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Conversations with Tyler

Updated 12 days ago

Business
Education
Society & Culture
Technology
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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Read more

Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

iTunes Ratings

1031 Ratings
Average Ratings
940
47
21
9
14

Very intelligent

By netherland again - Aug 09 2019
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If you like intelligence, long form conversations and podcasts and spending your time wisely, look no farther!

A Great Way To Expand your Horizons

By Ian Adams 1 - Jul 31 2019
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This is a fantastic podcast, and the one I am mostly likely to recommend to people looking for new podcast recommendations. It may not be for everyone, and can be very wonky at times, but I think it is delightful and incredibly insightful. It's my go-to on long drives. Tyler is the most prepared interviewer I have ever come across, which enables conversations to cover more ground than you might think was humanly possible. In particular, one reason I really like this podcast is because Tyler interviews a wide range of very smart people - specifically people from different parts of the political spectrum. As a result, there are frequently people on the podcast who are very smart, very genuine, who happen to hold very different perspectives on the world than I do. This podcast is chalk full of interesting discussions realted to economics, politics, and global affairs, without being political or ideological. It's great!

iTunes Ratings

1031 Ratings
Average Ratings
940
47
21
9
14

Very intelligent

By netherland again - Aug 09 2019
Read more
If you like intelligence, long form conversations and podcasts and spending your time wisely, look no farther!

A Great Way To Expand your Horizons

By Ian Adams 1 - Jul 31 2019
Read more
This is a fantastic podcast, and the one I am mostly likely to recommend to people looking for new podcast recommendations. It may not be for everyone, and can be very wonky at times, but I think it is delightful and incredibly insightful. It's my go-to on long drives. Tyler is the most prepared interviewer I have ever come across, which enables conversations to cover more ground than you might think was humanly possible. In particular, one reason I really like this podcast is because Tyler interviews a wide range of very smart people - specifically people from different parts of the political spectrum. As a result, there are frequently people on the podcast who are very smart, very genuine, who happen to hold very different perspectives on the world than I do. This podcast is chalk full of interesting discussions realted to economics, politics, and global affairs, without being political or ideological. It's great!
Cover image of Conversations with Tyler

Conversations with Tyler

Updated 12 days ago

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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Rank #1: Kwame Anthony Appiah on Pictures of the World

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Born to a Ghanaian father and British mother, Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up splitting time between both countries — and lecturing in many more — before eventually settling in America, where he now teaches philosophy at New York University. This, along with a family scattered across half-a-dozen countries, establishes him as a true cosmopolitan, a label Appiah readily accepts. Yet he insists it is nonetheless possible to be a cosmopolitan patriot, rooted in a place, while having obligations and interests that transcend one’s national identity.

He joins Tyler to discuss this worldly perspective and more, including whether Africa will secularize, Ghanian fallibilism, teaching Jodie Foster, whether museums should repatriate collections, Karl Popper, Lee Kuan Yew, which country has the best jollof rice, the value of writing an ethical advice column, E.T. Mensah, Paul Simon, the experience of reading 173 novels to judge the Man Booker prize, and what he’s learned farming sheep in New Jersey.

We're coming to New York City! Join us for a live podcast recording with Alain Bertaud on September 9th. To learn more and register for the event, click here.

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Jul 31 2019
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #2: Peter Thiel on Stagnation, Innovation, and What Not to Call your Company (Live at Mason)

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Peter Thiel and Tyler Cowen, both New York Times bestselling authors, are among today’s top global thought leaders and influential innovators. Listen as these two engage in a serious dialogue on the ideas and policies that will shape the future of innovation and progress in the coming years and decades.

Peter Thiel is among the most impressive innovators of the past two decades. As co-founder of Paypal and seed-funder for Facebook, Thiel has been instrumental in the conception and growth of some of today’s most entrepreneurial and innovative companies. In his latest best-selling book, Zero to One, Thiel explains how to build a better future by capitalizing on innovation. A staunch optimist, he maintains that progress can be achieved anywhere the human mind is able to think creatively. Thiel describes how entrepreneurial thinking leads to innovation, which builds something new and moves the mark from zero to one.

Note: Due to a technical malfunction, the audio quality briefly drops from 11:15 - 13:30.

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Mar 25 2015
1 hour 20 mins
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Rank #3: Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity (Live at Mason)

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Journalist, author, and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell joins Tyler for a conversation on Joyce Gladwell, Caribbean identity, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.”

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Mar 15 2017
1 hour 32 mins
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Rank #4: Jordan Peterson on Mythology, Fame, and Reading People

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Jordan Peterson joins Tyler to discuss collecting Soviet propaganda, why he’s so drawn to Jung, what the Exodus story can teach us about current events, his marriage and fame, what the Intellectual Dark Web gets wrong, immigration in America and Canada, his tendency towards depression, Tinder’s revolutionary nature, the lessons from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, fixing universities, the skills needed to become a good educator, and much more.

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Feb 13 2019
53 mins
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Rank #5: Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Self-Education and Doing the Math (Plus special guest Bryan Caplan)

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Though what Taleb was really after was a discussion with Bryan Caplan (which starts at 51:50), the philosopher, mathematician, and author most recently of *Skin in the Game* also generously agreed to a conversation with Tyler.

They discuss the ancient Phoenicians and Greco-Roman heritage of Lebanon, philology, genetics, the blockchain, driverless cars, the advantages of Twitter fights, how to think about religion, fancy food vs. Auntie Anne's pretzels, autodidactism, The Desert of the Tartar, why Taleb refused to give a book tour, inverse role models, why math isn't just a young man's game, and more.

Transcript with Tyler

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May 23 2018
1 hour 37 mins
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Rank #6: Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality

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If you want to speculate on the development of tech, no one has a better brain to pick than Neal Stephenson. Across more than a dozen books, he’s created vast story worlds driven by futuristic technologies that have both prophesied and even provoked real-world progress in crypto, social networks, and the creation of the web itself. Though Stephenson insists he’s more often wrong than right, his technical sharpness has even led to a half-joking suggestion that he might be Satoshi Nakamoto, the shadowy creator of bitcoin. His latest novel, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, involves a more literal sort of brain-picking, exploring what might happen when digitized brains can find a second existence in a virtual afterlife.

So what’s the implicit theology of a simulated world? Might we be living in one, and does it even matter? Stephenson joins Tyler to discuss the book and more, including the future of physical surveillance, how clothing will evolve, the kind of freedom you could expect on a Mars colony, whether today’s media fragmentation is trending us towards dystopia, why the Apollo moon landings were communism’s greatest triumph, whether we’re in a permanent secular innovation starvation, Leibniz as a philosopher, Dickens and Heinlein as writers, and what storytelling has to do with giving good driving directions.

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Jul 17 2019
54 mins
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Rank #7: David Brooks on Youth, Morality, and Loneliness (Live at Mason)

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For two hours every morning, David Brooks crawls around his living room floor, organizing piles of research. Then, the piles become paragraphs, the paragraphs become columns or chapters, and the process - which he calls "writing" - is complete.

After that he might go out and see some people. A lunch, say, with his friend Tyler. And the two will discuss the things they're thinking, writing, and learning about. And David will feel rejuvenated, for he is a social animal (as are we all).

Then one day David will be asked by Tyler to come on his show, and perform this act publicly. To talk about his love for Bruce Springsteen, being a modern-day Whig, his "religious bisexuality," covenants vs. contracts, today's answer to the "Fallows Question," why failure is overrated, community and loneliness, the upside of being invaded by Canada, and much more.

And though he will be intimidated, David will oblige, and the result is here for you to enjoy.

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Jun 06 2018
1 hour 22 mins
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Rank #8: Jonathan Haidt on Morality, Politics, Disgust, and Intellectual Diversity on Campus

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Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on morality, politics, disgust, how to maintain free speech on campus, the enriching effects of LSD, antiparsimonialism, and why economists set all the interesting variables to zero.

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Mar 24 2016
1 hour 9 mins
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Rank #9: Daniel Kahneman on Cutting Through the Noise

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If you enjoy Conversation with Tyler, consider making a year-end donation at ConversationsWithTyler.com/donate. All gifts will support the show’s production, including future live podcast recordings like this one.

You might be surprised by what occupies Daniel Kahneman’s thoughts. “You seem to think that I think of bias all the time,” he tells Tyler. “I really don’t think of bias that much.” These days, noise might be the concept most on Kahneman’s mind. A forthcoming book, coauthored with Cass Sunstein and “a brilliant Frenchman you haven’t heard of” is about how random variability affects our decision-making. And while we’ve spent a lot of time studying how bias causes error in judgment, Kahneman says, we aren’t thinking nearly enough about the problem of noise.

In November, Kahneman joined Tyler for a live conversation about bias, noise and more, including happiness, memory, the replication crisis in psychology, advice to CEOs about improving decision-making, superforecasters, the influence of Freud, working in a second language, the value of intuition, and why he can’t help you win arguments with a spouse. 

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Dec 19 2018
1 hour 9 mins
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Rank #10: Steven Pinker on Language, Reason, and the Future of Violence (Live at Mason)

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Steven Pinker has spent an entire academic career thinking deeply about language, cognition, and human nature. Driving it all, he says, is an Enlightenment belief that the world is intelligible, science can progress, and through rational inquiry we can better understand ourselves.

He recently joined Tyler for a conversation not only on the power of reason, but also the economics of irrational verbs, whether violence will continue to decline, behavioral economics, existential threats, the merits of aerobic exercise, photography, group selection, Fermi’s paradox, Noam Chomsky, universal grammar, free will, the Ed Sullivan show, and why people underrate the passive (or so it is thought).

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Nov 02 2016
1 hour 26 mins
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Rank #11: Larry Summers on Macroeconomics, Mentorship, and Avoiding Complacency (Live)

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The economist, President Emeritus at Harvard University, and former Treasury Secretary joins Tyler to discuss innovation in higher education, Herman Melville, the Fed, Mexico, Russia, China, the Larry Summers production function, philanthropy and Larry’s table tennis adventure in the summer Jewish Olympics.

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Sep 20 2017
1 hour 13 mins
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Rank #12: Ben Sasse on the Space between Nebraska and Neverland (Live at Mason)

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The US senator and former college president joined Tyler for a conversation on adolescence, adulthood, driving for Uber, loving Luther, hate-reading Rousseau, the decline of small towns, backpacking across Europe, America’s peculiar fondness for age-segregation, and why his latest book contains so little sex.

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Jun 28 2017
1 hour 21 mins
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Rank #13: Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small

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The surgeon, researcher, and celebrated writer joined Tyler for a conversation on why Watson will never diagnose your illness, what George Church’s narcolepsy teaches us about CRISPR, what’s missing in medical education, Michael Crichton’s cultural influence, Knausgård versus Ferrante, indie music, and the thing that makes Gawande “bawl like a baby.”

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Jul 19 2017
57 mins
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Rank #14: Balaji Srinivasan on the Power and Promise of the Blockchain

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When Balaji Srinivasan sat down for his conversation with Tyler he was the CEO of Earn.com. Today he is the CTO at Coinbase, which acquired his company in the intervening weeks (congrats Balaji!). But while his job title has changed, his passion remains the same: harnessing the power of the blockchain to launch a new generation of entrepreneurs, businesses, and entire markets.

Balaji talks with Tyler about the potential of the blockchain and beyond, including how firewalls may become the new immigration policy tool, why drones are still underrated, the future of news and academia, what the Silicon Valley opener reveals about how America views the tech industry, and more.

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Apr 25 2018
54 mins
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Rank #15: Ross Douthat on Narrative and Religion (Live at Mason)

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Last year, Tyler asked his readers “What Is the Strongest Argument for the Existence of God?” and followed up a few days later with a post outlining why he doesn’t believe in God. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat accepted the implicit challenge, responding to the second post in dialogic form and arguing that theism warrants further consideration.

This in-person dialogue starts along similar lines, covering Douthat’s views on religion and theology, but then moves on to more earth-bound concerns, such as his stance on cats, The Wire vs The Sopranos, why Watership Down is the best modern novel for understanding politics, eating tofu before it was cool, journalism as a trade, why he’s open to weird ideas, the importance of Sam’s Club Republicans, the specter of a Buterlian Jihad, and more.

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Jan 17 2018
1 hour 25 mins
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Rank #16: Sam Altman on Loving Community, Hating Coworking, and the Hunt for Talent

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Founders aren’t superheroes, says Sam Altman.They may play extreme sports, respond to emails within seconds, and start billion-dollar companies, but they are rarely the product of extraordinary circumstance. In fact, they tend to be solidly upper-middle class, reasonably smart, and with loving parents. 

So would Sam fund Peter Parker? What about Bruce Wayne?

Tyler and Sam discuss these burning questions and more, including what’s wrong with San Francisco, Napoleon’s underrated skill, nuclear energy, the greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution, his rant against coworking spaces, UBI and AGI, risk and regret, optimism and beauty, and why venture capitalists don’t have superpowers either.

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Feb 27 2019
1 hour 8 mins
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Rank #17: Rob Wiblin interviews Tyler on *Stubborn Attachments*

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In this special episode, Rob Wiblin of 80,000 Hours has the super-sized conversation he wants to have with Tyler about Stubborn Attachments. In addition to a deep examination of the ideas in the book, the conversation ranges far and wide across Tyler's thinking, including why we won't leave the galaxy, the unresolvable clash between the claims of culture and nature, and what Tyrone would have to say about the book, and more.

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Order Stubborn Attachments from Stripe Press here.

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Oct 16 2018
2 hours 30 mins
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Rank #18: Raj Chetty on Teachers, Social Mobility, and How to Find Answers to Big Questions

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A high school teacher once told Raj Chetty he’d some day serve on the Federal Reserve Board. At the the time Raj thought the comment was silly, since he was busy working in the laboratory on staining techniques for electron microscopy and was set to become a biomedical scientist. About a decade later, however, and Chetty would become one of the youngest tenured economics professors at Harvard and would soon win both a John Bates Clark medal and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Now at Stanford, he’s one of the most-cited economists in the world.

Raj’s conversation with Tyler spans that well-cited body of work and more, including social mobility, the value-add of kindergarten teachers, why corporations pay dividends, his love of Piano Guys, the most underrated US state, and why okra may have been the secret of his success.

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May 24 2017
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #19: Eric Kaufmann on Immigration, Identity, and the Limits of Individualism

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Going back and forth between Canada and Japan during his childhood sparked Eric Kaufmann’s interest in the question of identity. As a foreigner in an international school, he encountered young individuals from at least 60 other countries, and this made him think more about national identity and how people affiliate and interact with one another. Now as an academic, he explores how demographic changes — most notably caused by ethnic migration and assimilation — are the key to understanding Brexit, Trump, and pretty much every major issue du jour.

Kauffman’s latest book Whiteshift, which examines how declining white ethnic majorities will respond to these changes, is on Tyler’s list as one of the best books of the year. The two discuss the book and more, including Orangeism in Northern Ireland, Switzerland’s secret for stability, what Tocqueville got most wrong about America, predictions on Brexit’s final form, why Portugal seems immune to populism, how Notre Dame should be rebuilt, whether the Amish — or Mormons — will take over the world, and much more.

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Jul 03 2019
56 mins
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Rank #20: Camille Paglia on her Lifestyle of Observation (Live at Mason)

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Camille Paglia joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on the brilliance of Bowie, lamb vindaloo, her lifestyle of observation, why writers need real jobs, Star Wars, Harold Bloom, Amelia Earhart, Edmund Spenser, Brazil, why she is most definitely not a cultural conservative, and much more.

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Apr 25 2016
1 hour 26 mins
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