Len Mlodinow – The Life of Stephen Hawking

How to Academy | 23 November 2020 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Leonard Mlodinow about his book Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics. Backgrounds his work co-writing A Briefer History of Time and The Grand Design with Hawking. Discusses Hawking’s work, philosophy, daily life and struggles, compassion, and humour.

Creating Innovation Ecosystems with Anton Howes

Venture Stories | 24 November 2020 | 1h 04m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Anton Howes, author of Arts & Minds. Discusses the cultures and conditions where innovation is easier and better; why he wrote the book and the key question he was trying to answer; what Silicon Valley could learn from studying the history of Britain; misconceptions that people have about economic growth in the past and future; why people misunderstand what growth is; how statecraft relates to economic growth; questions that people in the field are trying to answer and where he agrees or disagrees with prominent thinkers; and thoughts on progress studies.

Anton’s newsletter, Age of Invention, is my favourite discovery of the last year or so.

Giles Tremlett: The Spanish Civil War (1936)

Travels Through Time | 3 November 2020 | 0h 45m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Giles Tremlett about his book The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War. Describes in three scenes the International Brigades gathered to fight in the Spanish Civil war: Barcelona on July 19, 1936, the day that the (failed) coup launched by General Franco and others reached Barcelona; Paris in October 1936, as young men (including famous writers) gathered from various countries to travel to Marseilles; and Madrid in November 1936, as the same men march in uniform to the University City, which will soon become the front line.

The Power of Memes – Susan Blackmore

Dilemma Podcast | 21 October 2020 | 1h 09m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Susan Blackmore backgrounding mimetics – which analogises Darwinian evolution to explore how ideas propagate with replication, selection and variation. Draws on her book The Meme Machine.

Sören Urbansky – Beyond the Steppe Frontier

New Books Network | 8 September 2020 | 1h 15m | Listen Later
Interview with Sören Urbansky about his book Beyond the Steppe Frontier: A History of the Sino-Russian Border. Discusses the border’s formation over 300 years and shows how the inter-state boundary took shape as a result of actions by local people, whose lives have in turn been transformed by existence next to a geopolitical faultline.

David Nasaw on The Last Million

Carnegie Council Audio | 23 September 2020 | 0h 56m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with David Nasaw about his book The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War. Discusses the management of and repatriation of the concentration camp survivors, POWs, slave labourers, political prisoners, and Nazi collaborators that did not return home after the end of WWII. Insights on why the Americans chose not to bring Nazi collaborators to justice, and the US domestic political considerations behind Jewish settlement in Israel.

Peter Richerson: Morality from an Evolutionary Perspective

This View of Life | 13 August 2020 | 0h 51m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Peter J. Richerson discussing morality from an evolutionary perspective. Draws on his book Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, co-authored with Robert Boyd.

Optionality by Richard Meadows

Richard Meadows has released his book Optionality: How to Survive and Thrive in a Volatile World.

It’s a beautifully written book that synthesises the ideas of many thinkers to argue that the good life is a function of good options.

He covers why having high-quality options is the best proxy for the good life; decision making under uncertainty; using options with capped downside and open upside to build health, wealth, skills, and social capital; risk management; when to deliberately constrain your options; and making meaning in a meaningless universe.

Never have I read something so profound and erudite delivered so lightly. This is a must-read book that you will be talking about for a long time.

There is further background, including a free chapter to download, at Richard’s blog Deep Dish.