105 episodes

Made You Think is a podcast by Nat Eliason, Neil Soni, and Adil Majid where the hosts and their guests examine ideas that, as the name suggests, make you think. Episodes will explore books, essays, podcasts, and anything else that warrants further discussion, teaches something useful, or at the very least, exercises our brain muscles.

Made You Think Neil Soni, Nat Eliason, and Adil Majid

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.4 • 103 Ratings

Made You Think is a podcast by Nat Eliason, Neil Soni, and Adil Majid where the hosts and their guests examine ideas that, as the name suggests, make you think. Episodes will explore books, essays, podcasts, and anything else that warrants further discussion, teaches something useful, or at the very least, exercises our brain muscles.

    105: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

    105: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

    “Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography," our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?"
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're diving into The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. We'll navigate the realms of meditation, telepathy, and the essence of a peaceful death. Come join us in this mind-opening episode that transcends the ordinary and challenges our perceptions of life, death, and everything in between!
    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    How to find more meaning from your meditation Telepathy, shared hallucinations, and the uncharted territories of the brain and body The role our egos play in spiritual practices Reincarnation and the continuous nature of consciousness The sacredness of birth and dying And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Headspace (4:22) Waking Up (4:23) Zazen (5:00) The Marathon Monks (19:10) Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (23:06) Spiritual awakening meme (41:37)  Life is Short (1:00:12) C-section rates by country (1:17:04) Books Mentioned:
    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying The Comfort Crisis (1:26) (Book Episode)  The Way of Zen (4:54) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) The Denial of Death (16:44) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) Happy Accidents (27:28) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) A Monk’s Guide to A Clean House & Mind (38:34) The Myth of Sisyphus (39:09) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) The Beginning of Infinity (53:17) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) People Mentioned:
    Arthur Flowerdew (20:54) Wim Hof (33:17) Show Topics:
    (1:02) In today's episode, we're talking about The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying in which Rinpoche explores the concepts of life, death, and rebirth. We open up the show talking about meditation, microdosing, and how to incorporate meditation into your day.
    (6:07) Finding meaning from meditation, the role it plays in rehearsing death, and finding profound meaning in the experience.
    (7:59) Is death just a middle step in our journey as opposed to the end? We talk about the author's beliefs regarding reincarnation and the idea that while our energy never dies, it has the capability of taking another form. 
    (11:41) Attachments, the terror of losing your identity when you die, and why believing in reincarnation offers a valuable perspective.
    (16:51) The author’s definition of “attachments” would most likely be broader than you’d expect. It not only encompasses your material possessions, but anything that contributes to what you see as your identity. 
    (20:09) We talk about different phenomenons that happen in your body once you pass, plus some interesting stories in the book, such as remembering information from a past life.
    (24:57) Telepathy: Is it realistic? Everything can seem magical or nonsensical until you can gather some sort of argument or case or explanation for it. Hundreds of years ago we may have thought the idea of electricity was a hoax, but today, it exists.
    (28:15) There are so many things about our brain and body that we have yet to understand. Plus, we discuss the potential effects of electromagnetic pollution on our bodies.
    (33:02) The first step in working your way up to telepathy or cross-mind communication is knowing your own mind and body first. 
    (34:23) How mindfulness can help you pull yourself back into the present moment. We often worry about the future or something not

    • 1 hr 31 min
    104: Are We Destined to Be Pets? Novacene by James Lovelock

    104: Are We Destined to Be Pets? Novacene by James Lovelock

    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're diving into Novacene by James Lovelock, a book which challenges the very essence of human intelligence. Get ready for a thought-provoking conversation that delves into the realms of evolution, deep oceans, and the enigmatic dance between humanity and artificial intelligence.
    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    Gaia hypothesis and its connections to the book Intelligence beyond the human-centric view How the evolution of organisms has affected global temperatures The uncovered mysteries of the deep ocean Will AI be a friend or foe to humans? And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Gaia hypothesis (1:53) Tesla Bot (23:52) Stealth (25:05) Cruise (27:26) Waymo (27:26) Arrival (35:54) Bees playing soccer (39:32) Brilliant Earth (49:01) They Did The Math (49:42) Dark Forest theory (55:16) Rooted Local (1:02:16) Books Mentioned:
    The Three-Body Problem (0:03) (Book Episode) (Nat’s Book Notes) Homo Deus (0:46) (Book Episode) (Nat’s Book Notes) Breath (13:35) (Nat's Book Notes) Deep (13:37) The Hidden Life of Trees (19:14) Permutation City (21:12) (Book Episode) Where Is My Flying Car? (22:35) (Book Episode)  Antifragile (36:24) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) The Fighter’s Mind (37:41) (Nat's Book Notes) People Mentioned:
    James Lovelock (1:54) James Nestor (13:36) Nassim Taleb (36:24) Show Topics:
    (1:46) Buckle up for this episode as we discuss Novacene, authored by the originator of the Gaia Theory, James Lovelock. The book probes into humanity's role in the world and speculates on a future where machines might supersede us.
    (4:34) Lovelock wrote this book with the help of his assistant when he was 99 years old. We talk about what exactly the Gaia Theory is and the end of the age of Anthropocene.
    (9:50) We go deeper into sharing our thoughts on the Gaia Theory and how the evolution of organisms have affected the regulation of the global temperature. 
    (13:10) How much do we actually know about the deepest parts of the ocean? Plus, learn about the author’s involvement with designing instruments for NASA.
    (16:40) Nat, Neil, and Adil make connections from Novacene to The Three-Body Problem. Historically, we've looked for life on other planets the way we would measure life on earth, but are extraterrestrial species carbon-based like we are?
    (19:04) Our idea of time here on Earth is based on our life and our own orbit around the sun, but another civilization could view time in a completely different way.
    (24:21) Addressing AI predictions, military applications, and the challenges of AI intervention, including experiences with self-driving cars.
    (32:08) Is our technology watching us? 
    (35:28) The limitations of language as an information interface and the intuitive nature of processing multiple inputs. Speaking, for example, is completely linear. However, when you have multiple inputs, you're able to be more intuitive.
    (39:18) We talk about exploring intelligence beyond the human-centric view, considering the collective intelligence of species like bees.
    (42:05) It’s powerful the progress that has been made with ChatGPT, but there still remains the question of whether or not it will be a linear process to AGI (artificial general intelligence). 
    (46:02) The intersection of crypto mining, Bitcoin, and futuristic energy societies, along with the possibility of harnessing CO2 for creation.
    (52:24) Earth is a rare, one-of-a-kind planet. How the universe had to align for habitability on earth, and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.
    (58:29) Would AI have the potential for parallel processing capabilities

    • 1 hr 6 min
    103: Beyond the River of Doubt: Into the Amazon

    103: Beyond the River of Doubt: Into the Amazon

    “But at a purely personal level, Rondon embodied the best of both modern and old-fashioned virtues. He was intensely and genuinely patriotic, adhered to traditional codes of honor, bravery, and chivalry, and repeatedly demonstrated a moral rectitude that, enhanced a character both ascetic and abstemious, impressed those who regularly came into contact with him."
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're picking up the conversation on our favorite Brazilian explorer, Cândido Rondon, with Into the Amazon. Rohter's book dives into the untold stories of Rondon and Roosevelt, shining a spotlight on the uncharted territories, unique challenges, and extraordinary legacies left behind in the heart of the Amazon.
    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    Rondon's unique approach to exploration Animal and plant life within the Amazon How Rondon navigated each obstacle from sickness to river crossings Technology's impact on different generations The relationship between tech and human intelligence And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Rondônia (2:10) Joe Rogan Experience #2013 – Paul Rosolie (4:55) Positivism (10:58) AI podcast episode - Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs (18:14) Meta's AI characters (22:46) Pavlok(24:19)  Idiocracy (1:07:42) Apple Vision Pro (1:25:35) Books Mentioned:
    Homo Deus (0:13) (Book Episode) (Nat’s Book Notes) Infinite Jest (0:15) (Book Episode I) (Book Episode II) (Nat’s Book Notes) The River of Doubt (Book Episode) Mother of God (5:00) Seeing Like a State (45:02) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) What Your Food Ate (45:40) (Book Episode) Einstein’s Dreams (1:29:02) The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (1:31:53) Surfaces and Essences (1:32:30) Metaphors We Live By (1:32:47) Novacene (1:33:45) Atlas Shrugged (1:35:10) (Book Episode) (Nat’s Book Notes) Israel: A History (1:37:10)  People Mentioned:
    Cândido Rondon (1:55) Paul Rosolie (4:55) Show Topics:
    (0:00) Today, we're venturing into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, as we discuss Into the Amazon by Larry Rohter. Though not a direct sequel, it spins off of a previous episode on The River of Doubt, and gives us more insight into the life of Cândido Rondon.
    (1:57) In the era of great explorers, Rondon's discoveries were often overshadowed by the Europeans. Though he is very well-respected in Brazil, his accomplishments aren't as widely known in the US.
    (6:18) We talk a bit about Paul Rosolie and his preservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest, as well as why the forest felt empty in terms of wildlife throughout their exploration. 
    (8:41) Rondon's peaceful demeanor and rationalist approach. He had a high tolerance and respect for the native tribes that he came across, and in return, they embraced him and his crew.
    (12:12) In addition to being an explorer, Rondon was a soldier. We also talk about Brazil's infrastructure advancements and how Rondon viewed the natives as Brazilian, whereas the Brazilian government hardly saw them as part of their people.
    (15:48) The friendship between Cândido Rondon and Theodore Roosevelt, and Roosevelt's profound respect for Rondon. We witness how Roosevelt's initial perception of Rondon transformed during their shared journeys, shedding light on Roosevelt's character and open-mindedness.
    (20:43) The rich history of Rondon's story is preserved through detailed diaries and journals kept by the explorers. The survival of these records is nothing short of miraculous when you consider the conditions they were in on their journey.
    (22:21) Meta's new AI features where you can talk to different personalities, based on the topics that you're interested in.
    (25:35) Rondon had opoprtunities to go down many paths in his life. He had developed several unique skills very early on in his childhood, yet exploring the Amazon

    • 1 hr 44 min
    102: From Fighter Jets to Rocket Ships: The Right Stuff

    102: From Fighter Jets to Rocket Ships: The Right Stuff

    “The idea was to prove at every foot of the way up that you were one of the elected and anointed ones who had the right stuff and could move higher and higher and even—ultimately, God willing, one day—that you might be able to join that special few at the very top, that elite who had the capacity to bring tears to men's eyes, the very Brotherhood of the Right Stuff itself."
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're covering The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. Through vivid storytelling, Wolfe shares the world of the fearless pilots and astronauts who possessed the elusive "right stuff". The book provides an intimate look at their lives, the challenges they faced, and the profound impact they had on the history of space exploration.
    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    The evolution of the aerospace industry and its rapid growth How fighter pilots became pioneers in space exploration Compelling stories of astronauts and their intense training regimens The battle between NASA and the Air Force in the quest for space What it truly means to have 'The Right Stuff' And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Top Gun (3:53) Project Mercury (4:31) Anduril - Fury (12:01)  Palmer Luckey on Fury (14:50)  Intrepid Museum (15:31)  Overture plane (22:01) The Antarctic Treaty (34:39) Books Mentioned:
    The Bonfire of the Vanities (1:55) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (2:17) Where Is My Flying Car? (2:30) (Book Episode)  The River of Doubt (32:43) (Book Episode) Breath (40:39) (Nat's Book Notes) People Mentioned:
    Tom Wolfe (0:48) Chuck Yeager (10:49) Alan Shepard (24:37) John Young (45:242) Show Topics:
    (0:00) In today's episode, we're discussing The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. The book not only boasts a charismatic writing style, but also draws intriguing connections to a previous book we covered, Where Is My Flying Car? 
    (3:40) We delve into the book's narrative flow, which initially spotlights fighter pilots and their rigorous training before transitioning into the captivating realm of the U.S. space program. From the early stages to the groundbreaking Project Mercury, the book highlights the personalities behind those who ventured into the unknown.
    (6:07) How astronaut requirements shifted from an open-door policy to a more selective process. Plus, we talk about the advancement in computing technology that made these audacious projects possible.
    (10:44) What once seemed impossible in the world of space exploration became possible in a short amount of time. There was also a shift from manual to automatic controls as the technology became more advanced. 
    (12:57) What does it mean if you possess "The Right Stuff"? As we explore its application in the world of aviation, we draw parallels to other fields, such as sports.
    (15:24) Buckle up for some mindblowing facts and statistics on several high-speed aircrafts, including the SR71, Concorde, and X15. 
    (19:12) Ever wondered what it feels like to approach the speed of sound in the transonic zone? There are many complexities when it comes to operating a high-speed aircraft like the Concorde.
    (22:40) How political dynamics influenced the approaches taken by NASA and the Air Force, from rocket models to plane models for space exploration.
    (29:13) The quest for space exploration has been marked by trial and error. 
    (31:20) While there are very few remaining opportunities for land exploration on Earth, there is exciting potential for migration to other planets. 
    (35:52) It can take between 7-14 months to reach Mars, not to mention the many dangers you may be facing along the way. 
    (40:30) We talk about the connection between how you breathe and weight loss, as well as the importance of consistent airflow in your work and sleep environments.
    (43:40) Did you know The Right Stuff is also a movie? M

    • 57 min
    101: Everything Is One: The Upanishads

    101: Everything Is One: The Upanishads

    “He who sees all beings in his Self and his Self in all beings, he never suffers; because when he sees all creatures within his true Self, then jealousy, grief and hatred vanish.”
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're covering The Upanishads, a collection of ancient Indian texts which explore the philosophical and spiritual teachings of Hinduism. These texts delve into the nature of reality and the self while emphasizing the importance of meditation, self-realization, and the pursuit of knowledge to achieve enlightenment.
    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    Consciousness and the interconnectedness of all beings Parallels between The Upanishads and the philosophies of Plato  How cities differ in their homelessness approach Rationalism vs. intuition Our thoughts on the Twitter/X rebrand And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Project Hail Mary (9:00) The Three-Body Problem film (9:08) Silo (9:19)  The Great Library of Alexandria (15:39) Soma (16:18) The 99 Names For God In Arabic (18:46) Upanishads Wikipedia (20:13) Georgism (34:00) Does Georgism Work? Astral Codex Ten (35:11) In Praise of the Gods (44:38) Thunder’s Catch (1:09:47) Books Mentioned:
    Essays and Aphorisms (0:25) The World as Will and Representation (1:14) Bhagavad Gita (4:00) The Upanishads translated by Juan Mascaro (4:46) The Egg (8:01) Wool, Shift, Dust (trilogy) (9:26) The Expanse (9:46)  The Right Stuff (38:04) Tao Te Ching (38:59) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) The Analects of Confucius (39:03) (Book Episode) (Nat's Book Notes) Straw Dogs (45:21) God’s Debris (50:34) What Your Food Ate (1:10:57) (Book Episode) People Mentioned:
    Nassim Taleb (1:03) Simon Sarris (44:32) Scott Adams (50:26) Show Topics:
    [1:24] In today's episode, we’re discussing The Upanishads, widely considered as some of the most important and influential works in the history of Indian philosophy and spirituality. 
    [5:30] We dive into discussion about consciousness, souls, and whether everyone is a part of the same entity. The book suggests that there is a right path to follow, but doesn't necessarily give concrete details about what is good vs. bad.
    [8:58] There are several upcoming sci-fi movies coming out based on books that we’re fans of. Which ones are you most excited to see?
    [11:12] Old texts are like a game of telephone: While the message may only change slightly each time its told, it can add up to a large percent over a period of time. We also talk about Plato’s early texts and how they poke at the ideas of Christianity, even before Christ.
    [16:04] Soma is a ritual drink referenced in many ancient Hindu texts as well as in The Upanishads, thought to possibly contain mushrooms or other psychedelic properties.
    [18:15] Calling an infinite being by a finite name. In Islam, there are 99 names for God so to capture all properties of God.
    [20:09] We talk about some of the main parallels between the book and the philosophies of Plato as well as the longevity of large ancient empires (ex: Persian Empire). How did news spread among such a wide area without the communication tools we have today?
    [26:02] The contrast of ancient artifacts you can find in European cities vs. US cities. Plus, a little tangent on the birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt!
    [27:47] How cities differ in their homelessness approach.
    [34:26] What is Georgism and how would it look if it were applied in the US? 
    [36:32] ChatGPT’s gives it's interpretation of Made You Think. We also reflect on books similar to The Upanishads that we have done in previous episodes.
    [40:48] Rationalism vs. intuition. We pose the question of whether the ideas from this book were independently developed or whether they sprout from other teachings. It may simply depend on what lens you’re looking at it from.
    [45:18] S

    • 1 hr 12 min
    100: The Creative Act (Kinda)

    100: The Creative Act (Kinda)

    “A river of material flows through us. When we share our works and our ideas, they are replenished. If we block the flow by holding them all inside, the river cannot run and new ideas are slow to appear. In the abundant mindset, the river never runs dry. Ideas are always coming through. And an artist is free to release them with the faith that more will arrive. If we live in a mindset of scarcity, we hoard great ideas.”
    Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In true Made You Think fashion, our 100th episode is full of tangents. This week, we read The Creative Act by Rick Rubin which emphasizes the importance of being genuine and vulnerable in the creative process, showing that your own struggles and authenticity can result in meaningful and powerful creative work. 

    We cover a wide range of topics including:
    Giving life to the ideas in your imagination Publishing cadences of different successful book series Rick Rubin's backstory in the music industry How media's incentives have shifted from accuracy to clicks Tactics to unblock your creativity And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.
    Links from the Episode:
    Mentioned in the Show:
    Great Books Series (0:43) Nat’s Notes podcast (1:03) How to draw an owl (13:32) Hose (19:52) Elden Ring (26:58) Dark Winds (28:35) Eric Weinstein on Kayfabe (38:22) Nightcrawler (44:36) Books Mentioned:
    The Creative Act Count Down (11:35) (Nat's Book Notes) East of Eden (12:08) (Nat's Book Notes) A Game of Thrones (26:07) Red Rising Series (32:54)  50th Law (40:33) (Nat's Book Notes) Trust Me, I’m Lying (41:44) The River of Doubt (1:01:51) (Book Episode) People Mentioned:
    Rick Rubin (4:51) Phil Jackson (5:10) Steve Jobs (5:19) Neil Strauss (6:36) Johnny Cash (18:08) Joaquin Phoenix (23:17) George R. R. Martin (26:01) Isaac Asimov (31:11) Show Topics:
    (0:00) Welcome to Episode 100- We want to say a big thank you to all of our listeners! Whether you were around for our first episode in 2017 or joined us sometime afterwards, we appreciate you listening to our show.
    (1:01) Nat talks about how he manages his current content schedule from articles and newsletters to podcasts and short form videos. 
    (4:48) Today, we’re discussing The Creative Act. Think of it as a 'mindset' book rather than a tactical book, and how you can go into reading this book to get the most value out of it.
    (9:15) This is a great book to read early in your career as it addresses common mental roadblocks you may face within the creative process. Oftentimes, what you output may not be the same as what you initially planned in your mind, but that doesn't make it any less valuable.
    (14:10) Getting out of your own way is a large part of creativity. The importance of mixing it up and giving attention to even the most simplistic ideas you may have.
    (19:35) We share a little bit about Rick Rubin’s backstory and how he came to work with so many famous musicians. As the founder of Def Jam, he has worked with several talented musical acts including Johnny Cash, the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and more.
    (23:43) Why you should keep the scope of your work smaller, and how that helps you to recognize your work as a moment in time rather than something that has to define you forever. 
    (29:06) How book and TV series often rely on the momentum from their viewers and readers for the continued success of their future releases, though that momentum can be difficult to drum up. 
    (32:51) Some authors take long breaks between each of their books while others churn them out right after another. It goes to show that the creative process looks different for everybody.
    (36:17) A lot of the news outlets serve the purpose of entertaining rather than informing. When compared to WWE, it's something that we know is a sham or is fabricated, but it's still amusing to watch.
    (42:52) Dangerous positive feedback loops between th

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
103 Ratings

103 Ratings

RiskyRawr ,

Rediscovered after hiatus

I had downloaded the episodes on “Infinite Jest” quite a while ago and had honestly forgotten about then until the most recent update episode popped up and I’m definitely enjoying the commentary. I’m not sure if it has been suggested before for a fiction book but “House of Leaves” is a other heavy read with a ton of nuance and an excessive message board with all those details. It would be interesting to hear your take!


What’s episode 100 gonna be?

Love this show. Like a private book club.

paulycalzone ,

Nerds ideal pod

Perfect amount of tangents

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