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Think Again – a Big Think Podcast
<p>We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Saul Williams, Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, George Takei, Maria Popova, and many more . . . 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. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere. SINCE 2008, BIG THINK has captured on video the best ideas of the world’s leading thinkers and doers in every field, renowned experts including neurologist Oliver Sacks, physicist Stephen Hawking, behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman, authors Margaret Atwood and Marylinne Robinson, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, painter Chuck Close, and philosopher Daniel Dennett.</p>
Arts
Society & Culture
1
216. Gail Collins (NY Times columnist) – The br...
Though what constitutes “getting old” for women in America has been a moving target throughout US history, it has rarely been a picnic. But our history’s also full of women who have raised hell and pushed back in a hundred different ways against the cultural and literal corsets America keeps trying to stuff them into.
48 min
2
215. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christop...
A talented young programmer, Christopher Wylie found himself at the center of a complex plot to overturn the cultural order in the United States and Europe—one that most likely tipped the scales on Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.
46 min
3
214. Liz Plank (journalist) – men, masculinity,...
Progress for women can only go so far while men still struggle with ideals of masculinity that teach violence and emotional disconnect. Liz Plank is trying to change the conversation.
52 min
4
213. Catherine Wilson (philosopher) – the Epicu...
From atomic theory to evolution to utilitarian pragmatism, the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was way ahead of his time. In the writings of his school, philosopher Catherine Wilson finds answers to many of our most vexing modern problems.
48 min
5
212. Downton Abbey film director Michael Engler...
Fears and discoveries in translating an intimate world to the big screen. How experience helps you deal with people yelling at you. Why 21st century audiences love to be transported to Edwardian England, in spite of all the class hierarchy…
56 min
6
211. Etgar Keret (writer) – a tunnel dug under ...
Etgar Keret's stories are as funny, painful, and surreal as life itself. We talk about the craziness of his native Israel, his new collection of short stories FLY ALREADY, marijuana, dementia, and much more.
52 min
7
210. one night in Istanbul, with chef Musa Dağd...
Taped on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey: The ancient art of coffee ground reading. Food as a citizen of geographic, not national borders. Chef and food ethnographer Musa Dağdeviren, author of THE TURKISH COOKBOOK, and his ambitious project to preserve Turkey’s rich and diverse cuisine.
61 min
8
209. a mixtape for 2019
When I was a teenager and music was still on cassettes, a mixtape was an act of love. In this episode, I’m putting together some of my favorite moments of 2019, strung together with minimal interruption from me.
54 min
9
208. Antonio Damasio (biologist) – this incredi...
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
37 min
10
207. Lisa Brennan-Jobs (writer) – on growing up...
How do you write away the personal hole in your heart when that hole was left by a man half the world idolizes? Steve Jobs’ daughter, the writer Lisa Brennan-Jobs, on the process and effects of writing her beautiful memoir SMALL FRY.
44 min
11
206. Jenny Odell (artist) – attention as an act...
Artist, “bird noticer”, and concerned citizen of the digital state of the world Jenny Odell looks at many different ways of resisting the attention economy, sinking into the reality of our lives, and finding solidarity and agency with others.
49 min
12
205. Jeffrey Israel (religious studies scholar,...
Picking up the thread of a conversation they started two decades ago in Jerusalem, with some help from Lenny Bruce, philosopher Martha Nussbaum, and other influences Jeff’s picked up along the way, Jason and Williams College professor Jeffrey Israel go deep on private grievances, public life, and where the two overlap.
65 min
13
204. The Butler Sisters (filmmakers) – identity...
The first church to marry gay couples in Oklahoma. The merging of a church founded by a white supremacist with the members of a black Pentacostal congregation. The film American Heretics explores the complexities of religious life in the Bible Belt as it intersects with politics and race.
51 min
14
203. Elif Shafak (novelist) – The story no one ...
“We live in an age in which there is too much excessive information, less knowledge, and very, very little wisdom.” Elif Shafak has faced trial and investigation in her native Turkey for giving voice to the voiceless in her novels. We talk about her book THREE DAUGHTERS OF EVE and the fight for nuance in a world of binaries.
52 min
15
202. Tracy Edwards, MBE (British sailor) – If y...
"You're all going to die" was one typical comment on the all-woman crew of the sailing ship Maiden, the first of its kind in the Whitbread round-the-world race. 30 years later, its captain Tracy Edwards, MBE reflects on the documentary MAIDEN and an act of determination that changed the world.
49 min
16
201. Chris Moukarbel (WIG and GAGA FIVE FOOT TW...
When a subculture like drag goes global, it’s easy to forget the courage it took, and still takes, for so many people to live on the outside what they know they are on the inside. The maker of WIG and GAGA FIVE FOOT TWO on bravery, authenticity, and the eternal power of youth.
43 min
17
200. Robert MacFarlane (writer) – deep time rising
The wonder and the ethics of deep time. The “wood-wide-web”. The claustrophobia of the Anthropocene. In our 200th episode, UNDERLAND author Robert MacFarlane takes us on a journey deep into the Earth and ourselves.
59 min
18
199. Lama Rod Owens (RADICAL DHARMA co-author, ...
An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life’s work based on compassion for self and others.
67 min
19
198. Barbara Tversky (cognitive psychologist) –...
With MIND IN MOTION, psychologist Barbara Tversky offers a stunning account of movement in the world as the foundation of abstract thought, from logical problem-solving to taking other people’s perspectives. We discuss gesture, abstract art, animal intelligence and much more.
60 min
20
197. Eve Ensler (author, activist) – No way out...
For all the women in the world who never got the apology they needed, and all the men who haven’t found the words, and above all for herself, Eve Ensler (THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES) wrote THE APOLOGY. In this searing, unflinching, often surprisingly funny conversation we talk about trauma, compassion, and what it means to apologize for real.
58 min
21
196. Susan Hockfield (MIT president emerita, ne...
Convergence 2.0: Engineers are using the “natural genius” of biological systems to produce extraordinary machines—self-assembling batteries, cancer-detecting nanoparticles, super-efficient water filters made from proteins found in blood cells. Neuroscientist and MIT President Emerita Susan Hockfield and host Jason Gots discuss what all this could mean for our future.
56 min
22
195. Adam Gopnik (essayist) – the rhinoceros of...
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
57 min
23
194. Jared Diamond (Historian) – Look inward, N...
Personal crises and national crises have more than a few things in common. From Brexit to the partisan divide in America to Germany after World War II, Jared Diamond talks with host Jason Gots about how we get through them (or don’t).
45 min
24
193. Anaïs Mitchell (HADESTOWN creator, songwri...
With 14 Tony nominations, HADESTOWN is redefining what a Broadway musical can be. Its creator, songwriter/singer Anaïs Mitchell sits down with Jason Gots to talk about the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, making old things new, and leaving her songwriting cave (temporarily) for the theater.
53 min
25
192. Delphine Minoui (journalist) – Land of par...
Secret Spice Girls dance parties of the wives of anti-western morality police. Book deals for political prisoners still in jail. Iran is a land of contradictions where oppression and freedom uneasily coexist. Born in France, Delphine Minoui lived in Tehran for 10 years to understand her grandparents’ country from the inside.
51 min
26
191. Simon Critchley (philosopher) – the philos...
Tragedy in art, from Ancient Greece to Breaking Bad, resists all our efforts to tie reality up in a neat bow, to draw some edifying lesson from it. Instead it confronts us with our own limitations, leaving us scrabbling in the rubble of certainty to figure out what's next.
57 min
27
190. Terry Gilliam (filmmaker) - The impossible...
The film becomes the story of the making of the film. From his Monty Python days to now, Don Quixote is a metaphor for Terry Gilliam’s whole career, and for his 30 year project of making a film about a film about the knight of the woeful countenance. We talk about Muppets, time, and basically everything else two humans can talk about.
48 min
28
189. Ross Kauffman (Oscar-winning filmmaker) – ...
Love + fear = awe. And awe can inspire the best and the worst in us. From 100,000 wild tigers a century ago, we’re down to around 5,000. Oscar winner Ross Kauffman’s TIGERLAND tells the story of the lengths some will go to to protect them.
37 min
29
188. Frans de Waal (primatologist) – You're suc...
Love, grief, and moral disgust aren’t unique to humans. Like chimps, humans sometimes struggle for dominance, but our first impulse is trust and connection. Frans de Waal has spent decades showing that most of what we believe about animals, humans, and the differences between us is wrong.
48 min
30
187. Aml Ameen (actor) - how the world teaches ...
For Idris Elba’s directorial debut YARDIE, actor Aml Ameen (Sense8, Kidulthood) went back to his family’s Jamaican roots, learning patois and sound clash chat—using method acting to become “D” - a lost soul on a quest for revenge. The process changed him forever.
52 min
31
186. Josh Clark (podcaster) - It’s the end of t...
Killer robots. Alien invasions. Climate change. Josh Clark of Stuff You Should Know and the new podcast The End of the World thinks a lot these days about existential threats. Believe it or not, he's optimistic.
58 min
32
185. Martin Hägglund (philosopher) – What happe...
So long as value in our world is driven by the profit motive, human freedom doesn’t stand a chance. Drawing on Marx, Hegel, and the everyday contradictions of life under capitalism, Martin Hägglund demonstrates that what we do with our finite lives is the only true measure of wealth.
49 min
33
184. Mitchell S. Jackson (writer) – Notes from ...
In the 1980’s, Northeast Portland was a black neighborhood hustling to survive. Today, it’s full of pilates studios and handlebar moustaches. As a writer, professor, and former inmate, Mitchell S. Jackson has lived in and learned from both worlds. In SURVIVAL MATH, he puts the pieces together.
52 min
34
183. Will Hunt (explorer) – into the Earth: the...
The catacombs of Paris. Secret graffiti beneath NYC. The hidden cities of Cappadocia. Writer and explorer Will Hunt is your philosophical tour guide to what lies beneath.
47 min
35
182. Ha Jin (writer) – the wild and tragic life...
The 8th century AD was a tough time to be a genius from a poor family in China. Poet and novelist Ha Jin on the tortured life of the legendary drunken poet Li Bai. Also: the value of idleness,
45 min
36
181. Marlon James (writer) – don’t get too comf...
The Man-Booker prizewinning author in a freewheeling game of verbal ping-pong on his "African 'Game of Thrones'", ’80’s hip hop, heavy metal, tattoos, and billionaire philanthropy.
51 min
37
180. Benjamin Dreyer (copy chief of Random Hous...
Why does Faulkner use “inchoate” so much? Maybe because Benjamin Dreyer wasn’t his copy editor. The Random House copy chief and author of DREYER’S ENGLISH is here to remind us that there’s no absolute authority on the English language. Still, please avoid “impactful”, “utilize”, and 'very unique.” And you can do away with “just”, “really”, and “actually” while you’re at it.
54 min
38
179. Edith Hall (classicist) – from Aristotle t...
Scholar Edith Hall reminds us that Aristotle’s “virtue ethics” was a sophisticated, subtle approach to the pursuit of lifelong happiness a couple millennia before Oprah thought of inviting us to live our best life.
56 min
39
178. Douglas Rushkoff (freelance intellectual) ...
t’s up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that “strip the topsoil” of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
51 min
40
177. Joseph Goldstein (Buddhist teacher) – Ligh...
One of the most influential Buddhist teachers and writers of the past half-century, Joseph Goldstein helped bring Vipassana (insight) practice to the West. We talk about love, pop-mindfulness, and how even a philosopher can learn to quiet the mind.
70 min
41
176. Area 51 and the epistemology of the unexpl...
30 years later, a new investigative documentary on Bob Lazar’s claims about Area 51 raises some ghosts, some hell, and some unsettling questions.
58 min
42
175. Helen Riess (psychiatrist) – Empathy in th...
Empathy makes us human. Humans make structures that rob us of empathy when we need it most. Helen Riess is trying to help.
43 min
43
174. Ruth Whippman (writer) – A mindful, produc...
With the help of positive psychology and the happiness industry, many of us seem to be running in the exact opposite direction of happiness.
45 min
44
173. Wesley Yang (writer) - The Souls of Yellow...
What do the “seduction movement,” the Virginia Tech shooter, and the Asian-American experience have in common? Wesley Yang thinks and writes with devastating clarity about loneliness, invisibility, and the incoherence of American life.
53 min
45
172. A trans family in the holy land
Amit Tzuk and Ofir Trainin, the subject and director of an FAMILY IN TRANSITION, an Israeli documentary about a small town father of four who becomes a woman.
39 min
46
171. Michelle Thaller (NASA astronomer) on ​the...
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
57 min
47
170. Lynsey Addario (photojournalist) – on art,...
For two decades she’s traveled the world, photographing humans in crisis. Pulitzer and MacArthur winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario on what it’s all taught her.
55 min
48
169. Ben Marcus' reality is only slightly askew...
Notes from the Fog author Ben Marcus on Elon Musk, the weird existential joys of the reality TV show Castaways​, and whether we will eat in the future.
58 min
49
168. Michael Palin (writer and comic) – So long...
The friendly side of North Korea. Men at sea, dancing! Monty Python, of course, and more!​
52 min
50
167. Gary Shteyngart (writer) - Reality catches...
RIding the Greyhounds of hell, from New York to El Paso. The grandiose alternate reality of hedge fund traders. Growing up Russian in Reagan's America, and more.
51 min
51
166. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) — How blockc...
Fake news, real risk, and the messy rise of blockchain media.
48 min
52
165. Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk (a...
​Man Booker prize winners Olga Tocarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft on maps that lead nowhere, plasticized anatomies, and humor across national borders.
46 min
53
164. Jill Lepore (Historian) – Why America keep...
A nation born in revolution will forever struggle against chaos. Jill Lepore, author of These Truths, on the surprising roots of the mess America's in.
47 min
54
163. Four Letter You – Merve Emre (scholar and ...
How a mother-daughter obsession became a massive and dangerous industry. The weird history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
38 min
55
162. Emily Nemens (Editor, The Paris Review) — ...
A seismic shake-up at a venerable literary gatekeeper. Shallow and not-so-shallow consumerism. The Paris Review’s new editor on old ghosts, new voices, and what’s worth keeping.
45 min
56
161. Congo: This Seemingly Impossible Knot – Da...
Congo is one of the most culturally diverse, mineral rich, and beautiful places on Earth. But the “heart of darkness” colonizers dreamed into being still bleeds. Daniel McCabe’s documentary This is Congo lets this wounded nation speak for itself.
52 min
57
160. Bassem Youssef (political satirist) – Now ...
In Egypt, comedy can be a matter of life and death. But life in America's no cakewalk either. Political satirist Bassem Youssef on reinventing yourself, crossing cultural lines, and the future of space exploration.
43 min
58
159. Change is Made by the Ones Who Stay – Paul...
When you’re a Hasidic woman in Borough Park, Brooklyn, starting an ambulance corps is a radical act. Documentary filmmaker Paula Eiselt on the push-pull of identity and cultural change in her film 93Queen.
51 min
59
158. Parker Posey (actor) – I See a Dachshund I...
On hallucinating a teensy Virgin Mary in a water fountain, our weird relationship to fame, her stint as an elf-hunting camp counselor, and more in what feels like a 4 am college conversation with the inimitable Parker Posey.
66 min
60
157. The Spiders From Mars – Jason Heller (Hugo...
Do not succumb to “funklessness”. Join us as we nerd out to a staggering degree on utopian afrofuturism, David Bowie, and the sci-fi-inflected music of the ‘70s. With Jason Heller, Hugo-award winning author of Strange Stars.
55 min
61
156. While You Live, Shine – Christopher C. Kin...
Think Again like you've never heard it before. A trip deep into the oldest living folk music in the Western world — that of Epirus, Greece — and what it reveals about why we make music at all.
60 min
62
155. Lauren Groff (writer) – We Should Die of T...
In her vivid, dreamlike new book of short stories, Florida is a humid, seething organism that wants to eat you. Snake-infested. Full of sinkholes. A thing to resist, get lost in, surrender to, and sometimes, temporarily escape.
40 min
63
154. Jonathan Safran Foer (writer) – One Thing ...
Maybe everything we do is bad. But it’s not all bad to the same extent. Writer Jonathan Safran Foer on factory farming and free-range parenting in 2018.
46 min
64
153. Guns: The Genie and the Bottle – Priya Sat...
Guns as currency. Guns as status. Guns as the power of the unpredictable. Stanford Historian Priya Satia on how we got where we are today.
47 min
65
152. Where You Gonna Run To? Lorena Luciano and...
Humanity is on the move. Fleeing war, oppression, poverty…millions leave their home countries daily in search of asylum. IT WILL BE CHAOS filmmakers Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo on what this means for Europe and the world.
53 min
66
151. Jessica Abel (cartoonist, creative coach) ...
While figuring out how to steer her own creative ship, Jessica Abel has learned powerful, practical lessons about how to help others do the same.
61 min
67
150. David Sedaris (humorist) – Sir David of th...
Walking all over the English countryside picking up trash, the genitalia of the spotted hyena, and many other subjects comical and deadly serious.
58 min
68
149. Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister ...
The moral bankruptcy of the European Union, the backlash against Steven Pinker’s defense of progress, and where we go from here.
54 min
69
148. Jonathan Lethem (writer) – Batman's Greate...
Hanging out with a bat vs. being a bat. Why 'titanic' artists are too big to float. Bob Dylan's very worst song, and more.
55 min
70
147. Ronan Farrow (investigative journalist) — ...
By putting its relationships in military hands, the US is losing its power abroad.
39 min
71
146. Think Again LIVE with Kristen Radtke (grap...
Ruinophilia. The science of loneliness. Live at UntitledTown Book and Author Festival, Green Bay, Wisconsin
55 min
72
145. Michael Gazzaniga (neuroscientist) – The I...
If you've ever heard that there are differences between the "left and right brain", you can blame Michael Gazzaniga. His new work aims at closing the gap between the meat of the brain and the magic of consciousness.
44 min
73
144. Antonio Damasio (neuroscientist & philosop...
Where do cultures come from? The answer is as old as life itself.
61 min
74
143. The Way Brothers (documentary filmmakers) ...
God, guns, sex, and mutually exclusive concepts of liberty. The Way Brothers' Netflix docuseries Wild, Wild Country tells a story that's about as American as it gets.
64 min
75
142. Meg Wolitzer (writer) – Messages From Anot...
Love is like umami. Adulthood is accepting the schmo you are. Wordplay and worldbuilding with novelist Meg Wolitzer.
57 min
76
141. Tara Westover (writer, historian) – Nothin...
There's got to be a thousand ways to reclaim the past, but for Tara Westover, story was the only one that could contain all of it.
60 min
77
140. Martin Amis (writer) – The Spooky Art
We are all of us held together by words.
47 min
78
139. Neil Gaiman (writer) – And Then it Gets Da...
The myths of an inhospitable land. Imposter Syndrome. That feeling when one of your characters unexpectedly murders another. Literary mage Neil Gaiman on the dark arts of fiction and everyday life.
56 min
79
138. Steven Pinker (Cognitive Scientist) – The ...
Dammit, Spock, can your cold, calculating reason fathom the mysteries of the human heart?
35 min
80
137. Amy Chua (author, attorney) – U.S. & Them
Think you're "post-tribal"? Think again. Attorney and "tiger mom" Amy Chua on groupthink in America and Abroad.
44 min
81
136. Michio Kaku (physicist) – Timid Monkeys on...
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Dr. Kaku feels fine.
48 min
82
135. Niall Ferguson (historian) – The Ghost of ...
A bracing splash of cold Laphroaig in the face of some of our biggest misconceptions, from historian Niall Ferguson.
43 min
83
134. Jacob Sager Weinstein (children's author) ...
Wild boars in the sewers of London. Augmented humans of the future. Jason's high school friend, celebrated children's author Jacob Sager Weinstein on imaginary histories and possible futures.
53 min
84
133. Jeremy Bailenson (VR expert) – Through the...
The virtual reality that's coming is like nothing we've ever experienced. Now's the time to decide what it's good for.
46 min
85
132. Karl Ove Knausgaard (writer) – The Way I S...
If your vision is clear, everything is revelatory. The author of "My Struggle" on writing his way into life.
40 min
86
131. Daniel Alarcón (writer) – There's No Such ...
The stories we wrap around ourselves, our neighbors. our children. The invisible stories we struggle against.
55 min
87
130. Mark Epstein, MD (Buddhist psychiatrist) –...
While the unchecked ego might be popular at parties, it can get us into all kinds of trouble. Mark Epstein, MD combines psychotherapy and Buddhism to help people live with the self.
55 min
88
129. Fatih Akin (film director) – This Blood-Dr...
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.
43 min
89
128. Noël Wells (actor/director) – Out of Context
100,000 years of human history and young adulthood is still getting weirder. Noël Wells on art, power, and our super dark times.
57 min
90
127. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) – The Upside...
When was the last time you were well and truly bored? If you can't remember, you're not alone. Manoush Zomorodi on what our brains need, and what they're getting.
58 min
91
126. Maya Jasanoff (Historian) – Civilization a...
Terrorism. Technological disruption. Globalization. Life in the 1870’s was wild. Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff on Joseph Conrad, his times, and ours.
60 min
92
125. Reza Aslan (author) – Deus Ex Hominem
Since at least the dawn of our species, we've been making and remaking god(s) in our own image. The strange transformations of religion—and faith, the strange impulse that animates it.
51 min
93
124. Juli Berwald (writer) – Our Jellyfish Over...
Jellyfish have their tentacles all tangled up in our lives in ways we’re only dimly aware of.
47 min
94
123. (Henry) Rollins, Redux: Monogamy+Genius+Vi...
Two classic episodes from Think Again's origins, reunited at last.
41 min
95
122. David Eagleman (neuroscientist) – Your Cre...
Bending, breaking, & blending: How humans remake the world. Neuroscientist David Eagleman on creativity.
43 min
96
121. Van Jones (social entrepreneur) – Blind Sp...
Democracies can fail. They usually do. Van Jones on how America might become functional again.
44 min
97
120. Nancy Koehn (Historian) – Holdin' on for a...
What's a real leader anyway? Harvard historian Nancy Koehn mines history for some answers.
46 min
98
119. Aaron Mahnke (of 'Lore') – The Hunger for ...
For thousands of years, all over the world, we've told tales of monsters and the undead. Why? Aaron Mahnke, creator of the 'Lore' podcast, on the hunger for mystery.
47 min
99
118. Stephen Greenblatt (humanities scholar) – ...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Humanities scholar Stephen Greenblatt on an ancient, one-and-a-half-page story that just won't let us go.
55 min
100
117. Kurt Andersen (writer) – The Sleep of Reason
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Writer Kurt Andersen on passionate kookiness as the American Way.
52 min
101
116. Claire Messud (writer) – All These Falls F...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author Claire Messud on childhood, growing up, and how we contain the things that scare us.
53 min
102
115. Salman Rushdie (writer) – A Permeable Fron...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author Salman Rushdie on the secret life of cities and so much more.
56 min
103
114. 2017 Mixtape #2 – Words, Values, Self, Other
The deepest, funniest, strangest moments from the past year of the Think Again podcast. Featuring Kory Stamper, Teju Cole, George Saunders, Slavoj Zizek, Jennifer Doudna, and Timothy Spall.
57 min
104
113. 2017 Mixtape #1 – Mind, Body, Authenticity...
The deepest, funniest, strangest moments from the past year of the Think Again podcast. Featuring Daniel Dennett, Sarah Goldhagen, Ian McEwan, Alison Gopnik, Erik Kandel, and Alan Alda.
49 min
105
112. Richard Dawkins (biologist) – Red in Tooth...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Biologist Richard Dawkins on speaking plainly, animal cruelty, Christopher Hitchens and so much more.
53 min
106
111. Ari Shaffir (Comic) – The Golden Age of Tr...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Comic Ari Shaffir talks about outrageousness in comedy, bipartisan e-rage on social media, and growing up and growing out of bad habits.
56 min
107
110. Peter Frankopan (historian) – You Can't St...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Oxford historian Peter Frankopan on two millennia of the flow of germs, ideas, commerce, and more from East to West and vice versa.
72 min
108
109. Sheelah Kolhatkar (Writer, Former Hedge Fu...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author and former Wall Street hedge fund analyst Sheelah Kolhatkar on the reality and the dangers of the financial industry today.
44 min
109
108. Jeff Garlin (Comedian) – K.I.S.S.
In one of our wildest episodes ever, comedian Jeff Garlin cuts the surprise clip short to call B.S. on neuroscience and complexity.
37 min
110
107. Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (Authors)...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Authors Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland on blurring the lines between science and magic.
36 min
111
106. Alan Alda (Actor) – The Spirit of the Stai...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Actor and author Alan Alda on the art of communication (for good and evil), social anxiety, the mind of a billionaire, and more.
39 min
112
105. Jennifer Doudna (Geneticist) - Intelligent...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Geneticist Jennifer Doudna on the profound implications of her CRISPR-Cas-9 gene editing technology for the future of humanity.
53 min
113
104. Timothy Spall (Actor) – That Double Want
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Actor Timothy Spall on the layers of contradictions and complexities that define a person, and what's underneath.
58 min
114
103. Liza Jessie Peterson (Playwright, Arts-Edu...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Poet, playwright, and arts educator Liza Jessie Peterson on lessons learned teaching incarcerated youth on Rikers Island.
49 min
115
102. Paul Theroux (Writer) – Saintly & Scowling
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Writer Paul Theroux on tyrannical mothers, colonizing Mars, and an important difference between humans and cockroaches.
61 min
116
101. Ariel Levy (Writer) – Big Things That Are ...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Writer Ariel Levy on the silence around the animal facts of women's physical lives, her comically awkward experience with the shamanic hallucinogen Ayahuasca, and much more.
43 min
117
100. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist) – The...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the mind-boggling awesomeness of space.
44 min
118
99. Mary Gaitskill (Writer) – Their Animal Being
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author Mary Gaitskill on vulnerability, alienation, and Cerebus the Aardvark.
46 min
119
98. Lawrence Krauss (Physicist) – Lux Ex Machina
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Physicist Lawrence Krauss on why neutrinos are his favorite particles, light as the protagonist of modern physics, and more.
57 min
120
97. Dean Buonomano (Neuroscientist) – This is Y...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Neuroscientist Dean Buonomano on how the brain tells time and whether time exists at all.
48 min
121
96. Sarah W. Goldhagen (Architecture Critic) – ...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Architecture critic Sarah W. Goldhagen on how the built environment shapes our lives.
48 min
122
95. Kory Stamper (Lexicographer) – Lair of the ...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Lexicographer Kory Stamper on the slipperiness of language and how the sausage of dictionaries is made.
54 min
123
94. Joyce Carol Oates (Writer) – Oh, That's Soc...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Joyce Carol Oates on America, idealism, and the shackles we can and can't shake off.
52 min
124
93. Adam Alter (Social Psychologist) – Ping!
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Social Psychologist Adam Alter on the behavioral addictions we all now live with.
47 min
125
92. Elif Batuman (Writer) – The Worst Appetizer...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman on truth in fiction, how language shapes us, and more.
47 min
126
91. Daniel Dennett (Philosopher) – Thinking Abo...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Philosopher of mind Daniel Dennett waxing wise and wicked about consciousness, dolphins, and more.
47 min
127
90. Scott Aukerman (Comedy Writer) – The Button...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Comedy writer and producer Scott Aukerman on Michael Bolton, transgression in comedy, and cultural turmoil in the USA.
55 min
128
89. George Saunders (Author) – Self-Googling In...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. NY Times bestselling author George Saunders on ghosts and ego and loving your enemy.
51 min
129
88. Gish Jen (Author) – The Self in the World
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Fiction writer and essayist Gish Jen on how fundamental East-West differences in the sense of self play out in art, culture, business, education, and more.
49 min
130
87. Yuval Noah Harari (Historian) – Time's Up
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Historian Yuval Noah Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, on the dizzying ethical questions that surround what's coming next.
47 min
131
86. Ayelet Waldman (Author) – Yourself, Only Be...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author Ayelet Waldman on parenting, identity, and how LSD microdosing changed her life for the better.
49 min
132
85. Ben Goertzel (A.I. Inventor) – The State of...
38 min
133
84. Nato Thompson (Artistic Director) – The Fri...
Nato Thompson – Think Again - a Big Think Podcast #84 – The Friendly Face
48 min
134
83. Matt Taibbi (Journalist) – Bread and Circus
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Rolling Stone political journalist Matt Taibbi on the media and political circus of the 2016 campaign trail, the search for happiness, and where we go from here.
43 min
135
82. Bernard-Henri Lévy (Philosopher) – The Mirr...
Spontaneous talk on unexpected topics. Philosopher and Filmmaker "BHL" on torture, the question of evil, and the tipping point at which democracy becomes something else.
42 min
136
81. Isy Suttie (Comedian) – There's Something a...
Spontaneous talk on unexpected topics. Comedian and author Isy Suttie on the terrors of adulthood and more. Surprise ideas from Paul Bloom, Maysoon Zayid, and Slavoj Žižek.
68 min
137
80. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (founder: MuslimGirl) –...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Media entrepreneur Amani Al-Khatatbeh and host Jason Gots wrestle with tough questions about identity, power, and Islamic feminism.
36 min
138
79. Paul Bloom (Psychologist) – Cold-Blooded Ki...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Psychologist Paul Bloom wants us to abandon empathy as a guide to moral decision making. He's probably right.
48 min
139
78. Peter Godfrey-Smith (Philosopher) – Alien ...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith on octopus consciousness, free will, and an extinct sea-worm he'd like to resurrect.
39 min
140
77. Anne Rice (Author) – In the Blood
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. "Vampire Chronicles" author Anne Rice on superstition, science, and why, in spite of everything, she believes humanity's going to figure things out.
43 min
141
76. Tim Ferriss (Author, Podcaster) – Productiv...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Author, Podcaster, and "Human Guinea Pig" Tim Ferriss on death, ignoring most of the news, and sake as a secret weapon for podcasting.
42 min
142
75. David Salle (Artist) – The Enemy of Art
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Artist David Salle on how even to begin figuring out what "works" in art.
40 min
143
74. Jace Clayton AKA DJ/Rupture - Sonic Veils a...
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Jace Clayton AKA DJ/Rupture on sleuthing for beauty and surprise in the digital-musical landscape.
46 min
144
73. T.C. Boyle (Author) - Lost on Purpose
Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Fiction writer and environmentalist T.C. Boyle on the crazy, contested world we might not be able to inhabit much longer, and what we'll do after that.
41 min
145
72. Slavoj Žižek (Philosopher) - Against Tolerance
The voluble Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek on why tolerance is the wrong way to deal with terrorism, the refugee crisis, and all the other problems we face.
50 min
146
71. Jelani Cobb (Historian) - Shiny New Skin, S...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. Historian and New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb on interspecies ethics, the limits of civil discourse, and mathematical symmetry as the defining principle of the universe.
51 min
147
70. Margaret Atwood (Author) - The Good, The Ba...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. Author Margaret Atwood on genomes in the cloud, Bob Dylan's Nobel prize, the elusiveness of dead authors, and why technology's a three-edged sword.
41 min
148
69. Jodi Picoult (Author) - Popular Fictions/No...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. 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.
42 min
149
68. William Shatner (Actor, Author) – Yes, I Am...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. In this extra feisty episode of Think Again - A Big Think Podcast, actor and author William Shatner and host Jason Gots take sides on whether or not it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.
36 min
150
67. James Gleick (Science Writer) - Everything ...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. James Gleick, author of Time Travel - a History, talks with host Jason Gots about why we're so obsessed with something that's evidently impossible.
35 min
151
66. Alton Brown (Chef, Author) - Easy-Bake Oven...
Spontaneous, deep fun. Celebrity chef Alton Brown 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.
46 min
152
65. Ian McEwan (Novelist) - A King of Infinite ...
Spontaneous, deep fun. Novelist Ian McEwan and host Jason Gots discuss Hamlet, moral quandaries, and how to set boundaries in a world that wants to pull you in every direction.
38 min
153
64. Mixtape #4 – The Writers' Room
Conversations on surprise topics with some of the world's most creative thinkers. In this episode, host Jason Gots selects some of the most memorable bits of writerly wit and wisdom from the first year of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast
39 min
154
63. Eric Kandel (Nobel Laureate neuroscientist)...
On this week's episode, Eric Kandel and host Jason Gots discuss abstract art, memory, identity, and the nature of evil.
37 min
155
62. Mixtape #3 – a Soupçon of Ornithology
Host Jason Gots curates the best moments thus far of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, with excerpts from conversations with Paul F. Tompkins, Ethan Hawke, Amanda Palmer, and Chris Gethard
48 min
156
61. Alison Gopnik (Developmental Psychologist) ...
Alison Gopnik, one of the world's foremost experts on child cognition, learning, and development, and host Jason Gots discuss play, artificial intelligence, and the trouble with "parenting" as a verb.
42 min
157
60. Teju Cole (Writer) – The World is Not a Set...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. Nigerian-born novelist, essayist, and NYTimes photography critic Teju Cole and host Jason Gots discuss first drafts, the complexities of home, and the greatest innovation in human history.
40 min
158
59. Jacqueline Woodson (Writer) – Bored Kid Dre...
Spontaneous, deep talk on surprise topics. National Book Award-winning Author Jacqueline Woodson and host Jason Gots discuss collective amnesia, organized religion, the power of photographs, and why never being bored is bad for for kids.
34 min
159
58. Mixtape #2 – Staring at the Sea
In the second of two "year one in review" mixtapes, host Jason Gots curates the best moments thus far of Think Again - a Big Think Podcast, with excerpts from conversations with Henry Rollins, Kate Tempest, Sarah Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, and A.O. Scott
45 min
160
57. Mixtape #1 - Lies/Monsters/Friendship/Relig...
The Best of Year One, part 1: with Sam Harris, Junot Diaz, Maria Popova, Saul Williams & Jesse Ventura
46 min
161
56. Jonathon Keats (Experimental Philosopher) –...
Buckminster Fuller, vicarious sex, taboos and how to get around them
47 min
162
55. Mary Roach (Science Writer) – To Nietszche ...
Squeamishness, Penis transplants, and Dark Matter, oh my!
32 min
163
54. LIVE! Sarah Jones (actor/playwright) –
Playing many different characters, Tony and Obie award-winner Sarah Jones responds to surprise "big ideas" in Think Again podcast's first ever live show at NYC Podfest
37 min
164
53. Sean Wilentz (Historian) – The Culture Stri...
Demagoguery, colonizing Mars, and the perpetual pendulum of party politics.
35 min
165
52. Jim Gaffigan (Comedian) – You're Attacking ...
Mean jokes, bigotry, courage, and bringing light vs. darkness into the world.
38 min
166
51. Krista Tippett (Author, Host, "On Being") –...
Messiness, mystery, and the slipperiness of the words we need most.
41 min
167
50. Ethan Hawke (Actor, Author) – The High, Har...
Spirituality, steroids, drone warfare and the complicated past America has left behind.
48 min
168
49. Geoff Dyer (Author) – Ordinary Epiphanies
Revenge, Hallucinogens, and a spontaneous William Blake Smackdown
38 min
169
48. Mary-Louise Parker (Actress, Author): Virtu...
Death, Bob Marley, parenthood, gratitude, and what to do in the face of incalculable suffering.
33 min
170
47. Kate Tempest (rapper/poet/novelist): Lost a...
On the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
36 min
171
46. Chris Gethard (Comedian) – a Blessing in Di...
"Cult" Comic Chris Gethard talks authenticity, the power of small communities, con artists, improv, and more.
37 min
172
45. James McBride (Author) – Fear Sells Many a ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, National Book Award Winner James McBride
33 min
173
44. Douglas Rushkoff (Media Theorist) – Hack th...
Money's an operating system. Businesses are apps. We can reprogram them.
34 min
174
43. Michael Puett (Harvard Chinese Philosophy S...
Can ancient Chinese philosophy change your life?
32 min
175
42. Joshua Cohen (Novelist) – Scrupulously Mess...
Surprise topics. Smart people. Deep fun.
32 min
176
41. Sarah Kay (Poet) – Kids See Right Through T...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, poet Sarah Kay.
32 min
177
40. Nikhil Goyal (Education Activist) – Mind in...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, 20 year old educational activist and author Nikhil Goyal.
33 min
178
39. Maria Popova (Writer, Editor of Brain Picki...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings
37 min
179
38. Amanda Palmer (Musician, Author) – Privacy ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, Musician and Artist Amanda Palmer
32 min
180
37. Cory Booker (US Senator) – Cynicism: a Refu...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, Senator Cory Booker
23 min
181
36. Yann Martel (Author) – The Vacuum of Space ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, 'Life of Pi' Author Yann Martel
31 min
182
35. A.O. Scott (Film Critic) – The Right to Be ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, NY Times Chief Film Critic A.O. Scott.
27 min
183
34. Paul F. Tompkins (Comedian) – A Tiny, Cosmi...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, comedian Paul F. Tompkins.
27 min
184
33. Marc Goodman (Cybersecurity Expert) – Dark ...
We surprise the smartest people you know with ideas they're not prepared to discuss. This week, Marc Goodman, author of FUTURE CRIMES.
36 min
185
32. James Doty, MD (Neurosurgeon) – Compassion ...
We surprise the smartest people you know with ideas they're not prepared to discuss. This week, neurosurgeon James Doty.
29 min
186
31. Michael Shermer (Author, Friendly Skeptic) ...
Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, author and skeptic Michael Shermer.
24 min
187
30. Howard Gardner (Psychologist) – Porn/Art/Go...
Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, psychologist Howard Gardner.
23 min
188
29. Sir David Hare (Playwright/Screenwriter) –...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, playwright and screenwriter Sir David Hare.
29 min
189
28. Daniel Levitin (Musician & Neuroscientist) ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin.
28 min
190
27. Alva Noë (Philosopher) – The Upside of Bore...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, philosopher Alva Noë.
29 min
191
26. Ian Edwards (Comedian) – Sex/Guns/Honesty i...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, comedian Ian Edwards.
27 min
192
25. Sam Harris (Neuroscientist) – Uncomfortable...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris.
41 min
193
24. Maira Kalman (Artist) – Scared of Math/Psyc...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, genre-bending artist Maira Kalman.
23 min
194
23. Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Novelist) – Write to Liv...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, Nobel Laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.
27 min
195
22. Wendell Pierce (Actor, 'The Wire') – Godot ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, actor and New Orleans native son Wendell Pierce
24 min
196
21. Saul Williams (Poet, Musician, Actor) – An ...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, the incendiary, luminous Saul Williams.
38 min
197
20. Jesse Ventura (Wrestler, Governor) – Off th...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, the multitalented Jesse Ventura.
21 min
198
19. Ruth Reichl (Food Critic) – Identity Crisis...
We surprise the world's sharpest minds with unexpected topics. This week, longtime Gourmet Magazine editor and New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl.
18 min
199
18. Junot Díaz (Pulitzer-Winning Novelist) – Do...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, the mighty, mighty Junot Díaz.
25 min
200
17. Norman Lear (TV Legend) – An Authentic Hors...
Smart people. Surprise topics. Deep fun. This week, legendary TV producer Norman Lear.
23 min
201
16. Jane McGonigal (Game Designer) – Game On!/D...
Fantasy can save your life but how much is too much? This week we discuss three surprise ideas with game developer and researcher Jane McGonigal.
19 min
202
15. Salman Rushdie (Novelist) – Happiness/Monsters
Did you know that before he “jumped ship to the useless, unemployable arts", Salman Rushdie wanted to be a physicist? This and more on Big Think's weekly podcast, Think Again.
19 min
203
14. Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner – Free $#!+/Hi...
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.
18 min
204
13. "Reply All" Hosts PJ & Alex – Future Crime/...
Is weaponized DNA something we should be worrying about? Can we escape our own irrationality? Does the future look like "Mad Max"? This week on Big Think's podcast, we're joined by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt, from "Reply All," and the amazing Matt Farley wr
25 min
205
12. George Takei (Actor + Activist) – Ego/Focus...
Is attention an endangered species? How do you collaborate with people who hate you? This week on Big Think's podcast, we're joined by actor, activist, and internet superhero George Takei.
27 min
206
11. Tina Roth Eisenberg (AKA @swissmiss) – Cult...
How do colors affect us psychologically? Will a less hierarchical, more collaborative society lead inevitably to robot wars? This week on Big Think's podcast, we're joined by design entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg (AKA @swissmiss).
21 min
207
10. Mark Epstein (Buddhist Psychotherapist) – N...
Will nanobots someday deposit Shakespeare directly into our brains? If we paid politicians tons of money would they do a better job? This week on Big Think's podcast, we're joined by Buddhist psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein.
29 min
208
9. Henry Rollins (Artist), pt. II – American Tr...
Can anything cure what ails America? What's a "genius", exactly? This week on Big Think's podcast, we're joined by the legendary musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.
22 min
209
8. Maria Konnikova (Author) – Mindset/Creativit...
Do schools kill creativity? Should white boys ever rap or breakdance? This week on Think Again we're joined by Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
20 min
210
7. Baratunde Thurston (Comedian, Cultural Criti...
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? This week we're joined by author and tech pundit Baratunde Thurston, "a philosoph
24 min
211
6. Brian Greene (Theoretical Physicist) – Stude...
Can anyone afford college anymore? Would it help if we sold stock in students? Would Young Einstein have been a popular commodity? This week we're joined by renowned physicist and author Brian Greene.
13 min
212
5. Clint Smith (Poet, Educator) – Genetics/Raci...
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? This week we're joined by poet and educator Clint Smith.
19 min
213
4. Bill Nye (Science Guy) – Geek Chic/TMI/Futur...
Was Einstein a fashion genius? Why is Malcolm Gladwell unimpressed by search engines? What will money look like in 500 years? This week we're joined by beloved actor/educator Bill Nye.
30 min
214
3. Wendy Suzuki (Neuroscientist) – Brain Health...
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? This week, we're joined by Wendy Suzuki, neuroscientist and author of the book Healthy Brain, Happy Life.
21 min
215
2. Henry Rollins (Artist) – Monogamy/Sexual Opp...
Is monogamy ridiculous? Does this change with age? What do we really want out of love and sex? This week we're joined by the legendary musician and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.
17 min
216
1. Jason Silva (Futurist) – Awe/Information Ove...
We surprise the world's brightest minds with ideas they're totally unprepared to discuss. This week we're joined by psychedelic pop philosopher and futurist Jason Silva.
16 min
217
Episode Zero – Think Again - Curiouser and Curi...
Starting June 20th, 2015, each week on Think Again we'll surprise some of the world's brightest and most energetic minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join Host Jason Gots and special guests including Bill Nye, Henry Rollins, Jason Si
2 min