156 episodes

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. ***
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 The New York Times

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 6.3K Ratings

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. ***
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?

    A Nourishing Conversation With Mohsin Hamid on Social Fictions — and Real Losses

    A Nourishing Conversation With Mohsin Hamid on Social Fictions — and Real Losses

    In his latest work, “The Last White Man,” the award-winning writer Mohsin Hamid imagines a world that is very like our own, with one major exception: On various days, white people wake up to discover that their skin is no longer white. It’s a heavy premise, but one of Hamid’s unique talents as a novelist is his ability to take on the most difficult of topics — racism, migration, loss — with a remarkably light touch.

    “How do you begin to have these conversations in a way that allows everybody a way in?” Hamid asks at one point in our conversation. “How do you talk about these things in a way that’s open to everyone?” What sets Hamid apart is his capacity to do just that — both in his fiction and in our conversation. We discuss:

    How Hamid experienced what it was like to lose his whiteness after 9/11
    What happens to a society when suddenly we can’t sort ourselves by race
    The origins of modern humans’ fear of death — and how to overcome it
    Why Hamid thinks future humans will look back at the idea of borders with moral horror
    Why Hamid believes that pessimistic realism is a “deeply conservative” worldview
    Hamid’s process for imagining optimistic futures
    Why Hamid believes that the very notion of the self is a fiction
    Why we turn to activities like sex, drugs and meditation when we get overwhelmed
    How America’s policies toward immigrants and refugees should challenge our “heroic” sense of national identity
    What Toni Morrison taught Hamid about how to read and write

    And more.

    Mentioned:

    "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

    Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    Book Recommendations:

    Beloved by Toni Morrison

    Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Andrew George

    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 and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Three Sentences That Could Change the World — and Your Life

    Three Sentences That Could Change the World — and Your Life

    Today’s show is built around three simple sentences: “Future people count. There could be a lot of them. And we can make their lives better.” Those sentences form the foundation of an ethical framework known as “longtermism.” They might sound obvious, but to take them seriously is a truly radical endeavor — one with the power to change the world and even your life.

    That second sentence is where things start to get wild. It’s possible that there could be tens of trillions of future people, that future people could outnumber current people by a ratio of something like a million to one. And if that’s the case, then suddenly most of the things we spend most of our time arguing about shrink in importance compared with the things that will affect humanity’s long-term future.

    William MacAskill is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, the director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research and the author of the forthcoming book, “What We Owe the Future,” which is the best distillation of the longtermist worldview I’ve read. So this is a conversation about what it means to take the moral weight of the future seriously and the way that everything — from our political priorities to career choices to definitions of heroism — changes when you do.

    We also cover the host of questions that longtermism raises: How should we weigh the concerns of future generations against those of living people? What are we doing today that future generations will view in the same way we look back on moral atrocities like slavery?Who are the “moral weirdos” of our time we should be paying more attention to? What are the areas we should focus on, the policies we should push, the careers we should choose if we want to guarantee a better future for our posterity?

    And much more.

    Mentioned:

    "Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?" by The Ezra Klein Show

    "How to Do The Most Good" by The Ezra Klein Show

    "This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift" by The Ezra Klein Show

    Book Recommendations:

    “Moral Capital” by Christopher Leslie Brown

    “The Precipice” by Toby Ord

    “The Scout Mindset” by Julia Galef

    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 and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let’s Talk About It.

    Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let’s Talk About It.

    It’s hard to think of anything changing more quickly in our society right now than our understanding of gender. There’s an explosion of young people identifying as gender nonconforming in some way or another, and others are coming out as transgender or nonbinary throughout their lives, from childhood to old age. But this sea change has brought with it an enormous amount of confusion and resistance. As of July, lawmakers in 21 states had introduced bills that focus on restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, such as hormone blockers, and 29 states had introduced bills banning transgender youth from sports. But we also know that the degree of support a young person receives when coming out — or doesn’t — can have profound consequences for their mental health.

    How should we process and understand this moment in gender? Kathryn Bond Stockton is a distinguished professor of English focusing on gender studies at the University of Utah and the author of the book “Gender(s).” She is incredibly skilled at explaining the fundamentals — and complexities — of what gender means and how people, including Stockton herself, have wrestled with it. In this conversation, we discuss:

    - Why and how Stockton has always felt out of place as a woman
    - How her entry to the evangelical church actually advanced her acceptance of her gender
    - Why gender is “queer” for all of us, regardless of how we identify or how much we think about it
    - The ways that we perform our genders without even knowing we’re doing it
    - How the choices parents make concerning things as seemingly banal as clothing and toys shape children’s gender identities
    - How an expanded sense of gender can bring pain as well as pleasure and playfulness
    - What Stockton has learned from discussions about gender roles with Mormon students in her Utah classrooms
    - What we would gain — and possibly lose — if we were to loosen social categories of gender
    - Why Pride celebrations can be so utopian

    And much more.

    Mentioned:

    Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

    Butch Queens Up in Pumps by Marlon M. Bailey

    Book Recommendations:

    Histories of the Transgender Child by Jules Gill-Peterson

    Brilliant Imperfection by Eli Clare

    Asegi Stories by Qwo-Li Driskill

    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 and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Rollin Hu.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The Argument: Who Can Write About What?

    The Argument: Who Can Write About What?

    Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument, about cultural appropriation in creative work. In recent years, book written by white authors like “American Dirt” and “The Help" have been criticized for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong?

    To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. In their work, both have thought deeply about the thorny issues of writing across identities — including what makes work authentic, the pressure of representation for writers of color and the roles social media and the publishing industry play in literary criticism. “I don’t think it’s that complicated,” Roxane says. “It’s not that we divorce identity from the conversation. It’s that we treat it as inherent because we can’t separate out parts of ourselves.”

    Mentioned:

    “White Fever Dreams” by Roxane Gay in Gay Magazine

    “The Pity of the Elites” by Jay Caspian Kang

    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 and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker; mixing by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 27 min
    Best Of: Ruth Ozeki’s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions

    Best Of: Ruth Ozeki’s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions

    Today we're taking a short break and re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from 2022, a conversation with the novelist and Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki. We'll be back with new episodes next week!

    The world has gotten louder, even when we’re alone. A day spent in isolation can still mean a day buffeted by the voices on social media and the news, on podcasts, in emails and text messages. Objects have also gotten louder: through the advertisements that follow us around the web, the endless scroll of merchandise available on internet shopping sites and in the plentiful aisles of superstores. What happens when you really start listening to all these voices? What happens when you can’t stop hearing them?

    Ruth Ozeki is a Zen Buddhist priest and the author of novels including “A Tale for the Time Being,” which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and “The Book of Form and Emptiness,” which I read over paternity leave and loved. “The Book of Form and Emptiness” is about Benny, a teenager who starts hearing objects speak to him right after his father’s death, and it’s about his mother, Annabelle, who can’t let go of anything she owns, and can’t seem to help her son or herself. And then it’s about so much more than that: mental illnesses and materialism and consumerism and creative inspiration and information overload and the power of stories and the role of libraries and unshared mental experiences and on and on. It’s a book thick with ideas but written with a deceptively light, gentle pen.

    Our conversation begins by exploring what it means to hear voices in our minds, and whether it’s really so rare. We talk about how Ozeki’s novels begin she hears a character speaking in her mind, how meditation can teach you to detach from own internal monologue, why Marie Kondo’s almost animist philosophy of tidying became so popular across the globe, whether objects want things, whether practicing Zen has helped her want less and, my personal favorite part, the dilemmas posed by an empty box with the words “empty box” written on it.

    Mentioned:

    The Great Shift by James L. Kugel

    Book recommendations:

    When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman Fischer

    The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

    Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett

    This episode contains a brief mention of suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). A list of additional resources is available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

    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.

    This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was 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 Kristina Samulewski.

    • 58 min
    The Mid-Century Media Theorists Who Saw What Was Coming

    The Mid-Century Media Theorists Who Saw What Was Coming

    “At the very heart of democracy is a contradiction that cannot be resolved, one that has affected free societies from ancient Greece to contemporary America,” write Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing in their new book, “The Paradox of Democracy.” In order to live up to its name, democracy must be open to free communication and expression; yet that very feature opens democracies up to the forces of chaos, fragmentation and demagoguery that undermine them. Historically, this paradox becomes particularly profound during transitions between different communication technologies. “We see this time and again,” Gershberg and Illing write, “media continually evolve faster than politics, resulting in recurring patterns of democratic instability.”

    For that reason, Gershberg and Illing refer to media ecology — a field dedicated to studying the complex interplay between media, humans and their broader social environments — as “the master political science.” You can’t understand a society’s politics without understanding the mediums through which its people communicate. Radio and TV and Twitter and TikTok each profoundly shape the way we think, the qualities we look for in our politicians, the way we absorb news, the kind of political discourse we engage in and so much more.

    Illing’s career, in many ways, represents the intersection of these two worlds: He’s trained as a political theorist but eventually switched careers to become a journalist; he’s currently the interviews writer at Vox, where he hosts the podcast “Vox Conversations” and often writes about the nexus of media and politics. So I invited Illing on the show to talk about his new book alongside some of his other work. We discuss:

    - Why mid-century media theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman are essential for understanding our current political moment
    - How the mediums through which we communicate — TV, social media, print news — shape us even more deeply than the content we absorb from them
    - The surprising dangers of “Sesame Street”
    - Why Abraham Lincoln probably never would have won the presidency in the TV era
    - How revolutions in media technology from the printing press to Facebook have destabilized political systems
    - How Twitter reshapes the thinking of those who use it
    - Why Illing believes that democracy is fundamentally a “communicative culture” and not a set of rules and institutions
    - What Donald Trump understood about our media age that the media itself didn’t
    - Why Steve Bannon’s “flood the zone” media strategy has been so successful
    - Whether it’s possible to achieve a healthier version of political discourse given our current technologies
    And much more

    This episode contains strong language.

    Mentioned:

    “‘Flood the zone with shit’: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy” by Sean Illing

    “Quantifying partisan news diets in Web and TV audiences” by Daniel Muise, Homa Hosseinmardi, Baird Howland, Markus Mobius, David Rothschild and Duncan J. Watts

    Book Recommendations:

    Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

    Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann

    Mediated by Thomas de Zengotita

    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 and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero, Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
6.3K Ratings

6.3K Ratings

JennyClarkeB ,

Gender discussion

I learned so much. What a wonderful conversation. Thank you!

ArtG1965 ,

Learn something new every episode

Ezra Klein is so incredibly intelligent, well read, honest, and unlike so many bad podcast hosts, he clearly does a deep dive on his guests/subjects. That’s a recipe for thoughtful original questions, top tier guests, and agree or disagree with his POV, it’s always well informed and in good faith. If I was half as intelligent as this man, I’d be a genius.

Never disappointed. Another Top quality Pod from the NYT. All the quality, production values and as deeply reported as you’d expect.

Pmomof3 ,

I changed my mind…

I am changing my review of this podcast based on the gender discussion. While the person interviewed discussed one point of view, I believe the other side of the argument wasn’t represented at all. I have always been a “you do you” person, but what about the argument that a lot of this gender “trend” is masking other psychological issues? What about the use of hormones in young children who are just discovering themselves and may change? What about the kids getting bullied to not be “cis” right now…that is happening! While acceptance is extremely important and something I believe in, is it illogical to assume all that is going on is really gender identity. I think you missed an opportunity to look at this issue from all sides.

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