Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, newsmakers and opinion shapers, and sheds light on the issues of the day, from local stories to national and international headlines and ideas.
From Poverty to Empowerment: The Rise of the Global Middle Class
The middle class stands as the most successful demographic in world history. By the time we reach 2030, it's projected that the fifth billionth person will have joined its ranks. This journey, which began just over two centuries ago by people in pursuit of a better life, has sparked an unparalleled global transformation.
In today's landscape, where half of the global population finds themselves at or above the middle-class threshold, the work of my guest
Homi Kharas shines a light on their journey from poverty to empowerment.
He outlines this future in his new book, The Rise of the Global Middle Class: How the Search for the Good Life Can Change the World.
My conversation with Homi Kharas:
Robert Sapolsky and our Illusion of Free Will
Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford neurobiologist and MacArthur “genius” fellow, challenges our deeply ingrained beliefs about free will. Building on his seminal 2017 work "Behave," which explored the dynamics of nature and nurture, Sapolsky's latest book, "Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will," suggests that science, medicine, and philosophy may actually support determinism over free will. As societal discourse increasingly embraces a culture of victimhood, he questions the quintessentially Californian belief in personal agency.
My California Sun conversation with Robert Sapolsky:
Don’t Shoot the Messenger: The Methods and Power of Pollsters
In this WhoWhatWhy podcast I talk with Scott Keeter, the senior survey adviser at Pew Research Center. In this role, he guides all of Pew’s research and polling. An expert on American public opinion and political behavior, he is a co-author of four books on the subject.
Keeter discusses the complexities of modern polling amid a climate of skepticism and change. As the 2024 elections approach, Keeter confronts the polling industry’s pressing issues: dwindling response rates and the public’s eroding trust in institutions.
My conversation with Scott Keeter:
My Conversation with Heather Cox Richardson
As our nation teeters on the knife's edge of democracy, it's imperative to understand the historical roots of our current predicament. Heather Cox Richardson offers a deep dive into the intricate weave of America's past and present. A Professor of History at Boston College, Richardson is not only an acclaimed author but also the influential voice behind the daily Substack 'Letters From an American.'
In an era marked by relentless political turmoil, authoritarian threats, and pervasive societal corruption, Richardson's work serves as a crucial reminder: these challenges are not sudden anomalies but the culmination of a long, complex history.Through her latest book, 'Democracy Awakening,' Richardson provides more than a mere chronicle of events. She offers a critical narrative that links our past to the present, shedding light on how America, once a beacon of democracy, now hovers dangerously close to autocracy. Her analysis is not just about understanding our history; it's about charting a course back to democratic principles.
My conversation with Heather Cox Richardson:
From Buy to Cell: The Journey of SBF
In this special WhoWhatWhy podcast, I talk with Zeke Faux, whose book Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall (Crown Currency, September 2023), unpacks the crypto phenomenon and its disintegration, culminating in Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) conviction for fraud and potential 110-year sentence.
Faux, a Bloomberg investigative reporter who has covered SBF and the crypto craze since the beginning, spent time with SBF in the Bahamas and sat in the courtroom every day of the trial. Faux’s investigation into the $3 trillion crypto delusion offers a sobering look at our financial epoch which is defined by SBF’s rise and fall.
My conversation with Zeke Faux:
The Shifting Sands of the Middle East: What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Iran?
On this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, I explore the intricate landscape of global terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the geopolitical reverberations of recent events.
My guest is Kenneth Katzman, a senior adviser with The Soufan Group and a preeminent expert on the Middle East. Specializing in Iran, the Persian Gulf states, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Katzman has previously served as a senior analyst at the Congressional Research Service and an analyst at the CIA.
My conversation with Kenneth Katzman: