The Next Big Idea is a weekly series of in-depth interviews with the world’s leading thinkers. Join our host, Rufus Griscom — along with our curators, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink — for conversations that might just change the way you see the world. New episodes every Thursday.
EVE: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution
The female body has been neglected in anthropological narratives, minimized in the archeological record, and excluded from modern-day clinical trials. But what if that weren’t the case? How would the scientific story of humanity change if we made women the protagonists? Cat Bohannon first asked herself that question a decade ago, and her surprising answers can now be found in a New York Times bestselling book called “Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution.”
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THE FAMILY OUTING: Secrets, Memory, and Living Authentically
This week, journalist and podcaster Jessi Hempel joins us to discuss her recent memoir, “The Family Outing,” which tells the remarkable story of how every member of her immediate family came out: Jessi and her father as gay, her sister as bisexual, her brother as transgender, and her mother as the survivor of a traumatic encounter with a man who may have been a serial killer. It’s a dramatic setup, to be sure, but as the book unfolds, it grows into something else — a powerful and thought-provoking meditation on what it means to live authentically.
Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations (with Anna Sale)
A lot of us run away from tough conversations. Anna Sale runs toward them. For nearly a decade, as the host of the podcast “Death, Sex & Money,” she has been having searching conversations about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” Today, Anna reminds us — with her trademark warmth, curiosity, and candor — how to have those difficult conversations.
(This episode originally aired in July 2021.)
• Looking for a holiday gift for the most curious person in your life? How about a Next Big Idea Club membership! Use the code GIFT75 at www.nextbigideaclub.com for $75 off a gift subscription.
ACHIEVEMENT CULTURE: What It’s Doing to Our Kids—and to Us
It's no secret that we live in a ferociously competitive world. But what is the drive to always be the best doing to our kids? That's what journalist Jennifer Breheny Wallace wanted to know when she set out to write her new book, "Never Enough." The kids, she discovered, are not alright. Teenagers are battling burnout, depression, and anxiety at alarming rates.
How did we let this happen, and what can we do to fix it?
To answer these vexing but vital questions, we invited Jennifer to chat with Daniel Markovits. He's the author of "The Meritocracy Trap" and a professor at Yale Law School, where he's seen toxic achievement culture up close. In this episode, recorded live at Betaworks in New York City, Jennifer, Daniel, and Rufus discuss why our kids are under such unrelenting pressure, what we can do to give them some relief, and the potential role of new technologies, like AI, in creating positive solutions.
Host: Rufus Griscom
Guests: Jennifer Breheny Wallace & Daniel Markovits
• Click here to hear Daniel's previous appearance on the show.
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FAILURE: The Science of Learning From Your Mistakes
Failure is inevitable. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Today, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson joins us to discuss the critical distinction between destructive failures and intelligent mistakes that drive innovation.
HOW TO KNOW A PERSON: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply (with David Brooks)
For the past four years, New York Times columnist and acclaimed author David Brooks has been trying to learn the skills that go into seeing others, understanding others, making other people feel respected, valued, and safe. Such social skills may sound trifling, but mastering them, David believes, could help us all make better decisions, enhance our creativity, and maybe even repair our nation’s fraying social fabric.
• David's new book is How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen
• Learn more about Weave: The Social Fabric Project at weavers.org
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Love the episodes hosted by Caleb!
Huge fan of the show. Always an interesting conversation and topic, but have especially loved the episodes where Caleb has hosted. I feel like the topics are generally more meaty and less “thought-leadery.” I would suggest all listeners to make sure you don’t miss an episode where he’s leading the way!
I love this podcast. Caleb is such a great interviewer and I can’t wait to hear more from him.
Listen to this one
Rarely not worth your time I don’t listen to every single one of anything but I listen to most of these and I am a big consumer of all information history health and more