Coffee: Sobering Up for The Enlightenment

How It Began | 18 December 2017 | 0h 50m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Coffee’s arrival into Europe in the 1600s helped awaken Western Civilization from centuries of booze-induced slumber, catalyzing an entirely new age of progress that featured revolutionary change on practically every front.

The Edge of Humanity

Making Sense with Sam Harris | 19 September 2018 | 2h 06m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Yuval Noah Harari about his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Discusses the importance of meditation, the primacy of stories, the need to revise our fundamental assumptions about human civilisation, threats to liberal democracy, a world without work, universal basic income, the virtues of nationalism and the implications of AI and automation.

Helen Parr: Our Boys

Spectator Books | 14 September 2018 | 0h 30m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Helen Parr about her book Our Boys: The Story of A Paratrooper, which blends memoir, social history and military history to tell the story of the paratroopers who fought in the Falklands War and Britain’s changing relationship with its soldiers and veterans.

How Well Do You Understand Your World?

More or Less: Behind the Stats | 3 September 2018 | 0h 9m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discussion with Bobby Duffy, author of The Perils of Perception: Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything about why we are often wrong about a lot of basic facts.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Context with Brad Harris | 20 August 2018 | 0h 40m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of 1493: Uncovering the New World, by Charles C. Mann, which shows how Europeans emerged at the centre of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange, which globalised commerce, ecology, food and disease.

Simon Winchester on the Pacific

The World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly | 1 August 2018 | 0h 39m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Simon Winchester about his book Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers. Winchester is quite the raconteur, with delicious anecdotes on US nuclear testing and policing Pitcairn Island.

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes

Context with Brad Harris | 27 June 2018 | 0h 36m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes, published in 1998. Landes argued that historically unique cultural values of curiosity, novelty, and private property empowered European society to lead the modern world; a history that offers invaluable lessons for our own time.

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

Context with Brad Harris | 6 June 2018 | 0h 26m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Distils the ideas in Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. Diamond’s fundamental question is why did history unfold so differently on different continents so that Eurasian societies became disproportionately influential in creating the modern world?