conversation starter" interview clips: Lynsey AddarioSebastian Junger,Maria Konnikova






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  • 58. Mixtape #2 Staring at the Sea
    Sat, Aug 06, 2016

    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 put a "podcasts" app in the iPhone's OS, and suddenly podcasting, which had existed for over a decade, was widely considered to have entered its Golden Age (wonder how all the veteran podcasters felt about that...). So Big Think decided it might be a good time to start a podcast, too––to find its voice in this newly energized space. Jason Gots (who had been a writer and editor there since 2010), more or less leapt out of his chair at the meeting where this was announced and volunteered to create and host it. Thus THINK AGAIN - A BIG THINK PODCAST was born. 

    Big Think's videos are bits of "expert wisdom", presented confidently and definitively against a white screen background. With THINK AGAIN, we wanted to revisit these ideas the way the audience encounters them––spontaneously, messily, and often out of context. We wanted to bring the experts to that state some thinkers call "beginner's mind" and see what would happen. 

    The format: Jason sits down with artists, scientists, historians––all accomplished experts in their fields. They chat a bit about the guest's work. Then, they watch three surprise Big Think interview clips (chosen by the video producers), emailed to Jason just before the interview, and discuss them. And the conversation goes where it goes.  

    Some amazing moments have happened this past year––fun, profound, profoundly painful––so this week and next, we're stepping back and taking stock. This, the second of two "greatest hits mixtapes", features Playwright and Performer Sarah Jones both as herself and as a completely different person, Musician and Artist Henry Rollins on a divided America, Critic A.O. Scott on our complicated relationships with our devices, Actress and Author Mary-Louise Parker being extremely skeptical that Virtual Reality will make us more empathetic, and Rapper and NovelistKate Tempest with a staggeringly powerful, spontaneous monologue on the stories we tell ourselves. 

    Surprise clips in this episode

    Paul EkmanRalph RiveraSherry TurkleParag Khanna




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  • 57. Mixtape #1 - Lies/Monsters/Friendship/Religion/Space Aliens
    Sat, Jul 30, 2016

    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 put a "podcasts" app in the iPhone's OS, and suddenly podcasting, which had existed for over a decade, was widely considered to have entered its Golden Age (wonder how all the veteran podcasters felt about that...). So Big Think decided it might be a good time to start a podcast, too––to find its voice in this newly energized space. Jason Gots (who had been a writer and editor there since 2010), more or less leapt out of his chair at the meeting where this was announced and volunteered to create and host it. Thus THINK AGAIN - A BIG THINK PODCAST was born. 

    Big Think's videos are bits of "expert wisdom", presented confidently and definitively against a white screen background. With THINK AGAIN, we wanted to revisit these ideas the way the audience encounters them––spontaneously, messily, and often out of context. We wanted to bring the experts to that state some thinkers call "beginner's mind" and see what would happen. 

    The format: Jason sits down with artists, scientists, historians––all accomplished experts in their fields. They chat a bit about the guest's work. Then, they watch three surprise Big Think interview clips (chosen by the video producers), emailed to Jason just before the interview, and discuss them. And the conversation goes where it goes. 

    Some amazing moments have happened this past year––fun, profound, profoundly painful––so this week and next, we're stepping back and taking stock. This, the first of two "greatest hits mixtapes", features author Junot Diaz on why he's fascinated by double lives, popular philosopher Sam Harris on monsters in literature, Brain Pickings founder Maria Popova on the complexities of friendship, rapper and poet Saul Williams on the Catholic Church and his preacher father, and former pro wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura on space aliens. It also includes an original THINK AGAIN song written for us in less than a week by the amazing, inimitable Matt Farley.

    Surprise clips in this episode

    Joyce Carol OatesDan ArielyWilliam ShatnerCharlene LiBrian Greene






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  • 56. Jonathon Keats (Experimental Philosopher) The Trickster/Castles in the Sky
    Sat, Jul 23, 2016

    "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 of reopening closed conversations. His new book You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, explores the myth and the relevance of a self-mythologizing sometime genius, sometime crackpot whose vast imagination holds some keys to solving the massive problems we now face as a species. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again–a Big Think Podcast, Jonathon and host Jason Gots discuss social taboos, Fuller's legacy, the "mediated" nature of contemporary life, the power of comedy in society, and so much more. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Jim Gaffigan on political correctness in comedyDan Savage on sex education, and Mary Roach on diharrhea in the armed forces

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  • 55. Mary Roach (Science Writer) To Nietszche His Own
    Sat, Jul 16, 2016

    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, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. It's some of the best, most engaging science writing out there. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again–a Big Think Podcast, Mary and host Jason Gots discuss some of the above, then enter more the more abstract territory of dark matter, Nietzche's atheism, and emotional connection with artificial intelligence. It's a weird and wonderful talk adventure. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Philosopher Simon Critchley on NietzschePhysicist Lisa Randall on Dark MatterSherry Turkle on Emotions and AI





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  • 54. LIVE! Sarah Jones (actor/playwright)
    Sat, Jul 09, 2016

    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. Sarah's 2004 one woman show BRIDGE & TUNNEL channeled the symphony of voices that make up New York City's five boroughs. She returns this fall to the Manhattan Theatre Club with SELL/BUY/DATE, in which she plays all characters in a sex-ed class from the future that doubles as a brilliant, satirical commentary on life in 2016. 

    On May 20th, 2016, almost exactly a year after we launched, Think Again did an episode live with Sarah Jones as part of NYC Podfest, at CakeShop NYC. Host Jason Gots knew in advance that Sarah might be slipping into and out of character, but not which characters, or when. Over the course of the hour, Sarah became and responded to the surprise discussion clips as Rashid, an out-of-work rapper, Lorraine, a Jewish grandmother, Bella, a millennial, and many more. Far from stereotypes, these were fully-fleshed people with brilliant insights grounded in their radically different life experiences. 

    Above all, it was a hell of a lot of fun for the 100+ people present, and we're delighted to share it now with you. 

    Surprise clips in this episode: Douglas Rushkoff on collaboration in the digital economyAngie MacArthur on types of attentionParag Khanna on World War III

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  • 53. Sean Wilentz (Historian) The Culture Strikes Back
    Sat, Jul 02, 2016

    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 gender and sexual norms . . .Lots of people felt threatened by that. Lots of people resisted that. 

    But the war is only going to be settled now.  – Sean Wilentz

    Sean Wilentz is a Princeton professor and the Bancroft-Prize-Winning Author of The Rise of American Democracy. He’s also a major music historian and the author of Bob Dylan in America, and the official historian of Bob Dylan’s website. His new book The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics argues that there are two keys to understanding American politics––the theme of party politics and outsider resistance to it, and the theme of economic and social egalitarianism. He argues that all positive change in American political history has happened within the system of party politics. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, Wilentz and host Jason Gots discuss identity politics, human life on Mars, and the culture war that began when the counterculture "won" the battle in the late '60s, and which Wilentz argues is reaching a final cataclysm with the election of 2016. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Comedian Lewis Black on political correctnessBill Nye on colonizing Mars








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  • 52. Jim Gaffigan (Comedian) You're Attacking My Grandpa?
    Sat, Jun 25, 2016

    “It’s funny or it’s not funny. In the end, people are not coming 
    to my show because I’m not cursing” – Jim Gaffigan

    Jim 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 about to launch the second season of  his semi-fictitious TV show, The Jim Gaffigan Show

    On this week's episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, Jim and host Jason Gots talk about the gift of loving what you do for a living, "othering" people we disagree with, and how bigotry is a bipartisan phenomenon. Trump comes up, as do The Simpsons, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, New Yorkers' weird ideas about the Midwest and vice versa, and Jim's Grandpa (sort of).  

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Princeton historian Sean Wilentz on the Trump phenomenonDan Pontefract on working with purpose

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  • 51. Krista Tippett (Author, Host, "On Being") We Are Made by What Would Break Us
    Sat, Jun 18, 2016

    "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 didn’t expect." – Krista Tippett

    Krista Tippett is the Peabody award-winning host of the radio program and podcast On Being, in which she and her guests discuss the deeper mysteries of the universe and human existence, which can be difficult things to talk about. Her new book is called Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. It distills and organizes some of the insights she’s gained over 12 years of talking to spiritual, scientific, artistic and social pioneers about many, many things, but maybe fundamentally about how to live a good life. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, Krista and host Jason Gots discuss the things that are most difficult and most necessary to talk about––the divides across which our words and our courage fail. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Amy Cuddy on body languageRussell Simmons on the ethics of veganism, and Max Bazerman on cognitive blind spots

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  • 50. Ethan Hawke (Actor, Author) The High, Hard Road/Ghosts of the Apache Wars
    Sat, Jun 11, 2016

    “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 to get ahead. So many people with short term goals screwing everything up.” 

    After his breakout roles in Dead Poets Society and Reality Bites, actor, director, and author Ethan Hawke has followed his own path as an artist, starting a theater company, writing two novels, acting in decade-spanning film productions directed by Richard Linklater including, most recently the amazing Boyhood. He’s just published his first graphic novel, which he wrote with artist Greg Ruth. It’s called  INDEH: A Story of the Apache Wars, and its tells a complex and very human story of relations between the Apaches and the white Americans who ultimately took over their lands. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, Ethan Hawke and host Jason Gots discuss fatherhood, perpetual warfare, and the daily struggle between light and dark within every person. It's a raw, intense, sometimes laugh-out-loud conversation that spans continents and decades in under an hour. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Sam Harris on spirituality, Steven Kotler on Steroids (not literally ON them), and Jerry Kaplan on robot wars. 

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  • 49. Geoff Dyer (Author) Ordinary Epiphanies
    Sat, Jun 04, 2016

    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. In his most recent book White Sands, weaving stories about places to which he has recently traveled with images and memories that have persisted since childhood, Dyer tries “to work out what a certain place—a certain way of marking the landscape—means; what it’s trying to tell us; what we go to it for.”

    On this week's episode of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, Dyer talks revenge, hallucinogens, the criminal brain, Geoff's disappointing trip to see the Northern Lights and more, and there is a spontaneous William Blake smackdown, much to the chagrin of host Jason Gots

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Michael GazzanigaLawrence Krauss, and Maia Szalavitz




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  • 48. Mary-Louise Parker (Actress, Author): Virtual Empathy?/Lessons Relearned
    Sat, May 28, 2016

    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 actress and author Mary-Louise Parker.

    She’s won many awards -- Tony, Obie, Golden Globe, Emmy -- for her roles in the Showtime series Weeds, the TV miniseries of Angels in America, and the play Proof, among other things. Unbeknownst to many people until now, she’s also a seriously talented writer. Her first book,  Dear Mr. You, is a series of letters to men, real and hypothetical, living and dead, who have had a meaningful impact on her life. 

    Surprise interview clips from Henry Rollins and Ralph Rivera set Mary-Louise and host Jason Gots off on a conversation about the limits of empathy, the power of music, and the fact that likability is way overrated. 



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  • 47. Kate Tempest (rapper/poet/novelist): Lost and Found in South London
    Sat, May 21, 2016

    "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 of this job that makes you a writer is when you don’t feel like that. When you feel like you never deserved to even imagine that you could have been a writer. When you hate every word that you’ve made. When you doubt every single part of your brain. To sit down in that space and work because you’ve got a deadline to meet, because you’ve got a novel to write. You know to ignore your brain in that moment, because your brain is defeating you. You have to be able to trust your hand."

    – Kate Tempest, in this episode 

    Kate Tempest
     is a force of nature. She won the coveted Ted Hughes award for her epic poem Brand New Ancients, which she toured internationally as a stage show to massive critical acclaim. Her novelistic 2014 rap album Everybody Down takes hip-hop in entirely new directions. And with 2016's The Bricks That Built the Houses, she has reworked these ideas into a deeply moving and powerful novel (her first) about four friends in her native South London. 

    Our conversation starts here, with the challenges and discipline of novel-writing and travels through deep and personal territory, as Kate talks passionately about art and the human heart in our "tragic and troubling times". 

    NOT TO BE MISSED: Kate's breathtaking, spontaneous poetic monologue at the very end of the show. 

    On this week's episode of Think Again - A Big Think Podcast, Kate and host Jason Gots go deep into these topics and more. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Augusten Burroughs on writer's block and William Shatner on science and imagination. 

    Kate Tempest song sampled in the showEurope is Lost




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  • 46. Chris Gethard (Comedian) a Blessing in Disguise
    Sat, May 14, 2016

    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.   – Chris Gethard, in this episode. 

    Why was having his "big break" sitcom bomb a blessing in disguise for Chris Gethard, creator of the beloved Chris Gethard Show  "the most bizarre and often saddest talk show in New York City"? What do comedians and con artists have in common? When your authenticity and approachability make you famous, how do you maintain them? 

    On this week's episode of Think Again - A Big Think Podcast, Chris and host Jason Gots go deep into these topics and more. 

    Surprise discussion clips in this episode: Maria Konnikova and Baratunde Thurston

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  • 45. James McBride (Author) Fear Sells Many a Car/James Brown is a Noun
    Sat, May 07, 2016

    “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 James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. It drove him to become "the hardest working man in show business", to hoard massive stashes of cash beneath hotel room carpets, and to seek temporary refuge in drugs. It also drove him to leave one of the most astonishing musical legacies in American history, redefining R&B, Soul, and Funk music in the process. 

    This, along with surprise interview clips from Charles DuhiggSteven Pinker, and A.O. Scott, is the spark that sets James McBride and host Jason Gots off on a conversational journey with many twists and turns that touches on violence, virtual reality, and what it's like to be in a writer's room with Ta-Nahesi Coates, James McBride, David Simon (creator of The Wire) and Pulitzer Prize winning historian Taylor Branch. 

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  • 44. Douglas Rushkoff (Media Theorist) Hack the $ystem
    Sat, Apr 30, 2016

    "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 more value from humans and the earth. The priority of endless growth has led to scorched-earth policies that put humans out of work and destroy the planet, 

    But we programmed the system in the first place, says Rushkoff, and we can reprogram it. Join him and Think Again host Jason Gots for a searching discussion of our many, many alternatives to a robot dystopian future. 

    Surprise conversation-starters in this episode from novelist Joshua Cohen, communication expert Nancy Duarte, and personal growth expert Tara-Sophia Mohr.

    And here's Jason Gots' article on Rushkoff's new book, which Jason really, really liked. 

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  • 43. Michael Puett (Harvard Chinese Philosophy Scholar) Freedom Through Ritual
    Sat, Apr 23, 2016

    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 subject? Puett promises that if you take the ideas in his course seriously, they will change your life. He captures these ideas in his new book The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, co-authored with Christine Gross-Loh

    On this week's episode of Think Again, Puett and host Jason Gots discuss free will, Western individualism, and more, with surprise prompts from interview clips with Jesse Ventura and Nobel Laureate physicist Frank Wilczek

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  • 42. Joshua Cohen (Novelist) Scrupulously Messy, by Which I Mean Human
    Sat, Apr 16, 2016

    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 Henry Rollins and Nikhil Goyal, Cohen delves into secret languages, the horrors of childhood, and the dangers of overexplaining. It's a punchy and penetrating dialogue with one of our most original living authors. 

    “Just don’t unpack shit. Let’s make the world more opaque.” 




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  • 41. Sarah Kay (Poet) Kids See Right Through That
    Sat, Apr 09, 2016

    "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 have a voice, on the power of authenticity and vulnerability, and on what she'd do if the world were in imminent danger of destruction by an asteroid.  And stay tuned for a shatteringly beautiful song/poem at the end. 

    Surprise Big Think interview clips from Josh RitterLewis Black, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson spark a thoughtful, playful, far-ranging conversation between Sarah and host Jason Gots. It's deep fun. 

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  • 40. Nikhil Goyal (Education Activist) Mind in a Box
    Sat, Apr 02, 2016

    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 that arguably do more to prepare kids for a life of servitude than of independent thought and civic engagement. 

    20 year old Nikhil Goyal, author of Schools on Trial, argues that mainstream US public schools do more harm to children than good, and that we need to rethink them from the bottom up. 

    Clips from comedian Paul F. TompkinsJesse Itzler, and Helen Fisher launch Goyal and host Jason Gots on a passionate & intense discussion that keeps coming back to our messed up education system and what we ought to do about it. 

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  • 39. Maria Popova (Writer, Editor of Brain Pickings) The Absurdity of Not Writing Poems
    Sat, Mar 26, 2016

    "I’m always pulled toward anything that helps me figure out how to live a meaningful and substantive life." – Maria Popova

    What does real friendship look like? How can something written a thousand years ago help us to navigate our lives in the 21st century? 

    On this week's Think Again, host Jason Gots speaks with Maria Popova, the creator, writer, and editor of Brain Pickings, a labor of love that  has grown into a massive web media presence -- a blog, newsletter, twitter feed and more that shares timeless wisdom from authors past and present about how to live a meaningful life. 

    Maria reads the poem Possibilities by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska, which, along with three surprise interview clips with William ShatnerHoward Gardner, and Jon Kabat-Zinn sparks a far-ranging and revealing conversation on friendship, modern anxiety, and so much more. 




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  • 38. Amanda Palmer (Musician, Author) Privacy Is Weird
    Sat, Mar 19, 2016

    "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 all over the world. She's allowed fans to sign her naked body after shows. Through the online crowdfunding platform Patreon, she empowers her fans to support her work one "thing" at a time. 

    On this week's Think Again, Amanda and host Jason Gots have a lively, free ranging discussion on the spectrum from unfiltered expression to highly polished art, #blacklivesmatter , Apple's privacy fight with the FBI, and whether or not and to what extent the internet is turning us all into a bunch of narcissistic idiots. 

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  • 37. Cory Booker (US Senator) Cynicism: a Refuge for Cowards
    Sat, Mar 12, 2016

    “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 Booker

    Why do so many of us choose to remain in a state of "sedentary agitation" about America's problems when there are so many things we could do to help? This is the core question of UNITED, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's powerful new political biography. 

    And it surfaces again and again on this week's THINK AGAIN as Senator Booker and host Jason Gots talk race, poverty, hope, and apathy in America, 2016. 

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  • 36. Yann Martel (Author) The Vacuum of Space Leaves Me Cold
    Sat, Mar 05, 2016

    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 not. And that’s what I like about religion and art: To art and religion, I DO matter.” 

    Sparked by surprise video clips on quantum entanglement, linguistic diversity, and whether or not the internet is turning us all into narcissists, Martel and host Jason Gots discuss selfies, chimpanzees, faith, and more. 



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  • 35. A.O. Scott (Film Critic) The Right to Be Wrong
    Sat, Feb 27, 2016

    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 Gots: That’s a critic’s fantasy.

    A.O. Scott: Yeah! And you discover shortcuts to do that...through works of art.

    A.O. Scott's new book Better Living Through Criticism playfully and artfully examines what critics do and why. On this week's episode, he and host Jason Gots dig into these ideas, then react to surprise clips from Jesse Ventura, MIT professor Sherry Turkle, and philosopher John Grey.


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  • 34. Paul F. Tompkins (Comedian) A Tiny, Cosmic Threat
    Sat, Feb 20, 2016

    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 our amazing new theme song from the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder.

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  • 33. Marc Goodman (Cybersecurity Expert) Dark Web/Nigerian Princes
    Sat, Feb 13, 2016

    All technology is in effect “dual use.” You can use it for good, or you can use it for ill. – Marc Goodman

    At what point does government's incompetence at policing sex predators and other internet criminals constitute breach of contract with the general public? Has anyone on Earth actually read the "terms of service"?

    Marc Goodman, a cybersecurity expert and author of the New York Times bestseller FUTURE CRIMES talks with Big Think'sJason Gots about these questions and more, prompted by surprise videos from Physician David Agus, Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa, and former Muslim extremist Maajid Nawaz.


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  • 32. James Doty, MD (Neurosurgeon) Compassion and The Prison State
    Sat, Feb 06, 2016

    “Justice without the opportunity for redemption is torture.” -- James Doty

    In 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 host Jason Gots wrestle with questions spiritual, political, and neurobiological. It's a lively good time.


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  • 31. Michael Shermer (Author, Friendly Skeptic) A Dirty Job/We Want to Believe
    Sat, Jan 23, 2016

    “We skeptics need evidence. And then, we’ll believe!” -- Michael Shermer

    In 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 less evil overall.


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  • 30. Howard Gardner (Psychologist) Porn/Art/Good Work
    Sat, Jan 16, 2016

    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 Gardner

    In this week's episode, Howard Gardner, creator of the theory of Multiple Intelligences and host Jason Gots discuss (among other things) whether or not pornography can be art.


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  • 29. Sir David Hare (Playwright/Screenwriter) Kleptocracy/A Thin Skin
    Sat, Jan 09, 2016

    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 Hare

    In this week's episode, celebrated playwright Sir David Hare opines along with host Jason Gots, on art, nuclear weapons, and whether it makes sense to bring kids into this messed up world.

    Sir David's latest book is The Blue Touch Paper, a poignant, searching memoir about his childhood and his life's work on stage and screen.


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  • 28. Daniel Levitin (Musician & Neuroscientist) Rats/Risks/Rewards
    Sat, Dec 26, 2015

    "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 Levitin

    Do you see yourself as in control of your destiny, or do you see things the other way around? Join Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind, and Think Again host Jason Gots for a fascinating, high-energy exploration of human agency in the age of digital overload.


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  • 27. Alva No? (Philosopher) The Upside of Boredom
    Sat, Dec 19, 2015


    "Art, by letting us get bored, reveals something to us about what we’ve been doing to avoid boredom.” – Alva Noë

    Why 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 out" in physics?

    On this week's episode, philosopher Alva Noë, author of "Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature" and host Jason Gots hear surprise clips from a physicist, a Wall Street "quant", and magician Penn Jillette. The far-ranging conversation that ensues digs deep into the nature of art, religion, and thought itself.


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  • 26. Ian Edwards (Comedian) Sex/Guns/Honesty is Honesty
    Sat, Dec 12, 2015

    “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 Edwards

    Are you "man enough" for non-monogamy? Could citizen gun ownership deter crazy cops? Can brutal honesty launch your comedy career? 

    This week, comedian [Ian Edwards][1], fresh off the release of his album 100% Half-Assed (on Conan O’Brian’s Team Coco Records) talks guns, sex, and laughs with host [Jason Gots][2], and stuns him into silence for a full three seconds (which was heretofore believed to be impossible). 



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  • 25. Sam Harris (Neuroscientist) Uncomfortable Conversations
    Sat, Dec 05, 2015

    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 philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris delves deep into all of the above with host Jason Gots, through the lenses of Islamic extremism, the telepathic powers of fiction, and what would happen to your identity if you could be replicated down to the atom.

    Sam's latest book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance, is a dialogue with Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist now working for tolerance within and for the Muslim world.

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  • 24. Maira Kalman (Artist) Scared of Math/Psycho Killer
    Sat, Nov 28, 2015

    "My goal is always to be laughing. Do you lose the laughter once you become too good at something?” - Maira Kalman

    Think Again is a spontaneous, brainy variety show – The world's brightest minds grapple with surprise topics.

    Artist and author Maira Kalman, best known perhaps for her startlingly original New Yorker covers, has a unique way of looking at and living in the world. On this week's episode of "Think Again," she and host Jason Gots try to sort out why they're both so terrified of math, and whether militarized sociopaths are a necessary part of our world.

    Maira's new book "Beloved Dog" is a poignant, hilarious look at a creature the artist once considered a deadly monster, and now can't live without.


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  • 23. Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Novelist) Write to Live/No Logic In War
    Sat, Nov 21, 2015

    "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 Pamuk

    Think Again is a spontaneous intellectual variety show–The world's brightest minds grapple with surprise topics.

    On the heels of the publication of A Strangeness in My Mind, his extraordinary epic novel of life in Istanbul over four decades through the eyes of a street vendor, Nobel Laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk joins host Jason Gots for a soulful, far-ranging discussion of immigration, war, love, and the art of the novel.

    And he teaches Jason something he'll never forget about how to live the writing life.

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  • 22. Wendell Pierce (Actor, 'The Wire') Godot Ain't Coming
    Sat, Nov 14, 2015

    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 decade since Hurricane Katrina.

    Surprise clips from Big Think's interview archives launch a deep discussion between Wendell and host Jason Gots about sexuality, generosity, and the power of art across time and culture.

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  • 21. Saul Williams (Poet, Musician, Actor) An Army of Poets/the 10,000 Things
    Sat, Nov 07, 2015

    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 Williams

    Saul Williams is a fiercely original, multitalented artist who burst on the scene as an actor and a slam poet in the 1998 film Slam, which won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, and as a rapper/musician with the 2001 album Amethyst Rock Star, produced by Rick Rubin. He has since released four additional albums, five books of poetry, and starred in the Broadway musical Holler if You Hear Me, based on the life and poetry of rapper Tupac Shakur. His latest book of poetry, U.S.(a.) captures some of his thoughts on this country and this moment in history after four years of living abroad in Paris.

    This week on Big Think's podcast Think Again, Saul and host Jason Gots respond to three surprise clips from the interview archives and go deep into everything from war to religion to whether Saul's art is "unpackageable". It's one of our most intense and engaging conversations yet.

    Listen to the end for a special bonus –– "Horn of the Clock Bike", a track from Saul's upcoming 2016 album Martyr Loser King

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  • 20. Jesse Ventura (Wrestler, Governor) Off the Grid/Life on Mars
    Fri, Oct 30, 2015

    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 professional wrestler, author, actor, and Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, who has just published his latest book, American Conspiracies.

    Three surprise clips from Big Think's interview archives launch a thoughtful, searching, sometimes personal discussion of our accelerating culture and how to live the life you want.

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  • 19. Ruth Reichl (Food Critic) Identity Crisis/The Cooking Cure
    Sat, Oct 24, 2015

    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 to herself.

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  • 18. Junot D?az (Pulitzer-Winning Novelist) Double Lives/Hidden Culture
    Sat, Oct 17, 2015

    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 author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao talks with host Jason Gots about deception, culture, and techno-optimism.

    Three surprise clips selected from Big Think's interview archives spark intense, funny, fascinating observations on who we are, what we know (and don't know about ourselves), and where we're headed.

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  • 17. Norman Lear (TV Legend) An Authentic Horse's Ass/The Capacity to Choose
    Sat, Oct 10, 2015

    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 anything writing the book, it was that it’s hard to be a human being. I don’t care what the circumstances of one’s birth: if there is nothing in life that makes trouble, or mischief, we’ll make it up. It’s a hard game. But the kick is in knowing that, and beating the odds.” –– Norman Lear

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  • 16. Jane McGonigal (Game Designer) Game On!/Death to "Gamification"
    Sat, Oct 03, 2015

    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, Happier, Braver and More Resilient--Powered by the Science of Games.

    Archival Big Think interview clips from President Grimsson of Iceland, last week's guest Salman Rushdie, and business guru Jerry Kaplan launch three in-depth discussions that may change the way you think about games and gaming forever.

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  • 15. Salman Rushdie (Novelist) Happiness/Monsters
    Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    “For most of the time, writing any book, it's not going well."–– Salman Rushdie on Think Again

    This 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 Months, and Twenty Eight Nights.

    Surprise video clips from Big Think's archives launch a fascinating conversation about reason, imagination, bad grammar on Twitter, theoretical physics, literary hoaxes and the late Oliver Sacks.

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  • 14. Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner Free $#!+/Hidden Costs
    Sat, Sep 19, 2015

    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 in-depth discussion of the way we consume and pay (or don't pay) for media in the post-Napster age.

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  • 13. "Reply All" Hosts PJ & Alex Future Crime/Personal Yoda/Bonus Track
    Sat, Sep 12, 2015

    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," (one of our very favorite podcasts, EVER) and the astonishing Matt Farley writes us a theme song in under an hour.

    Interview clips from futurist Steven Kotler, psychologist Dan Ariely and actor/activist George Takei get us talking (and laughing) about all kinds of unexpected things, and result in the aforementioned song.

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  • 12. George Takei (Actor + Activist) Ego/Focus/Xenophobia
    Sat, Sep 05, 2015

    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 superhero George Takei.

    Interview clips from Ayaan Hirsi AliBen Parr, and Daniel Kahneman launch a lively conversation about religion,human rights, and the three types of attention.

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  • 11. Tina Roth Eisenberg (AKA @swissmiss) Culture Theory/Color Theory
    Sat, Aug 29, 2015

    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), Swiss-born designer and entrepreneur who runs the popular SwissMiss blog and the Creative Mornings lecture series. Interview clips from Adam Alter and Chris Fussell launch a lively discussion of design, entrepreneurship, and the purpose-driven life

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  • 10. Mark Epstein (Buddhist Psychotherapist) Nature/Nurture/Neither
    Sat, Aug 22, 2015

    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 Gots is joined by Mark Epstein, Buddhist-influenced psychiatrist and author of Thoughts Without a Thinker and The Trauma of Everyday Life. Interview clips from Stephen DubnerKayt Sukel, and Nicholas Negroponte launch a probing discussion of education, free will, and a contemporary twist in the "nature/nurture" debate.

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  • 9. Henry Rollins (Artist), pt. II American Trauma/The Word "Genius"
    Sat, Aug 15, 2015

    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 Ekman and James Gleick launch a discussion of a nation divided and the character traits of "geniuses".

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  • 8. Maria Konnikova (Author) Mindset/Creativity/Suburban B-Boyz
    Sat, Aug 08, 2015

    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 Confidence Game and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Interview clips from Kelly McGonigal, Lawrence Krauss, and Tavis Smiley launch a discussion of 21st century education, racial identity, and the powers and limits of positive thinking.

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  • 7. Baratunde Thurston (Comedian, Cultural Critic) Stupidity Scaled/Robot Rights/Brand You
    Sat, Aug 01, 2015

    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 joined by author and tech pundit Baratunde Thurston, "a philosopher comedian fighting for the future." Interview clips from Rick SmolanLawrence Krauss, and Guy Kawasaki launch a discussion of human potential, social status, identity, and how Kim Kardashian's butt didn't actually "break the internet".

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  • 6. Brian Greene (Theoretical Physicist) Student for Sale
    Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    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 byBrian Greene, theoretical physicist, director of the World Science Festival, and author of The Elegant Universe. An interview clip from economist Daniel Altman launches a discussion of why we bother to learn anything in the first place.

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  • 5. Clint Smith (Poet, Educator) Genetics/Racism/Harvard
    Sat, Jul 18, 2015

    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 poet and educator Clint Smith. Two interview clips from Ray Kurzweil and Alain de Botton launch a discussion of human potential, social status, and identity.

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  • 4. Bill Nye (Science Guy) Geek Chic/TMI/Future Money
    Sat, Jul 11, 2015

    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 the "Tuesdays With Bill" series on Big Think.

    Big Think interview clips from Simon DoonanMalcolm Gladwell, and Kabir Sehgal launch Bill and host Jason Gots on a spirited discussion that spans continents and centuries.

    And Bill Nye commits, on record, to wearing a matching bow tie and kilt.

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  • 3. Wendy Suzuki (Neuroscientist) Brain Health/Consumerism/Women In Science
    Sat, Jul 04, 2015

    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 Suzuki, author of the book Healthy Brain, Happy Life. Two interview clips from Dan Ariely and Arianna Huffington spark lively conversation about healthy living in the modern world and the changing face of science.

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  • 2. Henry Rollins (Artist) Monogamy/Sexual Opportunism
    Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    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 columnist Dan Savage launches Henry and host Jason Gots on an intense, personal conversation about love, big cities, and whether the two are incompatible.

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  • 1. Jason Silva (Futurist) Awe/Information Overload
    Sat, Jun 20, 2015

    "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 decide what to pay attention to?

    Can a movie, a song, or a novel transform your life? Your society?

    This week, on the first ever full episode of Big Think's Think Again podcast, we're joined by psychedelic pop philosopher and futurist Jason Silva.

    The surprise topic of the day is . . . art and awe in the age of information overload.

    "To enrich ourselves we’ve got to curate ourselves."

    This video idea from Big Think's archives launches a far-ranging discussion that touches on Banksy, the movie Ex Machina, and the complicated relationship between the creators and the consumers of art in every medium.


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  • Episode Zero Think Again - Curiouser and Curiouser . . .
    Thu, Jun 04, 2015

    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 unfamiliar, unexpected territory.

    So each week on Think Again, we surprise some of the world's brightest and most energetic minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. We listen together to a short interview clip from Big Think's archives and let the conversation take us where it will.

    Join Host Jason Gots and special guests including Bill Nye, Henry Rollins, Jason Silva, and many more each week for a spontaneous journey of intellectual surprise, discovery, and occasional bewilderment, as we go boldly where no talk show has gone before.

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