Stanley McChrystal on the Military, Leadership, and Risk

Conversations with Tyler | 20 October 2021 | 0h 53m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Stanley McChrystal drawing on his book Risk: A User’s Guide. Discusses risk, the dangerous urge among policymakers to oversimplify the past, why being a good military commander is about more than winning battlefield victories, how to maintain a long view of history, what set Henry Kissinger apart, the usefulness of war games, why there haven’t been any major attacks on US soil since 9/11, the danger of a “soldier class” in America, why he supports a draft, the most emotionally difficult part and greatest joys of his military career, the prospect of drone assassinations, what he eats for his only meal of the day, and more.

Claudia Goldin on the Economics of Inequality

Conversations with Tyler | 6 October 2021 | 0h 49m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Claudia Goldin discussing the US gender earnings gap, what’s behind falling marriage rates for those without a college degree, why the wage gap flips for Black women versus Black men, theoretical approaches for modeling intersectionality, gender ratios in economics, why she’s skeptical about happiness research, how the New York Times wedding announcement page has evolved, the problems with for-profit education, the value of an Ivy League degree, whether a Coasian solution existed to prevent the Civil War, which Americans were most likely to be anti-immigrant in the 1920s, her forthcoming work on Lanham schools, and more.

Amia Srinivasan on Utopian Feminism

Conversations with Tyler | 22 September 2021 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Amia Srinivasan about her book The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century. Discusses the importance of context in her vision of feminism, what social conservatives are right about, why she’s skeptical about extrapolating from the experience of women in Nordic countries, the feminist critique of the role of consent in sex, whether disabled individuals should be given sex vouchers, how to address falling fertility rates, what women learned about egalitarianism during the pandemic, why progress requires regress, how Hinduism has shaped her metaphysics, how Bernard Williams and Derek Parfitt influenced her, the anarchic strain in her philosophy, why she calls herself a socialist, and more.

Andrew Sullivan on Braving New Intellectual Journeys

Conversations with Tyler | 11 August 2021 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Andrew Sullivan about his book Out on a Limb: Selected Writing, 1989–2021. Discusses the role of the AIDs epidemic in achieving marriage equality, why public intellectuals often lack courage, how being a gay man helps him access perspectives he otherwise wouldn’t, how drugs influence his ideas, why he’s a passionate defender of SATs and IQ tests, what Niall Ferguson and Boris Johnson were like as fellow undergraduates, what Americans get wrong about British politics, why so few people share his admiration for Margaret Thatcher, whether wokeism has a positive influence globally, and more.

Niall Ferguson on Why We Study History

Conversations with Tyler | 28 July 2021 | 0h 54m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Niall Ferguson discussing the difference between English and Scottish pessimism, his surprise encounter with Sean Connery, what James Bond and Doctor Who have in common, how religion fosters the cultural imagination to produce doomsday scenarios, which side of the Glorious Revolution he would have been on, the extraordinary historical trajectory of Scotland from the 17th century through the 18th century, why historians seem to have an excessive occupation with leadership, what he learned from R.G. Collingwood and A.J.P. Taylor, why American bands could never quite get punk music right, Tocqueville’s insights on liberalism, the unfortunate iconoclasm of John Maynard Keynes, the dystopian novel he finds most plausible, what he learned about right and left populism on his latest trip to Latin America, the importance of intellectual succession and building institutions, what he’ll do next, and more.

Richard Prum on Birds, Beauty, and Finding Your Own Way

Conversations with Tyler | 30 June 2021 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Richard Prum about his book The Evolution of Beauty. Discusses the infidelity of Australian birds, the origins of avian flight, how the lack of a penis explains why birds are so beautiful, why albatrosses can afford to take so many years to develop before mating, the game theory in ornithology compared with economics, how modern technology is revolutionizing bird watching, how scarcity predicts territoriality in birds, how falcons and cormorants hunt and fish with humans, whether birds exhibit a G factor, why birds have regional accents, why he’s not excited about trying to bring back passenger pigeons, and more.

Patricia Fara on Newton, Scientific Progress, and the Benefits of Unhistoric Acts

Conversations with Tyler | 24 February 2021 | 0h 57m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Patricia Fara about her book Life After Gravity: Isaac Newton’s London Career. Discusses why Newton left Cambridge to run The Royal Mint, why he was so productive during the Great Plague, why the “Scientific Revolution” should be understood as a gradual process, what the Antikythera device tells us about science in the ancient world, the influence of Erasmus Darwin on his grandson, sex-segregated schooling, the reasons she considers Madame Lavoisier to be the greatest female science illustrator, and more.

Benjamin Friedman on the Origins of Economic Belief

Conversations with Tyler | 27 January 2021 | 1h 07m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Benjamin Friedman about ideas from his book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism. Argues that contrary to the popular belief that Western economic ideas are a secular product of the Enlightenment, instead they are the result of hotly debated theological questions within the English-speaking Protestant world of thinkers like Adam Smith and David Hume. Discusses the connection between religious belief and support for markets, what drives varying cultural commitments to capitalism, why the rate of growth is key to sustaining liberal values, why Paul Volcker is underrated, why annuities don’t work better, America’s debt and fiscal sustainability, his critiques of nominal GDP targeting, why he wouldn’t change the governance of the Fed, how he maintains his motivation to keep learning, and more.