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Smart People Podcast

Smart People Podcast

Smart People Podcast is a weekly, interview-based podcast that features todays most well respected thought leaders engaging in authentic, insightful conversation for the benefit of the listener. The host, Chris Stemp, and his co-host/producer Jon Rojas, utilize their insatiable curiosity and relatable charm to provoke their guests into giving the interview of a lifetime. 

Every single guest has achieved a high level of recognition within their arena and in doing so has collected a wealth of experiences and insights that are brought to life in this top ranked iTunes podcast. Show topics vary greatly, including things such as psychology, leadership, education, technology, entrepreneurship, relationships, and much more.


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Dr. Anthony Youn - Plastic Surgeon Reveals All

Dr. Anthony Youn a board-certified plastic surgeon, author, and anti-aging expert. Dr. Youn has performed tens of thousands of successful cosmetic procedures, wrote the phenomenal book, The Age Fix: A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How to Really Look 10 Years Younger, and hosts The Holistic Plastic Surgery Show podcast.

Dr. Youn's book, The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life is available wherever books are sold.

Learn more about the Dr. Anthony Youn at

We discuss:

What is holistic plastic surgery and what does it mean to you?What is the best way to figure out an at-home skincare routine?What should we be aware of when deciding what sunscreen to use?

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Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness - Follow Your Passion? Not so Fast.

Brad Stulberg researches, writes, speaks, and coaches on health and human performance. His coaching practice includes working with athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives on their mental skills and overall wellbeing.

Steve Magness writes, speaks, and coaches on health and human performance. He is a coach to some of the top distance runners in the world. He consults with executives and athletes on performance, culture, and mental skills development.

In addition to Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox, their writing and opinions have been featured in national outlets including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Wired, CNN, NPR, The BBC, Forbes, ESPN, Outside Magazine, and The Huffington Post.

Their newest book, The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life is out now!

Learn more about the Brad, Steve, and the book at

We discuss:

How did you decide to write a book about passion?How do we differentiate passions that are going to bring us "success"?How do we separate our value from our passion?

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BetterHelp - Get 10% off your first month - - Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this episode. Listeners get 2 months of Skillshare for FREE by signing up here: Chef - For a total of $75 off, that?s $25 off each of your first 3 boxes, go to


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Laura Tierney - Parenting in the Age of Social Media

Laura Tierney is the founder and CEO of The Social Institute. Prior to being the founder, Laura served as Social Media Director at the award-winning advertising agency McKinney. Laura was a student-athlete at Duke University, majoring in sociology and journalism, and became a 4-time Duke All-American, 2-time team captain, and Duke Athlete of the Decade for field hockey. During her time at Duke, she played with the U.S. Women?s Junior National Field Hockey Team, representing the United States at home and abroad.

Learn more at or by following @soLaur on Twitter!

We discuss:

What are the positive things students are utilizing social media to accomplish?How do kids see digital and social interact within their world?How much should we be 'watching' our kids when it comes to their social media involvement?

Become a Patron!

Help us grown and become a Patron today:


Wix - Get started today for free at and apply code SMART at checkout to get 10% when upgrading to premium!

Skillshare - Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this episode. Listeners get 2 months of Skillshare for FREE by signing up here:


Donate here to support the show!

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Lori Gottlieb - We Need to Talk

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author who writes the weekly ?Dear Therapist? advice column for The Atlantic. She has written hundreds of articles related to psychology and culture, many of which have become viral sensations all over the world. A contributing editor for the Atlantic, she also writes for The New York Times Magazine, and appears as a frequent expert on relationships, parenting, and hot-button mental health topics in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Dr. Phil, CNN, and NPR.

Learn more at or by following @LoriGottlieb1 on Twitter!

Lori's book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed is available now!

We discuss:

How difficult was it to write about your relationship and how vulnerable did you feel?How do you handle self-doubt and how do you handle it with patients?What are the recommendations for helping someone that "just wants to be heard"?

Become a Patron!

Help us grown and become a Patron today:


Wix - Get started today for free at and apply code SMART at checkout to get 10% when upgrading to premium!BetterHelp - Get 10% off your first month -


Donate here to support the show!

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Sandy Rogers - Invest in Building Loyalty

Sandy Rogers is the leader of FranklinCovey?s Loyalty Practice, a FranklinCovey offering which helps organizations increase customer and employee loyalty. Prior to FranklinCovey, he was a senior vice president at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Before making his way to Enterprise, Sandy worked in marketing at Apple and brand management at P&G. Sandy has a bachelor?s degree from Duke and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Sandy's book, Leading Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion is available on April 16th. You can pre-order it now!

We discuss:

What are the three pillars of loyalty and how was it built into the culture at Apple?What is it about a customer that 'proves' loyalty? How is customer loyalty defined?What is your favorite example of a company that embodies loyalty and has created loyal customers?


BetterHelp - Get 10% off your first month -


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Safi Bahcall - Nurture Crazy Ideas

Safi is a physicist, a biotech entrepreneur, and an author... just to name a few! Safi has presented at approximately 130 banking conferences, investor events, and medical meetings around the world, as well as at leading academic institutions. He was a Miller Fellow in physics at UC Berkeley AND in 2011, he worked with President Obama?s council of science advisors (PCAST) on the future of national research.

Safi's book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries is available now. Pick it up today!

Learn more about Safi:

We discuss:

Why did you leave you profession in Physics to "start over?"How do you marry the idea of learning new things, with your employers desire for you to be a specialist?What is the difference between focusing on culture versus structure?


BetterHelp - Get 10% off your first month -


Donate here to support the show!

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Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath - How Your Stories Change Your Reality

Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Melbourne and an MEd in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University. He has worked as a teacher, curriculum developer, brain researcher, and is currently an educational researcher at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

Jared's new book, Stop Talking, Start Influencing: 12 Insights From Brain Science to Make Your Message Stick is available on March 12th. Check it out!

To learn more about Jared and his work, visit:

Check out Jared's amazing TEDx talk, "Your Brain, Your Life."

We ask:

What are our "dozens of mini-brains?" What exactly are they?Are we limiting our experience because of the mental maps we create?How do you identify a story to determine if it's serving us or not serving us?

Recommended shows on Himalaya:

Context with Brad Harris

Download the Himalaya App!?

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Dave Birss - Great Ideas, You've Got Them

Dave Birss is a creative at heart and he's one of our favorite creatives to have on the show. Dave is the author of the bestselling book, A User Guide to the Creative Mind: Understanding Where Ideas Come From and Helping You Have More of Them. In addition to writing, Dave's credits are many. He runs RIGHT Thinking, which shows organizations a more effective way to generate more effective ideas. 

Dave was also the founder and editor of Open for Ideas; an online magazine that focused on creativity. Before that, he spent the majority of his career in the world of advertising, both as a copywriter and an art director.

Dave's newest book, How to Get to Great Ideas: A system for smart, extraordinary thinking is phenomenal. You need to go get it and read it!

To learn more about Dave, visit his website at:

We discuss:

How do we embrace diversity more in the creative process?Why do we need to put a definition on creativity?How do we go about being creative and adding value to the world?

This episode is sponsored by:

Blinkist - To start a 7 day trial, head to
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Annie McKee - Find Happiness at Work

Annie McKee is is a best-selling author, PhD, speaker and advisor. She is a coach to executives in Fortune 500 companies and organizations all over the world. She is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and teaches the PennCLO Executive Doctoral program and the MedEd Master?s program.

Annie's book, How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope, and Friendship is a must read and is available now!

To learn more about Annie, visit her website at:

We discuss:

Why does executive coaching exist? Why do so many executives need coaching?What are the "happiness traps?" How do they weigh on us at work?How can we offer "purpose" to everyone across all jobs?

This episode is sponsored by:

Blinkist - To start a 7 day trial, head to
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Sean McFate - The Future of War

Sean McFate is an author, novelist, and foreign policy expert. To expand on his already awesome background, Sean is a professor of strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University?s School of Foreign Service. He is also an Advisor to Oxford University's Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.

Sean's book, The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder is available now!

To learn more about Sean, head over to:

We discuss:

When it comes to the topic of war, why can't we all just get along?What or who is the biggest threat to our civilization?What is an example of someone yielding wealth and taking power for their individual gain?How is America doing when it comes to the 'future of war'?

This episode is sponsored by:

Blinkist - To start a 7 day trial, head to
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Cheryl Heller - Higher Purpose Through Social Design

Cheryl Heller is a strategist and designer, who has had an amazing career. She is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts. She was awarded a Practitioner Fellowship in the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Program. This only scratches the surface!

Cheryl's most recent book is The Intergalactic Design Guide: Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design.

To learn more about Cheryl, head over to:

We discuss:

What is social design?How does social design help put structure to complexity?What is the most foundational aspect of social design?

Links mentioned:

This episode is sponsored by:

Professor Dave Explains YouTube Channel - professordaveexplains.comBlinkist - To start a 7 day trial, head to
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2018 End of Year Special

2018 is over and we sit down to reminisce about the year that has passed... and drink a little whiskey while doing it! We have a whiskey tasting (listen to the end of the episode!), answer some listener questions, and take some time to reflect. Enjoy!

Don't worry! We return to your regularly scheduled interview next week. 

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Mark Manson - Experience Growth and Fulfillment

This week, we speak with Mark Manson. Mark is a New York Times bestselling author, a blogger, and internet entrepreneur. He often writes about what he considers to be life's most important topics: happiness, self-knowledge, habits, and relationships.

Mark's book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is a must read!

To learn more about Mark, check out his website:

We discuss:

How did you make your transformation into the self-help genre?How do I figure out what I want to do with my life?Where is Mark now in his life (this was 2 years ago!)?What would you tell a 21 year old to figure out what will work for them?
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Karen Wickre - Networking Tips From a Silicon Valley Pro

This week, we speak with Karen Wickre. Karen is a Silicon Valley veteran. She worked at Google for a decade and moved to Twitter as the Editorial Director. She is a member of the Board of Visitors for the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University, and serves on the boards of the International Center for Journalists, the News Literacy Project, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has also been a featured columnist for Wired.

Karen?s new book is, Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert?s Guide to Making Connections That Count.

To learn more about Karen, follow her on Twitter @kvox.

We discuss:

As a former twitter executive, what are the best practices to grow a brand on social media?What were the early days of Google like?How do I network if I don?t really like being around strangers?What?s the point of making so many connections on places like LinkedIn?Is email dead?
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Todd Rose - Success Through Individuality

This week, we speak with Todd Rose. Todd is the co-founder of Populace, a social impact organization that focuses on our understanding of individuality. Todd dropped out of high school, obtained his GED, went to Weber State University. He received his Doctorate in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Todd's most recent book is, Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment. To learn more about Todd, head over to

We discuss:

What is a Dark Horse? Who are examples of Dark Horses?What shocked Todd when studying about success?Is there a common theme that Dark Horses displayed?

This week's episode is brought to you by the Smart People Podcast Amazon Link. Support Smart People Podcast when doing your Amazon shopping:

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James Clear - The Laws of Behavior Change

This week, we speak with James Clear. Yup, that's right. James Clear!!! James is an author an entrepreneur and you might know him best for his fantastic newsletter. He writes about habits and human potential. His focus is on self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research, and he has new book called, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

To learn more about James, sign up for his awesome newsletter, or download a free chapter of his book, head over to

We discuss:

As a creator, how did you get over the fear of rejection?Why is the book called 'Atomic Habits'?Where do you find a 'vision' falling in the realm of habit creation?How do we identify our weak links in the system so that we can change them to give us better outcomes?
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Dr. James Lewis - Understanding ADHD

This week, we speak with Dr. James Lewis. Dr. Lewis' clinical and research interest focuses on the treatment and prevention of school problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and behavior and learning problems. Dr. Lewis is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, with a subspecialty certification in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Dr. Lewis' new book, Making Sense of ADHD: Overcoming The Unique Conditions and The Complexity of Coexisting Conditions will be released in November.

To find out more about Dr. Lewis' book, head over to:

We discuss:

At its basic level, what is ADHD?What is the believed prevalence of ADHD and is it increasing?How do you recommend parents deal with the diagnosis of ADHD within their child?How do we medically treat a behavioral disorder?
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Alexandra Levit - The Workforce of the Future

This week, we speak with Alexandra Levit. Alexandra conducts primary workplace research on behalf of several Fortune 500 companies. She is a former nationally syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a writer for the New York Times, Fast Company, and Forbes. Alexandra has authored many books, but Alexandra's latest book, Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future hits store's shelves on October 28th. Check it out!

To find out more about Alexandra, head over to her site at:

We discuss:

In preparation of the future workforce, where do you think the education model is going?Do high school and college students have the 'soft skills' they need to be successful in the workforce?Does the next generation have to be invested in technology education moving forward?
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Jeffrey Gitomer - Be Intriguing from the Outset

This week, we speak with Jeffrey Gitomer. Jeffrey is best known as the "King of Sales." He is an author, a professional speaker, and a business trainer. Jeffrey has written thirteen books, including multiple New York Times best sellers. His works range from The Sales Bible to The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude to The Little Red Book of Selling. He's sold millions of copies and has been translated into 14 languages!

Jeffrey's newest book, Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill comes out on October 30th.

To find out more about Jeffrey, head over to his site at:

We discuss:

What if you don't know what to sell or don't have anything that you deem valuable?How do you figure out what you should be spending your time on to keep growing?How do you handle what things to focus on when you have multiple interests?
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Brad Staats - Never Stop Learning

Dr. Staats is a professor at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and author of Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself, and Thrive. Brad also works with companies around the world to develop their learning and analytics strategies. He advises individuals and organizations on how to learn and improve in order to stay relevant, innovate, and succeed on an ongoing basis.

Brad is published in numerous places and has won numerous awards, including the Wickham Skinner Early-Career Research Accomplishments Award from the Production and Operations Management Society, the Poets & Quants award, and the Warren Bennis Prize for the best article in Harvard Business Review.

To find out more about Brad, head over to his site at:

We discuss:

How much of lifelong learning is inherent curiosity and how much is cultivated because people recognize they need to grow?Why wouldn't we want to specialize versus continuously learn throughout our life?How do we work around our brain when it constantly wants us to take the 'easy route'?
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Brandon Webb - Conquer Fear Like a SEAL

This week we interview Brandon Webb. Brandon Webb is a former US Navy SEAL sniper, New York Times bestselling author, Experimental aircraft pilot, and entrepreneur. He?s the founder of the Hurricane Group, a U.S. based digital entertainment, news and e-commerce company. Brandon is a member of the New York YPO (Young Presidents Organization) chapter, and serves as a board member on the veterans advisory committee to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Brandon has written numerous books, but his most recent is Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL's Guide. After reading Mastering Fear, check out his best-selling book, The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen.

To find out more about Brandon, head over to his site at:

We discuss:

What's harder... raising three kids or going through SEAL training?What is the hardest and most necessary skill for a sniper?How can you get over trauma and become better by getting through it?
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Joan C. Williams - Class Clash in America, The Forgotten Workers

This week we interview Joan C. Williams. Joan is a rock star in her field, who focuses her work on issues faced by women in the workplace. She currently serves as the Founding Director at the Center for WorkLife Law and is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings School Law. Joan contributes to many publications, including the Harvard Business Review blog, the Huffington Post, and the Psychology Today blog.

Joan has written numerous books, but her most recent is White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America.

To find out more about Joan, head to her site at:

We discuss:

What does it mean to be working class?Why do we have to focus on white working class, why not all races?Why does the white working class resent the "elites" but admire the truly rich?Why don't people just move to where good jobs are located?When you think white working class, do you think hicks? White trash? Stupid? You won't after this interview.Have you ever said, "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual," or gotten a job through a friend? You may be part of the "elite" class.
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Dr. Will Bulsiewicz - Gut Health, Gut Check

This week we interview "Dr. B," Dr. Will Bulsiewicz. Dr. B is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and gastroenterology at The University of North Carolina Hospitals. He also earned a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) from Northwestern University and a certificate in nutrition from Cornell University. Dr. Bulsiewicz is board-certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology.

To find out more about Dr. B, head to

We discuss:

What does bacteria matter so much?What bacteria is considered 'bad' bacteria? How do remove those?What are the thoughts around testing for food sensitivities?

Studies mentioned in the episode:

How diet impacts gut microbiome:

Benefits of substituting whole grains for processed grains:

Gluten free diet reduces short chain fatty acids and damages gut microbiome:
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Bob Rosen ? Leading with Consciousness

This week we interview Bob Rosen. Bob is a trusted CEO adviser, organizational psychologist, and bestselling author. Bob set out to help executives become better leaders so he founded Healthy Companies International.

Bob is frequently a keynote speaker across the globe. Bob has spoken in all areas of leadership: transformation, innovation, and growth.

Bob is the author of many books, but this week, we focus on Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life.

We discuss:

Are leaders in organizations struggling with the balance of monetary incentives and purpose driven cultures?What do you think is being missed in the leadership conversation?What are recommendations for those that don't feel like they are "in that right place?"What have you learned about how fear distracts us from becoming conscious?

You can learn more about Bob at

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Mike Rognlien ? What Does it Mean to be Truly Fulfilled?

This week we interview Mike Rognlien. Mike spent most of his career in tech. He worked at Facebook, where he built their first-ever professional and manager development programming. He also partnered with COO Sheryl Sandberg to build Facebook?s Managing Unconscious Bias course. He is an expert facilitator that focuses on leadership, strengths, and talking about the tough stuff.

Mike is the author of, This Is Now Your Company: A Culture Carrier's Manifesto.

We discuss:

What do you have to do to enjoy where you work?Where do you start to go down the right path of 'enjoying what you do'?How do you think you go about cultivating curiosity?Why did you write your book and what do you hope to change in the world?
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Due Quach - Find Your Calm

This week we interview Due Quach. Due is a refugee from Vietnam and a graduate of Harvard College and the Wharton MBA program. Due overcame the long-term effects of poverty and trauma by turning to neuroscience and meditation. After building a successful international business career in management consulting and private equity investments, Due traveled throughout Asia to study various contemplative traditions and then created the Calm Clarity Program to make mindful leadership accessible to people of all backgrounds. Due is the author of, Calm Clarity: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment, and Joy.

We discuss:

How can we find meaning or believe that we have meaning?Do you feel that everyone has the power to change our mental state in a way that can be positive, productive, and happy?How do we progress out of focusing on fear or the downside of things?

Learn more about the Calm Clarity Program at

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Dr. Traci Stein - Hypnosis, Biofeedback, and Brain Hacks

This week we interview Dr. Traci Stein. Dr. Stein is a Columbia-trained, licensed clinical psychologist and health educator. She is also certified in clinical hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH). Her focus has been on helping people to reduce uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms and gain greater insight into who they are and want to be. 

Dr. Stein is also the author of, The Everything Guide To Integrative Pain Management.

We discuss:

What is the cause of chronic pain?What IS hypnosis?What are verbal suggestions? What does it mean? What are examples?What can we do on our own to work with hypnosis?Biofeedback, what exactly is that?How did you get into the idea of 'intuition' and wanting others to develop it?

You can learn more about Dr. Stein at

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John Hooker - Solving Ethical Dilemmas

This week we interview John Hooker. John Hooker is Professor of Operations Research and Holleran Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility at Carnegie Mellon University. His book, Taking Ethics Seriously: Why Ethics Is an Essential Tool for the Modern Workplace, develops an intellectual framework for analyzing ethical dilemmas that is both grounded in theory and versatile enough to deal rigorously with real-world issues. 

We discuss:

What does the term 'ethics' truly mean?How did John become so dedicated around teaching ethics and social responsibility? What is the downside of not taking ethics seriously?How can we come to an agreement around ethics that works for an entire culture?

Learn more about Professor Hooker at

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Dr. Elizabeth Boham - Functional Medicine, Breast Cancer, and Chronic Illness

This week we interview Dr. Elizabeth Boham. Dr. Elizabeth Boham is a physician and nutritionist who practices Functional Medicine at The UltraWellness Center is Lenox, MA. Through her practice and lecturing she has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of optimum health and wellness.

Her DVD, Breast Wellness: Tools to Prevent and Heal from Breast Cancer explores the functional medicine approach to keeping your breasts and whole body well.

We discuss:

How does functional medicine deal with chronic disease and how does that differ from traditional western medicine?How did Elizabeth's battle with breast cancer lead her to specialize in functional medicine?How can you learn more about your genes and how they impact your health?What is a food intolerance and do you even know if you have them?

Learn more about Dr. Boham at her website If you purchase Breast Wellness: Tools to Prevent and Heal from Breast Cancer, use the discount code Breast30wellness to get 30% off!!!

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Barbara Lipska - Our Little-known Brain

This week we interview Barbara Lipska. Barbara is a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness and she has an absolutely fascinating story to tell. It would be unfair to give anything away from the interview or the book, so download the episode and give it a listen!

We discuss:

What does a typical day look like for the director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health?What does a brain look like when you cut into it?What progress is being made around mental health research?

Barbara Lipska, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized leader in human postmortem research and animal modeling of schizophrenia. She is currently director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she studies mental illness and human brain development. Her amazing, new book is, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery.

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Adam Braun - Do Meaningful Work and Change the World

This week on the show we interview Adam Braun. Adam is the CEO & Co-Founder of MissionU, a debt-free college alternative for the 21st century that CNN called "perfect for young people who are eager to launch their career." Adam's goal is to overhaul the traditional higher education model by providing a solution that doesn't require upfront tuition and allows students to graduate debt-free.

We discuss:

How to balance family life with starting a company?What are Adam's favorite interview tactics?What's wrong with going to college?What does it take to turn your idea into a business?

Adam has been featured as a speaker at The White House and named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Business Insider?s 40 Under 40, and Wired Magazine?s 50 People Who Are Changing the World. He was previously founder & CEO of Pencils of Promise, the award-winning organization that has built nearly 400 schools around the world. Adam is the author of the bestselling book, The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change.

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Dr. Lisa Mosconi - Nuclear Medicine Meets Nutrition

Like our bodies, our brains have very specific food requirements. In this episode we speak with Dr. Lisa Mosconi, who is both a neuroscientist and a certified integrative nutritionist, as she explains what should be on our menu.

Dr. Lisa Mosconi, whose research spans an extraordinary range of specialties including brain science, the microbiome, and nutritional genomics, notes that the dietary needs of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs, yet few of us have any idea what they might be. Her innovative approach to cognitive health incorporates concepts that most doctors have yet to learn. Busting through advice based on pseudoscience, Dr. Mosconi provides recommendations, while calling out noteworthy surprises, including the truth behind those delicious sweet potatoes, what's the verdict on cholesterol, good fat vs. bad fat, should you drink coconut oil, and much more.

Lisa is also the author of the incredible brand new book, Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power.She is also the associate director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC)/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, in the Department of Nutrition at NYU Steinhardt School of Nutrition and Public Health, and in the Departments of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine at the University of Florence (Italy). Formerly, Dr. Mosconi founded and was the director of the Nutrition & Brain Fitness Lab at New York University School of Medicine (NYU), and an assistant professor in the NYU Department of Psychiatry, where she served as the director of the Family History of Alzheimer's disease research program. 

Dr. Mosconi holds a dual PhD degree in Neuroscience and Nuclear Medicine from the University of Florence, Italy, and is a board certified integrative nutritionist and holistic healthcare practitioner. She is well known for her research on the early detection of Alzheimer's disease and is passionately interested in the mitigation and prevention of memory loss through lifestyle modifications including diet, nutrition, and physical and intellectual fitness.

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Soon Yu - Starting a Company and Dealing with Failure

"Don?t just chase the new ? Innovate the old." - Soon Yu

Modern business gurus all cry for the need to innovate, to disrupt, and to act like a startup. It?s hard to argue with that kind of thinking. It?s sexy and exciting. But it?s wrong.

Too many businesses become enamored by shiny new objects and end up overlooking the value locked away in their existing products. Maybe your business is one of them. Or maybe you only have an idea, but can't even figure out how to turn it into a business, let alone an Iconic Brand.

This week we talk with innovation expert Soon Yu on how to take a different approach that allows you to leverage what you already have or know to create a business that lasts. It generates disproportionate levels of profit and protects you against market fluctuations. Many of the world?s most successful brands have been using it for years.

Now, you can benefit from reaching iconic status, whether you?re a Fortune 500, local pizza parlor, or an aspiring Unicorn startup.

Soon Yu is an international speaker and author on innovation and design. He is the author of the brand new book, Iconic Advantage®: Don?t Chase the New, Innovate the Old.

He most recently served as the Global VP of Innovation and Officer at VF Corporation, parent organization to over thirty global apparel companies, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Nautica, and Wrangler.

He has been a founder and CEO for numerous venture-backed startups and was recognized as a Northern California finalist for the prestigious Ernst & Young ?Entrepreneur of the Year? award. Prior to this he worked at Bain and Company, The Clorox Company, and Chiquita Brands, where he won company-wide awards for best advertising, best promotion, and best new product, and gained industry recognition from the Webby Award, Favorite Website Award and Dope Award.

He frequently guest lectures at Stanford University, where he received his MBA, and is an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design.

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Jeremy Bailenson - How Virtual Reality Will Impact Your Life

Virtual reality is able to effectively blur the line between reality and illusion, pushing the limits of our imagination and granting us access to any experience imaginable. With well-crafted simulations, these experiences, which are so immersive that the brain believes they?re real, are already widely available with a VR headset and will only become more accessible and commonplace. But how does this new medium affect its users, and does it have a future beyond fantasy and escapism?

This week on the show, Jeremy Bailenson draws on two decades spent researching the psychological effects of VR and other mass media to help us understand this powerful new tool. He offers expert guidelines for interacting with VR and describes the profound ways this technology can be put to use?not to distance ourselves from reality, but to enrich our lives and influence us to treat others, the environment, and even ourselves better.

There are dangers and many unknowns in using VR, but it also can help us hone our performance, recover from trauma, improve our learning and communication abilities, and enhance our empathic and imaginative capacities. Like any new technology, its most incredible uses might be waiting just around the corner.

Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University?s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford?s Center for Longevity. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. He spent four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.

Jeremy is the author of the incredible new book, Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do.


This episode is brought to you by:

Audible, listen anytime, anywhere to an unmatched selection of audiobooks, original premium podcasts, and more. Start a 30-day trial and your first audiobook is free! Go to or text SMART to 500-500.


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Bryan Caplan - Education is a Waste of Time and Money

It's not often I truly feel that a guest changes my paradigm on the spot - but this is an exception.

This week we speak with Bryan Caplan about his newest book, The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money. As Bryan explains, despite being immensely popular--and immensely lucrative?education is grossly overrated. Bryan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity?in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee. In fact, decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, yet employers still reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use. Therefore, his recommendation is to cut education spending.

Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers.

Bryan Caplan is professor of economics at George Mason University and a blogger at EconLog. He is the author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun than You Think and The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies.

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Mary Beth Ferrante - We Are Failing Working Mothers

Did you know that working mothers are 50% LESS likely to be promoted than women without children? Or that only 1 in 5 senior executives is a woman?

Have you ever realized that working moms are judged when they leave work early to tend to their children AND when they stay at work late (and "neglect" their families)? The truth is, we have a work environment that is not conducive to being a parent and women are the ones who tend to suffer the most.

This week on the show we have a chance to talk with Mary Beth Ferrante about the struggles that working mothers face, and the ways they can get what they deserve.

Mary Beth is a former Senior Vice President for a Fortune 100 Firm who has made the successful transition to a certified career coach with the International Coach Federation. She is trained in Organizational, Relationship & Systems Coaching (ORSC). In addition, she has chaired national women's organizations and been on the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Los Angeles. Today, she works with new moms (and dads!), managers and organizations to best support new parents, discover what inspires and drives new parents in their careers.

Learn more about Mary Beth at


This episode is brought to you by:

Audible, listen anytime, anywhere to an unmatched selection of audiobooks, original premium podcasts, and more. Start a 30-day trial and your first audiobook is free! Go to or text SMART to 500-500.

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Listener Questions Special Part 2

We made it. You made it! Here's part 2 of our listener questions and 'year in review.'

Quick recap. Before we closed out 2017, we sent an email to our newsletter subscribers asking what questions they would like answered. This is part 1 of Chris and I attempting to answer those questions. It was the first time in years that we recorded under the same roof. How crazy is that?!?!

WARNING: there was "light" drinking while recording so expect complete openness and a dash of silly.

We want to hear from you, the listener!

If you're a fan of Smart People Podcast and would like to provide input to help shape the future of the show, please email us at We'd love to hear from you and get in touch.


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Listener Questions Special

We made it to 2018! Welcome :)

Before we closed out 2017, we sent an email to our newsletter subscribers asking what questions they would like answered. This is part 1 of Chris and I attempting to answer those questions. It was the first time in years that we recorded under the same roof. How crazy is that?!?!

WARNING: there was "light" drinking while recording so expect complete openness and a dash of silly. 

We want to hear from you, the listener!

If you're a fan of Smart People Podcast and would like to provide input to help shape the future of the show, please email us at We'd love to hear from you and get in touch.

Here's to 2018! ? ?

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Nancy Koehn - Survive and Thrive During Turbulent Times

For leaders in the 21st century, there is one pressing question: What set of skills is required to lead in crisis, and can history give us answers? Our guest this week, Harvard Business School historian and professor Nancy Koehn, has surveyed some of history?s greatest leaders and made an incredible discovery: courageous leaders are not born but made, and the power to lead resides in each of us. 

Nancy examined the lives of five of the greatest leaders of all time to better understand how they led through adversity and came out the other side stronger. These extraordinary individuals include: polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; President Abraham Lincoln; legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and environmental crusader Rachel Carson.

In her book, Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, Nancy begins each chapter by showing her protagonist on the precipice of a great crisis: Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Douglass facing possible capture; Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. Significantly, as we follow each leader?s against-all-odds journey, we begin to glean an essential truth: leaders are not born but made. In a book dense with epiphanies, the most galvanizing one may be that the power to lead courageously resides in each of us.

Join us as we learn the keys to leadership in turbulent times and the lessons we can glean from some of the most well respected individuals of all time.

Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School where she holds the James E. Robison chair of Business Administration. Koehn's research focuses on how leaders, past and present, craft lives of purpose, worth, and impact. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, Koehn earned a Master of Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government before taking her MA and PhD in History from Harvard.

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Scott Carney - Does the Wim Hof Method Really Work?

Our ancestors crossed deserts, mountains, and oceans without even a whisper of what anyone today might consider modern technology. Those feats of endurance now seem impossible in an age where we take comfort for granted. But what if we could regain some of our lost evolutionary strength by simulating the environmental conditions of our forebears?

Or even more importantly, can we tap into our evolution and increase our mental and physical resilience?

This week on the show we interview investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney ( In his New York Times best selling book, What Doesn't Kill Us, Scott tries to figure out if it is possible to hack our bodies and use the environment to stimulate our inner biology?

Helping him in his search for the answers is Dutch fitness guru Wim Hof, whose ability to control his body temperature in extreme cold has sparked a whirlwind of scientific study.

In this episode, Scott tells us about his own transformational journey as he pushes his body and mind to the edge of endurance, a quest that culminates in a record-bending, 28-hour climb to the snowy peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro wearing nothing but a pair of running shorts and sneakers.

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Mike Lewis - How to Jump to Your Dream Life

Our guest this week is Mike Lewis, Founder and CEO of When To Jump.

When Mike was twenty-four and working in a prestigious corporate job, he eagerly wanted to leave and pursue his dream of becoming a professional squash player. But he had questions: When is the right time to move from work that is comfortable to a career you have only dared to dream of? How have other people made such a jump? What did they feel when making that jump?and afterward?

Mike sought guidance from others who had ?jumped,? and the responses he got?from a banker who started a brewery, a publicist who became a Bishop, a garbage collector who became a furniture designer, and on and on?were so clear-eyed and inspiring that Mike wanted to share what he had learned with others who might be helped by those stories. 

Out of these stories came When To Jump, a community dedicated to exploring the fundamental question we all think about: when is the right time to go do what you really want to be doing?

Mike is the author of the brand new book, When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want, and he is also the host of the new hit podcast, When To Jump.


This episode is brought to you by:

Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special life insurance rates. Go to to support the show and see if you qualify.

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Steve McKee - Are You Stalled, Stuck, or Stale?

We are all creators. Every day we go out into the world and use our unique human abilities to shape our environment. We create a life for ourselves, we create a product or service for others, we create relationships through it all. And what we all come to learn is that creativity is a messy business.

We will run into road blocks, we will lose our motivation, we will fail. It is the destiny of every creator and their creation to get stuck from time to time. And it is in those times, that we need someone like Steve on our side.

This week on the show we speak with Steve McKee - an expert on revitalizing stalled, stuck, or stale brands. The lessons we discuss can apply to all creative endeavors, and go far beyond business.

Steve is the president and co-founder of McKee Wallwork & Company, an integrated marketing firm that specializes in revitalizing stalled, stuck and stale brands. MWC is an Inc. 500 company, has twice been awarded the American Marketing Association's Effie Award (one of the industry's highest honors), and has been recognized by Advertising Age as one of ten top small agencies in the nation. Steve has nearly three decades' experience coaching troubled brands as they look to better position themselves for success. Steve writes for SmartBrief and is the author of the books Power Branding: Leveraging the Success of the World's Best Brands, and When Growth Stalls: How It Happens, Why You're Stuck, and What to Do About It.


This episode is brought to you by:

Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special life insurance rates. Go to to support the show and see if you qualify.

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Morgan Simon - Where Did Your Money Spend The Night?

"Money is a tool to create the things that we want. It is a proxy for security, health, and welfare for our families and loved ones. When we lose that holistic thinking about what wealth is, then our money winds up working at a very singular purpose to create more pieces of paper as opposed to create greater human and environmental welfare." - Morgan Simon

When we put our money in a bank (or a mutual fund, pension plan, endowment, etc.) it doesn't just sit there, it is put to use. It is invested in the economy, and it has power. But have you ever stopped to wonder what your money is being invested in? Is it supporting the causes and communities you care about? Or is it being used to further the cause of individuals, organizations, or governments that you disagree with.

It is time to recognize that we are all investors, and that it is up to us to make sure we are adding more value than we extract and that the risk and returns are balanced between our investments and the communities.

This is the basis for impact investing. Impact investing is the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return, and it has become a hot topic in the world's philanthropy and development circles. In the next decade, it is poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times. Yet for all the excitement, there is work to do to ensure it actually realizes it?s potential.

This week on the show we are interviewing an expert in this field, Morgan Simon. Morgan is the author of the brand new book, Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change. Over the past seventeen years, she has influenced over $150 billion in capital. Morgan currently co-leads Candide Group, which supports two clients, including members of the Pritzker family on behalf of the Libra Foundation. She is also co-founder and chair of the non-profit Transform Finance.

Previously, Morgan served as the founding CEO of Toniic, a global network of impact investors, and as the founding executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition.


This episode is brought to you by:

Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people get special life insurance rates. Go to to support the show and see if you qualify.

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Philip Shepherd - Get Out Of Your Head and Into Your Body

Mindfulness is all the rage these days. And yet, even as the New York Times churns out articles like How to Be Mindful While Grocery Shopping and How to Be Mindful When You have Seasonal Allergies a quick look at NIMH or NIH data shows that Americans are sicker than ever, poorer than ever, more psychologically disturbed than ever. Though the literature has certainly been convincing, we have to ask ourselves whether the West's new cultural obsession with mindfulness is actually helping us.

In contrast, our guest this week believes that mindfulness, which is a "top-down" approach to wellness, is only half of the picture, and it is yet another way we are persuaded to separate from the body and live in the head. If we could also learn to be in our bodies (approaching wellness from the bottom-up), we would have a chance at experiencing true balance and connection. We would be less anxious and more compassionate. We would cease to be okay with things that we've collectively learned how to be numb to.

Our guest this week is Philip Shepherd. Philip is recognized as an international authority on embodiment. His unique techniques have been developed to transform our experience of self and world, and are based on the vision articulated in his celebrated books, New Self, New World and Radical Wholeness. The approach he takes heals the frantic, restless pace of the intelligence in the head, which tends to run on overdrive, by uniting it with the deep, present and calm intelligence of the body.

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Todd Davis - The Secret Weapon for Success

In today's work environment, our success is heavily dependent on our ability to consistently deliver strong results. And although there are multiple inputs that lead to our results, there is one secret weapon that outweighs everything else.

The key to success ultimately lies in the strength of our relationships.

You may be thinking to yourself, "But wait, we are talking about business! With all of the demands on my time, I don't have the luxury to think about something soft and fuzzy like relationships." But the truth of the matter is, given the complex and global nature of business, almost everything we accomplish happens with and through other people.

So how do you improve these relationships and leverage them to create a true competitive advantage for your organization?

This week on the podcast we answer this question and more as we talk with Todd Davis, author of the brand new book, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work. Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, talent development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. He currently serves as chief people officer and executive vice president at Franklin Covey where he is responsible for their global talent development in over 40 offices in 160 countries.

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W. Keith Campbell - When You Love Yourself Too Much

Narcissism?an inflated view of the self?is everywhere. Public figures say it?s what makes them stray from their wives. Parents teach it by dressing children in T-shirts that say "Princess." Teenagers and young adults hone it on Facebook, and celebrity newsmakers have elevated it to an art form.

In a world that measures success by page views and number of followers, those with narcissistic tendencies often do what is necessary to reach "the top", at the expense of everyone else. So how does the average person contend with the narcissist? And what does this epidemic of "self love" mean for our society?

This week on the podcast we speak with W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D. Keith is Department Head and Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia, as well as a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, society and generational change. His work and lectures expose the rise of narcissism ? and individualism more generally ? and its influence on every level of society. Keith is the co-author of the book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.

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Suzanne Bouffard - How To Raise A Smart Child

There is no debate that a good education is a critical component of raising smart, well rounded, successful children. But cutting-edge research has proven that early childhood education is crucial for all children as young as 3 years old to gain the academic and emotional skills they need to succeed later in life.

In essence, pre-K may actually be the most important year.


Children who attend quality pre-K programs have a host of positive outcomes including better language, literacy, problem-solving and math skills down the line, and they have a leg up on what appears to be the most essential skill to develop at age four: strong self-control.


In this episode, Harvard education researcher Suzanne Bouffard explains the sometimes surprising ingredients that make for a great pre-k program. What should you look for in a classroom? How should a teacher interact with young children? What can you do at home to help support a young child's learning? All this and more in this episode of Smart People Podcast.


Suzanne Bouffard is a writer with a background in child development and education. She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Duke University and has spent the past ten years conducting and writing about education research at Harvard University. She is the author of the brand new book, The Most Important Year: Pre-Kindergarten and the Future of Our Children.


Sponsor: This week, we are brought to you by Audible! Get a free audiobook with a 30-day trial at

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Dr. Allen Frances - Trump, Mental Illness, and the End of Reason

"Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society?if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn?t crazy, but our society is." - Dr. Allen Frances

This week on the show we interview one of the men who literally wrote the book on mental illness as we answer the question - Is Trump crazy? And what does it say about America that he was elected to the highest office in the land? Psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances analyzes the national psyche, viewing the rise of Donald J. Trump as darkly symptomatic of a deeper societal distress. Drawing on his vast experience, Dr. Frances explains American society?s collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings.

Dr. Allen Frances chaired the task force that produced the fourth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, which is is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. He then became critical of later versions, and he warned that we are currently "over-treating" mental disorders and finding problems where there are none. Dr. Frances is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine.

He is author of the new book, Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump.

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Frank Ostaseski - What Death Can Teach Us About Living

"Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most."

Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. Awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life, and letting go of regret. But how can we sit with something that is so uncomfortable? And how can utilize the unavoidable nature of death to live a more rewarding life?

This week we talk with Frank Ostaseski as he helps us understand how the experience of dying can reveal the secrets of living.

As a renowned teacher of compassionate caregiving and the cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project, Frank Ostaseski has sat on the precipice of death with more than a thousand people. In 2001, he was honored by the Dalai Lama for his compassionate service to the dying and their families. Frank is also the founder of the Metta Institute, which is an organizations dedicated to training professionals in compassionate, mindfulness-based care. 

Frank is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves.

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Peter Brannen - How The World Ends

Did you know our world has ended five times? It has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. And in each of these catastrophic occurrences, climate change has been the culprit.

You may be wondering, how do asteroids have anything to do with climate change? We will leave the details to our guest this week, but essentially there is a triggering event (asteroid, volcano, humans) that causes the oceans to become more acidic and very soon after the entire world dies. This is what happens every time...and it may be happening again.

This week on the show we interview award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen about his new book, The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions. In his book and in this interview, Peter takes us on a tour of the 5 ways that the Earth has died, as well as what may be to come. Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave and casts our future in a completely new light.

Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Wired, the Washington Post, Slate, the Boston Globe, Aeon, among other publications. A graduate of Boston College, he was a 2015 journalist-in-residence at the Duke University National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and a 2011 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Fellow.

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