EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford's Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 800+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.
Sonat Birnecker Hart on Whiskey
Scholar and distiller Sonat Birnecker Hart of the Koval Distillery talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her career move from academia to whiskey-making. She explains that the heart is the key to great flavor--when making whiskey, and when making the right choices in life.
Erik Hoel on Effective Altruism, Utilitarianism, and the Repugnant Conclusion
Neuroscientist Erik Hoel talks about why he is not an "effective altruist" with EconTalk host, Russ Roberts. Hoel argues that the utilitarianism that underlies effective altruism--a movement co-founded by Will MacAskill and Peter Singer--is a poison that inevitably leads to repugnant conclusions and thereby weakens the case for the strongest claims made by effective altruists.
Kieran Setiya on Midlife
John Stuart Mill's midlife crisis came at 20 when he realized that if he got what he desired he still wouldn't be happy. Art and poetry (and maybe love) saved the day for him. In this week's episode, philosopher Kieran Setiya of MIT talks about his book Midlife with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Setiya argues we can learn from Mill to help deal with the ennui to which so many midlifers succumb--along with regrets for roads not taken and wistfulness for what could have been. Setiya argues that a well-lived life needs fewer projects and more pursuits that don't have goals or endpoints. He explains why past mistakes can turn out to be good things and how lost chances can help us appreciate the richness of life.
David McRaney on How Minds Change
To the Founding Fathers it was free libraries. To the 19th century rationalist philosophers it was a system of public schools. Today it's access to the internet. Since its beginnings, Americans have believed that if facts and information were available to all, a democratic utopia would prevail. But missing from these well-intentioned efforts, says author and journalist David McRaney, is the awareness that people's opinions are unrelated to their knowledge and intelligence. In fact, he explains, the better educated we become, the better we are at rationalizing what we already believe. Listen as the author of How Minds Change speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why it's so hard to change someone's mind, the best way to make it happen (if you absolutely must), and why teens are hard-wired not to take good advice from older people even if they are actually wiser.
Will MacAskill on Longtermism and What We Owe the Future
Philosopher William MacAskill of the University of Oxford and a founder of the effective altruism movement talks about his book What We Owe the Future with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. MacAskill advocates "longtermism," giving great attention to the billions of people who will live on into the future long after we are gone. Topics discussed include the importance of moral entrepreneurs, why it's moral to have children, and the importance of trying to steer the future for better outcomes.
Amor Towles on A Gentleman in Moscow and the Writer's Craft
Author Amor Towles talks about his book, A Gentleman in Moscow, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Along the way they discuss the craft of writing, the wellsprings of persistence, and Towles's reading habits.
This podcast is full of thoughtful conversations. It’s an antidote to typical anger media. You can definitely learn something here, but—what’s more—listening to this podcast might induce little spurts of emotional growth. Such great work.
Russ does a good job preparing for his interviews. He finds interesting guests to interview, asks interesting questions, and is unfailing respectful and polite to his interviewees.
As a life long biology learner, I am newcomer to economics and it’s jargon. I greatly enjoy the new approach to viewing the world and how economics can maximize utility. The first podcast in 2006 was a great intro in how to think like an economist.
Looking forward to listening to all episodes (eventually) and how the new knowledge will stimulate new ideas and understanding.