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.

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.

Food Myths with Food Historian Rachel Laudan

Future of Agriculture | 20 June 2018 | 0h 31m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Rachel Laudan, the author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History. Discusses how traditional foods came to be considered traditional, notwithstanding their recent and geographically distant origins, the criticality of food processing to feeding us all, the long history of fast food, the importance of separating processed food from “bad food” and what she believes we should consider to be “good food.”

Macbeth

In Our Time | 1 October 2020 | 0h 51m | Listen Later | iTunes
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Shakespeare’s Macbeth. When three witches prophesy that Macbeth will be king one day, he is not prepared to wait and almost the next day murders King Duncan as he sleeps, a guest at Macbeth’s castle. Discusses their brutal world where few boundaries are distinct – between safe and unsafe, friend and foe, real and unreal, man and beast – until Macbeth too is slaughtered.

Sam Harris on the Value of Conversation

The Book Club | 12 August 2020 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Sam Harris about his book Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity. Discusses why civilised conversation is what the world needs now more than ever, why ‘cancel culture’ is real and J.K. Rowling’s trans-rights-activist opponents are ‘insane’, how ‘bad philosophy’ has ruined the social sciences, the circumstances under which totalitarianism might be okay – and why, as a liberal, he thinks the left is in danger of destroying America.

Conversation and Society

The Seen and the Unseen | 19 July 2020 | 1h 46m | Listen Later | iTunes
Wide-ranging interview with Russ Roberts. Topics include his early intellectual influences, the economic lens, Adam’s Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Arnold Kling’s The Three Languages of Politics, listening and conversing effectively, moving past a zero-sum mindset, self-delusion, the armour we wear to avoid being revealed.

How Innovation Works, with Matt Ridley

Uncommon Knowledge | 19 May 2020 | 1h 04m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Matt Ridley about his book, How Innovation Works, which argues that we need to change the way we think about innovation, to see it as an incremental, bottom-up, fortuitous process that happens to society as a direct result of the human habit of exchange, rather than as an orderly, top-down process developing according to a plan. Ridley also discusses the covid-19 crisis, that China has the low-level freedoms necessary for innovation, and predicts what the world might look like in 2050.

The Northumbrians: from Bede to Geordie Shore

History Extra | 6 May 2020 | 0h 38m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Dan Jackson about his book The Northumbrians: North-East England and its People – A New History. Traces the distinctive history and culture of North East England, from ancient times to the present day, before ending with a primer on the Geordie dialect.