129 episodes

Longtime Atlantic tech, culture and political writer Derek Thompson cuts through all the noise surrounding the big questions and headlines that matter to you in his new podcast Plain English. Hear Derek and guests engage the news with clear viewpoints and memorable takeaways. New episodes drop every Tuesday and Friday, and if you've got a topic you want discussed, shoot us an email at plainenglish@spotify.com! You can also find us on tiktok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_

Plain English with Derek Thompson The Ringer

    • News
    • 4.8 • 807 Ratings

Longtime Atlantic tech, culture and political writer Derek Thompson cuts through all the noise surrounding the big questions and headlines that matter to you in his new podcast Plain English. Hear Derek and guests engage the news with clear viewpoints and memorable takeaways. New episodes drop every Tuesday and Friday, and if you've got a topic you want discussed, shoot us an email at plainenglish@spotify.com! You can also find us on tiktok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_

    Econ Megapod: The Debt Ceiling Is Dumb, and the Inflation “Crisis” Might Be Over

    Econ Megapod: The Debt Ceiling Is Dumb, and the Inflation “Crisis” Might Be Over

    We’ve got a double-barrelled podcast for you. Jeanna Smialek, economics reporter for the ‘New York Times,’ joins us to break down the debt-ceiling showdown that’s enveloping Washington. Plus, economist Jason Furman is back to rehash his debt-ceiling grievances from the Obama administration, then answer some deeper questions about the U.S. debt trajectory and the state of the economy today. But first: a new way to think about the debt ceiling and fears of the U.S. government running up the tab.
    If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com. You can find us on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_Host: Derek Thompson
    Guests: Jeanna Smialek and Jason Furman
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 59 min
    The Dark Side of Being Obsessed With Productivity

    The Dark Side of Being Obsessed With Productivity

    "Productivity is a trap. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever achieved work-life balance. The real problem isn’t our limited time. The real problem—or so I hope to convince you—is that we’ve unwittingly inherited, and feel pressured to live by, a troublesome set of ideas about how to use our limited time, all of which are pretty much guaranteed to make things worse."
    That's how Oliver Burkeman, the author of 'Four Thousand Weeks,' explains our relationship to happiness and time. In this episode, he and Derek talk about his philosophy, the downside of constantly living for some future achievement, goals versus habits, and making peace with our finitude.
    Host: Derek Thompson
    Guest: Oliver Burkeman
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 50 min
    How AI Could Change Apple and Google, Writing and Music, and Everything Else

    How AI Could Change Apple and Google, Writing and Music, and Everything Else

    “The story of 2022 was the emergence of AI," wrote Ben Thompson, the author of the Stratechery newsletter and podcast. "It seems clear to me that this is a new epoch in technology.” Ben and Derek talk about ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, the state of generative AI, and how the biggest tech companies will try to wrangle this fascinating suite of new tools.
    If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com. You can find us on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_
    Host: Derek Thompson
    Guest: Ben Thompson 
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Why Big Tech's Jobs Bubble Burst. Plus, SBF's Scandal Deepens.

    Why Big Tech's Jobs Bubble Burst. Plus, SBF's Scandal Deepens.

    Derek breaks down the biggest economic mystery of the moment: Why are the most successful tech companies collectively laying off more than 130,000 people if the overall unemployment rate is still historically low? Then award-winning Puck journalist William Cohan rejoins the podcast to talk about the biggest unanswered questions swirling around disgraced billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, his FTX bankruptcy proceedings, and his forthcoming criminal case.
    Host: Derek Thompson
    Guest: William Cohan
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 49 min
    America Isn’t Ready for the Weight-Loss-Drug Revolution That’s Coming

    America Isn’t Ready for the Weight-Loss-Drug Revolution That’s Coming

    We have historically thought about weight as the mere outcome of our deliberate choices about diet and exercise. We have not typically thought about weight like a disease. But in the past 18 months, there’s been an extraordinary revolution in weight-loss medication that's putting in our hands a therapy that can help people easily shed weight without major side effects. You may have heard these drugs go by the name Wegovy or Ozempic.
    What happens when you take a country obsessed with self-image and diet and tell them that the mystery of weight loss has now been reduced to a daily injection? You change a lot more than body mass index. You change society. Today’s guest is Susan Z. Yanovski. She is the co-director of the Office of Obesity Research and the program director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at NIH. We talk about the stakes of anti-obesity medication, why diet and exercise doesn’t work for so many people, how these weight-loss drugs could help American health care, strain American insurance, and revolutionize America’s sense of willpower, responsibility, and diet.
    Host: Derek Thompson
    Guest: Susan Z. Yanovski
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 55 min
    How Americans Got Everything About Food—Fat, Sugar, and Obesity—‘Entirely Backwards’

    How Americans Got Everything About Food—Fat, Sugar, and Obesity—‘Entirely Backwards’

    Today’s episode is about what Americans don’t get about food—and the historical origins of our diet delusions. Our guest is Dr. David Ludwig, an endocrinologist who has researched and written on obesity and diet. He explains why scientists still haven't arrived at a consensus on obesity, why he thinks the conventional wisdom about calories and fat is wrong, what he thinks is really going on, and why the history of diet advice has been so wrong in the last half-century. On Friday, we'll continue the conversation on diet and obesity with an episode on the next generation of weight-loss medication, which could change the way America thinks about self-image and obesity forever.
    If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com. You can find us on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_
    Host: Derek Thompson
    Guest: David Ludwig
    Producer: Devon Manze
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    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
807 Ratings

807 Ratings

P.P. Bub ,

Excellent Show!

Derek thinks clearly and makes creative connections. He also does an impressive job of threading the needle between the show being a strict interview and a rangy conversation. Listening is a great way to gain insights into the important topics of the day. Tune in!

JoshFink17 ,

Great and informative podcast

Big fan of the pod. I learn something new every episode. Thank you!

RCollins ,

Among the very best podcasts out there

My favorite podcast, hands down. I always listen and often like the episode even if I’m a bit lukewarm at the outset (which is it often). English is a great and thoughtful host, also. Highly recommended.

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