Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization

EconTalk | 16 November 2020 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Virginia Postrel about her book The Fabric of Civilization and How Textiles Made the World. Tells the fascinating story behind the clothes we wear and everything that goes into producing them throughout history. The history of textiles, Postrel argues, is a good way of understanding the history of the world.

Russ Roberts on Whether it’s More Effective to Help Strangers, or People You Know

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin | 3 November 2020 | 1h 49m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Russ Roberts about charity, the reliability of data to inform decision-making, and utilitarianism. Discusses effective altruism in light of the limited data and uncertainties.

Fredrik deBoer on the Cult of Smart

EconTalk | 26 October 2020 | 1h 17m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Fredrik deBoer about his book The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice. DeBoer argues that there is little that can be done to change the distribution of educational outcomes. He argues that educational reforms like charter schools and No Child Left Behind are doomed to failure. DeBoer, a self-described Marxist, suggests that society should remove the privilege of educational advantage.

Anne Applebaum on the Twilight of Democracy

EconTalk | 12 October 2020 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Anne Applebaum about her book Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. Discusses the rise of populist and nationalist movements and their appeal even when they begin to erode or destroy democracy.

Lisa Cook on Racism, Patents, and Black Entrepreneurship

EconTalk | 21 September 2020 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Lisa Cook discussing her research into the impact of racism, lynching, and segregation on Black inventors and entrepreneurs and the consequent effect on innovation and the wider US economy. Nicely contextualised with her work studying the barriers to innovation in the Russian economy. Also considers the best measures to move forward from here.

Margaret Heffernan on Uncharted

EconTalk | 7 September 2020 | 1h 04m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Margaret Heffernan about her book Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. Considers how best to prepare for an unpredictable future. Argues that smart organizations and people can learn how to do it.

Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works

EconTalk | 31 August 2020 | 1h 11m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Matt Ridley about his book How Innovation Works. Ridley argues that we give too much credit to inventors and not enough to innovators – those who refine and improve an invention to make it valuable to users. Along the way, he emphasizes the power of trial and error and the importance of permissionless innovation.

This is the fourth episode I’ve posted with Matt Ridley about How Innovation Works. It’s a fantastic book, by my favourite author, interviewed here by my favourite podcaster.

Ben Cohen on the Hot Hand

EconTalk | 10 August 2020 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Ben Cohen about his book The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks. At times in sports and elsewhere in life, a person seems to be “on fire,” playing at an unusually high level. Is this real or an illusion? Cohen takes the listener through the scientific literature on this question and spreads a very wide net to look at the phenomenon of being in the zone outside of sports. Topics include Shakespeare, investing, Stephen Curry, and asylum judges.