4 episodes

The airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds

If Books Could Kill Michael Hobbes & Peter Shamshiri

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 3.2K Ratings

The airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds

    The Game

    The Game

    Neil Strauss's "The Game" aimed to teach any man how to hook up with beautiful women. All he needed was a little bit of sociopathy, a lot of misogyny and a fanny pack full of props.

    Where to find us: 
    TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:
    He's Simply Resistable  Pickup Artists Are Still A Thing. And They Want You To Know They’ve Evolved.Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism Would the Pickup Artist Stand a Chance in the #MeToo Era?  Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!

    • 55 min
    David Brooks's "Bobos in Paradise"

    David Brooks's "Bobos in Paradise"

    David Brooks became liberals' famous conservative by telling them what they wanted to hear. But ... why did they want to hear something that was lazy and wrong?

    Where to find us: 
    TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase
    A Reasonable ManDavid Brooks: Boo-Boos in ParadiseA Cartoon EliteDavid Brooks’s Conversion StoryDavid Brooks and the Endless Grift of the Conservative CommentariatHow The Bobos Broke AmericaDeath Of A Yuppie Dream: The Rise And Fall Of The Professional-Managerial ClassStuff the Professional-Managerial Class Likes: "Distinction" for an Egalitarian EliteDavid Brooks’s Search for MeaningThe facts vs. David Brooks: Startling inaccuracies raise questions about his latest bookDavid Brooks Is Not Buying Your Excuses, Poor PeopleThanks to Mindseye for our theme song!

    • 59 min
    Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers"

    Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers"

    In "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell posited that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something. Mike and Peter prove him wrong by mastering his dumb book over the span of about 50 minutes.

    Malcolm Gladwell talks about responding to critics, and the perils of ‘Talking to Strangers’Gladwell for Dummies Malcolm Gladwell interview The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance The Dangers of Delegating Education To Journalists Good intuition takes years of practice Blinkered How Malcolm Gladwell Tricks You Into Believing Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

    • 50 min


    In 2005, two men named Steven and Stephen published the quintessential airport book. In 2022, two men named Mike and Peter started a whole podcast just to make fun of it.

    Thanks to Ted Joyce and Ames Grawert for helping with the research for this episode!

    Where to find us: 
    TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase
    The 2003 NYT articleFreakonomics: What Went Wrong?A Review of FreakonomicsDismal ScienceFreak-FreakonomicsThe Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime: CommentThe Abortion–Crime Link: Evidence from England and WalesThe Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from RomaniaDid Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime EquationSteven Levitt on Abortion and Crime: Old Economics in New BottlesThe Impact Of Legalized Abortion On CrimeThe Great American Mystery Story: Why Did Crime Decline?Is There an iCrime Wave?The Great Crime DeclineThe Crime Drop in America10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime DeclineWhat Caused the Crime Decline?Freaks and Geeks: How Freakonomics is ruining the dismal science.Interesting Questions in FreakonomicsIncentives And The Economic Point Of View: The Case Of Popular EconomicsAbortion and Crime in Australia
    Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!

    • 1 hr 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
3.2K Ratings

3.2K Ratings

Kelsiecb ,


Loving this podcast so far!

hwpw ,

Telling on themselves w The Game

The fact that both these men seem to think The Game has more decent thinking/is less egregious than all the other books discussed says a lot about the totally narrow, blinkered perspective they’re strenuously pretending they’re not bringing to this project. At the end of the day this is still two dudes who think saying “get laid” a bunch is pretty funny, and who seem to accept the premise of PUAs, just not all the strategies. Thank god Michael’s other two podcasts are with women so we only get 50% smarminess.

(m:m) ,

I’m the problem. It’s me

For me it’s a downer of a genre. The research is thoughtful, it’s presented as proudly and assertively progressive, sometimes insightful, I almost always agree with the dismantling and taking down of these weird books, but if I make it through an ep all the way then I come away from the time spent listening feeling a bit lower. If it were up to me I wrap these episodes with suggested alternatives, or something more hopeful. Idk. I feel the same about Maintenance Phase. We need dismantling but then we need foundations for rebuilding.

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