170 episodes

Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Conversations with Tyler Mercatus Center at George Mason University

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 1.9K Ratings

Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

    Byron Auguste On Rewiring the U.S. Labor Market

    Byron Auguste On Rewiring the U.S. Labor Market

    When looking at the U.S. labor market, Byron Auguste sees too many job seekers screened out based on shallow signals like a bachelor’s degree, and too few ‘screened in’ by directly demonstrating the skills needed for the job at hand. To close those opportunity gaps in the American workforce, Byron co-founded and runs Opportunity@Work, which played a key role in Maryland’s decision in early 2022 to drop four-year degree requirements for thousands of state jobs in favor of recruiting from those identified as being Skilled Through Alternate Routes, or STARs.
    He joined Tyler to discuss workforce training in the digital economy, re-evaluating college degree requirements in recruitment, why IQ is overrated and conscientiousness is underrated, the major opportunity gap in on-the-job training, what people miss about the German apprenticeship model, the best novel about finding a job, what’s gone wrong with American men, why we need signal pluralism for higher education admission, why he’s wary of AI for predicting labor outcomes, what happened when Maryland rolled back degree requirements for state jobs, the incentive problems in higher education, and more.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.
    Recorded September 6th, 2022

    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter Follow Byron on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. 

    • 54 min
    Vaughn Smith on Life as a Hyperpolyglot

    Vaughn Smith on Life as a Hyperpolyglot

    Vaughn Smith is fluent in eight languages but with a beginner’s grasp of at least thirty-six (and counting). His talents are so remarkable that the Washington Post did a feature story on him and neuroscientists at MIT requested he do a brain scan for them. But for Vaughn his language skills aren’t about attracting attention or monetary gain. “Language is a key to someone's culture, to someone's world,” he explains. Whether it’s watching a client’s face light up when he speaks to them in their native tongue or showing Indigenous children in rural Mexico that their language is valuable and worth preserving, Vaughn views his gifts as a way of connecting with other people.
    He joined Tyler to discuss how he began learning languages, the best languages for expressing humor, why he curses in Slovak, why he considers Finnish more romantic than Portugese, what makes Hungarian so difficult to learn, the best way to teach people new languages, how to combat language loss, why he’d like rural Mexicans to have more pride in their culture and way of life, his time as a roadie for a punk rock van, the most rewarding job he’s had, why he wants to visit Finland, how enjoying films from different eras is similar to learning new languages, the future of English, and more.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.
    Recorded May 26th, 2022

    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. 

    • 49 min
    Shruti Rajagopalan talks to Daniel Gross and Tyler about Identifying and Predicting Talent

    Shruti Rajagopalan talks to Daniel Gross and Tyler about Identifying and Predicting Talent

    How can one identify and predict talent? On a search to answer this question and others like it, Tyler Cowen joined venture capitalist and entrepreneur Daniel Gross to explore the art and science of finding talent in their new book Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World. In a panel discussion hosted by Shruti Rajagopalan, Cowen and Gross discuss the applications of their new book, particularly how lifestyle characteristics can indicate an individual is capable of great creativity and talent.
    Daniel and Tyler also discuss undervalued talents and skills, what talents they look for in the start-up and investment world, why there is no good chocolate ice cream to be found in San Francisco, what their exercise preferences indicate about their personalities, how they approach identifying talent in different countries and industries, how immigration impacts entrepreneurialism, the short-comings to Zoom interviews, what a messy desk reveals about a person, and more.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.
    Recorded June 29th, 2022

    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter  Follow Daniel on Twitter Follow Shruti on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. Photo credit: Drew Bird Photo

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Cynthia L. Haven on René Girard, Czeslaw Milosz, and Joseph Brodsky

    Cynthia L. Haven on René Girard, Czeslaw Milosz, and Joseph Brodsky

    As a little girl, Cynthia Haven loved reading classic works of literature. At sixteen, she began her career as a reporter. And years later, those two interests converged as they led her to interview and write books about three writers and thinkers whom she also came to call mentors: René Girard, Czeslaw Milosz, and Joseph Brodsky. 
    Cynthia joined Tyler to discuss what she’s gleaned from each of the three, including what traits they have in common, why her biography of Girard had to come from outside academia, Milosz’s reaction to the Berkley Free Speech Movement, Girard’s greatest talent—and flaw—as a thinker, whether Brodsky will fall down the memory hole, why he was so terrible on Ukraine, why Cynthia’s early career was much like The Devil Wears Prada, the failings of Twitter, and more.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links.
    Recorded May 18th, 2022

    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter  Follow Cynthia on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. 

    • 44 min
    William MacAskill on Effective Altruism, Moral Progress, and Cultural Innovation

    William MacAskill on Effective Altruism, Moral Progress, and Cultural Innovation

    When Tyler is reviewing grants for Emergent Ventures, he is struck by how the ideas of effective altruism have so clearly influenced many of the smartest applicants, particularly the younger ones. And William MacAskill, whom Tyler considers one of the world’s most influential philosophers, is a leading light of the community.
    William joined Tyler to discuss why the movement has gained so much traction and more, including his favorite inefficient charity, what form of utilitarianism should apply to the care of animals, the limits of expected value, whether effective altruists should be anti-abortion, whether he would side with aliens over humans, whether he should give up having kids, why donating to a university isn’t so bad, whether we are living in “hingey” times, why buildering is overrated, the sociology of the effective altruism movement, why cultural innovation matters, and whether starting a new university might be next on his slate.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.
    Recorded July 7th, 2022

    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter  Follow Will on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. 

    • 50 min
    Leopoldo López on Activism Under Autocratic Regimes

    Leopoldo López on Activism Under Autocratic Regimes

    As an inquisitive reader, books were a cherished commodity for Leopoldo López when he was a political prisoner in his home country of Venezuela. His prison guards eventually observed the strength and focus López gained from reading. In an attempt to stifle his spirit, the guards confiscated his books and locked them in a neighboring cell where he could see but not access them. But López didn’t let this stop him from writing or discourage his resolve to fight for freedom. A Venezuelan opposition leader and freedom activist, today López works to research and resist oppressive autocratic regimes globally.
    López joined Tyler to discuss Venezuela’s recent political and economic history, the effectiveness of sanctions, his experiences in politics and activism, how happiness is about finding purpose, how he organized a protest from prison, the ideal daily routine of a political prisoner, how extreme sports prepared him for prison, his work to improve the lives of the Venezuelan people, and more.
    Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links.
    Recorded May 10th, 2022
    Other ways to connect
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram Follow Tyler on Twitter  Follow Leopoldo on Twitter Email us: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Subscribe at our newsletter page to have the latest Conversations with Tyler news sent straight to your inbox. 

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.9K Ratings

1.9K Ratings

DaniWBM ,

Great podcast for people who like to grow

I love Tyler’s interview style, and I learn so much from the amazing array of guests. This podcast is intellectually challenging, informative, and entertaining!

Leonickx ,

Wonderful

Tyler is a Renaissance man for our times. A true polymath! And great guests, pithy questions, an extraordinary range and depth of knowledge.

But…Ray Dalio?? Why did Tyler let this uninteresting, quasi-ignorant, totally arrogant individual onto his show? Dalio is an interesting guy for his views on markets but his historical and intellectual pretensions are excruciating!

On the other hand the talk with Vaughn Smith was amazing. Very warm, extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge, humor and true affection between the two of these guys.

tlw01 ,

Plethora of divergent thinking

For me, the most interesting podcasts include unexpected & challenging questions… Tyler’s extraordinarily high level of curiosity makes for a conversation filled with complex & wide ranging questions that often result in me taking notes to dig deeper on topics & ideas long after the podcast has finished.

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