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Build For Tomorrow

Want to take control of the future? In each episode of this podcast, Entrepreneur magazine editor in chief Jason Feifer takes something that seems concerning or confusing today, and then learns its surprising history, what important things we’re missing, and the solutions that can make us smarter and better. (The show was previously called Pessimists Archive.)

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There's Nothing Wrong With Kids These Days

Kids! They’re lazy, narcissistic, and disrespectful -- or so says the older generation. But when you look back through history, you’ll discover that older generations have been saying a version of the same thing for thousands of years. Our question is: Why? And we found an answer.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

47mins

15 May 2019

Rank #1

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You're Vain and That's OK!

Vanity was born when the mirror was discovered. That’s what the Chicago Record wrote in 1895, around the time when mirrors became a household item. People (and especially women) were condemned for looking in the mirror, and accused of being sinful. But then the mirror altered the way we think about vanity altogether — and forever changed the way we look at ourselves. In this episode, we explore the history of the mirror, the history of vanity, and what it can teach us about today’s obsession over selfies.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

53mins

24 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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The Mystery of the Shared Earbuds

What does it take for two different people to find common ground? To answer that, we dig into a nine-year-old mystery. In 2011, two very different guys shared a pair of earbuds on the New York City subway. A photo of them went viral multiple times … but who were they, and what were they really doing? All is revealed.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail: jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeiferNewsletter: https://jasonfeifer.bulletin.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

25 Jun 2020

Rank #3

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Coffee: The Original Controversial Drug

For 500 years, a succession of kings, sultans, and businessmen have tried to ban or destroy the world’s favorite morning pick-me-up. Among their claims: Coffee makes you impotent! It destroys brain tissue! It attacks the nervous system! And most critically of all, it makes you want to take up arms against your government. In this episode, we explore exactly what coffee does to us,,, and how did it overcame the controversy to become the best part of waking up.Get in touch!Instagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeiferWeb: jasonfeifer.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

31mins

20 Nov 2017

Rank #4

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Teddy Bears Are History's Most Subversive Toy

The teddy bear: Is it cute and cuddly, or a “horrible monstrosity” that’ll destroy humanity? In 1907, many people feared the worst — that this new toy would ruin young girls’ developing maternal instincts, and lead us to a terrible fate. This is the story of how the teddy bear changed us all… and how we then changed the bear.Get in touch!Newsletter: jasonfeifer.bulletin.comWebsite: jasonfeifer.comInstagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

48mins

5 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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The Day the Music Died (And Was Reborn)

In the early 1900s, recorded music was accused of muddling our minds, destroying art, and even harming babies. What was everyone so afraid of? In this episode, we dig into the early days of music and see what the hysterics properly predicted—and the benefits they never saw coming.Get in touch!Newsletter: jasonfeifer.bulletin.comWebsite: jasonfeifer.comInstagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

35mins

9 Jan 2017

Rank #6

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The Man Who Nearly Destroyed Comic Books

In the 1950s, America declared war on the comic book. People feared that they’d turn children into hardened criminals, and so opponents burned them in large piles, states banned them, and the U.S. Senate investigated their dangers. The man leading the charge was a psychologist named Fredric Wertham, whose research fueled people’s fears. In this episode, we take a close look at Wertham to ask: How does someone come to yield so much cultural influence? And how should the rest of us react?Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

51mins

25 Jul 2019

Rank #7

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Bicycles Were A Misogynist's Nightmare

When the bicycle debuted in the 1800s, it was blamed for all sorts of problems--from turning people insane to devastating local economies to destroying women's morals. We explore why the bicycle scared so many people, and what happens when the opposite of our fears turn out to be true.Get in touch!Instagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeiferWeb: jasonfeifer.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

34mins

8 Jun 2017

Rank #8

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Even Thomas Edison Got Things Wrong

As electricity began to light our world, resistance came from curious corners. “God had decreed that darkness should follow light, and mortals had no right to turn night into day,” wrote one German newspaper. “A lamp for a nightmare,” declared a Scottish poet. And Thomas Edison, the inventor who gave us the first commercial light bulb, tried his hardest to make people fear a competitor’s form of electricity. But here’s the strangest thing of all: Edison and his ilk failed quickly; their fearmongering just never stuck, and electricity, unlike every other innovation we’ve explored on this show, easily expanded into our world. Why? To understand that, we have go way back -- to the very first spark.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

9 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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The Most Important Podcast of Our Lifetime!

If you’ve ever voted in an election, watched the Bachelor, or worried about the end of days, then you’ve probably fallen for a specific rhetorical trick. In this episode, we explore the history of the phrase “the most important election of our lifetime,” and why the human brain is so UNIQUELY, INSANELY, OUTRAGEOUSLY(!!!) susceptible to hyperbole.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeiferNewsletter: https://jasonfeifer.bulletin.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

47mins

29 Oct 2020

Rank #10

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Where the Anti-Vax Movement Came From

“One might suppose that the popular prejudice against vaccination had died out by this time,” one writer complains. It sounds like a lament from today, but in fact, it’s from 1875. Anti-vaxxers may seem like a product of our fake-news, health-hysteria modern times, but the fear that propels these skeptics is as old as the vaccine itself. How has modern medicine not shaken generations’ worth of suspicion and fear? We go back to look at two pivotal moments -- the birth of the vaccine and a 1905 Supreme Court case -- to understand what still motivates the anti-vaxxers of today.Get in touch!Instagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeiferWeb: jasonfeifer.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

27mins

9 Sep 2017

Rank #11

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How the Elevator Shaped Our World

The elevator has had a lot of ups and downs. (Sorry, sorry.) As the innovation gained popularity in the late 1800s, it had a profound effect on the way we organize our cities and ourselves. It was also blamed for a rise in crime, for causing something called brain fever, for destroying civil society, and more. On this episode of Pessimists Archive, we look at how the elevator shaped our world, why not everyone loved that, and what it has to teach us about the next big change. Because while the elevator may seem like old technology today, it has a big lesson for us about the future of transportation.Get in touch!Web: jasonfeifer.comEmail. jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter / Instagram: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

20 Jun 2019

Rank #12

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The British Used to Hate Umbrellas

National pride can be good... but it can also make you foolish and wet. In the 1750s, a London man took to the streets holding an umbrella—and braved jeers, rock-throwing haters, and even a cab that tried to run him over. We explore why rainy England was once so anti-umbrella, and whether that fight was really ever settled.Get in touch!Newsletter: jasonfeifer.bulletin.comWebsite: jasonfeifer.comInstagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

23mins

11 Apr 2017

Rank #13

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Shop Local? Be Thankful for Chain Stores

When chain stores were new, the reaction against them was fierce. Chain stores were accused of destroying democracy, of limiting freedom, of corrupting young people, and of being evil, evil, evil. But in reality, chain stores were innovating the way we shop -- and replacing a very bad kind of local business. Even if you love shopping local, this episode might just change the way you think about business.Get in touch!Email: jasonfeifer@gmail.comTwitter: @heyfeiferWeb: jasonfeifer.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

42mins

8 Feb 2019

Rank #14

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The First Self-Driving Car Was A Horse

When the car began replacing the horse in the early 1900s, pessimists didn't celebrate. They called it "the devil wagon," and said its mission was to destroy the world. We explore why the horseless carriage was so scary, how it was eventually accepted, and what it can teach us about the future of self-driving cars.Get in touch!Newsletter: jasonfeifer.bulletin.comWebsite: jasonfeifer.comInstagram: @heyfeiferTwitter: @heyfeifer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

29mins

2 Mar 2017

Rank #15