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The Next Big Idea
The Next Big Idea
Next Big Idea Club

The Next Big Idea is a weekly series of in-depth interviews with the world’s leading thinkers. Join our host, Rufus Griscom —... more

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Episodes

ALCOHOL: The Good, the Bad, and the Bubbly

Humans have been imbibing for thousands of years. What has drinking contributed to society? What is it doing to our... more

25 Jul 2024 · 1 hour,
Living for Pleasure

Over 2,000 years ago, Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, made a simple yet bold claim. The key to the good life,... more

22 Jul 2024 · 1 hour, 13 minutes
PROBABILITY: How a 250-Year-Old Theorem Still Explains the World

Back in the 1700s, in a spa town outside of London, Thomas Bayes, a Presbyterian minister and amateur mathematician, invented... more

18 Jul 2024 · 52 minutes
GOOD ENERGY (Part 2): Casey Means on How to Supercharge Your Diet

So you want to eat healthy. But how do you actually go about doing that? Today, Casey Means — Stanford-trained... more

11 Jul 2024 · 52 minutes
GOOD ENERGY (Part 1): How to Feel Incredible, Avoid Disease, and Age Well

Bad news: 93% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy. Their bodies struggle to convert food into the energy their cells need.... more

08 Jul 2024 · 55 minutes
BEN FRANKLIN: A Founder's Formula for a Long and Useful Life

Publisher, scientist, humorist, diplomat — Benjamin Franklin was America's first polymath. Today, with help from Eric Weiner, we revisit Franklin's... more

04 Jul 2024 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Bill Gates Says Superhuman AI May Be Closer Than You Think

Where is AI headed, and how quickly will it get there? Should we be early adopters or keep our distance?... more

27 Jun 2024 · 1 hour, 23 minutes
FRICTION: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier (with Adam Grant & Bob Sutton)

Today, Adam Grant and Bob Sutton, two legends of organizational psychology, discuss Bob’s new book, “The Friction Project: How Smart... more

20 Jun 2024 · 41 minutes
INFERNAL MACHINE: Dynamite, Anarchy and the Future of Creativity

Steven Johnson returns! He's with us today to talk about his new book, "The Infernal Machine: A True Story of... more

13 Jun 2024 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
UNCERTAINTY: The Surprising Power of Being Unsure

Could embracing uncertainty be the key to thriving in our age of unpredictability? That's the premise of Maggie Jackson's new... more

06 Jun 2024 · 46 minutes
EDUCATION 4o: How AI Will Revolutionize the Way We Learn

AI is coming for education. According to our guest today, Sal Khan, that's a good thing. Sal is the founder of... more

30 May 2024 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
AFTERLIFE: Sebastian Junger’s Journey to the Edge and Back

On a June night several years ago, Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of "The Perfect Storm" and co-director of the Oscar-nominated... more

23 May 2024 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
FUNNER: How Language Evolves and Why It Matters

You may think the English language is static, solid, set in its ways. But the language of Shakespeare has changed... more

16 May 2024 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
DEMON OF UNREST: Why the Civil War Matters Today (with Erik Larson)

Erik Larson is probably the most successful popular historian working today. His books, which include “The Devil in the White... more

09 May 2024 · 54 minutes
ALGEBRA OF WEALTH: Scott Galloway’s Formula for Financial Success

Scott Galloway is a podcaster, bestselling author, and professor of marketing at NYU. He's irreverent, cocky, brutally honest, and surprisingly... more

02 May 2024 · 53 minutes
WHY WE REMEMBER: The New Science of Improving Your Memory

"The only things that are important in life," declared the French filmmaker Jean Renoir, "are the things you remember." But... more

25 Apr 2024 · 1 hour, 12 minutes
SLOW PRODUCTIVITY: Can We Get More Done by Doing Less?

What if doing less is the secret to achieving more? That's the counterintuitive argument at the heart of productivity guru... more

18 Apr 2024 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
MAGICAL OVERTHINKING: Why Modern Life Is Making Us More Irrational

Raise your hand if you've ever belittled a stranger online, made a decision based on astrology, or, heaven forbid, fallen... more

11 Apr 2024 · 56 minutes
Everything Paul Bloom Knows About Psychology

In “Psych: The Story of the Human Mind,” Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, lays... more

04 Apr 2024 · 1 hour, 56 minutes
GET THE PICTURE: Why Bother With Art?

For a long time, Bianca Bosker was not on speaking terms with art. “Going to galleries and museums,” she says... more

28 Mar 2024 · 51 minutes
LOOK AGAIN: How to See Your Life With Fresh Eyes

Do you ever feel like your life has become a film loop of the familiar? Maybe you sympathize with the... more

21 Mar 2024 · 51 minutes
GENEROSITY: How Simple Acts of Kindness Can Change the World

Lots of things go viral on the internet: dumb memes, cat videos, one-pan meals, and celebrity gossip. Why not kindness?... more

14 Mar 2024 · 1 hour, 6 minutes
BURN BOOK: Kara Swisher Takes on Big Tech

Kara Swisher has been called “pioneering” (the New York Times), “Silicon Valley’s top pundit” (Wired), and “so shrill at this... more

07 Mar 2024 · 50 minutes
SUPERCOMMUNICATORS: How to Connect With Anyone

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “conversation” has 36 synonyms, ranging from the alliterative (”confabulation”) to the arcane (”persiflage”). Why the... more

29 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 6 minutes
MIDLIFE: Once a Crisis, Now an Opportunity

Growing old gets a bad rap, and it's not hard to see why. Your hair thins and your waist thickens.... more

22 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
RADICAL CANDOR: Why Compassionate Honesty Is a Gift

Honesty may be the best policy, but that doesn’t make giving honest feedback any easier. That’s why Kim Scott, a... more

15 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
BLOCKCHAIN: Why Chris Dixon Still Thinks It Matters

Seventy-two billion dollars. That, according to the Grifter Counter™, is the amount of money that's been swallowed up by crypto... more

08 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
BIG BETS: A Practical Guide to Changing the World

When Rajiv Shah was in his late 20s and didn’t know what to do with his life, he got a... more

01 Feb 2024 · 54 minutes
CLIMATE OPTIMISM: Can We Still Build a Sustainable World?

A few weeks ago, USA Today ran a story with the headline "It's over: 2023 was Earth's hottest year, experts... more

25 Jan 2024 · 59 minutes
FREE WILL: Are We Better Off Without It?

Do we have free will? Do we have a choice in what we do? Philosophers and theologians have debated these... more

18 Jan 2024 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
ATOMIC HABITS: James Clear’s Ultimate Guide to Building Good Habits (and Breaking Bad Ones)

Forming a new habit is tough. Sticking with it is even tougher. That’s probably why someone buys a copy of... more

11 Jan 2024 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
THE GOOD LIFE: Lessons From the World's Longest Study of Happiness

What makes us happy? Researchers at Harvard have been trying to solve that riddle for 85 years. Now, they think... more

04 Jan 2024 · 56 minutes
How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization (2021)

Do we have alcohol to thank for civilization? The answer, according to Edward Slingerland’s new book, “Drunk: How We Sipped,... more

28 Dec 2023 · 1 hour, 11 minutes
Rory Stewart on Politics, Ambition, and Making a Difference

Rory Stewart may be the most interesting person you’ve never heard of. He’s an adventurer, writer, politician, and nonprofit leader.... more

21 Dec 2023 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY: Timeless Lessons from Morgan Housel

We may live in an ever-evolving world, but some things never change. The power of a good story. The miracle... more

14 Dec 2023 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
EVE: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

The female body has been neglected in anthropological narratives, minimized in the archeological record, and excluded from modern-day clinical trials.... more

07 Dec 2023 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
THE FAMILY OUTING: Secrets, Memory, and Living Authentically

This week, journalist and podcaster Jessi Hempel joins us to discuss her recent memoir, “The Family Outing,” which tells the... more

30 Nov 2023 · 45 minutes
Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations (with Anna Sale)

A lot of us run away from tough conversations. Anna Sale runs toward them. For nearly a decade, as the... more

23 Nov 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
ACHIEVEMENT CULTURE: What It’s Doing to Our Kids—and to Us

It's no secret that we live in a ferociously competitive world. But what is the drive to always be the... more

16 Nov 2023 · 1 hour, 12 minutes
FAILURE: The Science of Learning From Your Mistakes

Failure is inevitable. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Today, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson joins... more

09 Nov 2023 · 59 minutes
HOW TO KNOW A PERSON: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply (with David Brooks)

For the past four years, New York Times columnist and acclaimed author David Brooks has been trying to learn the... more

02 Nov 2023 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
HIDDEN POTENTIAL: Adam Grant on the Science of Achieving Greater Things

We live in a world that worships talent, a world that cheers natural athletes, exalts child prodigies, and venerates virtuosos.... more

26 Oct 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
FACIAL RECOGNITION: A Secretive Startup's Quest to End Privacy as We Know It

When tech journalist Kashmir Hill got a tip about a mysterious app, Clearview AI, that claimed it could identify anyone... more

19 Oct 2023 · 52 minutes
Daniel Pink and Brian Lowery Aren’t Sure That You Exist

Daniel Pink is going through an existential crisis. The culprit? A new book by Stanford professor Brian Lowery. --- If you want... more

12 Oct 2023 · 48 minutes
Susan Cain on the Power of the Bittersweet (2022)

Have you ever been brought to tears by a TV commercial? Do you relish rainy days? Are your favorite songs... more

05 Oct 2023 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
HUMAN COMPATIBLE: Can We Control Artificial Intelligence?

Stuart Russell wrote the book on artificial intelligence. Literally. Today, he sits down with Rufus to discuss the promise —... more

28 Sep 2023 · 1 hour, 12 minutes
UNREASONABLE HOSPITALITY: The Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

When he was 26, Will Guidara took the helm of a middling brasserie in New York City called Eleven Madison... more

21 Sep 2023 · 1 hour, 6 minutes
ELON MUSK: Walter Isaacson on the World’s Most Polarizing Person

Two years ago, Walter Isaacson, the legendary biographer who has written books about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and... more

14 Sep 2023 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
CHANGE: How to Excel When Everything Is in Flux

We go through at least thirty-six major changes in the course of our adulthoods. And yet adapting to those changes... more

07 Sep 2023 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
DREAM TOWN: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity

In the 1950s, Shaker Heights, Ohio, became a national model for housing integration. In the 1970s, it was known as... more

31 Aug 2023 · 54 minutes
PERENNIALS: How to Thrive in a Post-Generational Society

Increasing longevity and the explosion of technology are reshaping the world. What will it mean for your education, your career,... more

24 Aug 2023 · 57 minutes
ULTRA-PROCESSED: What Fake Food Is Doing to Our Health

Ultra-processed food makes up 60 percent of the American diet. Though to call it food is a stretch. Because it... more

17 Aug 2023 · 1 hour, 15 minutes
How to Succeed by Quitting (2022)

In “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away,” cognitive scientist turned professional poker player turned bestselling author Annie... more

10 Aug 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
Why the Modern World Puts Us All at Risk for Addiction (2021)

In “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke says today’s superabundance of pleasurable stimuli makes... more

03 Aug 2023 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
WORK: Henry David Thoreau on Making a Meaningful Living

Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher, poet, and pencil-maker. He was a great resigner and, above all, a superb writer... more

27 Jul 2023 · 51 minutes
RISE AND SHINE: How to Have the Perfect Morning

Research has shown that how you spend your morning can have a significant impact on the rest of your day.... more

20 Jul 2023 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Artificial Intelligence Meets Virtual Worlds: The Future of Sentience

The two hottest topics in tech right now are the rise of generative AI and, with Apple’s recent push into... more

13 Jul 2023 · 1 hour, 19 minutes
You Should Have More Fun This Summer. Here’s Why.

Are we all so busy doom-scrolling and binge-watching that we’ve forgotten how to have fun? Real fun. Tingly-all-over, natural-high, I-hope-this-never-ends... more

06 Jul 2023 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
PARKING: How It Explains the World

For decades, urban planners have blanketed our cities with the cheap and convenient car storage known as parking. They've swapped... more

29 Jun 2023 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
OUTLIVE (Part 2): How to Optimize Your Diet, Sleep, and Emotional Health

Dr. Peter Attia, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller "Outlive," is back to share cutting-edge tips for improving... more

22 Jun 2023 · 56 minutes
OUTLIVE (Part 1): Peter Attia’s Guide to the Science of Longevity

Peter Attia had a problem. It was 2006. He'd recently graduated from Stanford's medical school and was completing a prestigious... more

15 Jun 2023 · 1 hour, 15 minutes
THE WAGER: David Grann Tells a Tale of Shipwreck and Mutiny

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the acclaimed author of "The Lost City of Z"... more

08 Jun 2023 · 53 minutes
THE REAL WORK: Adam Gopnik on the Mystery of Mastery

A few years ago, Adam Gopnik, a longtime writer for The New Yorker and three-time winner of the National Magazine... more

01 Jun 2023 · 47 minutes
JOY OF MOVEMENT: How Exercise Can Help You Find Happiness and Connection

Pay a visit to your local gym, observe the grimacing patrons as they pound the treadmill or march in place... more

25 May 2023 · 56 minutes
BREAKTHROUGH: How to Get Unstuck and Achieve Anything

"To be alive is to battle stuckness." So declares NYU professor Adam Alter in his new book, "Anatomy of a... more

18 May 2023 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
EXCELLENT ADVICE: Life Lessons From Wired Co-Founder Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly has made a career out of looking to the future. He helped pioneer online social networking all the... more

11 May 2023 · 49 minutes
SELFLESS: Why “You” Are a Social Creation

You are not autonomous. You are not an island unto yourself. You, my friend, are a social construct. The “self”... more

04 May 2023 · 56 minutes
The Next Big Idea Club Presents — "Immortality: A User's Guide"

What if you could live forever? Okay, maybe not forever, but for a long, long time — like to 150.... more

02 May 2023 · 9 minutes
Steven Johnson & Michael Specter on the Future of Life

Last month, longtime New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter released a brand new audiobook with our friends at Pushkin. It’s... more

27 Apr 2023 · 57 minutes
You Need a Bedtime (from The Next Big Idea Daily)

What if we told you that every day, in just a few minutes, you could get a master class in... more

25 Apr 2023 · 13 minutes
SENSES: Gretchen Rubin’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into the World

What do your five senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch — have to do with happiness? According to... more

20 Apr 2023 · 55 minutes
PSYCH: The Story of the Human Mind

In his expansive new book, "Psych: The Story of the Human Mind," Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at the... more

13 Apr 2023 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
PREPPY: The Surprising Origins of American Style

How did Oxford shirts, cashmere sweaters, and chinos become staples of American fashion? How did a style born on Ivy... more

06 Apr 2023 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
SUCCESSION: The True Story Behind the Hit Show

So "Succession" is back. The Emmy Award-winning series returned to HBO for its fourth and final season last Sunday. The show,... more

30 Mar 2023 · 48 minutes
ABOLISH POVERTY: Matthew Desmond on How We Can Do It

RUFUS GRISCOM: Could you share with us your broader mission and how your new book, “Poverty, by America,” supports that... more

23 Mar 2023 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
READING: Are We Forgetting How To Do It?

Maryanne Wolf is a professor at UCLA and the renowned author of "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science... more

16 Mar 2023 · 49 minutes
David Chalmers Thinks We May Be Living in a Simulation (and He’s OK With It)

Last year, Rufus sat down with philosopher David Chalmers to talk about the allure of virtual reality, whether robots will... more

09 Mar 2023 · 1 hour, 42 minutes
Is AI Moving Too Fast? A Conversation With Kevin Roose

When Kevin Roose, a tech columnist at the New York Times, demoed an AI-powered version of Microsoft's search engine last... more

02 Mar 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
LIFE IS SHORT: The Upside of Death

Life without death, says philosopher Dean Rickles, is like playing tennis without a net. In his new book, “Life Is... more

23 Feb 2023 · 59 minutes
MUSIC: What the Songs You Love Say About You

In this special episode, Susan Rogers, a record producer turned cognitive neuroscientist, and Daniel Levitin, author of “This Is Your... more

16 Feb 2023 · 55 minutes
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PREPPY: The Surprising Origins of American Style
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Description

How did Oxford shirts, cashmere sweaters, and chinos become staples of American fashion? How did a style born on Ivy League campuses... more