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The Ezra Klein Show

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #1 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy
News
Politics
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Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

iTunes Ratings

7572 Ratings
Average Ratings
6150
539
260
201
422

The entire podcast

By Sunny Wunder - May 19 2020
Read more
Ezra, quantum Mechanics and you. I’m glad you’re both in my universe.

Madeline Miller episode

By rabidmoderate - May 09 2020
Read more
Fascinating and welcome break from politics

iTunes Ratings

7572 Ratings
Average Ratings
6150
539
260
201
422

The entire podcast

By Sunny Wunder - May 19 2020
Read more
Ezra, quantum Mechanics and you. I’m glad you’re both in my universe.

Madeline Miller episode

By rabidmoderate - May 09 2020
Read more
Fascinating and welcome break from politics
Cover image of The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

Latest release on Aug 03, 2020

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Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Rank #1: A mind-bending conversation about quantum mechanics and parallel worlds

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While you read these words, the universe is splitting into countless copies. New realities, all with a version of you, exactly like you are now, but journeying off into their own branch of the multiverse.

Maybe.

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at CalTech, the host of the Mindscape podcast, and author of, among other books, Something Deeply Hidden, which blew my mind a bit. He is also a believer in, and defender of, the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, which has to be one of the five most fun things in the world to think about. Science!

This is a conversation where I get to do something I’ve always wanted to do: Ask a real quantum physicist all of my questions about quantum physics. And then ask again, when I don’t understand the answer, which I usually don’t. And then again, when I sort of understand, but there’s still a part tripping me up. Carroll is wonderfully patient and beautifully clear, and the result is a conversation I haven’t stopped telling friends about since I had it. This world sucks right now. Let’s think about some other ones.



References:

The Biggest Ideas in the Universe! YouTube series

Book recommendations:

How Physics Makes Us Free by J. T. Ismael

How the Universe Got Its Spots by Janna Levin

The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Ouellette


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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May 14 2020

1hr 22mins

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Rank #2: Ta-Nehisi Coates: "There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story"

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author at the Atlantic. His book, Between the World and Me, won the National Book Award, and was spoofed on SNL. He's writing the (awesome) Black Panther series for Marvel. He's a certified MacArthur Genius. And he just released a blockbuster story based on hours of interviews with President Obama about the role race played in Obama's upbringing, his presidency, and the 2016 campaign.Coates is also one of my favorite people to talk to, and I think this conversation shows why.The first half of our conversation is political: it's about Coates's conversations with Obama, his impressions of the president, his perspective on American politics, the way his atheism informs his worldview, why he thinks a tragic outlook is important for finding the truth but — at least for nonwhite politicians — a hindrance for winning political power. The second half is much more personal: it's about his frustrations as a writer, his discomfort with the way "Between the World and Me" was adopted by white audiences, how he learns, his surprising advice for young writers, his belief that personal stability enables professional wildness, his past as a blogger, his desire to return to school, his favorite books. I loved this interview. I think you will, too.

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Dec 14 2016

1hr 46mins

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Rank #3: Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions

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Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction (though if you didn't know the famed author has launched a podcast, you should — it's called Revisionist History, and it's great.).Gladwell's work has become so iconic, so known, that it's become easy to take it for granted. But Gladwell is perhaps the greatest contrarian journalist of his generation — he looks at things you've seen before, comes to conclusions that are often the opposite of the conventional wisdom, and then leaves you wondering how you could ever have missed what he saw. To see something new in something old is a talent, it's a process, and it's what we discuss, in a dozen different ways, in this episode. Among the topics we tackle:-How Gladwell got started at the Washington Post after being fired from another job for waking up late-Gladwell’s high school zine based on personal attacks and Bill Buckley-How Canadians are disinclined to escalate conflicts-The value and nature of boredom in childhood-How people reflexively pile on to convenient narratives -How the economics of media might be influencing its current tone-Why pickup trucks today are so much larger than they used to be-His insights about the current identity of journalists as a culture-Why podcasting is different from writing for the page/screen-Why talking about numbers can be difficult in audio-How the internet will one day seem like an experiment gone completely awry-Why you shouldn’t have satellite radio in your car-Whether more individualized education is a a good idea-The importance of people who are above average though not exceptionalThis is a fun conversation, but it's also a useful one. It's hard to look at something that is believed to be understood and realize it's been misunderstood. Hell, it's hard to look at something that is believed to be understood and take seriously the idea that it might have been misunderstood. This is Gladwell's great skill — it is the product of both a process and an outlook, and it's worth hearing how he does it.

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Aug 23 2016

1hr 35mins

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Rank #4: Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle

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In the past few months, two essays on America’s changing relationship to work caught my eye. The first was Anne Helen Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed piece defining, and describing, “millennial burnout.” The second was Derek Thompson’s Atlantic article on “workism.”

The two pieces speak to each other in interesting ways, and to some questions I’ve been reflecting on as my own relationship to work changes. So I asked the authors to join me for a conversation about what happens when work becomes an identity, capitalism becomes a religion, and productivity becomes the way we measure human value. The conversation exceeded even the high hopes I had for it. Enjoy this one.

Book recommendations:

Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennialsby Malcolm Harris

White: Essays on Race and Cultureby Richard Dyer

The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914by Philipp Blom

A Visit from the Goon Squadby Jennifer Egan

If you’ll be in Washington, DC, on Thursday, April 25, join us for a morning of live podcasts in celebration of our fifth birthday. RSVP here: http://voxmediaevents.com/vox5

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Apr 22 2019

1hr 24mins

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Rank #5: Where Jonathan Haidt thinks the American mind went wrong

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Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist at New York University and the co-founder of Heterodox University. His book The Righteous Mind, which describes the different moral frameworks that animate the left and the right, was a key influence on my work. But these days, Haidt is worried about something new. "Teen anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have risen sharply in the last few years," he writes in The Coddling of the American Mind, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff. "The culture on many college campuses has become more ideologically uniform, compromising the ability of scholars to seek truth, and of students to learn from a broad range of thinkers." The kids, in other words, aren't all right. Haidt sees a generation warped by overparenting and smartphones and flirting with illiberalism. He worries over a culture of "safetyism" that confuses disagreement with violence. He sees political correctness on campus as a threat not just to speakers' incomes, but to students' psyches. I often find myself a skeptic in this conversation. The panic over campus activism seems overblown to me. It's suffused with bad-faith efforts to nationalize isolated examples of college kids behaving badly in order to discredit serious critiques of social injustice. But that's why I wanted to have Haidt on the show: If anyone could convince me I'm wrong about this, it'd be him. Recommended Books: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie The Authoritarian Dynamic by Karen Stenner Notes from our sponsors:LEGO: In today's show you heard advertising content from The LEGO Store. With LEGO, every gift has a story. Start your story today at https://LEGO.build/EKS-Pop

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Nov 26 2018

1hr 53mins

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Rank #6: How Whole Foods, yoga, and NPR became the hallmarks of the elite

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If you're anything like me, this episode will make you think about the way you shop, learn, eat, parent, and exercise in a whole new way.

My guest today is Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California whose most recent book The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class documents the rise of a new, unprecedented elite class in the United States. Previously, the elite classes differentiated themselves from the rest by purchasing expensive material goods like flashy clothes and expensive cars. But, for reasons we get into, today’s elite is different: We signify our class position by reading the New Yorker, acquiring elite college degrees, buying organic food, breastfeeding our children, and, of course, listening to podcasts like this one.

These activities may seem completely innocent — perhaps even enlightened. Yet, as we discuss here, they simultaneously shore up inequality, erode social mobility, and create an ever-more stratified society — all without most of us even noticing. This is a conversation that implicates us all, and, for that very reason, it is well worth grappling with.

Book recommendations:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Art Worlds by Howard S. Becker

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:

When meritocracy wins, everybody loses

Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle

What a smarter Trumpism would sound like


My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app.

Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineer - Jeff Geld

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Nov 14 2019

1hr 13mins

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Rank #7: Bill Gates on stopping climate change, building robots, and the best books he's read

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Bill Gates is one of those people for whom "needs no introduction" is actually true. The polymathic Microsoft founder now leads the world's largest and most important private foundation, and he's predicting that we're on the cusp of the energy breakthrough that's going to save the world. He also talks about the controversial idea that technological innovation is slowing down, assesses how close we are to true artificial intelligence, and explains why you really want to save being sick for 20 years from now. 

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Feb 23 2016

44mins

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Rank #8: Cory Booker on the spiritual dimension of politics

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Cory Booker is a United States senator from New Jersey, the only vegan in Congress, and the author of the new book "United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good". In this conversation, Ezra and Booker go deep on Booker's history and unusual approach to politics. Topics covered include:- How Booker's parents used a sting operation to desegregate a neighborhood, and why they did it- Why Ezra doesn't eat breakfast- Booker's disagreements with Ta-Nehisi Coates- How a 10-day fast led to a (temporary) peace with Booker's worst political enemy- How spirituality informs Booker's approach to politics- The lessons Booker took from his early losses in with elections and city council fights- What it's like to be the only vegan in Congress- Why Booker hates penguins- Whether it's cynical or simply realistic to doubt America's political institutions- Which books have influenced Booker mostAnd much, much more. Oh, and Ezra gives Booker some advice on productivity apps, drawn from the weird, possibly wrongheaded, way he lives his own life.

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Mar 22 2016

1hr 50mins

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Rank #9: Neoliberalism and its discontents

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“Neoliberalism” is one of the most confusing phrases in political discourse today. The term is often used to describe the market fundamentalism of thinkers like Milton Friedman and Frederich Hayek or politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. At the same time, critics often place more progressive figures like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Elizabeth Warren under the neoliberal banner. This raises an important question: what the hell is neoliberalism?

I decided to bring on two guests today to help us answer that question. Wendy Brown is a professor of political theory at UC Berkeley, author of Undoing the Demos and In the Ruins of Neoliberalism, and one of the foremost critics of neoliberalism, not only as a set of economic policies but a “governing rationality” that infects almost all aspects of our existence. Noah Smith is an economist, a columnist at Bloomberg, and is known for his robust defenses of some (though not all) neoliberal positions, which earned him the prestigious title of Chief Neoliberal Shill of 2018. We discuss:

- The differences between neoliberal theory and “actually existing neoliberalism”

- Neoliberalism as not only a set of economic policies but a form of “public reason” that influences our very conception of what it means to be human

- How neoliberal thought came to dominate almost every aspect of our lives

- Whether neoliberalism is an inherently anti-democratic project

- The relationship between neoliberal economic policies and traditional morality

- The differences between New Deal liberalism and Obama-era neoliberalism

- Whether a growth-driven economic model is compatible with our planet's ecological limits


Book recommendations:

How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

Law Without Future by Jack Jackson

Democracy in Chains by Nancy McLean


My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app.


Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineer - Topher Routh

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Oct 24 2019

1hr 34mins

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Rank #10: Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change

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First off. Hello! I’m back from paternity leave. And this is a helluva podcast to restart with.

Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar, a Navy veteran, and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He’s a married gay man, a churchgoing Episcopalian, and a proud millennial. He’s also, according to CNN, “the hottest candidate in the 2020 race right now.”

There’s been plenty of discussion of Buttigieg’s biography, and of whether a midsize-city mayorship is appropriate experience for the presidency. But I wanted to talk to him about something else: his theory of political change. How, in a broken system, would he get done even a fraction of what he’s promising? To my surprise, he actually had an answer.

Before I did this podcast, I was surprised to see Buttigieg catching fire. Now that I’ve had this conversation, I’m not.

Book recommendations:

Ulysses by James Joyce

Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000 by Stephen Kotkin

We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3X6WMNF

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Apr 01 2019

1hr 2mins

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Rank #11: Hillary Clinton. Yes, that Hillary Clinton.

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My interview this week is with Hillary Clinton. You may have heard of her.I won't bore you with Clinton's bio. Instead, I want to say a few words about what this interview is, as it's a bit different than the EK Show's normal fare (though I do ask her for book recommendations!).I got about 40 minutes with Hillary Clinton. I wanted to use that time to try to answer a question I've had about Clinton for years: why is the candidate I see on the campaign trail so different from the person described to me by her staff, colleagues, friends, and even foes? I wanted, in other words, to try to see what Clinton is like when she's working her way through policy and governance issues. And so that's what we talk about. Among the topics we covered are:- Extreme poverty, welfare reform, and the working poor- Is it time for more deficit spending?- Would more immigration be good for the economy?- The difficulties of free college and universal health care- What skills does a president need that campaigns don't test?- What's on her bookshelf?- Why America stopped trusting elites — and what elites should do about itIf you want more on this discussion, I also reported out a long piece on how Clinton governs — you can find it on Vox.com.

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Jul 12 2016

48mins

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Rank #12: Robert Reich on supporting Bernie Sanders, dating Hillary Clinton, and fighting inequality

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You could fill a podcast just reciting Robert Reich's biography. Rhodes Scholar. Assistant to U.S. Solicitor General Robert Bork. Director of policy planning at the Federal Trade Commission under Carter. Secretary of Labor for Bill Clinton. Candidate for governor of Massachusetts. Co-founder of the American Prospect (where I got my first job in journalism!). Member of Barack Obama's economic transition team. Author of bestselling book after bestselling book. Professor. Viral video star. Documentary maker.More recently, Reich has emerged as perhaps the most persuasive (and, on Facebook, widely shared) surrogate for Bernie Sanders. It's a turn that likely would have surprised Reich's younger self — he worked with Hillary Clinton in college, was close friends with Bill Clinton at Oxford, and served Secretary of Labor during Bill Clinton's first term.Among the topics Reich and I cover:- His early relationship with the Clintons, including the time he went on a date with Hillary Clinton- His effort to create an experimental, participatory alternative to college at Dartmouth- The three policies he would change first to curb inequality- The story behind his co-founding of the American Prospect — the magazine that gave me my first job in journalism- What Bernie Sanders is like in person, and how that does or doesn't differ from his public persona- How to communicate effectively about public policy- Whether inequality or political polarization is the root cause of government dysfunction- His relationship with his mentor, John Kenneth GalbraithAnd there is, honestly, much, much more. Reich is, as you'll hear, an incredible storyteller, a sharp thinker, and a very fun guy to talk to, Enjoy!This episode of The Ezra Klein Show is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/EZRA to watch hundreds of courses for free!

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May 03 2016

1hr 44mins

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Rank #13: The disillusionment of David Brooks

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2013 was David Brooks’s worst year. “The realities that used to define my life fell away,” he says. His marriage ended. His children moved out. The conservative movement was undergoing the crack-up that would lead to Donald Trump, and to Brooks’s excommunication.

For Brooks, the past few years have been a radicalization. His new book, The Second Mountain, is an effort to work out a more service- and community-oriented definition of the good life. But on a deeper level, it’s a searing critique of meritocracy, of productivity, and, as I try to get him to admit in this podcast, of capitalism itself. But is Brooks really willing to embrace what that critique demands?

If you liked the “Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle” episode a few weeks back, you’ll love this one.

Book recommendations:

Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris 

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May 02 2019

1hr 38mins

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Rank #14: Andrew Sullivan on quitting blogging, fearing political correctness, and Donald Trump

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Last year, Andrew Sullivan quit blogging — the medium he had done so much to create. And you know what? He was pretty damn happy about it. He was taking walks, meditating, exercising, reading, and generally living the good life. Of course, then Donald Trump just had to go and drag him back into the fray...In this extremely, extremely fun conversation, I talked with Andrew about:- His 10-day silent meditation retreat- His central role pushing gay marriage from a fringe idea to a constitutional right- What it was like being an HIV-positive writer during the height of the plague, and how the experience deepened his faith- Why he believes in God- Whether you can build a media business based off of advertising- How his thinking on Obama has changed since 2008- What he thinks is so unusually dangerous about Donald Trump- Why a politics based on how people feel scares himAnd much more. This is one of the most fun conversations I've had for this show. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. 

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May 24 2016

1hr 56mins

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Rank #15: Taking Trump’s corruption seriously

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The question of whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election has consumed Washington since the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller special counsel in March 2017. But there's another question worth considering: the financial corruption swirling around Trump’s businesses, and now his administration. In any other White House, this would be the ongoing, constant story — the site of endless investigations and inquiries. And it still might be. We know Mueller is looking into the web of financial ties between Trump’s businesses and the post-Soviet bloc, and we know that part of the Mueller investigation gets Trump particularly outraged. Plus, we still don’t know what’s on Trump’s tax returns, or what could be discovered if Democrats take back a chamber of Congress and get subpoena power. Here’s my bet: If there is some scandal lurking that’s going to derail the Trump administration, I think it’s going to be found by following the money, not by following the Russian bots. Adam Davidson has been investigating this since Trump's election. If you're an avid podcast listener, you probably know Adam from his days at Planet Money. He's now at the New Yorker, doing some of the best investigative work on the Trump Organization. You’ll want to hear what he’s found. 

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Aug 02 2018

1hr 7mins

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Rank #16: This conversation will change how you understand misogyny

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Misogyny has long been understood as something men feel, not something women experience. That, says philosopher Kate Manne, is a mistake. In her book Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, Manne defines misogyny as “as primarily a property of social environments,” one that not only doesn’t need hatred of women to function, but actually calms hatred of women when it is functioning.

Politics is thick right now with arguments over misogyny, patriarchy, and gender roles. These arguments are powering media controversies, political candidacies, and ideological movements. Manne’s framework makes so much more sense of this moment than the definitions and explanations most of us have been given. This is one of those conversations that will let you see the world through a new lens.

In part because her framework touches on so much, this is a conversation that covers an unusual amount of ground. We talk about misogyny and patriarchy, of course, but also anxiety, Jordan Peterson, the role of shame in politics, my recent meditation retreat, Sweden, the social roles that grind down men, and a piece of satire in McSweeney’s that might just be the key to understanding the 2016 and 2020 elections. Enjoy!

Information about Peltason Lecture at UC Irvine

Book Recommendations:

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

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Jan 31 2019

2hr 16mins

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Rank #17: How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy

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In Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj’s new Netflix show, he does three things political comedians often don’t do. First, he makes political comedy personal. Second, he makes it visual. And third, he makes it last. Minhaj was the last correspondent hired by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. Since then, he’s hosted the 2017 White House Correspondents Dinner, debuted the critically-acclaimed special Homecoming King, and now, with the new show, he’s creating a unique space in the post-Stewart world. In this conversation, we talk about what Minhaj learned from Stewart, what political comedians owe their audiences, and whether creativity requires safe spaces. We also nerd out on process: how he writes his jokes, the difficulty of knowing what you actually think amidst so much noise and so many takes, and how it changes the editorial process when you know people will be watching what you produce a year from now. And most importantly, I force Minhaj to answer for his many, many slurs against my beloved UC Santa Cruz. This is definitely a conversation: Minhaj turns the tables on me more than once. And don’t miss the end, when Minhaj explains his three favorite stand-up specials.

Learn more about show sponsors, HERE.

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Dec 13 2018

1hr 44mins

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Rank #18: Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

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The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."

Yeah, me too.

What sets Tolentino’s work apart, though, is that it’s not about the internet — it’s about how people are living their real, everyday lives in the age of the internet. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are.

References:

The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)

Book Recommendations:

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained

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Aug 26 2019

1hr 44mins

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Rank #19: Is modern society making us depressed?

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“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief — for our own lives not being as they should?” asks Johann Hari. “What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost yet still need?” In his new book, Lost Connections, Hari advances an argument both radical and obvious: Depression and anxiety are more than just chemical imbalances in the brain. They are the result of our social environments, our relationships, our political contexts — our lives, in short. Hari, who has struggled with depression since his youth, went on a journey to try to understand the social causes of mental illness, the ones we prefer not to talk about because changing them is harder than handing out a pill. What he returned with is a book that claims to be about depression but is actually about the ways we’ve screwed up modern society and created a world that leaves far too many of us alienated, anxious, despairing, and lost.   The philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti famously said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.” So that, then, is the question Hari and I consider in this conversation: How sick, really, is our society?  Books: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit

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Apr 16 2018

1hr 33mins

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Rank #20: A mind-expanding conversation with Michael Pollan

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This is perhaps the most literal title I’ve given a conversation on this podcast. This is a discussion about how to expand your mind — how to expand the connections it makes, the experiences it’s open to, the sensory information it absorbs. And, more than that, this is a conversation about recognizing that our minds are narrower than we think, that there is a lot we’re filtering out and pruning away and outright ignoring. You know Michael Pollan’s work. He wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma, perhaps the most influential book about how we eat in the modern era. He’s the guy who told us, sensibly: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” His new book is called How To Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. And it is, quite honestly, a trip. Over the past decade or so, the scientific community has reengaged with psychedelic substances, and done so to extraordinary effect: The studies Pollan describes in this discussion are remarkable, but so too are the insights into how our minds work, the ways in which they become overly ordered and efficient as we age, and the power that a dedicated dose of disorder can hold. You don’t have to be interested in taking magic mushrooms to listen to this conversation. Most of it isn’t about psychedelics at all. It’s about how we think, how we sense, how we learn, whether spiritual experiences can have materialist consequences, what makes us afraid of death, what our minds filter out in the world around us, and much more. Pollan changed how I think about my mind. He’ll change how you think about yours. Recommended books: The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley Miserable Miracle by Henri Michaux The Evolution of Beauty by Richard Prum Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker article on refugees, trauma, and psychology

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May 14 2018

1hr 25mins

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Best of: Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

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The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."


Yeah, me too.


My conversation with Tolentino was one of my favorites of last year -- and it has become all the more relevant in the midst of a pandemic that has collapsed most human communication into Zoom calls, Twitter feeds, and Instagram stories. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are.


References:

The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)

Book Recommendations:

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond




Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher in chief - Roge Karma

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

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Aug 03 2020

1hr 45mins

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Dadding out with Mike Birbiglia

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Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians. He’s behind the specials. “Thank God for Jokes” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” the movies “Sleepwalk With Me” and “Don’t Think Twice,” and now the book The New One.


The New One is on a subject close to my heart: Fatherhood. Birbiglia didn’t intend to be a father. He didn’t want to be a father. But he became one. And it was hard — on him, on his wife, on his marriage. The New One is a memoir of that time — funny, but brutally honest, and touching on some of the hardest truths of parenthood. It’s the kind of book that you can’t quite believes anyone would write. I mean, who would admit that? Or that? And did you read the part where…?


So this is a conversation with a very funny person about some very tender subjects. Something Birbiglia and I both found becoming fathers is that there’s a lot less discussion of the emotional and relational dimensions of fatherhood than you might think. Our experiences were different. But these are topics that should be discussed more, whether you’re a parent or not.


Book recommendations:

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

Feel Free by Zadie Smith




Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher in chief - Roge Karma

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Jul 30 2020

1hr 19mins

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A rabbi explains how to make sense of suffering

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In this special crossover episode of Vox's Future Perfect series, The Way Through, Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about God and how to make sense of suffering in human life.


Relevant resources: 

Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times by Rabbi David Wolpe

Religion without God: Alain de Botton on "atheism 2.0." by Sean Iling


Featuring:

David Wolpe (@RabbiWolpe), senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles


Host:

Sean Illing (@Seanilling), senior interviews writer, Vox


More to explore:

Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them.


About Vox:

Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

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Jul 27 2020

57mins

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The crisis in the news

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There’s been a lot of discussion lately — including on this show — of the problems facing national news. Cries of fake news, illiberalism in the administration, fractured audiences, the cancel culture debate, shaky business models, and more. But the truest crisis in news isn’t in national news. It’s in local news. 


American newspapers cut 45 percent of newsroom staff between 2008 and 2017. From 2004 to 2015, the U.S. newspaper industry lost over 1,800 print outlets to closures and mergers. And it’s only gotten worse since then. This is truest crisis in American news media: That so many places are losing the institutions that gather the news, that bind the community together, that hold public officials accountable ands bring public concerns visibility. Vast swaths of the country are now news deserts — and it’s happening at the same time that the average news consumer feels like they’re drowning in more information than ever before.


Margaret Sullivan was the award-winning chief editor of the Buffalo News, then the public editor of the New York Times, and now the media columnist for the Washington Post. She’s also the author of Ghosting The News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of Democracy. This is a conversation about the economic, technological, and political forces that led to the devastation of local news; what happens to communities in the absence of health local news institutions; and, just as importantly, what we can do to save and revitalize local journalism.


Book recommendations:

Democracy’s Detectives by James T. Hamilton

Still Here by Alexandra Jacobs 

Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir by Joyce Johnson


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher in chief - Roge Karma

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Jul 23 2020

52mins

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Bryan Stevenson on how America can heal

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What would it take for America to heal? To be the country it claims to be?


This is the question that animates Bryan Stevenson’s career. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a clinical professor at the New York University School of Law, a MacArthur genius, and the author of the remarkable book Just Mercy — which was recently turned into a feature film, where Stevenson was played by Michael B. Jordan. 


I admire Stevenson tremendously. He has lived a life dedicated to justice. Justice for individuals — some of whom he has rescued from death row — and justice for the society he lives in. He’s one of the fairly few people I’ve found with vision for how America could find justice on the far shore of our own history. That vision is particularly needed now and so I asked him to return to the show to share it. To my delight, he agreed.


This conversation is about truth and reconciliation in America — and about whether truth would actually lead to reconciliation in America. It’s about what the process of reckoning with our past sins and present wounds would look and feel and sound like. It’s about what we can learn from countries like Germany and South Africa, that have walked further down this path than we have. And it’s about the country and community that could lie on the other side of that confrontation. 


Book recommendations:

The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B Du Bois 

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson 

From Slavery to Freedom by John Hope Franklin Evelyn Higginbotham 

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Gilead by Marilyne Robinson 


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 20 2020

1hr 21mins

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What a post-Trump Republican Party might look like

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Five years ago, Oren Cass sat at the center of the Republican Party. Cass is a former management consultant who served as the domestic policy director for the Mitt Romney campaign and then as a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. But then he launched an insurgency. 


Today, Cass is the founder and executive director of American Compass, a new think tank created to challenge the right-wing economic orthodoxy. Cass thinks conservatism has lost its way, becoming obsessed with low tax rates and a quasi-religious veneration of markets. What conservatives need, he thinks, are clear social goals that can structure a radically new economic agenda: a vision that puts families first, eschews economic growth as the be-all-end-all of policymaking, and recognizes the inescapability of government intervention in the economy. Trump is likely — though not certain — to lose in 2020. And then, Cass thinks, Republicans will face a choice: to return to a “pre-Trump” consensus, or to build a “post-Trump future” — one that, he hopes, will prevent more Trump-like politicians from rising. 


In this conversation, Cass and I discuss how current economic indicators fail, the relationship between economics and culture, why Cass believes production — not consumption — should be the central focus of public policy, the problems with how our society assigns status to different professions, the role that power plays in determining market outcomes, the conservative case against market fundamentalism, why Cass supports labor unions and industrial policy but not a job guarantee or publicly funded childcare, what the future of the Republican Party after Donald Trump looks like, whether Cass’s policies are big enough to solve the problems he identifies, and more.


References:

The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass

"Removing the Blinders from Economic Policy" by Oren Cass

Book recommendations:

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom 

The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato 

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 16 2020

1hr 21mins

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Free speech, safety, and ‘the letter’

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Last week, Harper’s published an open letter arguing that “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.” The letter had a long list of signatories, and triggered an instant controversy, not so much for what it said as a text as for how it was being used as a political document. This is a hot debate on both sides because it traces the issue most central not just to journalists’ hearts, but to our jobs: Can we speak the truth, as best we understand it? And who, even, is “we”?


I believe in the free exchange of information and ideas. I’ve committed my life to it. But I also worry those values are sometimes deployed as political positioning rather than democratic practice. The term "free speech" is often used here, but we're not dealing with laws regulating speech. We're dealing with media platforms that make editorial decisions as a matter of course. No one has the right to a New York Times op-ed column, or a warm reception on social media. But fear of losing your job, or your status, can chill speech — as, of course, can fear of physical or legislative harm. As such, I've come to think the core of this debate isn't freedom, but safety. The word has become polarizing, but the yearning for it is ubiquitous. To speak freely, you must feel safe, or at least safe enough. That’s what the letter’s signatories are asking for. That’s also what its critics are asking for.


Yascha Mounk is a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University, a columnist at the Atlantic, the host of the Good Fight podcast, and now the founder of a new journal, Persuasion, dedicated to pushing back on the illiberalism he sees infecting the discourse. Yascha and I agree on most issues, and I think hold similar values, but often find ourselves arguing over this topic. So I asked him on the show to see if we could figure out why. We discuss liberalism and illiberalism, what to do with speech that restricts others from speaking, the component parts of what gets called “cancel culture,” whether the zone of debate has widened or narrowed over the past 20 years, the differing cultures of Twitter and Reddit, The NYT's Tom Cotton controversy, whether safety and free speech are truly in tension, what the word “unsafe” means to people who have daily reason to fear for their freedom and futures, and much more. 



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 13 2020

1hr 31mins

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The frightening fragility of America's political institutions

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Masha Gessen grew up in the Soviet Union and spent two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, before being driven from the country by policies targeting LGBT people. Watching Donald Trump win in 2016, Gessen felt like they had seen this movie before. Within forty-eight hours of Trump’s victory, Gessen’s essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, including lessons that in hindsight read as prophetic: Believe the autocrat. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Institutions will not save you.


Now, Gessen is back with a new book, Surviving Autocracy, that is a collection of ideas they have been building over the course of the Trump presidency. We discuss the inherent fragility of American political institutions, Donald Trump’s autocratic aesthetic, how the language of liberal democracy paradoxically undermines genuine liberal democracy, what lessons Gessen learned from covering the rise of Vladamir Putin, why Gessen believes the US is currently in the first stage of the three part descent to autocracy, whether George W. Bush was a more damaging president than Donald Trump, the counterintuitive roots of Trumpian post-truthism, and much more.


Book recommendation:

The Post-Communist Mafia State by Balint Magyar



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer/ Audio Master Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 09 2020

1hr 9mins

Play

Can artificial intelligence be emotionally intelligent?

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When we talk about AI, we’re often talking about a very particular, narrow form of intelligence — the sort of analytical competence that can win you games of GO or solve complex math equations. That type of intelligence is important, but it’s incomplete. Human affairs don’t operate on reason and logic alone. They sometimes don't operate on reason and logic at all.


In 1995, computer scientist Rosalind Picard wrote a paper and subsequent book making the case that the fields of computer science and AI should take emotion seriously, and providing a framework for how machines could come to understand, express and monitor emotion. That project launched the field of “Affective Computing” and today Picard is the founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT, and a leading inventor and entrepreneur in affective computing. 


In this conversation, Picard and I discuss the importance of emotional cognition to human decision-making, how emotion-tracking technology is being used to help disadvantaged populations (but could also be used to bring about dystopian results), how affective computing deals with the subjective expressions of human emotions, what studying affective computing taught her about interacting with other humans, why Picard believes the goal of AI technology should be to “empower the weak”and “reduce inequality,” and much more.


Book recommendations:

The Bible (stick around for the reasoning behind this one)



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer/ Jack-of-all-audio-trades Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 06 2020

1hr 18mins

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Danielle Allen on the radicalism of the American revolution — and its lessons for today

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My first conversation with Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen in fall 2019 was one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t expect to have Allen on again so soon, but her work is unusually relevant to our current moment.


She’s written an entire book about the deeper argument of the Declaration of Independence and the way our superficial reading and folk history of the document obscures its radicalism. (It’ll make you look at July Fourth in a whole new way). Her most recent book, Cuz, is a searing indictment of the American criminal justice system, driven by watching her cousin go through it and motivated by the murder that ended his life. Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which Allen directs, has released the most comprehensive, operational road map for mobilizing and reopening the US economy amidst the Covid-19 crisis. And to top it all off, a two-year bipartisan commission of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which Allen co-chaired, recently released a report with more than 30 recommendations on how to reform American democracy — and they’re very, very good.


This is a wide-ranging conversation for a wide-ranging moment. Allen and I discuss what “all men are created equal” really means, why the myth of Thomas Jefferson’s sole authorship of the Declaration of Independence muddies its message, the role of police brutality in the American revolution, democracy reforms such as ranked-choice voting, DC statehood, mandatory voting, how to deal with a Republican Party that opposes expanding democracy, the case for prison abolition, the various pandemic response paths before us, the failure of political leadership in this moment, and much more.


References:

My first conversation with Danielle Allen

Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center's Covid-19 work

"Our Common Purpose" report on reinventing democracy for the 21st century


Book recommendations:

To Shape a New World by Brandon Terry and Tommie Shelby 

Solitary by Alfred Woodfox 

The Torture Letters by Laurence Ralph



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer/ Jack-of-all-audio-trades Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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Jul 02 2020

1hr 12mins

Play

Land of the Giants: The Netflix Effect

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Land of the Giants is a podcast from our friends at Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network that examines the most powerful tech companies of our time.

The second season is called The Netflix Effect, and it’s hosted by Recode editors Rani Molla and Peter Kafka.

The Netflix Effect explores how a company that began as a small DVD-by-mail service ultimately upended Hollywood and completely changed the way we watch TV.

It’s a fascinating look at what really goes on behind the scenes at Netflix, one of the few companies that’s actually growing during the pandemic, and how they’re continuing to transform entertainment for you and me.  

New episodes are released every Tuesday morning. 

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Jul 01 2020

17mins

Play

Nicholas Carr on deep reading and digital thinking

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In 1964, the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote his opus Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. In it, he writes, “In the long run, a medium's content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act." Or, put more simply: "Media work their magic, or their mischief, on the nervous system itself."


This idea — that the media technologies we rely on reshape us on a fundamental, cognitive level — sits at the center of Nicholas Carr's 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. A world defined by oral traditions is more social, unstructured, and multi-sensory; a world defined by the written written word is more individualistic, disciplined, and hyper-visual. A world defined by texting, scrolling and social feedback is addicted to stimulus, constantly forming and affirming expressions of identity, accustomed to waves of information.


Back in 2010, Carr argued that the internet was changing how we thought, and not necessarily for the better. “"My brain, I realized, wasn't just drifting,” he wrote. “It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the same way the net fed it — and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became.” His book was a finalist for the Pulitzer that year, but dismissed by many, including me. Ten years on, I regret that dismissal. Reading it now, it is outrageously prescient, offering a framework and language for ideas and experiences I’ve been struggling to define for a decade. 


Carr saw where we were going, and now I wanted to ask him where we are. In this conversation, Carr and I discuss how speaking, reading, and now the Internet have each changed our brains in different ways, why "paying attention" doesn't come naturally to us, why we’re still reading Marshall McLuhan, how human memory actually works, why having your phone in sight makes you less creative, what separates "deep reading” from simply reading, why deep reading is getting harder, why building connections is more important than absorbing information, the benefits to collapsing the world into a connected digital community, and much more.


The point of this conversation is not that the internet is bad, nor that it is good. It’s that it is changing us, just as every medium before it has. We need to see those changes clearly in order to take control of them ourselves. 


Book recommendations:

The Control Revolution by James R. Beniger

The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld

Research Czar - Roge Karma

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Jun 29 2020

1hr 12mins

Play

Your questions, answered

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Believe it or not, we’re already halfway through 2020. What a great year so far, huh? Just a delight. That means it’s time for an AMA. Among the questions you asked:


  • If Joe Biden is elected president, what should his administration's first legislative priority be? 


  • What were the best critiques of Why We’re Polarized? 


  • How much of today's political conflict comes down to the Boomer/Millennial divide?


  • What’s your reading process?


  • What does preparation for EK Show episodes look like?


  • If you were only intellectually accountable to beauty and not truth, what religion would you choose? 


  • What’s your favorite non-Vox podcast?


  • What’s your biggest takeaway from year 1 of being a dad?


  • East coast or west coast? 


  • What are the episodes that you have the most fun doing? 


  • What’s an important identity of yours that doesn’t usually come out on the show? 


Roge Karma joins me for this one.


References:

"In praise of polarization" by Ezra Klein

"Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein


Ezra's book recommendations:

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Beyond Ideology by Francis Lee

What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer 


Most fun EK Shows:

I build a world with fantasy master N.K. Jemisin

The art of attention, with Jenny Odell

Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry

How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld

Researcher/Guest host - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 25 2020

1hr 23mins

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Which country has the world's best healthcare system?

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I got my start as a blogger. But more specifically, I got my start as a health policy blogger. My first piece of writing I remember people really caring about was a series called “The Health of Nations,” in which I checked out books from college library, downloaded international reports, and profiled the world’s leading health systems. It was crude stuff, but it taught me a lot. The way we do health care isn’t the only way to do health care. It’s not the best way, or the second best, or the third.


Ezekiel Emanuel is a bioethicist, oncologist, and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Health Transformation Institute. He was a top health policy advisor in the Obama administration, he’s a senior fellow at the Center for American progress, he makes his own artisanal chocolate, and he’s got a new book — Which Country Has the World’s Best Healthcare? — where he goes into more detail than I ever did, or could, to profile other health systems and rank them against our own.


So, yes, this is a conversation about which country has the world’s best health system. But it’s also about how innovation in health care actually works, whether there’s any evidence private insurers add actual value, whether health care is the best investment to make in improving health (spoiler: no), how do you improve a health system when half of the political system will fight like hell against those improvements, and much more. Emanuel has also been doing a lot of work on coronavirus policy, and so we spend some time there, discussing the question that’ tormenting me now: Are we simply giving up that fight? And is there even a politically viable option to giving up, given how much time the government has wasted and how exhausted the public is?


Book recommendations:

Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford

On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 22 2020

1hr 10mins

Play

The transformative power of restorative justice

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The criminal justice system asks three questions: What law was broken? Who broke it? And what should the punishment be? Upon that edifice — and channeled through old bigotries and fears — we have built the largest system of human incarceration on earth. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its imprisoned population. 


Restorative justice asks different questions: Who was harmed? What do they need? And whose obligation is it to meet those needs? It is a radically different model, with profoundly different results both for victims and perpetrators. Studies show restorative justice programs leave survivors more satisfied, cut recidivism rates, and cost less. If we’re thinking about rebuilding the criminal justice program, restorative justice should be central to that conversation. 


sujatha baliga is the director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice. She won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2019. She’s a survivor of abuse herself. Her work points toward a new paradigm for criminal justice: one focused on repairing breaches, not exacting retribution. And it carries lessons for how our politics might function, how our society could heal some of its oldest wounds, and how we live our own precious lives. 


References:

"Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein

Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm by Kazu Haga

Book recommendations:

For the Benefit of All Beings by the Dalai Lama 

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher extraordinaire - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 18 2020

1hr 14mins

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Ross Douthat and I debate American decadence

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In his new book, The Decadent Society, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat diagnoses America’s core problems as decadence: “a situation in which repetition is more the norm than innovation; in which sclerosis afflicts public institution and private enterprises alike; in which intellectual life seems to go in circles; in which new developments in science, new exploratory projects, underdeliver compared with what people recently expected.”


Douthat argues that there is a kind of ideological exhaustion, a spiritual malaise, at the center of the American project. We are a victim of our own successes, undone by our own achievements, and unable to break free from our oldest debates. But is he right?


Ross and I cover a lot of ground in this conversation. We discuss why conservative Catholics talk so much more about sex than poverty, the dangers of the expansionary impulse, whether psychedelic culture is an antidote to decadence, the importance of utopian ambition, the moral foundations of effective altruism, the problem with contemporary science fiction, whether political liberalism is dependent on Christian metaphysics, why America can’t build, whether war is necessary for existential meaning, how the New York Times op-ed page has changed over the past decade, and much more.


Book recommendations:

From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun

The Illusion of the End by Jean Baudrillard

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Children of Men by PD James




Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 15 2020

1hr 35mins

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A serious conversation about UFOs

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You may have been following — I hope you are following — the New York Times's recent UFO reporting. Videos that the Navy confirms are real show pilots seeing and marveling over craft they can't explain. And as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, those videos “only scratch the surface” of the Pentagon's UFO research.


UFOs are one of those topics that it’s hard to take seriously because they’re covered in kitsch and conspiracy. But there are those who take them seriously, which means approaching the question with humility. The history, frequency, and consistency of these events point toward something that merits study. But the explanations we force onto them — from religious visitations to aliens — confuse us further. We’re working backward from beliefs we already have, not forward from phenomena we don’t understand. 


Diana Walsh Pasulka is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 2019, she published a fascinating book called American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, in which she embeds in the world of UFO research and tries to understand it using the tools of religious scholarship. The results are revelatory in terms of theory but also in terms of the things she sees, learns, and is forced to confront.


Sometimes it's healthy — and, to be honest, fun — to train our attention on what we can't explain, not just what we can. In this episode, we do just that.


Book recommendations:

Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee

Authors of the Impossible by Jeffrey J. Kripal

UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean



Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 11 2020

1hr 29mins

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A former prosecutor's case for prison abolition

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In 2017, Paul Butler published the book Chokehold: Policing Black Men. For Butler the chokehold is much more than a barbaric police tactic; it is also a powerful powerful metaphor for understanding how racial oppression functions in the US criminal justice system. 


Butler describes a chokehold as “a process of coercing submission that is self-reinforcing. A chokehold justifies additional pressure on the body because a body does not come into compliance, but a body cannot come into compliance because of the vice grip that is on it.” That, he says, is the black experience in the United States. 


Butler knows that experience all too well. He began his legal career as a criminal prosecutor, a job that he describes in this conversation as “basically just locking up black men.” Then, the tables turned and Butler found himself falsely accused of a misdemeanor assault. "After that experience I didn’t want to be a prosecutor any more," he writes. "I don’t think every cop lies in court but I know for sure that one did." 


That experience put Butler on a journey very different than the one he began. Butler, now a Georgetown Law professor, has come to believe that the criminal justice system is not merely broken and in need of repair; rather, it is working exactly as it was designed, and thus needs to be completely reimagined.


Book recommendations:

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Sula by Toni Morrison


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

Credits:

Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 08 2020

1hr 6mins

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Why Ta-Nehisi Coates is hopeful

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The first question I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this episode, was broad: What does he see right now, as he looks out at the country? “I can't believe I'm gonna say this,” he replied, “but I see hope. I see progress right now.”


Coates is the author of the National Book Award-winner Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer, among others. We discuss how this moment differs from 1968, the tension between “law” and “order,” the contested legacy of MLK, Trump's view of the presidency, police abolition, why we need to renegotiate the idea of “the public,” how the consensus on criminal justice has shifted, what Joe Biden represents, the proper role of the state, the poetry Coates recommends, and much more. 


But there’s one thread of this conversation, in particular, that I haven’t been able to put down: There is now, as there always is amidst protests, a loud call for the protesters to follow the principles of nonviolence. And that call, as Coates says, comes from people who neither practice nor heed nonviolence in their own lives. But what if we turned that conversation around: What would it mean to build the state around principles of nonviolence, rather than reserving that exacting standard for those harmed by the state?


Book recommendations:

Punishment and Inequality in America by Bruce Western

Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration by Devah Pager

The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

Credits:

Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 04 2020

1hr 32mins

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Are humans fundamentally good? (with Rutger Bregman)

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Dutch historian and De Correspondent writer Rutger Bregman got famous for the lashings he gave Tucker Carlson and the assembled plutocrats of Davos. But his work is far more utopian than polemical. The conversation we had on this show almost a year ago on his previous book Utopia for Realists is still one of my favorites.


Bregman's new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, is even more ambitious: it's an effort to establish that human beings, human nature, is kinder, friendlier, more decent, than we are given credit for. And that a new world could be built atop that understanding.


I'm not convinced by everything in this book, to be honest. But that tension makes this conversation unusually generative. We discuss the deeply social, egalitarian lives of hunter-gatherers, whether the advent of human civilization was a huge mistake, and how our views toward religious faith have changed radically since our early 20s; and we debate whether humans have a nature at all, the implications of the Holocaust, whether we can build a society without CEOs, politicians, and bureaucrats, and more


By the end, I'm still not sure I believe there is one human nature. But, I do think that if we believed Bregman's view of our nature, rather than, say, Donald Trump's view of our nature, maybe we could build something much more beautiful.


Book recommendations:

Affluence without Abundance by James Suzman

Behind the Shock Machine by Gina Perry

The Lost Boys by Gina Perry

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 01 2020

1hr 39mins

Play

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The entire podcast

By Sunny Wunder - May 19 2020
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Ezra, quantum Mechanics and you. I’m glad you’re both in my universe.

Madeline Miller episode

By rabidmoderate - May 09 2020
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Fascinating and welcome break from politics