How To Academy is an organisation for people who think big. From Nobel laureates to Pulitzer Prize winners, we invite the world’s most influential voices to London to share new ideas for changing ourselves, our communities, and the world.
Isabel Allende – The Soul of a Woman
Isabel Allende has been a feminist her whole life. From a young age she rebelled against male authority, after seeing her mother Panchita abandoned by her husband and left to provide for three small children. While growing up in Chile in her grandparents’ house, Isabel realised early on that the women in her family, from matriarch to housemaid, were at a disadvantage compared to the men, treated as subordinates with no voice.
As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, Isabel rode the first wave of feminism. While working at the newly launched feminist magazine, Paula, her journalism challenged the patriarchal mores imposed on women regarding sex, money, discriminatory laws, drugs, virginity, abortion, prostitution, alcoholism to name a few.
In this week's How To Academy podcast, Isabel shares stories from her life as a feminist with broadcaster Belle Donati.
Ian McEwan – A Life In Literature
The country’s most prolific and celebrated novelist reflects upon a life in literature.
Since his rise to literary acclaim almost forty years ago for the dazzlingly grotesque short stories that earned him the moniker “Ian Macabre”, to his present-day voyages into the uncharted territories of climate change and Artificial Intelligence, one thing has remained consistent across Ian McEwan’s astonishing oeuvre: the exacting precision with which he can simultaneously dissect both the mysteries of the human psyche and the tribulations of our age.
With a gift for creating scenes of heart-stopping anxiety, from the kidnapping that opens A Child in Time to Enduring Love’s iconic balloon ride gone wrong, drawing characters whose romantic longing and realistic flaws are recognisably our own, and exploring philosophical and moral ambiguities that speak to both to our time and to the great quandaries of life, Ian McEwan has proven himself time and again to be the foremost literary novelist of his generation.
Whether you’re an aspiring novelist seeking to learn the craft from a veritable master of the form, a lifelong reader of his seminal novels, or simply intrigued to hear from one of the most exciting cultural figures working in any field or discipline, this is an unmissable opportunity to look inside the imagination of an author of the first order.
Rowan Hooper – How to Spend a Trillion Dollars
If you had a trillion dollars and a year to spend it for the good of the world and the advancement of science, what would you do? It's an unimaginably large sum, yet it's only around one per cent of world GDP, and about the valuation of Google, Microsoft or Amazon. It's a much smaller sum than the world found to bail out its banks in 2008 or deal with Covid-19.
In this week’s How To Academy Podcast, New Scientist senior editor and evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper explores how $1 trillion could be used to change the course of human history: from creating artificial life to colonising the moon, helping in the fight against climate change to lifting millions out of poverty.
It’s the ultimate thought experiment and a powerful reminder of the power of science and economics to shape our collective future.
Derren Brown – How To Be a Little Happier
Since he introduced us to his singular and inimitable brand of psychology, stagecraft and magic in 2000, Derren Brown has played Russian Roulette on live television, convinced middle-managers to commit armed robbery in the street, led the nation in a séance and exposed psychic and faith-healing charlatans. His live shows astonish audiences across the country and have captivated the West End and Broadway.
He joined How To Academy to teach a lesson none of us can afford to miss: what we can do to be a little happier and less anxious in a difficult world.
Adam Grant and Tim Harford – The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
Research shows that the smarter you are the more you might struggle to update your beliefs, yet some of the most successful people, from entrepreneurs to politicians, all have one thing in common: the ability to think like scientists, continually questioning their beliefs, and to embrace being wrong.
As an organisational psychologist, Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people’s minds, and our own. He is one of the world’s most-cited, most prolific, and most influential researchers in business and economics, and, as Wharton’s top-rated professor, his research is sought-after by global powerhouses such as NASA and the Gates Foundation.
In this week's podcast, economist, FT columnist and author Tim Harford joins Adam to discover how we can all learn to embrace the power of knowing what we don't know.
Ethan Kross – How to Harness the Voice Inside Your Head
We all have a voice in our head that we tune into from time to time for guidance, ideas and wisdom. Except sometimes, this voice leads us down a rabbit hole of negative self-talk and endless rumination which undermines our performance at work, interferes with our ability to make good decisions, and negatively influences our relationships.
Since we aren’t going to stop talking to ourselves— and, frankly, we don’t want to, since the voices in our heads have valuable things to say—it’s important we learn to use our introspection effectively.
Drawing on more than twenty years of ground-breaking research, University of Michigan Psychologist Ethan Kross joined Matthew Stadlen to reveal the life-changing potential of a mind constructively channelled.
Mind expanding podcast
Lots of smart people talking about a variety of social and political topics. The variety of people and topics is one of the best parts of this podcast - it’s a great way to discover new intellectuals and ideas to investigate further.