Clearer Thinking is the brand-new podcast about ideas that truly matter. Join Spencer Greenberg each week as he has fun, in-depth conversations with brilliant people, exploring useful ideas related to psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast!
Because this is the podcast about "ideas that matter," we prioritize ideas that can be applied right now to make life better and that can help you better understand yourself and the world. In other words, we want to highlight the very best tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making.
We take on important, thorny questions like:
What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate, and how can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions, and when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse, and what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be, and what can we do to make it better? What is good and what is bad about tradition, and are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations, and create more positive-sum interactions?
Chinese Culture and Love Addiction with Ava King
How is Chinese culture different from American culture? For what reasons do Chinese people get plastic surgery, and how do those reasons differ from those of their American counterparts? What is love addiction? Are 12-step programs the only way (or the best way) of overcoming addiction?
Ava King is an international singer, songwriter, and producer based out of LA. She was born and raised in France, spent a decade in China, then decided to move to LA to pursue her passion of music. As a songwriter, Ava co-wrote "I Just" for K-pop group Red Velvet’s second album that debuted at #1 on the Billboard World charts and #1 on the Korean Pop Charts. The album has since gone on to become 9X Platinum in Korea and has accumulated over 2.3 million plays on Spotify. Her songs have also been featured on The Ellen Show, Empire, and Crazy Rich Asians. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok; and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
User Engagement and Expert Intuition with Rob Haisfield
How do you design a product to handle user failure? How do you keep users motivated even when they fail? How do you successfully onboard new users? What are some different kinds of search behavior? How and when does gamifying a product increase user engagement and success? What psychological components do games attempt to engage with? How do we develop expert intuition in a domain?
Rob Haisfield is a behavioral product strategy and gameful design consultant. He applies behavioral science and game design principles to products to influence user behavior. This is based on the thesis that when people use tools in ways that allow them to more effectively accomplish their goals, they gain more value. He also works as a behavioral product strategist for Spark Wave and its various portfolio companies, recently focusing on the onboarding for GuidedTrack. You can learn more about him at robhaisfield.com, follow him on Twitter at @RobertHaisfield, or email him at email@example.com.
Psychological Models and Parenting with Divia Eden
What is the Internal Family Systems model? What kinds of information do our emotions give us? How many agents live in our heads? And, if there's more than one, how well do those agents cooperate? What is operant conditioning? What is attachment theory? How does parenting differ from animal training? Is decision theory able to unify many different psychological theories?
Divia Eden has always been interested in understanding how minds work, and she currently spends most of her time unschooling her three kids. You can find out more about her at becomingeden.com or follow her on Twitter at @diviacaroline.
Productive Conversations and Feedback Loops with Julia Carvalho
How can we become better leaders? How can we give better feedback to others? How can we be better listeners? How can we give good advice? How do startups (or even existing companies) build great products? What sorts of things do experts actually know? When is it useful to poll customers for feedback?
Julia Carvalho serves as an advisor to startups doing impactful things in the world. She thinks a lot about product strategy, teams, and prioritization. She likes emailing with strangers and can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EA Efficacy and Community Norms with Stefan Schubert
How can people be more effective in their altruism? Is it better for people to give to good causes in urgent situations or on a regular basis? What causes people to donate to less effective charities even when presented with evidence that other charities might be more effective? We can make geographically distant events seem salient locally by (for example) showing them on TV, but how can we make possible future events seem more salient? How much more effective are the most effective charities than the average? How do altruists avoid being exploited (in a game theoretic sense)? What sorts of norms are common in the EA community?
Stefan Schubert is a researcher in philosophy and psychology at the University of Oxford, working on questions of relevance for effective altruism. In particular, he studies why most donations don't go to the most effective charities and what we can do to change it. He also studies what norms we should have if we want to do the most good, as well as the psychology of the long-term future. You can email him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter at @StefanFSchubert, or learn more about him at stefanfschubert.com.
"The Psychology of (In)Effective Altruism"
"The many obstacles to effective giving"
"Donors vastly underestimate differences in charities' effectiveness"
Explanatory Depth and Growth Mindset with Daniel Greene
What is the illusion of explanatory depth? Are there forms of debate or dialogue that actually help people to change their minds (instead of stacking the incentives such that people feel forced to harden and defend their views)? What is epistemic "debt"? Should people avoid having opinions on things where they haven't thought deeply and carefully about all of the relevant considerations? How does one choose which experts to trust? What is "growth mindset"? How can social science be used to do good in the world?
Daniel Greene is a postdoctoral researcher and fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, where he works with Dr. Megan Palmer to research methods of engaging life scientists with the potential safety and security risks of their work. He has a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford and worked as a social psychologist and data scientist at the Project for Education Research that Scales. You can find more information about Daniel at danielgreene.net.
Interesting and diverse
Lots of different subjects explored in depth. Enjoy this podcast tremendously!
Less Wrong Derivative
I found this podcast from being a member of the lesswrong.com community and I think Spencer does a fantastic job at interviewing his guests to get to the heart of a topic. Each episode is a pure shot of knowledge concentrate, taken right to the dome.
The title of the show matches the intent that Spencer brings to each conversation, to clarify his (and the listeners) thinking. It’s not condescending enough to tell you what to think, but more demonstrates modes of thinking and in doing so, puts the responsibility on the listener to evaluate what constitutes “clearer thinking” for themselves.
My Favorite Podcast
I came across this podcast late last year and it quickly became my favorite. I haven’t found a better source of thoughtful conversation across a wide variety of issues that are relevant to the human experience. The podcast makes me think more than any other and has provides lots of ways that I can improve my thinking in all aspects of my life. Keep the interesting episodes coming!