97 episodes

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture and Esquire. ***
Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

The Ezra Klein Show itunesu_sunset

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 101 Ratings

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture and Esquire. ***
Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

    The Pandemic Lessons We Clearly Haven’t Learned

    The Pandemic Lessons We Clearly Haven’t Learned

    I remember thinking, as Covid ravaged the country in December 2020, that at least the holidays the next year would be better. There would be more vaccines, more treatments, more immunity. Instead, we got Omicron and a confusing new phase of the pandemic. What do you do with a variant that is both monstrously more infectious and somewhat milder? What do you say about another year when we didn’t have enough tests, enough ventilation or the best guidance on masks? And how do you handle the fracturing politics of a changing pandemic in an exhausted country?

    Zeynep Tufekci is a sociologist and New York Times Opinion columnist who does a better job than almost anyone at assessing the pandemic at a systems level. To solve a public-health crisis, it’s not enough to get the science right. There are also challenges with supply chains, infrastructure, research production, mass communication, political trust and institutional inertia. I’ve found Tufekci’s ability to balance the epidemiological data and the sociological realities uniquely helpful across the pandemic, and you can hear why in this conversation.

    We discuss how the Covid crisis has changed, as well as Tufekci’s sobering conclusion: that the virus, at this point, is feeding on our dysfunction. We look at what Omicron is and isn’t, where the Biden administration has succeeded and failed, the debate over closing schools, why so many Asian countries have so powerfully outperformed the West, how the role of vaccines has changed, what a pandemic-prepared society would actually look like, and what should be true of our pandemic policy in a year that isn’t now.

    Book recommendations:

    The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom and Molyn Leszcz

    Chaos by James Gleick

    The Dead Hand by David Hoffman

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Chris Hayes on How Biden Can Have a Better 2022

    Chris Hayes on How Biden Can Have a Better 2022

    Nothing like a newborn and paternity leave to leave you feeling a bit out of the loop. So for my first podcast back since October, I wanted to wander through the thickets of where we are politically and how we got here.

    Because where we are is strange: the Omicron wave and the breakdown of the liberal Covid consensus that preceded it; a hot economy with low unemployment, rising wages and high inflation; a Build Back Better bill for which the eventual compromise seems obvious even as the legislation is stalled; the anniversary of Jan. 6, which comes as both of the Democrats’ major democracy bills are languishing; and a Biden administration that has passed big, popular policies, only to watch its poll numbers fall.

    Chris Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s “All In” and the podcast “Why Is This Happening?” He’s also one of my favorite people to process politics with, so I asked him to help me track back through the past few months of the news and look into how 2022 could be better.

    Mentioned:

    “The Ronald Reagan Guide to Joe Biden’s Political Future” by Jamelle Bouie

    “How Michel Foucault Lost the Left and Won the Right” by Ross Douthat

    “Ten Million a Year” by David Wallace-Wells

    “On the Internet, We’re Always Famous” by Chris Hayes

    Book recommendations:

    The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders

    The Three-Body Problem Series by Cixin Liu

    The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Best Of: This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Thinking

    Best Of: This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Thinking

    For decades, our society’s dominant metaphor for the mind has been a computer. A machine that operates the exact same way whether it’s in a dark room or next to a sunny window, whether it’s been working for 30 seconds or three hours, whether it’s near other computers or completely alone.

    But that’s wrong. Annie Murphy Paul’s “The Extended Mind” argues, convincingly, that the human mind is contextual. It works differently in different environments, with different tools, amid different bodily states, among other minds.

    Here’s the problem: Our schools, our workplaces, our society are built atop that bad metaphor. Activities and habits that we’ve been taught to associate with creativity and efficiency often stunt our thinking, and so much that we’ve been taught to dismiss — activities that look like leisure, play or rest — are crucial to thinking (and living!) well.

    Paul’s book, read correctly, is a radical critique of not just how we think about thinking, but how we’ve constructed much of our society. In this conversation, originally released in July 2021, we discuss how the body can pick up on patterns before the conscious mind knows what it’s seen, why forcing kids (and adults) to “sit still” makes it harder for them to think clearly, the connection between physical movement and creativity, why efficiency is often the enemy of productivity, the restorative power of exposure to the natural world, the dystopian implications of massive cognitive inequality, why open-plan offices were a terrible idea and much more.

    Mentioned:

    "The extended mind" by Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers

    Book recommendations:

    Supersizing the Mind by Andy Clark

    Mind in Motion by Barbara Tversky

    Thoughts Without a Thinker by Mark Epstein

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Best Of: Why Sci-Fi Legend Ted Chiang Fears Capitalism, Not A.I.

    Best Of: Why Sci-Fi Legend Ted Chiang Fears Capitalism, Not A.I.

    For years, I’ve kept a list of dream guests for this show. And as long as that list has existed, Ted Chiang has been atop it.

    Chiang is a science fiction writer. But that undersells him. He has released two short story collections over 20 years — 2002’s “Stories of Your Life and Others” and 2019’s “Exhalation.” Those stories have won more awards than I can list, and one of them was turned into the film “Arrival.” They are remarkable pieces of work: Each is built around a profound scientific, philosophical or religious idea, and then the story or the story structure is shaped to represent that idea. They are wonders of precision and craft. But unlike a lot of science fiction, they are never cold. Chiang’s work is deeply, irrepressibly humane.

    I’ve always wondered about the mind that would create Chiang’s stories. And in this conversation, originally released in March 2021, I got to watch it in action. Chiang doesn’t like to talk about himself. But he does like to talk about ideas. And so we do: We discuss the difference between magic and technology, why superheroes fight crime but ignore injustice, what it would do to the human psyche if we knew the future is fixed, whether free will exists, whether we’d want to know the exact date of our deaths, why Chiang fears what humans will do to artificial intelligence more than what A.I. will do to humans, the way capitalism turns people against technology, and much more.

    The ideas Chiang offered in this conversation are still ringing in my head months later, and changing the way I see the world. It’s worth taking your time with this one.

    Recommendations:

    "Creation" by Steve Grand

    "On the Measure of Intelligence" by Francois Chollet

    "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" by George Saunders

    "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan

    "Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise" (movie)

    "On Fragile Waves" by Lily Yu

    "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard

    Control (video game)

    Return of the Obra Dinn (video game)

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

    • 50 min
    Best Of: Noam Chomsky's Theory of the Good Life

    Best Of: Noam Chomsky's Theory of the Good Life

    How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — writing books, giving interviews, changing minds.

    There are different sides to Chomsky. He’s a world-renowned linguist who revolutionized his field. He’s a political theorist who’s been a sharp critic of American foreign policy for decades. He’s an anarchist who believes in a radically different way of ordering society. He’s a pragmatist who pushed leftists to vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and has described himself as having a “rather conservative attitude towards social change.” He is, very much, himself.

    The problem in planning a conversation with Chomsky is how to get at all these different sides. So this one, from April 2021, covers a lot of ground. We discuss:

    — Why Chomsky is an anarchist, and how he defines anarchism

    — How his work on language informs his idea of what human beings want

    — The role of advertising in capitalism

    — Whether we should understand job contracts as the free market at work or a form of constant coercion

    — How Chomsky’s ideal vision of society differs from Nordic social democracy

    — How Chomsky’s class-based theory of politics holds up in an era where college-educated suburbanites are moving left on economics

    — Chomsky’s view of the climate crisis and why he thinks the “degrowth” movement is misguided

    — Whether job automation could actually be a good thing for human flourishing

    — Chomsky’s views on US-China policy, and why he doesn’t think China is a major geopolitical threat

    — The likelihood of nuclear war in the next decade

    And much more.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

    Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal by Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin

    “Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance” by Erik Loomis

    “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” by Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards

    “This is What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with Productivity” by Dean Baker

    “There is no Plan B for dealing with the climate crisis” by Raymond Pierrehumbert

    Recommendations:

    "The Last of the Just" by Andre Schwarz-Bart

    "All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw" by Theodore Rosengarten

    Selected essays by Ahad Ha'am

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Timeless Wisdom for Leading a Life of Love, Friendship and Learning

    Timeless Wisdom for Leading a Life of Love, Friendship and Learning

    “Today, we are supercompetent when it comes to efficiency, utility, speed, convenience, and getting ahead in the world; but we are at a loss concerning what it’s all for,” Leon Kass writes in his 2017 book “Leading a Worthy Life.” “This lack of cultural and moral confidence about what makes a life worth living is perhaps the deepest curse of living in our interesting time.”

    Kass spent more than 30 years as an award-winning teacher at the University of Chicago, where he gained a reputation among students for his commitment to the big questions of human existence and the study of classic texts. And he’s written books and essays on marriage, sports, ethics, friendship, romance, the philosophy of food, biblical wisdom and more. In many ways, Kass’s career represents a lifelong effort to grapple with the biggest question of all: What does it mean to live a meaningful life?

    This conversation, between Kass and the New York Times Opinion columnist David Brooks, is an attempt to answer that question. Along the way, they discuss the difference between choosing a career and discovering a vocation; the key ingredients of a successful romantic relationship; how to distinguish between superficial friendships and life-altering ones; why finding the right job is less about searching within ourselves and more about committing to something beyond ourselves; Kass’s view that the most distinctive thing about individuals isn’t their race, gender or class but “the ruling passions of their souls”; and what the biblical Exodus story can teach Americans about how to live together more harmoniously.

    Mentioned:
    Founding God’s Nation by Leon Kass
    The Second Mountain by David Brooks

    Book Recommendations:
    The Hebrew Bible, especially Genesis and Exodus
    Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
    Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

    This episode is guest-hosted by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, whose work focuses on politics, culture and moral formation. He currently serves as chair of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. and is the author of several books, including “The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.” You can follow him on Twitter @nytdavidbrooks. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
101 Ratings

101 Ratings

Jo_March ,

Calming & expansive

I love the tone of this - very intelligent and full of references to books & fascinating sources I want to dig deeper into - but also playful in a nice quiet way and honest in a way I need when polarization is so extreme

R jibriil ,

Mind expanding and thought provoking

I love thoughtful discussions and this podcast is full of that.
I love Ezra’s fantastic questions, he so well prepared that it makes listening to the interviews so enjoyable.
I like how thoughtfully sensitive topics are handled.
I listen to every podcast when it comes out and I am looking forward to more fantastic conversations.

P.S. Good luck to Ezra to his upcoming paternity leave, wishing him all the best.

johnakajack ,

Always thought-provoking

One of my absolute favorite podcasts! Ezra’s interviews never fail to make me rethink or think more deeply about something meaningful and profound. He’s one of the best interviewers out there. And his intro monologues are pretty incredible in and of themselves!

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