Rank #1: Are the US and Mexico at a Breaking Point?
Is the relationship between the United States and Mexico on shaky ground? This year, President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican imports if the country didn’t stop the flow of migrants from Central America. And, just this week, Mexican officials called a fatal shooting at an El Paso department store that killed eight Mexican nationals an “act of terrorism." Will the issues at the border lead to more tension between the two countries, or can they find compromise? Jorge Guajardo, former Mexican ambassador to China, joins Julián Aguilar, a reporter who covers border affairs for The Texas Tribune, and Jeh Johnson, former US secretary of homeland security for a discussion about what’s at stake. Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” moderates the conversation. The views and opinions of the podcast guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.
Rank #2: Millennials and Motivation, Featuring Simon Sinek and Adam Grant
Millennials shoulder a lot of stereotypes. They’re called entitled and in need of instant gratification. They’re not committed to their work and expect a work-life balance at their very first job. Do these labels actually define them? Are they really any different than the generations before them? In this lighthearted and informative conversation, organizational psychologist Adam Grant and inspirational teacher Simon Sinek sit down with Katie Couric. Couric is an award-winning journalist. They explore what motivates Millennials at work and how the digital world is impacting their productivity.
Rank #3: A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg
As the second female justice confirmed to the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg says her experiences as a female give her a unique perspective her male colleagues don’t share. In this episode, Justice Ginsburg talks about her relationships with Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and the late Antonin Scalia. She also explains what it’s like to work with newly-elected Justice Neil Gorsuch. Her discussion with the Aspen Wye Fellows, also touches on her book My Own Words. Ginsburg is interviewed by Elliot Gerson, executive vice president of policy and public programs at the Aspen Institute.
Rank #4: The Next Big Challenge in Your Life
What if you examined your life in the context of all of its stages? The annunciation and initiation phases in your youth and young adulthood are full of discovery and learning. Then, the odyssey years in your twenties bring wandering and loneliness and lead to a commitment-making phase in your thirties. David Brooks, author and New York Times op-ed columnist, says life’s mountains and valleys shape who we are and eventually lead us to a “second mountain.” This phase, later in life, often results in a feeling of true peace and happiness. In this lecture, Brooks uses examples from his own life and of others who encountered challenges along the way, like biologist E.O. Wilson, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.
Find our companion episode, "A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg," by clicking here. Find the Aspen Insight episode featuring the Aspen Words Literary Prize here. Follow our show on Twitter @aspenideas and Facebook at facebook.com/aspenideas. Email your comments to email@example.com.
Rank #5: The Politics and Economics of Inequality
Professor Robert Reich examines what's happened to income and wealth in this country, why it's a problem, and what we can expect in future years. Recorded live at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Rank #6: "Extra" with Maria Hinojosa
Now, more than ever, a diversifying United States needs a shared base of knowledge. That’s according to Eric Liu, executive director of the Citizenship and American Identity Program at the Aspen Institute. He’s calling on the American public and cultural leaders to build a crowd-sourced national list of facts and references every American should know. In this “Extra” episode, he talks to Maria Hinojosa, an award-winning news anchor and reporter. She founded the Futuro Media Group and hosts Latino USA, NPR’s only national Latino news and cultural weekly radio program. (Music: Podington Bear/Jack)
Rank #7: Love, Sex, and the Brain
What makes two people click? What does it really mean to say, “we have chemistry”? The Atlantic's Olga Khazan talks to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher about the four styles of thought and behavior that Fisher has identified through brain scans that help explain the biological underpinnings of romantic love, love addiction, adultery, and divorce. Based on data collected from 35,000 single Americans, Fisher explains modern courtship, why a trend she calls “slow love” makes her optimistic about relationships in the digital age, and how to use brain chemistry to keep love alive.
Show Notes Listen to the Aspen Ideas to Go episode, What Is Technology's Toll on Intimacy?. Follow us on Twitter at @aspenideas and Facebook. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.
Rank #8: How to Learn Anything Fast
Best-selling author of "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast!" Josh Kaufman shares universal, field-tested approaches to effective learning and rapid skill acquisition in adults. From deconstructing complex skills to maximizing productive practice and removing common learning barriers, Kaufman describes how 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice can help you develop surprising levels of skill in any field. And, he may even play his Ukulele.
(music bed: Podington Bear/Golden Hour)
Rank #9: "Wild" author Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed discusses her journey, chronicled in the hugely popular book, Wild, and shares her search to overcome heartache and find healing. (Recorded live at Aspen Words.) The book was adapted for film in 2014, and now the actresses playing Strayed and her mother (Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, respectively) are up for Academy Awards. Strayed's latest project is Dear Sugar Radio. Check out that podcast, too.
Rank #10: The Choices That Create Your Life
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a life well lived. In this episode he examines happiness and commitments. In his book The Road to Character, he studies people who radiate an inner light. What work did they do to reach higher levels of happiness? A successful life usually depends on making four major commitments: to spouse or family, a faith or philosophy, a community, and a vocation. How do we choose what we will commit to, and how do we execute those commitments?
Rank #11: Crash Course on Happiness
The number of college students dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety is growing. Psychology professor Laurie Santos noticed it in her Yale classroom and set out to change the campus culture. Her course “Psychology and the Good Life” is the most popular class in Yale’s 300-year history. In this episode, she talks about her efforts to infuse wellness into her students’ lives. She gives a crash course on how to feel less stressed and depressed, and find more meaning in your life. It’s applicable to everyone—whether you’re an undergraduate or a retiree.
Show Notes Register for the 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival. Follow Aspen Ideas to Go on Twitter and Facebook. Email your comments to email@example.com. The views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.
Rank #12: NATO Chief on Cyberspace, Trump, and Threats From Abroad
In a wide-reaching discussion from the Aspen Security Forum, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), discusses the major threats in the world today. From cyber warfare to Russia pulling out of a key nuclear arms treaty, the 29-member alliance is grappling with challenges across the globe. Stoltenberg speaks with Courtney Kube, Pentagon and Defense Department correspondent for NBC News, about Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, cyberspace, and President Trump, who has been critical of NATO. He stresses the importance of being part of the organization, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. “NATO is good for Europe, but it’s also extremely good for the United States,” he says. “It is extremely good to have friends and allies.” Their conversation was held July 17, 2019 in Aspen, Colorado.
Rank #13: From the Big Bang to Black Holes: Time, The Universe, and Everything
Astrophysicist and writer Janna Levin offers an epic tour through time from the beginning of the universe in a big bang, through black holes, past the emergence of life on at least one little planet spinning in a conceivably infinite cosmic ocean, to the possible end of time.
Rank #14: Gray Matter: The Brain after 50
Our brains are getting older, but there's still much to be optimistic about. Neuroscientists Susan Greenfield and Gary Small discuss the aging brain with journalist Sam Kean.
Rank #15: Circuit Training for Your Brain: Well-Being Is a Skill
Scientific evidence suggests that we can change our brains by transforming our minds and cultivating habits of mind that will improve well-being. These include happiness, resilience, compassion, and emotional balance. Each of these characteristics is instantiated in brain circuits that exhibit plasticity and thus can be shaped and modified by experience and training. Mental training to cultivate well-being has profound implications for schools, the workplace, and society as a whole. Richard J. Davidsonis the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson has published over 320 articles and edited 14 books, including The Emotional Life of Your Brain. NOTE: Davidson shared a couple of short video clips during his talk at the Festival. The first shows video games developed for kids to cultivate habits of kindness and pro-social behavior. The second is a demonstration of the preschool kindness curriculum that he refers to in the podcast. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8BvPl8tylU
Rank #16: The Road to Character - David Brooks and Katie Couric
I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it, David Brooks has said about his experience writing his latest New York Times bestseller about personal virtues and honesty in a materialistic age. Katie Couric explores this journey with the deeply thoughtful author.
Rank #17: Finding Meaning in Our Work
The average American spends a third of his or her life working. What is the secret to achieving happiness because of our work and not in spite of it? How can we make a job into a vocation? David Brooks and Arthur Brooks have both studied and written about these questions. They say, no matter what the job is, the answer is to find meaning in it. In this episode, the thought leaders discuss the elements of meaningful work, the ways to achieve it, and how we can use these insights to improve culture and policy.
Rank #18: An American Sickness
Elisabeth Rosenthal writes about our broken healthcare system in her new book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back. She says the system, comprised of hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers, is in tatters. Social and financial incentives have infected it, she says, rendering it disastrous and immoral. How has the Affordable Care Act impacted the system? And what kind of effect would a repeal have? Rosenthal is an emergency room doctor turned journalist. She spent 22 years at The New York Times before becoming editor-in-chief at Kaiser Health News.
Rank #19: Kids These Days: Technology and Culture in American Life
What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? Youth culture and technology expert Danah Boyd talks with The Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin about what Boyd sees as the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media, exploring tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Boyd argues that society fails kids when paternalism and protectionism hinder their ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. How will emerging technologies continue to impact a new generation of Americans?
Rank #20: A Formula for Happiness
Want to be happy? Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, has read all of the books and studies about what makes us happy — so you don't have to. By marrying ancient wisdom and new data, he says we can identify what brings the most happiness, and the most unhappiness, to the most people. In short, love people, not pleasure. This Aspen Lecture was recorded live at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Check out the Aspen Lectures Compendium on iTunes U.