Jennifer Burns on Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand

Conversations with Tyler | 15 November 2023 | 0h 59m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Jennifer Burns about her books Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Discusses how her new portrait of Friedman caused her to reassess him, his lasting impact on statistics, whether he was too dogmatic, his shift from academic to public intellectual, the problem with Two Lucky People, what Friedman’s courtship of Rose Friedman was like, how Milton’s family influenced him, why Friedman opposed Hayek’s courtesy appointment at the University of Chicago, Friedman’s attitudes toward friendship, his relationship to fiction and the arts, and the prospects for his intellectual legacy. Next, discusses her previous work on Ayn Rand, including whether Rand was a good screenwriter, which is the best of her novels, what to make of the sex scenes in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, how Rand and Mises got along, and why there are so few successful businesswomen depicted in American fiction. Delves into why fiction seems so much more important for the American left than it is for the right, what’s driving the decline of the American conservative intellectual condition, what she will do next, and more.

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Stephen Jennings on Building New Cities

Conversations with Tyler | 1 November 2023 | 0h 53m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Stephen Jennings about developing new urban landscapes across Africa, why he’s optimistic about Kenya in particular, why so many African cities appear to have low agglomeration externalities, how Tatu City regulates cars and designs for transportation, how his experience as reformer and privatizer informed the way utilities are provided, what will set the city apart aesthetically, why talent is the biggest constraint he faces, how Nairobi should fix its traffic problems, what variable best tracks Kenyan unity, what the country should do to boost agricultural productivity, the economic prospects for New Zealand, how playing rugby influenced his approach to the world, how living in Kenya has changed him, what he will learn next, and more.

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Jacob Mikanowski on Eastern Europe

Conversations with Tyler | 18 October 2023 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Jacob Mikanowski about his book Goodbye, Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land. Discusses the differences between Eastern and Western European humor, whether Poles are smiling more nowadays, why the best Polish folk art is from the south, the equilibrium for Kaliningrad and the Suwałki Gap, how Romania and Bulgaria will handle depopulation, whether Moldova has an independent future, why there are so few Christian-Muslim issues in Albania, a nuanced take on Orbán and Hungarian politics, why food in Poland is so good now, why Stanisław Lem hasn’t gotten more attention in the West, how Eastern Europe has changed his view of humanity, his ideal two-week itinerary in the region, and more.

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Celebrating Marginal Revolution’s 20th Anniversary

Conversations with Tyler | 23 August 2023 | 0h 58m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen on the 20th anniversary of Marginal Revolution. Discusses MR’s legacy, including the golden age of blogging in the mid-2000s, the decline of independent blogs and the rise of social media, the robust community—and even marriage—forged through MR, favorite commenters, how MR catalyzed separate real-world pandemic responses by each of them, what’s happened to Tyrone, whether the site’s popularity has tempted them into self-censoring, and more.

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Paul Graham on Ambition, Art, and Evaluating Talent

Conversations with Tyler | 9 August 2023 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Paul Graham discussing what areas of talent judgment his wife is better at, whether young founders have gotten rarer, whether he still takes a dim view of solo founders, how to 2x ambition in the developed world, on the minute past which a Y Combinator interviewer is unlikely to change their mind, what YC learned after rejecting companies, how he got over his fear of flying, Florentine history, why almost all good artists are underrated, what’s gone wrong in art, why new homes and neighborhoods are ugly, why he wants to visit the Dark Ages, why he’s optimistic about Britain and San Fransisco, the challenges of regulating AI, whether we’re underinvesting in high-cost interruption activities, walking, soundproofing, fame, and more.

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Reid Hoffman on the Possibilities of AI

Conversations with Tyler | 28 June 2023 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Reid Hoffman about his book Impromptu: Amplifying Our Humanity Through AI. Discusses the optimal liability regime for LLMs, autonomous money-making bots, regulating AI, how AI will affect the media ecosystem and the communication of ideas, whether AI’s future will be open-source or proprietary, what he’d ask a dolphin, how higher education will change, and more.

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Peter Singer on Utilitarianism, Influence, and Controversial Ideas

Conversations with Tyler | 7 June 2023 | 0h 52m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Peter Singer discussing utilitarianism, the meat-eater problem, why he might side with aliens over humans, at what margins he would police nature, the utilitarian approach to secularism and abortion, the Journal of Controversial Ideas, Effective Altruism, Derek Parfit, to what extent we should respect the wishes of the dead, why professional philosophy is so boring, how to enjoy our lives, and more. Draws from his book Animal Liberation Now: The Definitive Classic Renewed.

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Jess Wade on Chiral Materials, Open Knowledge, and Representation in STEM

Conversations with Tyler | 5 April 2023 | 0h 56m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Jessica Wade discussing gender stereotypes in science, ways to encourage women in science, her work editing Wikipedia entries and how Wikipedia should be improved, how she’d improve science funding, her work on chiral materials and its near-term applications, whether writing a kid’s science book should be rewarded in academia, and more.

The episode mentions her kid’s science book, Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small, which sounds like a good buy for the young people in your life.

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