Amitav Ghosh – How the Opium Trade Shaped Capitalism

How To Academy | 13 February 2024 | 0h 38m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Amitav Ghosh about his book Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories. Traces the links between the opium trade and the origins of the world’s biggest corporations and most powerful American families, and considers its relevance to the unfolding tragedy of America’s contemporary opioid crisis.

I enjoyed this episode, but not the piece at the end that suggests fossil fuels are addictive products foisted on us by oil companies. Isn’t it more sensible to attribute emissions to end users rather than the oil companies that supply that demand?

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Napoleon Bonaparte with Louis Sarkozy

Aspects of History | 10 February 2024 | 0h 56m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Louis Sarkozy about his book Napoleon’s Library: The Emperor, His Books and Their Influence on the Napoleonic Era. Discusses his image in France, Russia, Prussia and England; attempts to cancel him; and his love of reading and the influence the books he read had on him.

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The West’s Enduring Fascination with Asia

History Extra | 29 January 2024 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Christopher Harding about his book The Light of Asia: A History of Western Fascination with the East. Discusses Westerners’ enduring fascination with India, China and Japan, and the ways it has shaped the relationship between East and West from the ancient world to the 21st century.

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Sathnam Sanghera: Empireworld

The Book Club | 31 January 2024 | 0h 44m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Sathnam Sanghera about his book Empireworld: How British Imperialism Shaped the Globe. Discusses the effect of British imperialism around the globe, why he’s trying to get beyond the ‘balance-sheet’ view of imperial history, why we should all read W E B Dubois, and why he’s not good at going on holiday.

See also the How to Academy interview with Sathnam Sanghera and William Dalrymple about British imperialism in India.

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How the Navy Learned to Fight

ChinaTalk | 18 January 2024 | 1h 53m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Trent Hone discussing how the US Navy evolved over the first half of the 20C from a bunch of unschooled violent sailors who couldn’t shoot straight to the world’s largest and most technologically advanced fighting force. Considers the organizational design lessons we can learn from this transformation. Draws from his books Learning War and Mastering the Art of Command.

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Big Bets: A Practical Guide to Changing the World

The Next Big Idea | 1 February 2024 | 0h 54m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Rajiv Shah about his book Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens. Discusses his life and work: working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation running a global vaccination program that immunized 900 million children and saved 16 million lives; administering the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managing a $20 billion budget, overseeing a staff of 10,000, and leading the U.S. response to global humanitarian crises; as president of the Rockefeller Foundation finding innovative solutions to mitigate climate change and end energy poverty. Shares his methodology for creating large-scale change and making the world a better place with a big bet mentality: setting profound, seemingly unachievable goals and believing they are achievable.

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Timothy Brook on The Price of Collapse

New Books in Economic and Business History | 4 January 2024 | 0h 37m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Timothy Brook about his book The Price of Collapse: The Little Ice Age and the Fall of Ming China. Argues that environmental disaster sparked the fall of the Ming Dynasty. Discusses inflation in Ming China, how it connects to climate change, and how short-term environmental shocks can cause a market to break down.

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If Life Is Random, Is It Meaningless? (with Brian Klaas)

EconTalk | 22 January 2024 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Brian Klaas about his book Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters. Cites examples of chance events profoundly shaping both society and individual lifes. Argues that recognizing the randomness of everyday life and history can lead to a newfound appreciation for the meaning of every decision, and to a focus on joyful experimentation instead of relentless optimization.

See also The Prospect Interview about his earlier book Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us

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