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The Ezra Klein Show

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #3 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy
News
Politics
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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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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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6377 Ratings
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Favorite

By kellen18 - Nov 28 2019
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My new favorite podcast - great guests and great pacing of interviews

Klein

By edboies - Nov 27 2019
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A great lens to view the world.

iTunes Ratings

6377 Ratings
Average Ratings
5209
450
217
154
347

Favorite

By kellen18 - Nov 28 2019
Read more
My new favorite podcast - great guests and great pacing of interviews

Klein

By edboies - Nov 27 2019
Read more
A great lens to view the world.

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Cover image of The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How social media makes us antisocial

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Andrew Marantz is a writer at the New Yorker who, for years, has been deeply immersed in the world of conservative trolls, alt-right social media personalities, and online conspiracy theorists. His most recent book Antisocial has been viewed as a brilliant ethnography of the bizarre universe that is the alt-right. 

But I’m interested in it for a different reason: Somehow, these folks have figured out how to manipulate the social media ecosystem that frames our political discourse. Thus, they represent an important window into understanding how that ecosystem functions, who it advantages, and where it dramatically falls short. We discuss:

- Why Mark Zuckerberg’s defenses of Facebook so obviously fail

- Where the conversation about “free speech” in America went completely off the rails

- How alt-right personality Mike Cernovich cracked social media algorithms to influence the 2016 news cycle

- What Marantz calls the “primary laws of social media mechanics” and how they can be manipulated to bring out the worst in human nature

- Why conflict has become the primary way to garner attention and influence online while more constructive social interactions remain in obscurity

- How a kid from a progressive, upper-middle-class family became one of the nation’s leading neo-Nazis

- The role the social justice left plays in fomenting online extremism

And much more.

Book recommendations:

Contingency, Irony and Solidarity by Richard Rorty 

The Captive Mind by Czesław Miłosz

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener


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

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Nov 11 2019

1hr 35mins

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media

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I was asked recently to name a book that changed my life. The book I chose was Cal Newport’s “Deep Work,” and for the most literal of reasons: it’s changed how I lived my life. Particularly, it’s led me to stop scheduling morning meetings, and to preserve that time for more sustained, creative work.Which is all to say that I’m a bit obsessed with Newport’s work right now, and especially his account of how the digital environment we inhabit is training us out of concentration and into distraction in ways that are bad for us, bad for our work, and ultimately bad for the world. Most of the conversations on this podcast are how to think about things differently. This one is too, but it’s more importantly about how to do things differently, and why you should do them differently. We discuss:-How Newport defines depth when it comes to work-Why the information revolution boosted productivity up until the 2000s, but then stagnated-What he thinks is problematic about the constant accessibility of technologies like email, Slack, and other communication tools-His perspective about how we’re still in an early age of the internet, and what looking back at periods like the Industrial Revolution can teach us about using new technology to work smarter-How to take productive breaks, rather than flicking through email and Facebook and Twitter-How “flow work” and deep work overlap, and how they’re distinct from each other-Why he consumes and produces information more slowly and more traditionally—through newspapers and radio, and why that might benefit people who work in the knowledge economy-His vision of the workplace of the futureI hope you get as much out of Newport’s ideas as I have.Books:-Jaron Lanier, “You Are Not A Gadget” and “Who Will Own The Future"-Douglas Rushkoff’s “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”

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Apr 18 2017

1hr 25mins

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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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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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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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David French on “The Great White Culture War"

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David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting column responding to some things I had said, and to the broader currents cutting through our politics. “Conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact,” he wrote. "Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of 'white America,' what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves." I asked French to come on the podcast to discuss this idea — and the controversies that motivated it — more deeply, and he quickly accepted. The result is a tricky conversation about very sensitive territory in our politics. It’s about how we talk about race and class and status and gender and sexuality and religion, how we understand and misunderstand each other, how our political identities turn conflicts about one thing into conflicts about all things, why groups that are objectively powerful feel so powerless, and much more. I always appreciate the grace, openness, and intelligence French brings to his writing, and all of that is on full display here too. Recommended books: The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt Coming Apart by Charles Murray The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

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Sep 10 2018

1hr 35mins

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When doing the right thing makes you a criminal

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For most of his life, Wayne Hsiung was a typical overachiever. He attended the University of Chicago, started his PhD in Economics, became a law professor at Northwestern, was mentored by Cass Sunstein. But then, something snapped. In the midst of a deep, overwhelming depression, Hsiung visited a slaughterhouse and was radicalized by the immense suffering he saw. He now faces decades in prison for rescuing sick, injured animals from slaughterhouses.

Hsiung is the founder of Direct Action Everywhere, an organization best known for conducting public, open rescues of animals too sick for slaughter. These rescues are, in many cases, illegal, and Hsiung and his fellow activists are risking years of imprisonment. But the sacrifice is the point: Hsiung and his colleagues are trying to highlight the sickness of a society that criminalizes doing what any child would recognize as the right thing to do.

In our conversation, I wanted to understand a simple question: How did he get here? What leads someone with a safe, comfortable life to risk everything for a cause? What does society look like to him now, knowing what he faces? And the big question: Is Hsiung the weird one? Or is it all of us — who see so much suffering and injustice and simply go about our lives — who have lost our way?

References:

New York Times story on a DxE rescue mission

Video of the mission to save Lily the piglet

Book recommendations:

Everything is Obvious by Duncan J. Watts 

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Grit by Angela Duckworth



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 - Jeremy Dalmas

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

Dec 05 2019

1hr 45mins

Play

Peter Singer on the lives you can save

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Imagine you’re walking to work. You see a child drowning in a lake. You’re about to jump in and save her when you realize you’re wearing your best suit, and the rescue will end up costing hundreds in dry cleaning bills. Should you still save the child?

Of course you should. But this simple thought experiment, taken seriously, has radical implications for how you live your life.

It comes from Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save, one of the most influential modern works of ethical philosophy. Singer is perhaps the most influential public intellectual of my lifetime. His book Animal Liberation helped build America’s animal rights movement. His work helped create the effective altruism movement.

In Singer’s hands, the questions that motivate a moral life are startlingly simple. But if you take them seriously, living morally is very, very hard. And the way most of us are living, right now — well, we’re letting a lot of children drown. What happens if we force ourselves to recognize that fact? What does it demand of us?

That’s the topic of my conversation with Singer. We also discuss the differences between ethical philosophy and religion, why moral reasoning is a social act, the ethics of caring most about those closest to you, The Good Place, AI risk, open borders, where our obligations to others end, why Singer wouldn’t have become a philosopher if he’d been an effective altruist in his youth, and much more.


Book recommendations:

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

On What Matters by Derek Parfit

Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit


To read Peter SInger's book please visit www.thelifeyoucansave.org

To learn more about effective altruism, visit Vox's Future Perfect


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

Engineers - Cynthia Gil

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

Dec 02 2019

1hr 19mins

Play

Best of: The age of "mega-identity" politics

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Happy Thanksgiving! Please enjoy a re-air episode from April 2018 with Lilliana Mason.


Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not identity politics as we’re used to thinking about it. In Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Lilliana Mason traces the construction of our partisan “mega-identities”: identities that fuse party affiliation to ideology, race, religion, gender, sexuality, geography, and more. These mega-identities didn’t exist 50 or even 30 years ago, but now that they’re here, they change the way we see each other, the way we engage in politics, and the way politics absorbs other — previously non-political —spheres of our culture. In making her case, Mason offers one of the best primers I’ve read on how little it takes to activate a sense of group identity in human beings, and how far-reaching the cognitive and social implications are once that group identity takes hold. I don’t want to spoil our discussion here, but suffice to say that her recounting of the “minimal group paradigm” experiments is not to be missed. This is the kind of research that will change not just how you think about the world, but how you think about yourself. Mason’s book is, I think, one of the most important published this year, and this conversation gave me a lens on our political discord that I haven’t stopped thinking about since. If you want to understand the kind of identity politics that’s driving America in 2018, you should listen in.

Books recommendations:

Ideology in America by Christopher Ellis and James Stimson 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

The Power by Naomi Alderman


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.


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

Nov 28 2019

1hr 16mins

Play

Because podcast

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Gretchen McCulloch is a self-described “internet linguist,” host of the podcast Lingthusiasm, and author of the recent book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. In it, she demonstrates that the way we've come to speak on the internet -- from emojis to exclamation points -- is not random or arbitrary, but part of a broader attempt to make our written communication more vibrant, meaningful, and, genuinely human. Far from ‘ruining’ the written English language, internet-speak, McCulloch argues, is revolutionizing language in unprecedented, and ultimately positive, ways.

We discuss why I feel bad if I don't use enough exclamation points (or use too many), why postcards are the pre-internet predecessors to Instagram, how emojis act as written equivalents of our body language, why sarcasm is like a “linguistic trust fall,” the meaning of “Ok boomer” and much more.

Book recommendations:

It’s Complicated:The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd 

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:

danah boyd on why fake news is so easy to believe

You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it


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

Engineers - Cynthia Gil

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

Nov 25 2019

1hr 22mins

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There’s more to life than profit

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Yancey Strickler is the co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, and he’s just released a new book, This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World. In Strickler’s telling, our society has been so thoroughly captured by the value-system of financial maximization, that we don’t even view it as such. Kickstarter was an affront to that value-system, a way that groups could fund ideas outside of the realm of profit. And this new book is trying to dig deeper into that worldview, unveil its fallibility, and offer an alternative way of imagining our society.

So, in this conversation we talk about profit and the economy, but also about climate change, the founding story of Kickstarter, what makes great fiction so great, Alan Moore’s notion of the “idea space,” the bizarre way that Strickler went about writing his book, and much more.

Book recommendations:

Time Loops by Eric Wargo 

Value and Ethics in Economics by Elizabeth Anderson 

Dune by Frank Herbert 

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:

A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

Edward Norton’s theory of mind, movies, and power


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

Engineers - Cynthia Gil & Chris Shurtleff

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

Nov 21 2019

1hr 34mins

Play

Having a bad day? Dave Eggers can help.

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I’ve wanted to have Dave Eggers on the show for a while now. Eggers has not only written a vast range of books (a deeply ironic personal memoir, a heartwarming novel about a Sudanese refugee, a futuristic story about a tech dystopia) but he's also founded the national tutoring nonprofit 826 Valencia, started the literary magazine McSweeney’s, co-authored the screenplay of Where the Wild Things Are, and much more. I’m fascinated by people who are able to do a variety of wildly different things, all successfully. Dave Eggers is one of those people. 

So, we start this conversation by discussing Eggers’s life’s work, his recent book The Captain and the Glory, and Donald Trump. But then — somewhere around the halfway point — the conversation transforms into something I can only describe as, well, therapeutic. Eggers doesn’t own a smartphone or have wifi in his house, and hearing the way he talks about the internet, social media, and our relationship to them put me in a sort of quasi-meditation state that I can’t describe adequately with words.

This one is a little strange, but it may just make your day. It certainly made mine.

Book recommendations:

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

If you enjoyed this episode, you may like:

You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it

Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media


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 - Cynthia Gil

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

Nov 18 2019

1hr 25mins

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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

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

Nov 14 2019

1hr 13mins

Play

How social media makes us antisocial

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Andrew Marantz is a writer at the New Yorker who, for years, has been deeply immersed in the world of conservative trolls, alt-right social media personalities, and online conspiracy theorists. His most recent book Antisocial has been viewed as a brilliant ethnography of the bizarre universe that is the alt-right. 

But I’m interested in it for a different reason: Somehow, these folks have figured out how to manipulate the social media ecosystem that frames our political discourse. Thus, they represent an important window into understanding how that ecosystem functions, who it advantages, and where it dramatically falls short. We discuss:

- Why Mark Zuckerberg’s defenses of Facebook so obviously fail

- Where the conversation about “free speech” in America went completely off the rails

- How alt-right personality Mike Cernovich cracked social media algorithms to influence the 2016 news cycle

- What Marantz calls the “primary laws of social media mechanics” and how they can be manipulated to bring out the worst in human nature

- Why conflict has become the primary way to garner attention and influence online while more constructive social interactions remain in obscurity

- How a kid from a progressive, upper-middle-class family became one of the nation’s leading neo-Nazis

- The role the social justice left plays in fomenting online extremism

And much more.

Book recommendations:

Contingency, Irony and Solidarity by Richard Rorty 

The Captive Mind by Czesław Miłosz

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener


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

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

Nov 11 2019

1hr 35mins

Play

ICYMI: Edward Norton’s theory of mind, movies, and power

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Due to a technical glitch this interview with Edward Norton did not find it’s way into most people’s feeds. If you were able to download the first one this is indeed the exact same interview, but if you missed it please give a listen and enjoy - we had a lot of fun with this one.

You’ve heard of Edward Norton. He’s starred in critically acclaimed films like American History X, Fight Club, and Birdman, been nominated for multiple Academy Awards, and, most recently, wrote, directed, and starred in Motherless Brooklyn, a film about a detective with Tourette’s syndrome who ends up taking on the most corrupt and powerful forces in New York City politics.

Motherless Brooklyn, as it happens, is one of my all-time favorite books.

And so this conversation was an unexpected pleasure. In addition to a joint love of Motherless Brooklyn, Norton and I share an unusual number of interests: Meditation, the uncontrollable nature of the mind, the difficulty of solving problems by thinking about them, the psychology of power, media analytics, cultural ideas of heroism, thwarted masculinity in politics, Ralph Nader, and more.

It’s rare that I think a conversation could’ve gone for hours more. But it’s true for this one.

References:

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch 

*The world according to Ralph Nader*

Book recommendations:

Barbarian Days by William Finnegan 

Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Buddhism without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor

If you like this episode, check out:

What Buddhism got right about the human brain

You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it



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

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

Nov 08 2019

1hr 53mins

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Introducing Reset

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Thanks for listening to Reset from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Today's episodes were Can A.I. Tech You To Write Better and Quantum Supremacy, WTF.


If you enjoyed these episodes, subscribe to Reset for free on Apple PodcastsSpotify, StitcherOvercastPocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get new episodes every week.

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

Nov 08 2019

42mins

Play

What a smarter Trumpism would sound like

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Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the co-founder of the New America Foundation, and an important contributor to American Affairs, a journal originally created to imagine a more Trumpist conservatism.

Lind is by no means a supporter of Trump. But, for decades now, he has been developing a coherent intellectual worldview around many of the same issues that Trump intuited, however crudely, during his campaign. He’s one of the intellectuals that the nationalist conservatives trying to imagine a Trumpism after Trump tell me they read most closely.

There are three big pieces of Lind’s thought that I think help to illuminate this era. One is his idea of the “new class war,” which builds a deep cultural component into class identity and maps much better onto populist resentment. The next is his approach to China, which has long been skeptical of Washington’s optimistic consensus. And the third is his insistence that political conflicts — be they class wars or partisan ones — don’t end in victories, they end in “settlements.”


References:

"The New Class War" by Michael Lind

"The Return of Geoeconomics" by Michael Lind

"Classless Utopia versus Class Compromise" by Michael Lind

"Donald Trump, the Perfect Populist" by Michael Lind


Book recommendations:

The Machiavellian Defender’s of Freedom by James Burnham 

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy


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

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

Nov 07 2019

1hr 27mins

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The climate crisis is an oceans crisis

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Welcome to episode 2 of our climate cluster. The more I prepared for this series, the more I realize there was a big blue gap in my understanding of climate change.

Oceans cover 70% of the earth, absorb 93% of the heat from the sun, and capture 30% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forty percent of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the coast, and half a billion people rely on oceans as their primary food source. As go the oceans, so goes humanity.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is the founder of the Urban Ocean Lab and the Ocean Collectiv, she’s held positions at the NOAA and the EPA, and was named by Outside Magazine as the most influential marine biologist of our time. And she’s able to do something a lot of people aren’t: communicate not just the science of climate change from the ocean perspective, but the role oceans play in the human story.

This is not a dry, complex disquisition on climate science. This is a vivid tour of the way oceans shape our lives, and the costs and consequences of reshaping them.

Book Recommendations:

Eat like a Fish by Bren Smith 

Water in Plain Sight by Judith D. Schwartz

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown


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 - Ernie Erdat

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

Nov 04 2019

1hr 14mins

Play

We live in The Good Place. And we’re screwing it up.

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Welcome to the first episode of our climate cluster. This isn’t a series about whether “the science is real” on climate change. This is a series about what the science says — and what it means for our lives, our politics, and our future.

I suspect I’m like a lot of people in that I accept that climate change is bad. What I struggle with is how bad. Is it an existential threat that eclipses all else? One of many serious problems politics must somehow address?

I wanted to kick off the series with someone who knows the science cold. Kate Marvel is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a professor at Columbia University’s Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics. But Marvel isn’t just a leading climate scientist. She’s also unique in her focus on the stories we tell each other, and ourselves, about climate change, and how they end up structuring our decisions. We discuss:

- How a climate model actually works

- Why this is the good place

- Why there is so much variation in climate scientists’ predictions about global temperature increases

- Why global warming is only one piece of the much larger problem of climate change

- Why a hotter planet is more conducive to natural disasters

- The frightening differences between a world that experiences a 2°C temperature increase as opposed to a 5°C temperature increase

- Whether the threat of climate change requires solutions that break the boundaries of conventional politics

- The underlying stories that animate much of the climate debate

- Whether the planet can sustain continued economic growth

- What it means to “live morally” amid climate change

And much more...

Book recommendations:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

Annihilation by Jeff Vendermeer

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 - Ernie Erdat

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

Oct 28 2019

1hr 27mins

Play

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

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

Oct 24 2019

1hr 34mins

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The four words that will decide impeachment

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Hey EK Show listeners! Something different today. The first episode of my new podcast: Impeachment, Explained.

This was the week of confessions. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a Trump administration quid quo pro with Ukraine, with cameras rolling. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed that President Trump made Rudy Giuliani the hinge of America’s Ukraine policy. And then the administration announced that the location for the upcoming G7 summit: Trump’s own resort in Doral, Florida. We break down the three stories that mattered most in impeachment this week.

And then we dig into the four words that will shape the entire impeachment fight: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did they mean when they were added to the Constitution? How have they been interpreted through American history? And do Trump’s acts qualify?

Listen to the first episode here, and subscribe to Impeachment, Explained, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week.


References:

"Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power" by Gene Healy

"The case for normalizing impeachment" by Ezra Klein


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


Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Jeremey Dalmas

Theme music composed by Jon Natchez

Special thanks to Liz Nelson

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

Oct 21 2019

55mins

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We don’t just feel emotions. We make them.

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How do you feel right now? Excited to listen to your favorite podcast? Anxious about the state of American politics? Annoyed by my use of rhetorical questions?

These questions seem pretty straightforward. But as my guest today, psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, points out there is a lot more to emotion than meets the mind.

Barrett is a superstar in her field. She’s a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and has received various prestigious awards for her pioneering research on emotion. Her most recent book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain argues that emotions are not biologically hardwired into our brains but constructed by our minds. In other words, we don’t merely feel emotions — we actively create them.

Barrett’s work has potentially radical implications. If we take her theory seriously, it follows that the ways we think about our daily emotional states, diagnose illnesses, interact with friends, raise our children, and experience reality all need some serious adjusting, if not complete rethinking.

If you enjoyed this episode, you should check out:

A mind-expanding conversation with Michael Pollan

The cognitive cost of poverty (with Sendhil Mullainathan)

Will Storr on why you are not yourself 

A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

Book recommendations: 

Naming the Mind by Kurt Danzinger 

The Island of Knowledge by Marcelo Gleiser 

The Accidental Species by Henry Gee

Sense and Nonsense by Kevin L. Laland

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

Subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week.

Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Recording engineer - Cynthia Gil

Field engineer - Joseph Fridman

The Ezra Klein Show is a production of the Vox Media Podcast Network

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

Oct 17 2019

1hr 35mins

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How politics became a war against reality

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In his brilliant 2014 book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, Soviet-born TV producer turned journalist Peter Pomerantsev described 21st-century Russia as a political anomaly. He wrote about “a new type of authoritarianism” that waged war on reality by peddling conspiracy theories, disregarding the notion of truth, and framing all political opposition as the enemy of the people.

Sound familiar?

Upon leaving Russia, Pomerantsev found that the world around him had been infected with the same post-truth disease he had diagnosed in Moscow. The war against reality had spread across the globe, from London and Washington, DC, to Mexico City and Manila, Philippines. All over the place, the same values that had once defined liberal democracy — free speech, pluralism, the open exchange of ideas — were now being used to undermine it. This development became the centerpiece of his dizzying new book This is Not Propaganda, and it is the focal point of our conversation. We discuss:

- How information went from being the tool of dissidents to the tool of authoritarians

- Why Russia developed modern, post-truth politics first

- The tactics that spin doctors and troll farms use to warp our sense of reality

- How the end of the Cold War triggered a global descent into relativist chaos

- How liberal democratic values like free speech and pluralism are being used to undermine liberal democracy

- Why “all politics is now about creating identity”

- Whether it is possible to organize the internet democratically

- Why the informational chaos of digital politics is much worse outside the US

- The worst butchering of a guest’s name in the show’s history

And much more. Taking a step back from our current moment, American politics is now dominated by the internal machinations of the post-Soviet political systems Pomerantsev specializes in understanding. To see our politics clearly requires seeing their politics clearly.

References:

For a Left Populism by Chantal Mouffe

On Populist Reason by Ernest Laclau

Book recommendations:

The Asthenic Syndrome by Kira Muratova (film)

History becomes Form by Boris Groys

If you enjoyed this conversation, you may also like:

Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

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

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Oct 14 2019

1hr 29mins

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The loneliness epidemic

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As US surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Vivek Murthy visited communities across the United States to talk about issues like addiction, obesity, and mental illness. But he found that what Americans wanted to talk to him about the most was loneliness.

Loneliness isn’t simply painful, it’s lethal. Several meta-studies have found the mortality risk associated with loneliness is higher than that of obesity and equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. So, Murthy decided to label loneliness a public health “epidemic,” a term that medical professionals don’t throw around lightly.

Murthy’s advocacy has changed the national discourse around loneliness. However, this isn’t a conversation simply about loneliness as a public health problem: It is about loneliness as a deeply painful lived experience — one that both Murthy and I are all too familiar with.

There’s a lot in this conversation. Murthy’s explanation of how loneliness acts on the body is worth the time, all on its own. It’ll change how you see the relationship between social experience and physical health. But the broader message here is deeper: You are not alone in your loneliness. None of us are. And the best thing we can do is, often, helping someone else out of the very pit we’re in.

References:

Ezra's conversation with Johann Hari on the causes of depression

Murthy's article that called loneliness an "epidemic"

KFF/Economist poll of loneliness in US, UK and Japan

Book recommendations:

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albolm

Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch

Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri

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

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Oct 10 2019

1hr 21mins

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Ibram X. Kendi wants to redefine racism

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Racism is one of the most morally charged words in the English language. It is typically understood as a form of deep inner prejudice — something that people actively feel and consciously express. My guest today, Ibram X. Kendi, wants to redefine racism. He defines the idea simply: support for policies that widen racial inequality.

Kendi is a professor of African-American Studies and director of the Antiracist Policy Center at American University. His National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning argued that racist policies beget racist ideas, not the other way around. His new book, How to Be an Antiracist, is a continuation of that project. It focuses on racism as a structural ecosystem that black people face, not a prejudice that white people feel.

The implications of this redefinition are far-reaching. Are you a racist if you loathe people who aren’t of your race but don’t want to pass policy on it? Are you a racist if you tried to narrow racial inequality but your program backfired?

In this conversation, we map the boundaries of Kendi’s definition and its implications. We discuss his admission that he “used to be racist most of the time,” his argument against racial integration, whether it’s giving too much power to policy to blame it for all racial inequality, whether the word “racist” is too charged for the more nuanced conversations we need to have, the meta-philosophy behind African-American studies, and much more.

Book recommendations:

Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts

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

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Oct 07 2019

1hr 31mins

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Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things

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Malcolm Gladwell’s work is nothing short of an intellectual adventure.

Sometimes, as in his podcast Revisionist History, he takes something small and mundane — a hockey statistic, a semicolon, a verbal tic — and draws a broad, sweeping conclusion that shatters your worldview.

Other times, as in his new book Talking to Strangers, he takes something big and contentious — the death of Sandra Bland, the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox, the ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff — and produces insights that challenge conventional wisdom, leaving you wondering how you missed what he saw all along.

In either case, once you’ve experienced what Gladwell has to say, you can never see things in quite the same way again.

This conversation is an adventure of its own. We cover everything from the secrets behind Gladwell’s creative process to the basic social ingredient that undergirds all of modern society to the story of how an entire field office of the CIA got infiltrated by Cuban spies — and what that teaches us about human nature.

So, tune in and be a part of this adventure with us.

Books recommendations:

Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by Albert Hirschman

The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran by Andrew Scott Cooper

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

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

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Oct 03 2019

1hr 37mins

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