Andrew Roberts on Churchill and the Craft of Biography

EconTalk | 26 August 2019 | 1h 10m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Andrew Roberts about the life of Winston Churchill and the art of biography. How did Churchill deal with the mistakes he inevitably made in a long career? Was he prescient or just the right man in the right place at the right time? Was he an alcoholic? Did he suffer from depression? Drawing on his biography of Churchill, Andrew Roberts answers these and other questions in this wide-ranging conversation that includes a discussion of the mechanics of writing a 1000 page book on a man who has had over 1000 biographies written about him already.

Tyler Cowen on Big Business

EconTalk | 19 August 2019 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Tyler Cowen about his book, Big Business, which argues that big corporations in America are underrated and under-appreciated. Strays widely with a deliciously contrarian take on many subjects including the advantages of social media.

Andy Matuschak on Books and Learning

EconTalk | 7 August 2019 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Andy Matuschak about his essay Why Books Don’t Work. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And yet after reading a non-fiction book, most readers will struggle to remember any of the ideas in the book. Matuschak argues for a different approach to transmitting ideas via the web including different ways that authors or teachers can test for understanding that will increase the chances of retention and mastery of complex ideas.

Chris Arnade on Dignity

EconTalk | 22 July 2019 | 1h 21m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with photographer, author, and former Wall St. trader Chris Arnade about his book, Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America. Arnade quit his Wall Street job and criss-crossed America photographing and getting to know the addicted and homeless who struggle to find work and struggle to survive. Discusses what Arnade learned about Americans and himself.

Adam Cifu on the Case for Being a Medical Conservative

EconTalk | 1 July 2019 | 1h 13m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with physician and author Adam Cifu about the ideas in The Case for Being a Medical Conservative. Cifu encourages doctors to appreciate the complexity of medical care and the reality that many medical techniques advocated by experts are not always beneficial or cost-effective. The conversation explores the challenges of finding reliable evidence to support medical interventions and the inherent uncertainty surrounding outcomes.

Hitchens on Orwell

EconTalk | 17 August 2009 | 1h 09m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with the late Christopher Hitchens about George Orwell. Drawing on his book Why Orwell Matters, Hitchens talks about Orwell’s opposition to imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, his moral courage, and his devotion to language. Along the way, Hitchens makes the case for why Orwell matters.

Anja Shortland on Kidnap

EconTalk | 17 June 2019 | 1h 17m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Anja Shortland about her book Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business. Explores this strange, frightening, but surprisingly orderly world of kidnapping, which is relatively common where government authority is weak. She shows how the interaction between kidnappers, victims, and insurance companies creates a somewhat predictable set of prices for ransom and creates a relatively high chance of the safe return of those who are kidnapped.

Bjorn Lomborg on the Costs and Benefits of Attacking Climate Change

EconTalk | 10 June 2019 | 1h 10m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Bjorn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, about the costs and benefits of attacking climate change. Lomborg argues that we should always be aware of tradeoffs and effectiveness when assessing policies to reduce global warming. He advocates for realistic solutions that consider the potential to improve human life in other ways. He is sceptical of the potential to move away from fossil fuels and argues that geo-engineering and adaptation may be the most effective ways to cope with climate change.