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unSILOed with Greg LaBlanc

English, Finance, 1 season, 442 episodes, 3 days, 4 hours, 27 minutes
unSILOed is a series of interdisciplinary conversations that inspire new ways of thinking about our world. Our goal is to build a community of lifelong learners addicted to curiosity and the pursuit of insight about themselves and the world around them.
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442. Enhancing Community and Connection with Rituals feat. Michael Norton

What if the key to managing stress and finding meaning lies in the simple rituals we perform daily? How can engaging in rituals can be a potent tool for combating anxiety and fostering a sense of community?Michael Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and an author. His latest book is titled The Ritual Effect: From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions.Greg and Michael discuss Michael’s groundbreaking research on the distinctions between rituals, habits, and compulsions, and delves into how these practices—whether ancient or self-created—provide essential structure and purpose in our lives.Michael and Greg dive deeper into the impact of rituals within organizations and relationships. Learn how companies can use simple, coordinated actions to bolster unity and core values, and why rites of passage are crucial for marking life's transitions. Michael also highlights the strong correlation between shared rituals and relationship success, emphasizing the importance of mutual participation. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Do successful companies leverage rituals to foster a sense of belonging and a common purpose?24:45: Very often, the rituals that companies have are really intended to reflect a specific value that the company cares about. I was just talking to someone who told me at their company, what they do is every Friday: It's a smallish company, so they have an all-hands  every Friday, and each group says something that another group did that they're grateful for. Somebody on another team helped me out with this thing I was working on, and they do it every Friday. Now, they could do anything—they could say, "Think of another group that made you laugh this week. Tell us about that." But they don't laugh; they do gratitude. And they're trying to show in that moment one of the things that we care about in this place is helping and gratitude. You can have a silly mission statement that says, "Gratitude and all these platitudes," or you can use these kinds of regular rituals to show repeatedly: This is the value that we really care about. And families, when they have rituals at dinnertime as well, they're very often communicating a value that they really think is very important.Rituals can bind us and separate us23:52: It's not that you do rituals and it's all warm and fuzzy; it's that they can bind us together and they can separate us from other people. So there's tension—it's like a risk-reward kind of relationship with ritual.Exploring how emotions drive action17:18: I think the way that humans are built, unfortunately for us, is that we can't change our emotions when we feel like it. So, in other words, it would be amazing if I felt sad, if I could snap and be happy, just automatically, just instantly; we could easily be built like that.Do we customize rituals according to our needs?08:17: In fact, even in our own lives, we're changing them—rituals—all the time. And the reason I say that is because if they stop working for you, you could say, "Rituals obviously don't work. I'm never doing them again." Or you can say, "I must have the wrong ritual. It seems what people are likely to do is say, 'I must have the wrong ritual.' Let me mix it up a little bit and see if that will help." And it really, to me, speaks to how deeply ingrained they are in us because we are, in a sense, ignoring evidence from the world that not all of them work, and we continue to do them, modify them, and shape them as though if we keep doing that, we'll get to the optimal one.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Clifford GeertzBronisław MalinowskiDisenchantmentSerena WilliamsRafael NadalThe Pianist and the LobsterHedonic treadmillStanford marshmallow experimentGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard Business SchoolMichaelNorton.comLinkedIn ProfileWikipedia ProfileHis Work:The Ritual Effect: From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions365 Ways To Change the World: How to Make a Difference-- One Day at a TimeHappy Money: The Science of Happier SpendingTed Talk - How to buy happiness
7/19/202449 minutes, 42 seconds
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441. Breaking Free From Emotional Habituation with Tali Sharot

Humans are creatures of habit. It’s even wired that way in our brains. But what impact does habituation have on personal happiness?Tali Sharot is a professor of neuroscience at University College London and researches habituation, adaptation, and other cognitive biases. Her latest book, Look Again: The Power of Noticing What Was Always There co-authored with Cass Sunstein explores how habituation leads people to stop noticing both good and bad things they’re accustomed to and the benefits of breaking free from those habits. Tali and Greg discuss why people are more likely to feel less excited about good things over time, how taking breaks from those habits can restore the good feelings, and optimism bias discrepancies in stressful environments.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What is optimism bias?20:41: Optimism bias is our tendency to expect to encounter positive events more on average than we do and underestimate our likelihood of experiencing negative events in our lives. So, underestimating our likelihood of going to prison, getting a divorce, being in an accident, and so on. It is not necessarily how we will react to those events. So, it's not that I think if I get divorced, then I won't feel bad. It's mostly, at least in my studies, about what is the likelihood of the event.Can bad news be good news?41:07: Bad news doesn't necessarily mean that it results in a negative feeling for you. It can result in a positive feeling, and that's why it seems like people are attracted to bad news when, in fact, it's not really bad news. So, all this is like celebrity breakups; to some extent, it can make people feel good because, well, everyone has problems. So now I'm feeling better about my own life.Three main motives for searching information40:12: It's instrumental utility, cognitive rewards, and affective rewards. So, that's our tendency to want good news over bad news. Now, all three will drive your decisions on whether to seek information or not. So, you will for sure seek a lot of negative information if the cognitive reward is high and instrumental utility is high. But all three things matter together. And there are ways for us to tease them apart and show that all of them matter. So, that's why, despite the fact that you feel like you go after bad news, you still have the tendency to want good news.The difference between optimism about our own lives and pessimism about the external world33:39: What we see is that people are optimistic about their own future, the future of their family, and the future of their kids, but they're not optimistic about the world at large. In fact, they are somewhat pessimistic about global issues and about the abilities of the leaders. And let me give you a few examples. Let's take AI. So, people say AI will take more jobs than it will create, and 75 percent of people say that. It's three out of four, but only one out of four, 25%, say their job is at risk. Out of every four people, three say that they're very optimistic about the future of their family; again, 75%, but only 30% say that the next generation will be doing better than the current one.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Daniel GilbertLaurie SantosAaron HellerDaniel DennettMilgram experimentGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University College LondonHer Work:Look Again: The Power of Noticing What Was Always ThereThe Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain
7/17/202459 minutes, 33 seconds
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440. Whistleblowing in Medical Research with Carl Elliott

Despite the Hippocratic Oath of “do no harm” that all physicians take, a dark side exists in the medical field.  Carl Elliott is a professor of philosophy who teaches bioethics at the University of Minnesota. His latest book, The Occasional Human Sacrifice: Medical Experimentation and the Price of Saying No, shares the stories of some of the most egregious cases of medical abuse in history and the whistleblowers who tried to stop it. Carl and Greg chat about his own experience blowing the whistle after a psychiatric study went awry, the factors present in the medical field that lead to unethical and abusive studies, and the cost of deciding to take a stand.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On protecting vulnerable populations in research19:16: One of the things that you see running through, I would say, at least 90% of the scandals that we look at in the class that I teach on research scandals, is that you're dealing with research subjects who are vulnerable in some way. They're often poor, they're uneducated, they're institutionalized, they're mentally ill, they're children, they're mentally disabled, they're unable to look out for their own interests in the way that an ordinary competent adult is. And those populations are easily exploitable. We should have protections for those people—serious protections. We have, in our honor code, the Common Rule; there are federal guidelines that say this: you need to take special care with vulnerable populations.Is an honor system enough for medical research?14:18: In other businesses out there, factories, restaurants, mines, fisheries, and so on, you have a regulatory system, like a full-blown regulatory system with inspections, safety rules, and so on. There's nothing like that in medical research. The oversight system is an honor system. Medical researchers are just trusted to behave honorably and honestly. And I think there are real questions about whether an honor system is up to the task of overseeing and doing the regulatory, quasi-regulatory job of managing what is now a multinational global multi-billion dollar industry.Do we sometimes confuse the organization's purpose and the people in the organization? What and how does this idea of organizational loyalty play out?32:22: It's really institutional loyalty, at least in academic medicine, and not loyalty to some higher mission—in the case of academic medicine, to the sort of humanitarian effort of doing medical research. Because I do think that there is this sense of physicians who have chosen to work in academic health centers rather than do like the vast majority and work out in the community somewhere, there's a reason for that. And the reason is science and medical advances and the many people that you could reach by developing new and better treatments, right? I mean, it's that tension between those humanitarian goals of the enterprise as a whole and the interests of individual patients that needs to be balanced.The toxic mix of research funding and authoritarian hierarchy13:46: There's a very rigid status hierarchy; it's extremely authoritarian and competitive. The coin of the realm is not patient care; it is research, particularly now research funding. In fact, research funding is more important than the actual research. And so, you can see, when you put all these things together, you have a very toxic mix.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Nuremberg CodeTuskegee StudyWillowbrook State School Cartwright InquiryPaolo MacchiariniListening to Prozac: The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self by Peter KramerAlexis de TocquevilleGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of MinnesotaProfessional WebsiteHis Work:The Occasional Human Sacrifice: Medical Experimentation and the Price of Saying NoWhite Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of MedicineBetter Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream
7/15/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 36 seconds
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439. The Psychology Behind Misbelief and Conspiracy Theories feat. Dan Ariely

What if you could understand why rational people sometimes believe the most irrational things?Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and is also the author of several books including his most recent work, Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things. His work is also the subject of a new TV show called The Irrational.Greg and Dan discuss many aspects of misbelief and irrationality. Dan describes his own journey of finding himself at the center of different conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 pandemic where he unexpectedly found himself accused of being part of a sinister plot. This shocking experience spurred him to delve deep into the phenomenon of misbelief, and he shares his invaluable field research and insights on this perplexing topic. Dan also explains the concept of "Shibboleth" as a social marker in political discourse, examining how language and terminology often signify group membership rather than convey actual beliefs. Dan and Greg discuss the critical role of maintaining transparency and trustworthiness in scientific communication and reflect on the evolving role of academia in addressing societal issues. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are we in a period of low resilience?19:25: We are at a period of high stress and low resilience. Why do we have low resilience? Because we spend less time with friends. We spend more time with our nuclear family. We have less good friends for all kinds of reasons, but, you know, for example, one of them is that we're not allowed to have friends at work anymore. And what I mean by that is that there are topics that you can't talk about at work. It’s frowned upon to talk about sexual issues. It's frowned upon to talk about politics. We spend lots of time with those people. It used to be the place where you got new friends. Now it's not anymore, right? There's not that much going out with friends after work to drink. And you don't know much about the people that we work with.Redefining misbelief06:14: Misbelief is not just about believing in something that isn't so; it's also about adopting it to such a degree that it colors everything we look at. And that's the dangerous thing, right? Because the moment you have some belief…[06:37] it becomes a central tenet in the way you interpret the world; it becomes much broader than that because you start being suspicious and so on.Why does replication matter in social science?52:20: I think there are lots of reasons why things don't replicate. I think that intention is a very small subset. And my hope is that we will grow as a science. We need to be more careful, and so on. But we also need to understand that lack of replication sometimes is just asking another question of what was different between those two things rather than saying, "Oh, it must mean that the first one was not correct. And the second one is correct."The high cost of incorrect beliefs23:43: We live in a world in which some wrong beliefs can have very large consequences. So I don't know if people believe in more incorrect things; probably we believe in less incorrect things, but I think that the cost of believing in incorrect things can be much higher.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The IrrationalBronisław MalinowskiShibbolethFriedrich SchillerCui bono?Richard ThalerCass SunsteinDiederik StapelGuest Profile:DanAriely.comThe Center for Advanced HindsightProfile on LinkedInWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author WorksMisbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational ThingsDollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend SmarterThe Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially OurselvesThe Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying LogicPredictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our DecisionsTED TalksDan’s Youtube Page
7/12/202459 minutes, 57 seconds
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438. Exploring Medicine’s Moral and Ethical Questions with Travis Rieder

Travis Rieder, a professor of bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, is fascinated by the world’s ethical dilemmas.His work sits at the intersection of medicine and philosophy, but also draws from his own life experiences like in his book, In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids. His latest book, Catastrophe Ethics: How to Choose Well in a World of Tough Choices, delves into moral decision-making in the context of climate change and other pressing ethical challenges.Travis chats with host Greg LeBlanc about his harrowing experience with opioid withdrawal following a motorcycle accident, historic societal shifts in opioid perception, and how much one’s individual decision-making truly impacts structural problems like climate change or the healthcare system.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How did we get to the place where we have conflicting attitudes about opioids?09:53: How did we get to the place where we have conflicting attitudes about opioids? Because some people seem to think that they are, worth giving out like candy, and some people seem to think that they're like the devil's magic or whatever. And that story is old. That story is 200 years old plus, and it involves basically North America's attitudes just swinging back and forth from one extreme to the other. Every once in a while, we're like, "Oh, we really need to take pain seriously. Let's take opiates all the time." And then it predictably leads to a drug overdose crisis, an addiction crisis. And so the politicians freak out, and they slam on all the brakes, and they introduce new legislation. And then the country gets scared, and medicine gets scared. And we talk about how terrible these drugs are. And then we withhold them for 50 years. And then everyone's like, "Hey, maybe we should take care of cancer patients who are dying." And we start using the drugs again, and so on. And so we've done that move since the 1800s.Risky handoffs in medication management16:03: When it comes to pain medicine, when it comes to addiction management, when it comes to managing all sorts of difficult-to-manage medications, those handoffs are some of the riskiest places because they require care, and our system is not set up for that care to be there. Basic moral structure is everywhere41:00: The main contribution that I wanted my book to make was to make clear that same basic moral structure, that we are contributing in very small ways to all sorts of goods and bads, good moral projects and bad moral projects, all the time. That basic puzzle is everywhere.If someone argues that individual behavior doesn't matter, why would anyone bother trying?33:44: Our actions have been decoupled from the consequences that make us worry. And so climate change is bad because it harms people. And so my classic moral brain says, okay, harm, that means don't do it. So, everything that I do that contributes to climate change, I'm like, okay, I shouldn't do that because climate change harms. But the thing is that the principle was don't cause harm, and your individual action doesn't cause harm. Your individual action does this other thing, which is it infinitesimally contributes to this massive, complex system that is so big and so complex, we can't really comprehend it. A trillion metric tons of greenhouse gasses accumulating in an atmosphere and cycling through a carbon cycle that is just unimaginably complex. And so there is no hurricane that is even a little bit worse because of what I did. That's just not how any of this works.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe Michael E. MannDavid Wallace-WellsMary Annaïse HeglarSiddharth KaraArthur SchopenhauerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Johns Hopkins UniversityProfessional WebsiteProfessional Profile on XHis Work:Catastrophe Ethics: How to Choose Well in a World of Tough ChoicesIn Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids
7/10/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 58 seconds
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437. Aligning Data Science and Machine Learning for Business Success feat. Eric Siegel

Ever wondered how to truly bridge the gap between technical expertise and practical business implementation? How did the terminology shift from "data mining" to "predictive analytics" and revolutionize the business world? Eric Siegel, Ph.D., is a leading consultant and former Columbia University professor who helps companies deploy machine learning. He is the founder of the long-running Machine Learning Week conference series and the author of several books. His latest work is titled, The AI Playbook: Mastering the Rare Art of Machine Learning Deployment.Eric and Greg discuss what motivated Eric to leave academia to see real-world applications of his machine learning models. Eric explains the pressing challenges organizations face when deploying machine learning projects, and provides an insightful look at the cultural and incentive-driven barriers that often lead to failed projects and unmet expectations. By focusing on collaboration from the outset, Eric reveals how businesses can align machine learning initiatives with their core needs to foster successful integration and operational change.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Ramping up on a semi technical understanding of data03:46: Prediction is the most actionable thing you get from data, and the way you get it is with machine learning. Learn some data to predict. That's basically what it is. So, will the world wake up to this? Are they going to forever see it as arcane? What does that mean? So, be careful what you wish for, because flash forward to now, and everyone's all over this stuff in a way that's overzealous. We fetishize the core technology as the most awesome thing. We're more excited about the rocket science than the actual launch of the rocket. That is, getting it deployed, getting into action, making a difference in terms of actual business operations. And we're stuck there. Most new machine learning projects fail to reach deployment. So, still, there's a skill gap. Still, there's a kind of data literacy that's greatly needed across the non-data science community. But it's not foreboding once you actually dip your toe in. As a business stakeholder, you got to get your hands dirty, or your feet will get cold, and you won't get to the point. But that dirty hand stuff, it's only semi-technical. It's totally accessible.Demos don't equal human intelligence36:21: Generative AI is the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life. But that's the problem. A great demo doesn't necessarily mean valuable, right? I think it's probably about five percent as valuable as the world seems to think, right? So, I mean, I spent six years in the Natural Language Processing Research Group at Columbia, where I was subsequently a professor during graduate school. I never thought I'd see what I can see today, but we need to recognize there's a big difference between something that's seemingly human-like and human.On recognizing change34:53: Do change management because the basic idea is so often overlooked. Again, we're fetishizing the core technology. More excited about the Rock Advanced Launch, but the launch is changed, right? You need to manage that change. The project needs to be reframed. It's not just a technology project. It's not a machine-learning project. It's an operations improvement project that uses machine learning as a core component but ultimately involves improvement, that is to say, change.How do you drive a successful machine learning project?56:38: We need to get everybody on the same page. We need to get those to speak in business terms, and for the business people to be interested in some of those concrete details. Business people might say, "Hey, look, I don't need to get involved in details. I don't need to pop the hood of my car to drive it, right? I don't need to know how the engine works." And that's true. Like, I personally have no idea, right? I know the general principles of internal combustion, but I don't know where the spark plugs are. But I'm totally an expert at driving. I know momentum, friction, the rules of the road, how the car operates, and the mutual expectations of drivers. The analogy holds: to drive a machine learning project successfully through to deployment, you need, analogously, those kinds of semi-technical understanding of what it means to run the project so that it will succeed.Show Links:Recommended Resources:MoneyballArtificial general intelligenceRexer AnalyticsChange ManagementGuest Profile:LinkedIn ProfileMachine Learning WeekGooder.aiHis Work:www.bizML.comMachineLearning.coursesAmazon Author PageThe AI Playbook: Mastering the Rare Art of Machine Learning DeploymentHBR Guide to AI Basics for ManagersPredictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or DieStrategic Analytics: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business ReviewData Science and Business Intelligence: Advice from important Data Scientists around the WorldForbes Articles
7/8/202450 minutes, 54 seconds
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436. What the History of Economic Growth Says About the Future of Work with Daniel Susskind

The study of economic growth is a modern phenomenon. In fact, economists didn’t get serious about measuring it until the mid-20th century. So what brought growth into focus and are the ways we measure it today adequate for a technologically-advanced world? Daniel Susskind is an economics professor at King's College London and a senior research associate at the Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford University. His books like The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts and Growth: A History and a Reckoning explore the impact of technology on work and the economy. Daniel and Greg discuss the history and circumstances that led to the creation of the GDP and its modern limitations, the moral and environmental challenges associated with a relentless pursuit of growth, and the need for societies to rethink the meaning and value of work in an increasingly automated world.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The modern economic thought about the origins of growth10:22: Growth doesn't come from the material world. It doesn't come from the world of tangible objects, but it comes from the intangible world of ideas. And ideas have all these interesting properties: they're nonrival, they're nonexcludable. But the key point is that whereas the world of finite material resources is finite, there's only so much material stuff out there. The world of ideas is unimaginably vast, for all intents and purposes, as good as infinite. And so if growth comes not from using more and more finite resources, but from discovering new ideas about how we can make ever more productive use of those finite resources, then the kind of constraints, the bottlenecks to growth, aren't to be found in the material world of those finite resources but it's to be found in our inability to discover enough new ideas about the world.What do we do about growth?11:23: If we want more growth, we need to become societies that discover new and more interesting ideas about how we can use the resources that we have.Two big problems when it comes to GDP measure14:40: ​​One is technical failings, which is that it's meant to be a measure of the activity that takes place in the market, and it's not a particularly good measure. Many of the things that we use today are free. Think about the search engines we use, the sort of email browsers, and so on, the sort of first generation of generative AI systems, whatever it might be; we don't pay a price for them in the market. And so they're not captured by traditional GDP statistics. The other thing, of course, that GDP is very bad at capturing is quality improvements. And if you think about particular technologies that we use, something like an iPhone today might have the same price as an iPhone X many years ago. All the different dimensions on which the quality of that technology has improved just aren't captured.On the relationship between work and meaning56:38: Although people say there's a strong relationship between work and meaning, actually, there's a lot of heterogeneity. Actually, a lot of people do not get meaning from their work. If they could get an income without working, they would. And you can see this in the simple polls that are done. Lots of people do not get meaning and purpose from their work. They don't think they're making a meaningful contribution to the world. I think it's often the people who write about this stuff are sometimes confusing the meaning that they get from their work as a kind of generalizable insight. I just don't think it's true.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Big Push ModelHarrod Domar ModelJohn Maynard Keynes Simon KuznetsJoel Mokyr | unSILOed LinkRobert J. Gordon | unSILOed Link Sam AltmanDemis HassabisGarry KasparovNicholas SternGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at King's College LondonFaculty Profile at Oxford UniversityProfessional WebsiteHis Work:The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human ExpertsA World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond Growth: A History and a Reckoning
7/3/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 13 seconds
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435. What the Past Can Tell Us About Our Climate Future with Brian Fagan

Humans have lived with a changing climate  since we’ve been on this planet. But what archaeology and anthropology is able to reveal now, is how well civilizations have adapted to changing climates over the course of human history. Brian Fagan is an emeritus professor of anthropology at UC Santa Barbara and the author of more than 50 books including, Climate Chaos: Lessons on Survival from Our Ancestors and Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations. His work focuses on the history of human culture and our relationship with the climate, using ancient artifacts to piece together the story. Brian and Greg discuss how humans have historically adapted to climate change, the role climate has played in the rise and fall of civilizations, and the importance of understanding our past to prepare for future climate challenges.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why has climate and other big global physical things been underappreciated as historical causes?07:12: You've got a situation now where climate change is among us. We live with it every day. And every time there's a major storm, up come the media with the old climate change thing, which is all very well, but the fact of the matter is that we've lived with climate ever since we've been on this planet. The real immediacy of it has been in the last 10,000 years, particularly with the development of agriculture and herding, because then you're really getting into a situation where you've got the whole scene of climate changing rapidly.Looking at climate as a player in history09:12: We're looking at climate as a player in history, not necessarily a cause. But a major player, which it was.On the dynamics of herding and the breathing of deserts20:42: The dynamics of herding are very simple. In the final analysis, an awful lot of history, I think, is probably very simple. You get rainfall in the desert. Large, shallow lakes develop, water holes form, and a whole bit of vegetation comes up. What happens? Animals and, ultimately, humans and cattle move in. Then it dries up, and they move out. It's like lungs in and out. There's no question that there's movement of deserts, the lungs, or the breathing of the deserts.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Mortimer Wheeler Hubert LambGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UC Santa BarbaraHis Work:Climate Chaos: Lessons on Survival from Our AncestorsThe Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850The Long Summer: How Climate Changed CivilizationFloods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of CivilizationsThe Intimate Bond: How Animals Shaped Human HistoryFishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization
7/1/202444 minutes, 53 seconds
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434. The Critical Role of Marriage in Societal Well-Being feat. Brad Wilcox

What if the institution of marriage holds the key to societal well-being? How does marital status correlate with happiness, prosperity, and positive outcomes for children? Why do some elites downplay marriage's importance in public, even as they themselves often lead marriage-centric lives? Brad Wilcox is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, director of the National Marriage Project and an author. His latest book is titled Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization.Greg and Brad discuss contemporary views on marriage and how shifting societal norms around education, career focus, and individualism have impacted the timing and meaning of marital commitments. Brad Elaborates on what he calls the "soulmate myth" and how this quest for perfect partnership can delay or complicate marriage decisions. They draw intriguing comparisons between Western and arranged marriages, exploring how cultural expectations and extended family involvement contribute to marital success. Brad also dives into the evolving gender roles within marriage and their implications for marital stability and happiness.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What needs to be done to strengthen marriages in general?39:15: We have to help our elites understand that marriage benefits not just them, but people in general. And so, insofar as they're school superintendents, professors, journalists, C-suite executives, they could be taking steps in Hollywood, at Netflix, heading up a school district's approach to relationship education, a New York Times journalist to just do a better job. And I'm not even asking for like a rose-colored take on marriage, but just like a truthful take, so that our ordinary kids out there who are watching a Netflix show or, exposed often indirectly to some kind of major media coverage just come to appreciate more how much marriage matters for them and for any kids that they have down the road. That would be, I think, part of the answer. But we've also got to recognize and realize that there's a financial piece to all this, and that's why addressing things like the marriage penalty and also giving people a more generous child tax credit would be helpful as well.Can the people around you help you choose a better partner?13:48: As we begin to get more serious or think about getting more serious about someone, I think we should pay attention to how our friends and family members react to a potential boyfriend or girlfriend to make a better decision about our future.Is there a way in which your ability to manage conflict within the marriage helps you to manage conflict elsewhere?16:00: Selection effect is part of the story, yes, but having the counsel of a spouse, having the perspective of a spouse as you navigate both work and social challenges of one sort or another, has been invaluable for me, and I think for a lot of people, and we do see when it comes to men, for instance, that guys who are married earn markedly more and make more strategic choices professionally than their peers who aren't married, even controlling things like race, education, profession, and age. So, I do think that being married often endows us with extra benefits, including the counsel and support of our spouse as we navigate life.Should your spouse be your best friend? 14:41: One of the key challenges for contemporary couples is to not rely on their spouse for all of their social support and all of their emotional connections and to recognize that oftentimes, a good girlfriend, a mother, a brother, a guy friend, or a friend is going to be a better place to turn than your spouse. Not putting all of your emotional eggs in the marital basket paradoxically tends to make your marriage more resilient rather than less important.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Robinson CrusoeCapstones vs. CornerstonesIndividualismLimbic CapitalismBowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American CommunityAndrew TateHannah Pearl DavisMelissa KearneyRobert NisbetÉmile DurkheimGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of VirginiaHis Work:The Awfulness of Elite Hypocrisy on MarriageGet Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save CivilizationSoul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage among African Americans and LatinosSoft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (Morality and Society Series)
6/26/202443 minutes, 31 seconds
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433. Overcoming Biophobia with David Barash

Despite periods in history when evolutionary biology has been misused, there’s no denying that the study of biological human nature is intrinsic to the study of social and cultural human nature.   David Barash is an emeritus professor of psychology and evolutionary biology at the University of Washington, and a prolific author. His books like, Through a Glass Brightly: Using Science to See Our Species as We Really Are and Threats: Intimidation and Its Discontents explore many different corners of human nature and why it should be incorporated into the field of social sciences. David and Greg discuss why there’s a resistance in the social sciences to study human nature, why it’s important to understand differences between the sexes, and why relying too much on deterrence could be a dangerous game. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How social darwinism warped evolution03:33: The unfortunate truth is that evolutionary biology in the past has been misused, especially shortly after Darwin—the whole time of social Darwinism. At which time, particularly right-wing zealots and supporters of imperialism and colonialism, were intrigued by the notion that somehow it was a misunderstanding of evolutionary biology, but they loved the idea that because of evolution, certain people notably, the "white races," were superior, that they were produced that way by natural forces, and hence it is appropriate for them to go ahead and conquer the world—conquer as many people as they can. Moreover, not just with regard to colonialism, but also with regard to the way things are at home. The wealthy are wealthy because they were biologically made superior, and we shouldn't argue with that. So there was that, and that's very much a misunderstanding of evolution and how it works.Natural doesn't always mean good12:44: The fact that something is natural doesn't mean that it's good, or that we have to succumb to it, or go along with it necessarily... [13;07] all sorts of feelings that one may have that may be "natural." That doesn't mean we have to go along with it. And by the same token, the differences that we observe in various human societies or between various individuals within society, the fact that it exists even, doesn't necessarily mean that's natural. It's a consequence of any number of things. And even if it was natural, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's good.Why do male-female differences become problematic?23:02: I think the reason male-female differences have been controversial has to do with something similar to why biophobia, in general, has existed, which is to say that recognition has been used in the past as a way of buttressing socially inappropriate distinctions. The notion that, well, men are more aggressive than women, men are more pushy than women, hence men are likely to become leaders, business leaders, political leaders, and that's all well and good; that's normal; it's natural; there we're back again to the naturalistic fallacy. And so, to some extent, that's, I think, a big part of the reason why male-female differences have become not quite toxic as an issue but really problematic.Understanding infanticide19:57: When we talk about such things as infanticide, I think we have a real obligation to make it clear: a.) that certainly, in the human case, it's extremely rare, and b.) the fact that it does happen in some cases, it's not uncommon among nonhuman animals. We need to make it very clear that that's not, in any way, a blueprint for how human beings ought to behave. There are lots of things in the natural world that are "natural." That's why we call it the natural world, but those aren't worth emulating. In fact, that is so important that we don't.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Max Planck Stephen Jay GouldDavid HumeDavid AttenboroughRichard DawkinsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of WashingtonProfessional WebsiteHis Work:OOPS!: The Worst Blunders of All TimeThrough a Glass Brightly: Using Science to See Our Species as We Really AreThreats: Intimidation and Its DiscontentsMyth of monogamyOut of Eden: The Surprising Consequences of PolygamyHomo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human NatureThe Survival GameNatural Selections: Selfish Altruists, Honest Liars, and Other Realities of Evolution Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at LiteratureHow Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories: Evolutionary Enigmas
6/21/202452 minutes, 22 seconds
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432. Balancing Life and Efficiency: An Optimization Deep Dive feat. Coco Krumme

What happens when the relentless pursuit of optimization backfires? What ethical dilemmas and hidden complexities exist inside of this obsession? How does our fixation with efficiency and quantification come at the cost of essential human values and spontaneity?Coco Krumme is an applied mathematician and the author of the book Optimal Illusions: The False Promise of Optimization, where she lays out how optimization has stealthily transformed from a technical tool into an all-encompassing philosophy driving various fields, from economics to personal decision-making.Greg and Coco discuss the fundamental pillars of optimization: quantification, abstraction, and automation, and question their impact. Coco sheds light on whether optimization is avoidable, and they evaluate the ethical trade-offs, especially in crucial sectors like healthcare where lives hang in the balance. They also reflect on the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic with regards to optimization. Enjoy this engrossing conversation that ends up questioning the very fabric of modern living.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*  Episode Quotes:Looking at optimization as a game13:57: There are ways to enjoy optimization. It's a game, and you can see progress, and I think that's something humans enjoy. We like seeing ourselves or seeing the world get better. I do think it's pathological at the kind of Silicon Valley elite level. You know, I think there are varying degrees to which these different people that you mentioned and, beyond, right, actually, to what extent that belief in optimization is, very deeply rooted versus an intellectual exercise of posturing to justify whatever investments they're making or whatever success they've had. It's a very curious thing. And I do feel like in the last however many years, I'd be curious what you think as well, but maybe five years or so, we've, as a general population have become more skeptical of those kinds of techno-utopian proclamations.Does optimization cause unhappiness?10:38: I think part of our modern unhappiness is that all we have is optimization, and we are able to question it. We are able to say, "Well, maybe it should be working better," and then where do we reach if we don't have that alternative of a cultural or religious mooring that's been passed on for generations?Breaking optimization into a components15:46: I break optimization into a few sorts of necessary requirements or components, and one of them is quantification, or, specifically, atomization of the world into seeing things in terms of self-same units that can be tallied up. The other two sorts of necessary requirements that I see are abstractions. In order to optimize, we need to be able to think in terms of models with these atomized units as building blocks. What structures are we building? The third is automation, which is popular, or it's a term on the tip of many tongues these days, but to optimize, we need to be able to scale those abstractions up in a kind of hands-off way, so I do think quantification and optimization are certainly related. You can quantify without optimizing, though, right? You could simply count things up without seeking to improve or make things better.On navigating modern modernity28:53: I do think that's the struggle that, as modern Westerners, we face for the next number of years. We are aware that some of these ways of thinking and these systems are failing, both in the material world and in our intellectual and spiritual world. We don't feel happy. We feel we're going too fast. We feel we've lost track of some of the important things, and I think the question that we face is: how do we continue to live in the modern world with its many conveniences and its many fruits of optimization, and at the same time expand our ways of seeing that world and of being in that world, and expand our belief systems and our way of knowing, to hopefully a place where we feel more at ease in it.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Herb SimonSatisficingJohn Stuart MillJames MillUtilitarianismSam AltmanTautologyMarie KondoGuest Personal WebsiteLinkedIn ProfileHer Work:Optimal Illusions: The False Promise of Optimization
6/19/202443 minutes, 23 seconds
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431. Religion’s Hand in the Invention of Politics with Anna Maria Grzymala-Busse

Historical research on the development of states and political systems typically focuses on the role of war or economic class, but what about the influence of religion?Anna Maria Grzymala-Busse is a political science professor at Stanford University. Her books, Sacred Foundations: The Religious and Medieval Roots of the European State and Nations under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Policy emphasize the role religious institutions have played in shaping politics.She and Greg discuss how religious authorities wielded power over emperors and kings, the role religion played in the creation of taxes, and how religion continues to influence politics in the modern world.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is there something different about the way religion and politics relate in America?40:40: The United States is different. It's a religious marketplace, which means that people can move within churches without actually leaving religion. Or they can even sort of continue to view themselves as religious, even when they don't attend churches. And in this religious marketplace, there are all kinds of individual religious leaders. There's no one central authority that speaks for religion in the United States, but there are multiple leaders, all of whom are trying to maximize their market share, right? And when they do so, you know some will claim they're conservative Christians, some will claim they're more liberal ones, and what you see basically is a lot of churn, where a lot of people move between, to some extent, Christian Catholic congregations rather than leave religion altogether. In a monopoly, if you're disgusted with religion or disappointed with your religious leader, you don't have that choice, right? You're in or out. In the United States, you just move to a different church that you find more acceptable and attractive. And I think that's part of the reason why there's so much more resilience in the United States.Do contemporary social scientists sometimes fail to appreciate the impact of ideas, moral arguments, and religious beliefs?44:11: I do think that we, as disciplines, tend to overlook religion because it's so unfamiliar. It's such weird territory. For many people, the idea that you can believe in God and for that to mean something is just so foreign. But I think we ought to remember that, for the vast majority of people on this planet, both now and then, this was actually really important. And if it's that important, it probably shapes how they think about politics and what they expect from politics, and we ought to include that.What did Anna learn from doing both contemporary and historical work?42:26: Doing both contemporary and historical work has taught me that humanity has changed very little. We know everything; the things that we tend to think of as shibboleths are now contested, much as they were back then. People have petty concerns, public opinion matters, and the sort of pettiness and unintended consequences and unanticipated consequences of decisions can make all the difference. And fundamentally, people were no better or worse than they are today. They were just as prone to violence. They were just as prone to love. They were just as prone to seeking justice and fairness. They just thought about them in different terms.The power to deliver salvation shaped history42:46: The ability to deliver salvation, the ability to basically be able to promise people that if you do these things, you can have life eternal, and if you don't do them, we have the power to withhold our own salvation. This sort of path to salvation from you is an enormous authority that I think mattered a great deal. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Charles Tilly ContractarianismTimur KuranGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford UniversityProfessional WebsiteHer Work:Sacred Foundations: The Religious and Medieval Roots of the European State Nations under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Policy
6/14/202444 minutes, 54 seconds
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430. How Darwinian Economics Could Explain Everything with Geoffrey Hodgson

Over the course of history, human nature hasn’t changed a great deal, but culture and institutions are another story. And a key way of explaining those l shifts in history is through the lens of evolutionary economics.Geoffrey Hodgson is a professor at Loughborough University and has written numerous books including Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution and How Economics Forgot History: The Problem of Historical Specificity in Social Science. His work examines the crucial role economics plays in explaining the history of everything.Geoffrey and Greg discuss the evolution of legal and financial institutions, why traditional economic theories, like general equilibrium models, don't quite pan out when explaining complex social systems, and how the key to finding a general theory for the social sciences may be Darwinism.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the theory of firm33:04: Our argument is really, firms are historically specific. Human cooperation in production is back to the primates. We've banded together and hunted things together, but they aren't necessarily firms in the sense that business school students understand firms or want to apply that knowledge to understanding how firms operate. So we do have teams, groups, and hunting bands in different species, but the firm is something more. It's something long-lasting as mechanisms, which means it can outlive the lives of everyone within it—all employees, all owners, all shareholders—it can all be outlived by the firm. We have several firms which have literally existed for hundreds of years, and that's really important.Focusing on the systems behind the memes25:19: Rather than arguing about the definition of the meme, I think look more concretely at the psychological, organizational, legal, and other cultural rule systems that are involved.Collateralization is also a very old concept, but it's underdeveloped46:44: Mortgage is an old word. I mean, with the pawnbroker shop, they had pawnbroker shops in ancient Rome, so if you had a gold ring or something, you put it in, and that's a form of collateralization. You deposit the ring, a good bit of gold, you get the money out, and then you either repay it and get the gold back or you use the money. You don't. So collateralization is also a very old concept, but it's underdeveloped.Is the issue with business people using evolutionary metaphors a lack of precision? 20:13: Precision isn't everything. It's important. I would emphasize conceptual precision because often when people say we need more precision, they go off and try and build a mathematical model, but then they assume out of some of the problems and difficulties that were there at the beginning that the discussion about what should be done in terms of research is ruled out.Show Links:Recommended Resources:General equilibrium theoryGame theoryJohn DeweyThorstein VeblenThe Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins Adam SmithRonald CoaseOliver WiliamsonAlchian and DemsetzViolence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History by Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. WeingastFirst Bank of the United States Joel MokyrDeirdre McCloskeyGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Loughborough UniversityProfessional WebsiteHis Work:Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic EvolutionFrom Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicusHow Economics Forgot History: The Problem of Historical Specificity in Social Science Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, FutureThe Wealth of a Nation: Institutional Foundations of English Capitalism“Social Darwinism Revisited: How four critics altered the meaning of a near-obsolete term, greatly increased its usage, and thereby changed social science” | Journal of Evolutionary Economics
6/5/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 33 seconds
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429. The Science Behind Animal Hijinks Understanding Play as Nature's Classroom feat. David Toomey

Through navigating the intricate world of play behavior we can dissect how animals, from rambunctious rat pups to the majestic meerkats, use this seemingly frivolous activity as a critical tool for survival. Explore the fine line between amusement and aggression, and discover how young creatures use play as a classroom for the lessons of life, playing a part in everything from social hierarchies to practicing recovery.David Toomey is a Professor and Co-Director of the PWTC Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also the author and co-author of several books, including Kingdom of Play: What Ball-bouncing Octopuses, Belly-flopping Monkeys, and Mud-sliding Elephants Reveal about Life Itself and The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics.David and Greg discuss where humor meets hierarchy, where verbal jousts and jests reveal much about the social fabric of our own species and the animal kingdom – Play Behavior. David discusses the evolutionary parallels between the spontaneous nature of improv and the unpredictability of life itself, proving that being adept at handling the unexpected may well be hardwired in our DNA. Then they examine the broader implications of play throughout life, challenging the separation of creation and judgment and considering the profound implications of play for our sense of self and the wider world.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why is play the defining characteristic of life?33:49: Play and natural selection seem to have quite a lot in common. They are both provisional and they both balance competition and cooperation, and so on and so forth. All the many features of natural selection are also features of play. And you could push this, and I do push this a bit further, and say natural selection is the defining feature of life. You can say, well, life is something that grows, consumes, and dies, but the same can be said of stars or candle flames. You can say that life reproduces, but the same could be said of crystals. But the thing that characterizes life that does not characterize candle flames, stars, or crystals is that it evolved by natural selection. So, if natural selection and play share features, then I don't think it's going too far to say that life is fundamentally playful.Exploration vs. play04:32: One way to separate exploration from play is an animal exploring its environment or exploring something will conclude its exploration and decide that's all I'm going to do, that's all. Now I'm comfortable; I've sufficiently explored it, and we're done with that. But there's no clear endpoint to play. An animal stops playing only when it's tired of playing or becomes interested in something else. So all of that together may be sufficient to define play.Natural selection is improv21:48: Natural selection has many features, and one feature of natural selection, and Darwin noted this: it seldom works from scratch. It takes an existing feature and changes it—maybe improves it. So, for instance, the bones of a paw, if you will, if they are lengthened, and lightened, and hollowed, become the bones of a bird's wing, but the fundamental structure is the same; they're the same number, they are the same relation to each other, or they become the bones of a whale's fin, same thing, same number, same relation between them. So, natural selection doesn't invent things from scratch very often. It just changes things, and that's exactly what improv does. We all know the rule of improv is yes and. And that is, it seems to me, its natural selection is also yes and.On the evolutionary purposes of play06:59: This is what anyone would answer you if you asked the question right on this play. One is that it's training for adult behavior. That is, we're learning how to explore, hunt, or mate in our play. The other is that it's socialization. That is, for social animals, and consider wolf cubs. Wolves need to play together if they are to learn to cooperate, and they need to cooperate if they are to take down an animal larger than themselves, like an elk. A wolf can't do it alone. Thus, play is necessary for the survival of the individual animal. It's also essential for the survival of the pack itself. So those are the two long-standing hypotheses.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Potter StewartGordon Burghardt BooksHerbert SpencerSergio Pellis Google Scholar PageNatural selectionGeorge RomanesDavid HumeFrans de WaalLamarckismOrganic SelectionJohan HuizingaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of Massachusetts AmherstDavid Toomey on LinkedInHis Work:Amazon Author PageKingdom of Play: What Ball-bouncing Octopuses, Belly-flopping Monkeys, and Mud-sliding Elephants Reveal about Life ItselfThe New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of PhysicsAmelia Earhart's Daughters: The Wild And Glorious Story Of American Women Aviators From World War II To The Dawn Of The Space AgeStormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janet
6/3/202436 minutes, 1 second
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428. The Secrets of Constitution-Writing with Linda Colley

Constitutions are often thought of as the agents of change for monarchies and empires, usually it spells doom for them. But the history of constitutions is far more complicated than a revolutionary tool, in fact some of them were penned by monarchs themselves. Linda Colley is a professor of history at Princeton University. Her latest book, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World is a deep dive into some of the most notable constitutions, how they came to be, and the impacts they have in today’s world. Linda and Greg discuss how constitutions often borrowed and plagiarized constitutions before them, how the purpose of the documents has evolved over time, and how a constitution-less Britain still influenced so many other constitutions. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Do constitutions borrow from each other?05:16: Publishers started producing not just the text of one constitution; they started bundling together the texts of multiple constitutions. And these compendia became very useful for governments wanting to initiate or amend a constitution, particularly if they had to act quickly. Because they could say, "Oh, I really like that bit in Argentina's constitution." Or, "Oh, that Hawaiian constitution hits it on the spot." And if you analyze the makeup of some constitutions, the Norwegian constitution of 1814 is an extreme example. You can see them adopting sentences, sometimes whole paragraphs, because Norwegians had to act quickly before a Swedish army was moving in. So they had to do this in a matter of weeks. So they bought and acquired all these compendia of constitutions, and they just cut and pasted.The evolving role of constitutions21:37: So, constitutions, because they go into print and now go online, can work as advertisements and proclamations to foreign audiences—not just something that caters to domestic and legal purposes.The british identity49:51: In the British case, power and success have notably receded since the Second World War. There's been more uncertainty, therefore, about national identity and British identity. Hence, the independence movement in Scotland in part. And so, that's another factor that might influence future constitutional thinking. Given that some of the old props of national identity no longer work, would a statement of constitutional unity and definition be helpful?How lockdowns hurt the poorest countries48:15:The poorest countries reorganize their economies to fit in with the West. That's what brought a billion people out of poverty. The lockdowns essentially were a violation of that promise, right? What the West basically said was, "We're going to pull up the drawbridge because we're scared." And all of those trade promises we made to you were gone. The markets that we promised to you are gone, and the people at the lowest rungs of world society, meaning the poorest of the poor, became even poorer, and millions died as a consequence of that. On the first day of the lockdown, Prime Minister Modi of India ordered half a billion people to walk, bike, and find some way to go back from the city centers where they were working, migrant workers, to their home villages. And a thousand died en route that day. The life savings of those half a billion people were crushed overnight.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Thomas Babington MacaulayEric Foner“The United States’ Unamendable Constitution” by Jill LeporeGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Princeton UniversityProfessional WebsiteHer Work:The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600-1850The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World HistoryActs of Union and Disunion
5/31/202458 minutes, 3 seconds
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427. Lockdowns and Lessons: The Pandemic Retrospective feat. Jay Bhattacharya

Discover the untold stories behind pandemic decision-making in COVID-19 responses and their seismic effects on society. Hear how early prevalence studies contradicted widespread measures, challenging the effectiveness of lockdowns and calling into question the ethical boundaries of public health compliance.This conversation is as much about ethics as it is about health policy.Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of health policy at Stanford Medical School and also in the economics department at Stanford University. He co-wrote an opinion piece entitled “Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say?”Jay and Greg discuss the lab leak theory's influence on global policy and the issues faced by leaders in real-time crisis management. Jay weighs the stark health economics versus public health trade-offs, highlighting the profound yet often ignored consequences that lockdowns had on global poverty and social well-being. Greg points out the unprecedented speed of vaccine development, and they reflect on what seen and unseen effects of that time were really caused by the pandemic response and not the pandemic.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The real costs of flattening the curve59:45: People died at home with heart attacks, they would've lived. And, of course, who faced tremendous pressure on hospital systems – in New York and Bergamo, and and during the pandemic, a few other places experienced that. But the modal hospital system in this country did not experience that, right? They were empty. And a lot of people who should have gotten care didn't get care for other conditions. Cancer screenings went down, heart attack treatment went down, diabetes management went down, stroke management went down, basic fundamental care that happened didn't happen. And, the cost of flattening the curve was exactly that, right? This suppression of fundamental care that ought to happened. We decided we were going to refocus all of healthcare just to manage COVID rather than all of the myriad health conditions that people are really subject to.The longitudinal effect of the vaccine rollout57:59: The vaccines, I think, were good, but they were not an unmitigated good. And I think the aftermath of that, of the tremendous mistakes public health made in the rollout of the vaccines, and that governments everywhere made in distinguishing clean and unclean on the basis of vaccine status, are going to be with us for a very long time to come.Did the lockdowns help prevent COVID?49:51: No matter what you think about how bad long COVID is, it does not justify lockdowns because the lockdowns do not prevent long COVID. I'm not even sure; the evidence is that the vaccines prevent long-term COVID, but it's very equivocal. So, the question of long COVID is not germane to the question of whether lockdowns were the right or wrong thing to do.How lockdowns hurt the poorest countries48:15:The poorest countries reorganize their economies to fit in with the West. That's what brought a billion people out of poverty. The lockdowns essentially were a violation of that promise, right? What the West basically said was, "We're going to pull up the drawbridge because we're scared." And all of those trade promises we made to you were gone. The markets that we promised to you are gone, and the people at the lowest rungs of world society, meaning the poorest of the poor, became even poorer, and millions died as a consequence of that. On the first day of the lockdown, Prime Minister Modi of India ordered half a billion people to walk, bike, and find some way to go back from the city centers where they were working, migrant workers, to their home villages. And a thousand died en route that day. The life savings of those half a billion people were crushed overnight.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Space Shuttle Challenger disasterCoronavirus disease (COVID-19)London BreedCOVID-19 lockdownsGavin NewsomAnthony FauciFrancis CollinsDeborah BirxScott AtlasMax PlanckWorld Trade OrganizationAustan GoolsbeeBarry MarshallVariolationAndrew CuomoGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford School of MedicineProfile on WikipediaProfile on XProfile on LinkedInHis Work:Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say? - WSJHealth EconomicsGoogle Scholar PageResearchGate Page
5/29/20241 hour, 11 minutes, 40 seconds
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426. Overhauling Health Inequality feat. Amy Finkelstein

How complex are the dynamics of employer-based insurance? Is the time ripe for a radical transformation towards universal basic healthcare—a move that could potentially curb the spiraling expenses and offer stable access to care?Amy Finkelstein is the John & Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at MIT and the author and co-author of several books including We've Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health Care andRisky Business: Why Insurance Markets Fail and What to Do About It.Greg and Amy discuss the truth behind America's healthcare conundrum. Amy peels back the layers of the nation's healthcare system, exposing the patchwork structure that's left millions without stable insurance and grappling with soaring costs. Amy lays out the progression of medical practices and the government's shifting role in health insurance. Greg asks about the effects of cost-sharing in systems with universal coverage, and they weigh the pros and cons of mandates versus automatic health insurance provision*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why did insurance get so highly insecure and highly uncertain?05:59: Almost everyone who's privately insured, which is about half the population as you said, is getting their insurance through their employer. And that actually can create a fair amount of this uncertainty, this insurance turnover. If you lose your job, change your job, retire, become ill (and therefore lose your job), you can lose your health insurance. And that's not a particularly sensible way to design a health insurance system. The very purpose of health insurance is to provide some modicum of economic and financial security in an insecure and uncertain world. So it's quite perverse from our perspective that health insurance is itself highly insecure and highly uncertain. And you asked, why did it get that way? I think because, there was never a "let's start with a clean slate and figure out how to build a coherent system" moment.The true purpose of universal health coverage48:15: We're arguing that we wouldn't have to raise taxes to provide universal basic coverage that fulfills sort of our commitment to access to essential medical care, regardless of resources. But we're not arguing, nor do I think it would be true, that this is actually going to save money. But again, this notion: when people advocate, we're going to do something to save money. So often, that's both a bit of a stretch, but it's also, I think, a bit of a distraction in the sense that the purpose of most policies is not to save money. It's to accomplish an objective, and we pay for that objective. We don't say we're having national defense to save money. We're having it to be secure. Similarly, the purpose of health insurance is not to save money; it's always nice if you do, but it's to ensure access to essential medical care, regardless of resources.Why do people find it hard to invest in preventive care?52:02: In general, there's a sense that it's hard to get people to take their statins to lower their cholesterol after a heart attack, even if those statins are free – so it's not about financing. And why? One of the theories is, well, you've got a lot going on in your life, and when you don't take the statin, there's no immediate feedback loop. You don't immediately have a heart attack. And so you don't see the benefit, and that makes it harder to remember…[52:48] Part of the reason it's hard to get people to invest in preventive care is because the returns are not so salient or obvious. You have to believe the evidence and remember it all the time, as opposed to seeing with your own eyes what's happening when you change your behavior.What does health insurance really mean?08:53: The term health insurance is a bit of a misnomer. Health insurance doesn't actually insure your health. It's not providing the fountain of youth. Instead, it provides economic or financial protection against the medical costs of poor health.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Gross Domestic ProductAn Act for the relief of sick and disabled seamenFriedrich HayekMassachusetts Health Care ReformCharles MurrayAlexander HamiltonAffordable Care ActGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at MITProfile on WikipediaProfile on NBERHer Work:Amazon Author PageWe've Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health CareRisky Business: Why Insurance Markets Fail and What to Do About ItMoral Hazard in Health InsuranceGoogle Scholar PageMIT Economics Publications List
5/27/202454 minutes, 25 seconds
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425. Mathematics & Cooperation As the Keys to Evolution with Martin Nowak

While Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is still the most widely accepted, it may be missing a key component: cooperation. And how can mathematical equations help us understand this fundamental piece of evolutionary biology? Martin Nowak is a professor of mathematics and biology at Harvard University. His books like, Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life and SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed use the intersection of mathematics and biology to delve deeper into our understanding of evolution theory. His latest book, Beyond, is an exploration of how mathematics and religion are intertwined.  Martin and Greg discuss the five mechanisms of cooperation including direct and indirect reciprocity, how game theory evolved from economics as a way to explain strategic decisions of humans, and the role of religion and spirituality in promoting cooperative norms.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:To what extent is punishment necessary to keep cooperation going?27:38: ​​Punishment, if you really think about it, is a terrible idea. Because, in most cases, punishment is not done for any noble reason. In most cases, punishment is just an act of violence. And every well-ordered society absolutely wants to make sure that people don't take the law into their own hands — that they just don't punish others. This is, for me, the principle of a functioning society: that we do not punish each other. So, for me, cooperation often means to refrain from punishment. And punishment is a very dangerous weapon. And I think many people have actually understood that critique — that punishment between individuals is a bad idea. And then they are still out there to say that it could be more useful if punishment is done by institutions. But also here, I'm very cautious. Because institutions are also not necessarily the best players all the time. They are the powerful players, and they could also use it inappropriately. So, I think that punishment is extremely problematic.Does mathematics lead us to God?43:47: It is not true that science explains everything. And now you should pause and ask yourself, so there is something which is independent of science, which is deep truth, which is absolute truth, which is unchanging truth. Where does that live? You know, where is that actually, if it's not in the atoms, if it's not in this, in the material world? So, this leads us to mathematical platonism. So, for me, mathematics is a step toward spirituality. It's a step toward the divine, as you say. And so, does mathematics lead us to God? Yes. The answer is yes, in my opinion, because it leads to a platonic heaven. And that is already the step of God. Does biology lead to God? Yes. Also because, in biology, the best understanding of evolution is mathematical. And so again, you need mathematics in order to understand evolution.What is the mechanism of direct reciprocity?15:12: The idea here is that, yes, interactions are repeated, but not necessarily between the same two people. So, I might help somebody who is a complete stranger. Or, in my class, I often talk about the New York subway hero, this brave man who saved another person who fell in front of the train. And, sort of, this isn't really the beginning of a long, repeated game. So, the question is, why do we have this instinct that we want to help? Even if it is with somebody we don't know, presumably a direct interaction is unlikely. And here, the proposal is that this works because of reputation. So, you help somebody, and that gets you the reputation of a valuable member, which is a person who receives help. Or, you refuse help to somebody, and that then will earn you other refusals in the future.Transcending the ego to unveil the nameless self50:05: Once you start to love the divine, you treat people differently; it becomes embracing. And so, if you also start to learn the difference between the ego and the self, there's this shell, and we are enslaved by the shell. And this shell has a name. And that name—we want to make that name famous. Then, we are sad if other people are against us. But inside us, there is the self. And the self is nameless, and the self is untouchable. The self can only be touched by us, not by othersShow Links:Recommended Resources:Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann and Oskar MorgensternJohn Maynard SmithEvolutionary Games and Population Dynamics by Josef Hofbauer and Karl SigmundW. D. HamiltonNoam ChomskyWesley Autrey“Winners Don’t Punish” by Anna Dreber, David Rand, Drew Fudenberg, and Martin NowakError catastropheGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard UniversityProfessional WebsiteHis Work:Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of LifeSuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to SucceedBeyondVirus dynamics: Mathematical principles of immunology and virologyEvolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation
5/24/202452 minutes, 2 seconds
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424. Rethinking the Social Underpinnings of Our Daily Decisions feat. Robin Hanson

Why might our brains be keeping us in the dark about our own motives? What's the reason humans give to charity? How do cultural norms lead to continual efforts to signal to our potential allies?Robin Hanson is a professor of economics at George Mason University . His latest two books are titled, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, and The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth.Robin and Greg discuss the discrepancies between what we say and our true intentions.Robin shares how human interaction within our discussions is less about the content and more about social positioning and signaling. Robin talks about the intricate dance of conversations, where showing status, expressing care, and signaling allyship are at the forefront. They also wrestle with the concept of luxury goods and their role in consumer behavior, challenging the conventional wisdom about why we buy what we buy and the messages we're really sending with our choices.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On conscious mind and social norm23:39: Humans have rules about what you're supposed to do and not supposed to do, especially regarding each other. And we really care a lot about our associates not violating those norms, and we're very eager to find rivals violating them and call them out on that. And that's just a really big thing in our lives. And in fact, it's so big that plausibly your conscious mind, the part of your mind I'm talking to, isn't the entire mind, you have noticed. You've got lots of stuff going on in your head that you're not very conscious of, but your conscious mind is the part of you whose job it is mainly to watch what you're doing and at all moments have a story about why you're doing it and why this thing you're doing, for the reason you're doing it,isn't something violating norms. If you didn't have this conscious mind all the time putting together the story, you'd be much more vulnerable to other people claiming that you're violating norms and accusing you of being a bad person for doing bad things.Our individual doesn’t care much about norms20:25: Sometimes norms are functional and helpful, and sometimes they're not. Our individual incentive doesn't care much about that. Our incentive is to not violate the norms and not be caught violating the norms, regardless of whether they're good or bad norms, regardless of what function they serve.Why do people not want to subsidize luxury items, but they do subsidize education?46:34: So part of the problem is that we often idealize some things and even make them sacred. And then, in their role as something sacred, we are willing to subsidize them and sacrifice for them. And then it's less about maybe their consequences and more about showing our devotion to the sacred. In some sense, sacred things are the things we are most eager to show our devotion to. And that's why people who want to promote things want us to see them as sacred. So, schools have succeeded in getting many people to see schools as a sacred venture and therefore worthy of extra subsidy. And they're less interested in maybe the calculation of the job consequences of education because they just see education itself as sacred.On notion of cultural drift47:55: So human superpower is cultural evolution. This is why we can do things so much better than other animals. The key mechanism of culture is that we copy the behaviors of others. In order to make that work, we have to differentially copy the behavior that's better, not the behavior that's worse. And to do that, we need a way to judge who is more successful so that we will copy the successful. So our estimate of what counts as success—who are the people around us who we will count as successful and worthy of emulation—is a key element of culture. And that's going to drive a lot of our choices, including our values and norms. We're going to have compatible and matching with our concept of who around us is the most admirable, the most worthy of celebration and emulation.Show Links:Recommended Resources:François de La RochefoucauldMicrosociologyPatek Philippe WatchesConsumptionParochialismThe Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and MoneyEvolutionGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at George Mason UniversityBlog - Overcoming BiasPodcast - Minds Almost MeetingProfile on LinkedInSocial Profile on XHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday LifeThe Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth
5/22/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 43 seconds
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423. The Scale of Everything: Unifying the Sciences of Growth, Complexity, and Innovation feat. Geoffrey West

What patterns can connect and unify biology, society, and the environment? How do cities outlast empires and survive unimaginable destruction? Why do buildings and trees have natural height limits?Geoffrey West is a distinguished professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and also the author of the book Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. Geoffrey and Greg discuss the intricate tapestry of complexity science, where the life of cities and the corporate world intertwine with the principles of biology. Geoffrey's expertise is in linking these seemingly disparate realms in a panoramic view of the universal laws that govern growth, innovation, and sustainability. Geoffrey explains how scaling laws inform everything from the rhythm of every heart in every animal to the pace of city life.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why is it that companies die more quickly than cities?52:57: ​​If you look at the biology and most of the scaling curves, the points lie very close to the scaling line. Cities, there's some variance; you know, there's much more variance, but it's still pretty good. Companies, it's much broader, a much bigger band of variance. Not surprisingly, because animals have evolved over hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of years, cities for hundreds of years to maybe a few thousand, possibly, and companies are tens of years, if you're lucky, in some cases, it's not surprising that you get tremendous variance. So, if you believe that the scaling laws are a tendency towards optimizing something to be decided, it's not surprising that companies will have a lot of variants because, if they haven't been around very long, everything's still sort of evolving and adapting.Social interaction and the urban pace48:26: Giving rise to more social interactions, more ideas; and so on also leads to the increasing pace of life in a systematic or predictable way, as distinct from biology, where that economy of life is the slowing of the pace of life. Everything slows down the bigger you are; you live longer, and everything takes longer.The classic agglomeration effects of what city does40:36: The fundamental structure of a social network is that A talks to B, B talks to C, C talks back to A, and we build on each other. We keep building on these ideas; I mean, effectively, they may be stupid ideas, and they may be wrong, and no one gives a damn about any of it, but we forget them afterward, so in almost all cases, it's irrelevant. On the other hand, the thing that's extraordinary about that is that dynamic is what produces a theory of relativity or a Google or a Microsoft or UC Berkeley or whatever, you know, produces; that's what it does. That's what we're here for. So these are the classic agglomeration effects of what a city does, and this is just putting it into a network language; it's the interaction within these networks and the structure of those networks. The scale of life’s capillary networks20:11: The thing that distinguishes you from a whale is that, in this context, we have the same capillaries, but the network is so much bigger. So that's the idea. And there's this shrew; you can barely see it's less than a millimeter, but the whale is like, you could drive a car through it, and so, but down at the capillary end, but the other end. of the network when they're the same. So that's the idea because you build up and use those as building blocks.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Economies of ScaleDiseconomies of ScaleCharles DarwinIsaac NewtonMax KleiberBrian J. EnquistMaxwell's equationsInvariantOptima for Animals: Revised EditionD'Arcy Wentworth ThompsonGalileo GalileiSigmoid FunctionLewis MumfordJane JacobsJack WelchMalthusianismGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the Santa Fe InstituteWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageScale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and CompaniesGeoffrey’s TED Talk
5/20/20241 hour, 12 minutes, 49 seconds
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422. Reframing Uncertainty as Opportunity with Rebecca Homkes

Business leaders face uncertainty everyday, it’s unavoidable. But one of the most important things leaders can do to help their companies thrive is to confront uncertainty and reframe it as an opportunity for growth. Rebecca Homkes is a lecturer at London Business School’s Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, a faculty member at Duke Corporate Executive Education, and the author of the book, Survive, Reset, Thrive: Leading Breakthrough Growth Strategy in Volatile Times.Rebecca and Greg discuss her three steps for growth strategy and how the pandemic shaped these ideas, the significance of utilizing uncertainty as an advantage, and why agility must be aligned with strategy if you want to avoid chaos.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Agility without strategy is chaos44:45: What I hear often, and I'm sure you've heard something similar is, strategy is great. But we're not going to do strategy this year because we want to be more agile. And you have to pause, smile, and say, the definition of agility is making good decisions quickly aligned with strategy. Lacking a strategy, you cannot have agility. You have speed, but it's not aligned speed. And that's the key words you're looking for: aligned speed. Alignment without speed is too slow to matter. Speed without alignment is chaotic. You're building aligned speed, which comes from the true definition of agility: making good decisions quickly aligned with strategy. But you can't do that lacking a value-creating strategy, because then I don't know what's most important and why. And I might be making great decisions, and you're making decisions, but if they're not aligned with each other, we're not rowing in the same direction as an organization.Directions give teams alignment25:04: Directions are okay. And the direction gives the team the alignment they need from leadership while preventing you from falling into that delusion trap that you've got. Because as soon as you've communicated a firm message, you will also be less likely to be heads up looking for any information that might go against it.What's the advantage of really surfacing uncertainty as one of the key things that leaders need to focus on?02:30: If you want to grow consistently and successfully through every market cycle, you've got to start by reframing. The definition of uncertainty is a series of future events which may or may not occur. Whether or not those events are good or bad depends on what we're trying to do and how we're set up. So if you see your role as doing that, figure out what we're trying to do, and then get set up rather than reducing uncertainty, you've just opened the opportunity set to an order of magnitude more than others you're competing against.The best pivots are changes38:15: The best pivots are changes, not these big, massive "we're doing A, and now we're going to do B." It's about these small micro-changes and micro-adjustments as we're learning, and not necessarily tactical, right? But these micro-changes and adjustments—you know, this was one of my muscle memories and battles—you know, I'm going to kind of shift, like, you know, of these two sub-things I'm resourcing, I'm going to go from one to the other. And I'm doing that because I've got my belief tracker up.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric RiesOODA loopPorter’s Five ForcesGuest Profile:Professional WebsiteHer Work:Survive, Reset, Thrive: Leading Breakthrough Growth Strategy in Volatile Times
5/17/202452 minutes, 54 seconds
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421.The Law Through an Economic Lens with Robert Cooter and Michael Gilbert

In recent decades, economic theory has made inroads into the study and practice of law, mainly in the domain of commercial transactions and corporate organization. But economics may also have a lot to say about how our governments are organized and how political actors engage in bargains and exchange.Professors Robert Cooter and Michael Gilbert are leading experts in the field of economics and law. Robert is the Herman F. Slevin Professor of Law at UC Berkeley and the co-author of the textbook, Law and Economics. Michael is the vice dean of University of Virginia’s law school. He and Robert’s new book, Public Law and Economics, explores the impact economic scholarship has on the study and practice of public law like the separation of government powers and elections.Robert, Michael, and Greg discuss why the disciplines of economics and law go hand in hand, how economics can inform the behavioral impact of legal rules, and how economic theories play out in a judicial context.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why law and economics has become so important in law schools02:40 First of all, much of economics is about incentives, that is to say, the reasons why people are motivated to do things. For example, if the price goes up, there's an incentive for people to buy less of the good. It turns out that the law can be regarded as an incentive system. For example, if the speed limit is increased from 55 to 65 miles an hour, that provides incentives for people to go ahead and drive faster. Furthermore, if the fine is increased from 100 to 150 dollars for exceeding the speed limit, that's an incentive for people not to exceed the speed limit. So, it turns out that many of the laws can be regarded as incentives to change people's behavior.  How economics can often be applied to humanistic practice of interpretation that lawyers are involved in52:58 My impression is that a lot of interpretation, especially in the hard cases where there's room to maneuver, it ends up being a function of people's intuitions. And sometimes, their intuitions are good, but sometimes they lead us astray. And economics isn't about a single person's intuitions; it's programmatic, it's general, it's built on a set of tools and assumptions that you can pinpoint. It isn't just myths in one person's mind. And I think that can be very helpful for interpretation.Understanding what efficiency means15:23 People equate efficiency with money and profit. And that's not what efficiency is, as any economist will tell you. Efficiency is about the satisfaction of people's preferences, and economists place nearly no limits or constraints on what the content of those preferences are.Is having more judiciary independence always better?43:51 You need independence in order to free the judges from outside influence and allow them to apply the law correctly and objectively, rather than taking bribes or deciding based on threats or whatever else. On the other hand, there's something a little perplexing about this. So, if you give them too much independence, you're empowering them to decide the law objectively, free from influence, and that's good. But you're also empowering them to do anything they want. Maybe they'll ignore the law. Maybe they'll read their own preferences under the law. Where's the constraint now? (44:36) The other thing I'll say about this is that almost every state elects judges in one capacity or another. And when I've talked to people, especially non-US citizens, they just across the board think this system is absolutely crazy because it just cuts too much into the independence of the courts. And maybe it does. And yet, I think most states are perceived to have the rule of law and have for decades and decades. So we’re constantly navigating this trade-off.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Richard Posner Coase theoremGuest Profile:Robert Cooter’s faculty profile at UC BerkeleyMichael Gilbert’s faculty profile at University of VirginiaTheir Work:Public Law and EconomicsRobert's Work:Law and EconomicsSolomon's Knot: How Law Can End the Poverty of NationsThe strategic constitution
5/15/202455 minutes, 20 seconds
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420.Globalization From the Renaissance to the Age of the City feat. Ian Goldin

How are our fates in society like hikers on a mountain, climbing together? In our ever increasingly interconnected world how can one balance the rewards of a connected planet against the perils that come with it?Ian Goldin is an Oxford University Professor of Globalisation and Development, Senior Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, and the author of several books. His upcoming book is titled, Age of the City: Why our Future will be Won or Lost Together.Greg and Ian discuss intertwined nature of global connectivity and the systematic risks it poses. Ian explains how pandemics, like COVID-19, highlight these vulnerabilities, emphasizing the need for global cooperation and resilience. Greg and Ian explore modern urbanization, emphasizing how the future is increasingly urban and the challenges and opportunities this presents for sustainability and community within cities. At the end Ian leaves us inspired to adopt global stewardship in our daily lives, in a lesson he learned working with Nelson Mandela.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is the future more urban?39:55:  Cities are going through a transformation, but one thing I would bet on is that the rate of urbanization will not decrease, and that's true in the U.S. and it's true elsewhere around the world. Where the most growth of cities is in developing countries with big challenges, the pandemic posed a big challenge, climate is a massive challenge. Cities are hotter than other places, so how they cope with heat stress, with water stress, with flooding becomes important. Ocean rise is a massive challenge for seaboard cities…So, big challenges, but the future will be more and more urban.Cities are the future40:55: Cities are the future, but making them livable and sustainable is a massive challenge; getting to zero carbon will make them resilient to climate pressures.Why do people flock to urban Centers for choice and community?45:37: People want to be near other people who are like them, creative, and where they'll have high efficiency. What we find in cities is that we have many more options. We can choose the lifestyle we want, whether you are young or old, have sexual preferences, religious preferences, fashion preferences, music preferences, or food preferences. All of these things can be satisfied in a city, which they never could in a small town, let alone in the countryside. And so, the more that we move into a world where our own preferences become important and we can be anywhere, we're going to be in a big city because that's where we're going to satisfy our preferences.Is there always going to be a trade off that when we increase connectedness, we are necessarily  increasing risks?03:12: Entanglement is the underbelly, the other side of connectivity, and I think it happens at all dimensions. If you think about it, one's own life, the more you get to know other people and get involved in them, it brings great joy and many benefits, but it can also bring great sadness. And I think it's like that at a macro scale as well, that we now increasingly recognize that we are entangled around the world in multiple ways. And that means that we can benefit enormously. A vaccine can be developed in one place and be around the world, or the worldwide web can join us all. We can hear new music or fashion, go to other places, meet incredible people, and benefit from incredible ideas, but we are also more vulnerable as a result. And so the great challenge of globalization, I think, is how does one harvest the upside and manage the downside.Show Links:Recommended Resources:GlobalizationSuez CanalHenry PaulsonDeregulationWorld BankOECDGiovanni Pico della MirandolaRenaissanceNiccolò MachiavelliHouse of MediciGirolamo SavonarolaMartin LutherJohn CalvinSocratesAristotleHumanismNelson MandelaGuest Profile:IanGoldin.orgFaculty Profile at the University of OxfordWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageAge of the City: Why our Future will be Won or Lost TogetherThe Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do about ItRescue: From Global Crisis to a Better WorldAge of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New RenaissanceExceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our FutureDevelopment: A Very Short IntroductionIs the Planet Full?Divided Nations: Why global governance is failing, and what we can do about itThe Pursuit of Development: Economic Growth, Social Change and IdeasGlobalization for Development: Meeting New Challenges
5/13/202450 minutes, 25 seconds
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419. Embracing the Venture Mindset feat. Ilya Strebulaev

What is the mindset that's reshaping how companies and investors forge paths to success from beyond the balance sheets? How are the staunch principles of Net Present Value giving way to strategies that are as nimble and adventurous as the startups they finance?Ilya Strebulaev is a Professor of Private Equity at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Director of their Venture Capital Initiative, and the co-author of the new book The Venture Mindset: How to Make Smarter Bets and Achieve Extraordinary Growth with Alex Deng.Ilya and Greg discuss the layers of a dynamic business landscape, revealing how traditional corporate strategies are being outpaced by those who dare to think like venture capitalists. Ilya describes how top venture capitalists operate and why embracing their methodologies is critical in a world where change is the only constant. Ilya shares tales of contrarian investment decisions, the growing presence of corporate venture capital, and the converging paths of institutional and corporate VCs.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The venture mindset42:02: The venture mindset doesn't mean that you have a perfectly crystal ball recognizing these great founders and great ideas. The venture mindset means that you, in an organization, build structure, build decision-making process, what we also call it, build racetracks, so that again and again and again, you will be able not just to spot but also to realize those unusual contrarian investment opportunities. And I think that most successful VC firms that I studied—well, actually all successful VC firms that I studied that have been successful for quite a bit of time, all follow these principles.How having a prepared mind helps you to invest right away16:27: In fact, the smartest decisions are never fast. You just prepare yourself for this decision. Institutional VCs vs. Corporate VCs25:50: Institutional VCs have, first, much larger LinkedIn profiles. Larger meaning, not just that they have more information there, but have more connections. Their network is much, much larger. 26:10: Corporate VCs' LinkedIn are much, much smaller. But there's something else: if you look at corporate VCs' LinkedIn profiles, very likely, in fact, their connections will be within their four walls. Or maybe if you come from another organization, there will be these two four walls. So that there will be fewer organizations where their connections are coming from. And you could see it if you map them. But for institutional VCs, it's not just that you have three times more connections. But they're very different. 26:53: Because I think the diversity in constructive networking, as I call it, also brings a lot of new opportunities. And again, you need this, and this is a part of the venture mindset.Is dissenting from the consensus important in the venture mindset?35:20:There is something else, which I think is a huge part of the venture mindset, that if everybody invests and there's a craze about it, obviously, it means there are also going to be crazy valuations. That also means that you're likely too late for the party. It's likely that even if everybody is right, your return is going to be right. And as a result of that, I think the best way those who follow the venture mindset think about this is that we have to be right, but there should be a lot of disagreement. If there is consensus that you know, crypto is going to be the next craze. Well, right now, generative AI is going to be the next craze, okay? If everybody is right, then, in fact, you're going to be right, but your returns are going to be relatively small. You would like to be right when you are what we call in the book Mr. Contrarian—somebody who goes against the crowd.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Net Present ValueOpen InnovationBlue Ocean StrategyJensen HuangLouis PasteurDrew HoustonGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford GSBProfile on LinkedInWikipedia PageIlyaStrebulaev.comHis Work:The Venture Mindset: How to Make Smarter Bets and Achieve Extraordinary GrowthGoogle Scholar PageCornerstone Research Page
5/10/202453 minutes, 42 seconds
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418. Urban Myths: Challenging the Green City Idea feat. Des Fitzgerald

Are there reasons to doubt  the conventional wisdom of greenery as the cure-all for urban ills. What are the roots of the Garden City movement, and how has the reality of it been different than the theory?Des Fitzgerald is a professor of medical humanities and social sciences at University College Cork Ireland, and also the author of a recent book titled, The Living City: Why Cities Don't Need to Be Green to Be Great. (released in the UK with a different title: The City of Today is a Dying Thing.Greg and Des discuss how urban landscapes aren't just about aesthetics; they're intricately linked to our national identity and cognitive functions. Des helps us uncover how architecture influences our sense of place and impacts our brains, and explores the role of culture in shaping our environmental perceptions. The conversation spans everything from peat briquettes to Georgian-style facades. Des also guides us through an enlightening discussion on the burgeoning field of medical humanities and the innovative concept of green social prescribing within the NHS.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The transformative shift in environmental neuroscience39:32: Something that is becoming really interesting in this space is the emergence of environmental neuroscience, as I think a relatively new, increasingly interesting, and powerful discipline. Environmental neuroscience exists for a whole bunch of reasons, but certainly the increasing sense that we're able to take a brain measure while a person moves around the space in three dimensions. That's, I think it's something that can be done imperfectly now. It's still very much in progress, but at least we have a horizon in which that's going to become pretty possible at kind of high-resolution research grade relatively soon. And that is transformative, actually, if the three dimensions of a space become truly available as a variable for brain measurement. Then something does happen, and something does change in that moment.What’s wrong with planting a lot of trees?43:13: What concerns me about urban tree planting is what we're not talking about when we're talking about urban trees, right? So the amount of social and public problems that trees are meant to solve is ridiculous. It's everything from mental health to youth crime to skills in some parts of England, where they're planting trees in an English town because it's like the people of the town have low skills for some reason. It just seems to go for not tackling boring social problems, right? So, for instance, it's very real that there are major mental health problems in cities. I think there is something very serious about the way we have constructed the contemporary city—that it has bad effects for lots of people.We need to stop centering urban discourse on charismatic megafauna of global urbanism45:37: We need to stop centering urban discourse on the kind of charismatic megafauna of global urbanism, right? And look at the kind of, what I would genuinely call the crap cities, right? The kind of second-tier, slightly stronger places, like places like Cork, Cardiff in Wales, where I used to live. I'm not sure what your go-to North American examples would be, but I'm still in those kinds of, like, lower-tier, maybe Poughkeepsie, Peoria, these kinds of places. That's your kind of modular urban experience, I think. And those are places I think we need to take much more seriously culturally and socially.Interdisciplinarity in medical humanities49:09: I think what folks in the field are trying to do is do something a little bit more collaborative and a little bit more imaginative, and not just have the philosopher who will sign off your ethics forms, but try to think seriously about how philosophy can inform experimental design. How philosophical work can itself be informed by stuff that's happening in biology and the life sciences. I'm trying to really get at the kind of complex space between those things where you're doing work that is not quite humanities or science but some kind of magic third thing.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Le CorbusierGarden city movementFrederick Law OlmstedEbenezer HowardJohn MuirPlan VoisinEdwin LutyensPort SunlightWilliam LeverSamuel SmilesNeomEdward C. TolmanGeorges-Eugène HaussmannNapoleon IIIMedical humanitiesWellcome TrustGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University College CorkHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe City of Today is a Dying ThingThe Living City: Why Cities Don't Need to Be Green to Be GreatThe Urban Brain: Mental Health in the Vital CityRethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social Sciences and NeurosciencesGoogle Scholar Page
5/8/202452 minutes, 18 seconds
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417. Harnessing Rhetoric’s Power for Contemporary Conversations feat. Robin Reames

Is modern communication leaving us more divided than ever? What can the writings of ancient philosophers teach us about persuasion? How can ancient wisdom illuminate today's polarized political discourse?Robin Reames is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is also an author and co-author. Her latest book is titled, The Ancient Art of Thinking For Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized Times.Robin and Greg discuss the topic of spontaneous speaking. Robin's expertise leads us through the historical corridors of Grecian sophists, as we ponder whether a meticulously scripted statement can ever match the raw resonance of impromptu oratory. Together, Robin and Greg examine the power dynamics embedded in everyday language, underscoring the transformative potential of rhetoric to foster critical thinking and elevate public debate. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes: How studying rhetoric makes you a toughest customer41:58: One of the effects of studying rhetoric is that you become a tougher customer, but not because there's something you're clinging to, not because there's some idea that you've decided is absolutely correct, fixed, and immovable, but because you can see how the sausage is made in the language. You can see how the persuasion is attempting to gain your credence and your conviction, and it makes it harder for you to persuade. That was the whole idea of creating an art where those techniques and moves are given names, and we can learn the names, and when we learn the names, we can identify when they happen in the language. Well, all of a sudden, it just demystifies it. I'm noticing that the language is making me feel angry, right? And rather than just assume that that's because the language is telling me something that's true in the world, I'm noticing, oh, this is the language that made me feel angry. Why did that make me feel angry? What in the language provoked that response, right? Those are the sorts of things that happen when you learn to identify the skills of rhetoricLanguage can never give you reality25:09: Language can never give you reality itself. It can only package it in a way that makes it recognizable to you.Language on autopilot46:17: To be a language user is, in many ways, to be on autopilot, but it is possible also, as a rhetorical language user, to be on autopilot and also to recognize the effects of that, to see how the effects of that work their way into our way of seeing and viewing the world and understanding and responding to it.Analyzing arguments as arguments, not political alignments32:02: It is possible, through using a mechanism like rhetoric, which was designed to have great utility in political discourse, to think about arguments as arguments and language as language, political arguments and political language as political arguments and political language, as opposed to thinking of them entirely in terms of whether they originate from the right or the left, whether I agree with them because I'm on the right or the left. Rhetorical thinking is about thinking language in other terms, in the terms that are supplied by the rhetorical tradition. The way the rhetorical tradition developed over the course of its long, centuries-long, millennia-long life was by noticing, cataloging, and naming the moves that happen in language.Show Links:Recommended Resources:TechneAristotleRhetoricPlatoSocratesSophistAlcidamasGorgiasProtagorasHomerKenneth BurkeStephen ToulminHannah ArendtAspasiaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of Illinois ChicagoHer Work:Amazon Author PageThe Ancient Art of Thinking For Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized TimesSeeming and Being in Plato’s Rhetorical TheoryThe Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present
5/6/202451 minutes, 49 seconds
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416. The Fusion of Culture and Evolution in Human Development feat. Joseph Rouse

Where do the lines lie between nature and culture within humanity? How can our human social practices affect and shape our biology? The answer is within the concept of niche construction, showcasing how human activities, much like those of other organisms, actively shape our environment, which in turn influences our evolution.Joseph Rouse is a professor of philosophy and also science and technology at Wesleyan University, and also the author of several books. His latest work is titled, Social Practices as Biological Niche Construction. It's a deep dive into the cultural and ethical practices that have co-evolved with our species.Greg and Joseph discuss the idea of a world where cultural evolution and biological evolution are not two disparate processes but intricately connected facets of human life. Joseph  illustrates how these have evolved to support a sophisticated network of social justice, individual freedom, and political democracy. Joseph also makes the case for human life as a complex network of practice-interdependent existence, contrasting the more simplistic view of human behavior as merely a quest for reproductive success. Enjoy this new angle on the ideas of evolutionary biology.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The interconnectedness of human biology and social culture08:16 The anthropologist would happily tell you, culture includes material culture, right? And we live in built environments that have been massively transformed, niched constructively, and so seeing that part of what we think of as our social world, as on the one hand, always accommodating our biological capacities but then also recognizing that those needs and capacities have been transformed by this built environment that has been repeatedly transformed and complicated and diversified over millennia because, after all, one of the distinctive biological features of human beings compared to other organisms is that we don't live in the same way as other human beings.Understanding what philosophers mean when they talk about practice26:16 As we know from watching the role of the courts, once you have a rule or a law, what it actually means in each case is open to further interpretation and new issues that hadn't been initially considered and once you adapt the rule or the norm to those issues, it reverberates back on the earlier cases. And so you've got a constant dynamic of normative change in which what is normal enables one to make judgments about how to continue in the same way.Defining biological normativity11:35 In its basic form, biological normativity is the way in which an organism and a lineage are a process that's goal-directed. Organisms do all sorts of things and adjust to conditions in order to sustain the very process of their being alive.The problem in talking about and measuring the complexity of social life36:38 We tend to assume complexity is one thing and can be measured along one dimension. But in fact, there are many different kinds of complexity. I mean, someone living in what an earlier generation of anthropologists would have called a more primitive society, which we rightly no longer talk about, in fact, hasn't negotiated an extraordinary range of local knowledge and relationships, and so forth. Now, we have, in part, delegated more things to more practices, and that has allowed increasing specialization. It's also enhanced some limitations.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Evolutionary biologyNiche ConstructionNormativityImmanuel KantJohn RawlsLudwig WittgensteinE. O. WilsonWilfrid SellarsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Wesleyan ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageSocial Practices as Biological Niche ConstructionArticulating the World: Conceptual Understanding and the Scientific ImageKnowledge and Power: Toward a Political Philosophy of ScienceEngaging Science: How to Understand Its Practices PhilosophicallyHow Scientific Practices Matter: Reclaiming Philosophical Naturalism
5/3/202446 minutes, 8 seconds
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415. Untangling Organizational Design with Gene Kim & Steven Spear

Could the secret to organizational success be as simple as going back to basics? Gene Kim and Steven Spear’s new book, Wiring the Winning Organization: Liberating Our Collective Greatness through Slowification, Simplification, and Amplification presents practical, grounded research on organizational management and design. Gene is the chair of the Enterprise Technology Leadership Summit and Steven teaches at MIT Sloan.Gene and Steven walk Greg through the three mechanisms of successful organizational design: slowify, simplify, and amplify. They also discuss how the field of organizational design has evolved and what still needs to evolve with management education. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Three mechanisms of a successful organizational designWe now have everything we need to be able to describe the three mechanisms that must be in place in any high-performing system. You got to slowify, meaning we move the most difficult problems from production into planning and practice, where work can be redone. We can do experiments. We can learn where we can simplify where we actually divide up the problems. We partition them so that they are easier to solve. And there's three dimensions of that. And then there's amplification, this overlay of how do we create a system that can amplify even the weakest signals so that when someone needs help or when there's danger that we can quickly detect and correct or ideally prevent from happening again. What the term ‘slowification’ means38:39 The reason why we had to create the word ‘slowification’ is that we have a lot of adages for slow down to speed up or stop sawing to sharpen the saw, and the absence of the word prevents us from doing it or thinking it. (38:46) But the whole notion is creating time to be able to solve tough problems not in production but in planning and practice. To solve architectural problems, not during the normal sprint or what have you, but actually making time for the architectural spike or the period of technical debt reduction to enable people to do their work easily and well.The wrong way to measure successA lot of these metric-driven organizations, the pit they fall into is they don't account for the return on investment of discovery. They measure activity but not accomplishment.The great advantages of technology in management educationAnd now, because we can do education at a distance, we can do asynchronous education, we can have education which is interspersed with either structured experiences or just natural experiences that people have. We can now actually teach one by one as needed as ready situation where information is pulled from the instructor to time and place and situation where it's needed, rather than being forced by the instructor in a formulation that the instructor thinks is right but may have nothing to do with the readiness of the student.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System | Harvard Business ReviewChristina Maslach on unSILOed Gary Klein on unSILOedDr. Richard ShannonRon WestrumKim ClarkNyquist–Shannon sampling theoremGuest Profile:Gene Kim’s WebsiteSteven Spear’s profile at MIT SloanTheir Work:Wiring the Winning Organization: Liberating Our Collective Greatness through Slowification, Simplification, and AmplificationGene's Books:Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology OrganizationsThe DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business WinThe Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of DataSteve's Book:The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition 
5/1/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 22 seconds
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414. The Science of Social Networks with Nicholas Christakis

Do our genes have an impact on how many friends we’ll have in life and the kinds of people we gravitate towards whether our friends are connected to each other? How can the study of social networks help us better prepare for the next pandemic? Nicholas Christakis is a professor of natural and social sciences and directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University. His research focuses on social networks and biosocial science, all of which are central points in his books like, Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live and Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. He and Greg discuss how genes can influence our social networks, the dynamics of social contagion, and why the arc of human evolution bends towards goodness. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why even minds as brilliant as Isaac Newton's succumb to financial manias01:01:41 Our ability to function in groups depends, in part, on our ability to copy the mood of others around us. And all of us have had this experience. (01:02:20) It's to build group solidarity. And the other is it's efficient in terms of learning. In other words, rather than having to learn something yourself, you just copy what others are doing. And that's extremely efficient. So rather than having to do your own research and figure out what stock really has good fundamentals, you're like, well, I'll just buy what everyone else is buying that sometimes leads to really over-the-top, frothy bubbles that are quite dangerous for all involved.The spread of germs is the price we pay for the spread of ideas23:07 One of the reasons we affiliate with each other and live in groups is to avail ourselves of this process of social learning, but in so doing, we expose ourselves to other risks—for example, the risks of infection, the risks of violence, and so on. So natural selection over time has balanced these costs and benefits and yielded, I argue, a structure of networks that obeys the principle that the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs. Otherwise, we would live separate from each other. We wouldn't form networks.Network science in a 21st-century approach06:45 Network science offers a 21st-century approach because it connects the collective and individual layers. It explains how individuals become members of collectivities, become members of groups by identifying the pattern of connections between people. It's kind of a structural approach.Do modern technologies influence human social interactions?17:17 There's no question that new technologies are affecting our social interactions in a number of ways. But the fundamental reality of our desire for social connection and our susceptibility to technology's social influence is not changing over a hundred-year time span. This has been shaped by ancient and powerful evolutionary forces.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Lumpers and splitters Adam Smith Émile Durkheim Karl MarxFrancis GaltonDiffusion of Innovations Thomas Valente Richard DawkinsSteven Pinker Gemeinschaft and GesellschaftGuns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared DiamondStumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at Yale UniversityHis Work:Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We LiveBlueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good SocietyConnected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives -- How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do
4/29/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 29 seconds
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413. A Rational Look at Irrationality with Steven Nadler

Humans have always had the propensity to be irrational. In fact, humans may be as irrational today as they were centuries ago. But with a more educated and technologically advanced society, why does this level of irrational thought and behavior persist? Steven Nadler is a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. His books like When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves and Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die encourage readers to examine their lives through a philosophical lens.He and Greg discuss how social media has contributed to the perpetuity of irrationality in society, why more education doesn’t necessarily lead to more rational thought, and why philosophy should be more widely integrated into our education systems. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Exploring Spinoza’s determinismNobody can be truly free from external influences because we have to live in the world. But you can liberate yourself insofar as your life is guided by reason and not by passion. Now, for Spinoza, the world is deterministic. Everything happens because of its antecedent causes. And this is as true as much for leaves falling off trees and rocks rolling down hills and for our bodies, which respond to the physical influences of the world. But it's also completely true with respect to the human mind. Our mental states, our thoughts, our beliefs, our desires also exist within a deterministic system.Where do irrational beliefs come from?02:46: I don't think that human beings are necessarily more or less irrational now than they were centuries ago. However, the difference is that irrationality can flourish more easily now with the advent of social media internet sites that traffic in irrational beliefs that encourage irrational thinking, and that make it very easy for a person to be overwhelmed by misinformation and thus form beliefs without any evidence and never really be exposed to counter-evidence.Two kinds of bad thinking07:08: In the book, we distinguish between two kinds of stubbornness or two kinds of bad thinking. We call the first, epistemic stubbornness, and the second, normative stubbornness. Epistemic stubbornness is where you adopt beliefs without sufficient evidence in favor of their truth. (08:19) What we call normative stubbornness is more a matter of behavior. And maybe here, temperament plays a bigger role. A person who is normatively stubborn applies rules without thinking the actions they choose and the courses of behavior that they adopt.What Nadler says is one of the root causes of persistent bad thinking11:46 Very often we know what the right thing to do is, we know what is good, but we act contrary to our better judgment. That's not just something that's a matter of our actions and behavior, but even in our minds, sometimes we know that a belief is not probably the right thing. It's probably not true, and yet somehow through peer pressure, for example, we feel compelled to go with the crowd, and we find ourselves believing things that we have no evidence for believing, and in fact stand in the face of contrary evidence.Show Links:Recommended Resources:PlatoEthics by Baruch SpinozaMeditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume  Immanuel KantSocratesConatusApology of Socrates by PlatoClytemnestraAchillesStoicism AristotelianismThomas HobbesGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of WisconsinHis Work:When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from OurselvesThink Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to DieA Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular AgeThe Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil
4/26/202458 minutes, 5 seconds
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412. Fixing Organizational Culture with Frances Frei

The problem with the business mindset of “move fast and break things” is that what often gets broken is people. But how can companies take care of their employees without sacrificing accelerated growth?Frances Frei is a professor of technology and operations management at Harvard Business School. She’s spent decades researching operational design and leadership and has co-authored numerous books like, Move Fast and Fix Things: The Trusted Leader's Guide to Solving Hard Problems and Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. She and Greg discuss the importance of fostering a culture of curiosity, why moving fast and breaking things is not worth it, and how inclusion can be an organizational superpower. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Can you do layoffs with dignity?27:01: When Elon Musk famously bought Twitter, he did layoffs and maybe a caricature of how to do everything wrong. But on the same day, he did layoffs, Stripe did layoffs. And so we got the two. Like on the same day, you could see the transcript of what Elon said to his employees and what Stripe said to their employees. So now Stripe didn't anticipate the layoffs, but the guy took responsibility for it in a way that I think strengthened the organization. That's what I mean. Either anticipate it so you don't have to do it or take responsibility that you did it and you learn the lessons…[28:02]I'm not sure we code layoffs as the management failure as they mostly are. And so I treat it, and I'm not saying this with any extra judgment; just learn from it like we do everything else. Like, great, yeah, you went through a layoff, what went wrong, learn from it so that you can avoid it the next time.Curiosity is a cultural artifact11:42 Curiosity is a cultural artifact; it's a cultural behavior. It's a cultural mindset, and when you have it, the symptoms are delightful to you because you're going to get curious about it. So many organizations have the "don't bring me a problem unless you bring me a solution," which is the opposite of curiosity. It's guaranteed not to have very much improvement.Inclusion as an operational superpower41:22: Inclusion, to me, the reason I like it so much, is I know of no other thing that can get me achievement, sentiment boosts, and performance with no new people and no new technology. I find inclusion to be an operational superpower. No new people, no new technology, and business performance and employee engagement skyrocketed.Speed vs. sensibility22:41: When people were writing code, and the code didn't influence individuals, I don't care if you got the code wrong and you wanted to move fast and fix things, and that somehow helps you do faster iterations of code. But when it's humans, personally, it's a worldview. I personally have a problem with it. That's the first thing. The second thing is it seduces you into thinking you are going faster, breaking things along the way, but when you factor in the collateral damage and the rework that you have to do, you're scarcely going faster; you just that somebody else had to pay for it later, and you got the advantage of it today. So, I think it's also misguided.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Little’s LawTravis KalanickKarim R. Lakhani | unSILOedServiceNowValerius MaximusThe No-Stats All-Star by Michael Lewis (New York Times)Chris ArgyrisAmy Edmondson | unSILOedAnita TuckerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard Business SchoolProfessional WebsiteHer Work:Move Fast and Fix Things: The Trusted Leader's Guide to Solving Hard ProblemsUnleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around YouUncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your BusinessFixable podcast
4/24/202455 minutes, 19 seconds
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411. Analyzing the Spanish Empire’s Global Footprint feat. Felipe Fernández-Armesto

How can an interdisciplinary approach to the study of our past help our understanding of history? How transformative was the Spanish Empire’s global influence and how did they accomplish it?Felipe Fernández-Armesto is the William P. Reynolds Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of several books including How the Spanish Empire Was Built: A 400-Year History, 1492: The Year the Four Corners of the Earth Collided, and Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food.Felipe and Greg discuss the hunger for simple, moral narratives in history, a stark contrast to the reality of multifaceted characters and events that shaped our world. They scrutinize the legacy of Cortez and the Spanish conquest, challenging notions that have influenced our moral judgments of history. Felipe also takes on some myths surrounding the technological prowess of the Spanish Empire.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What did engineers contribute to the political functioning of an empire?24:02: What did engineers contribute to the political functioning of the empire? And I think that was crucial as well. Because if you've got an empire, especially if you've got a pre-industrial empire like that of Spain, and you're trying to manage this vast enterprise from a very small country with a very small population, a very restricted domestic resource base, a poor, small country, in order to do that, you need indigenous collaborators. You mentioned the Black Legend, of Spanish cruelty and oppression. No matter how cruel or oppressive you are, you can't run an empire of that sort with pre-industrial technology unless you can reconcile sufficient indigenous people to it.What can we learn about hatred from history?41:22: One of the lessons I've learned from history is that hatred is an intractable emotion that has extraordinary enduring powers, and people tend to change their friends a lot. The history of international relations is basically the history of shifting alliances. People always change their friends, but they keep the same enemies. I think, for all the good intentions of the Spaniards, they never quite created the sort of Pax Hispanica, which might fully deserve the name. Of course, Pax Romana didn't deserve the name either.History isn't a science51:08: For me, history isn't a science. It's an art; it's a humanistic discipline. I make no apology for that revel in it. That's what makes it fascinating, because the problems of science are fundamentally solvable; if they're genuinely problems of science, they're fundamentally solvable. When scientists take on subjects beyond their province, like, you know, "What's the origin of the cosmos?" or "Does God exist?" all those sorts of questions. Now, science—that's rather foolish and ambitious on the part of a scientist; if a question is genuinely scientific, then it's in principle answerable. If a problem is scientific, it's, in principle, solvable. Whereas a problem in the humanities is, in principle, insoluble because you can never have a completely objective assessment of the evidence.The nature of truth in historical narratives07:27: A very important truth about history is that we don't know what the truth is. We know only the truth of what the sources say, so we know what particular people who've left us sources wanted us to think. And to some extent, I suppose we can corroborate that against archaeological evidence or dispassionate statistics if they happen to be available. But essentially, the problem of being a historian and telling the truth is that the evidence is not present to our senses, so we cannot test it in the same way that we can test the truth of assertions that are made by things that are happening in our own time.Show Links: Recommended Resources:R. G. CollingwoodLeopold von RankeHistory of the Conquest of MexicoPax RomanaPax AmericanaPax HispanicaReconquistaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of Notre DameWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageHow the Spanish Empire Was Built: A 400-Year History1492: The Year the Four Corners of the Earth CollidedCivilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of NatureOur America: A Hispanic History of the United StatesA Foot in the River: Why Our Lives Change — and the Limits of EvolutionThe Oxford History of the WorldAmerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to AmericaThe Conquistadors: A Very Short IntroductionThe Americas: A Hemispheric HistoryStraits: Beyond the Myth of MagellanNear a Thousand Tables: A History of FoodPathfinders: A Global History of ExplorationOut of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think ItThe World: A History, Volume 2Truth: A History and a Guide for the PerplexedApproaches to Global History: To See the World WholeBefore Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 1229-1492ColumbusSo You Think You're Human: A Brief History of Humankind
4/22/202453 minutes, 10 seconds
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410. Giving Dutch History Its Due with Jonathan Scott

Without the Dutch revolution of the 16th century, England may never have taken its place as a world superpower and there could have been no such thing as the American Revolution. Yet, the pivotal role the Netherlands played in the development of the modern world seems to go overlooked and under taught in history courses. Why? Jonathan Scott is a professor of history at the University of Auckland and the author of numerous books, including England's Troubles: Seventeenth-Century English Political Instability in European Context and, most recently, How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution 1500-1800. He and Greg discuss how the Netherlands' geography played a crucial role in its rise to dominance in the 17th century, why that power eventually shifted to favor England, and how the Anglo-Dutch influence has permeated throughout history. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What inspired the American revolutionaries?30:46 The people by whom the English Republicans and revolutionaries of the 17th century were themselves inspired, who were the Dutch revolutionaries of the 16th century, were very important for the American revolutionaries of the 18th century. So, I think the most important influence in America is the Anglo-Dutch. And the Dutch part of that has been forgotten in America. Why exactly is, again, complicated, but one reason might be that when England ends up dominating, the Dutch component of the American founding and of the American revolution is just quietly forgotten.Was the Anglo-Dutch Revolution seminal to the success of England?03:52 What happens in 17th and 18th century England, which is remarkable and of global importance, derives very substantially from competition with the Netherlands, a competition during which the Netherlands is initially dominant and during which they're eventually overtaken.The complex alliance and rivalry between the English and the Dutch04:43 Not just rivals and frenemies, but they were also very close allies and dependent on each other for the survival of their Protestant religion and political regimes. So, they were close military allies in the war against Spain during the Elizabethan period in the 16th century. Then, they were equally close military, political, and religious allies from the Glorious Revolution in 1689 against France in the nine-year war until 1697. So the framework is one of close alliance, but between those two dates, between the Elizabethan and that end of the 17th century, that is, during the 17th century itself, there's an increasingly bitter rivalry between the merchants of these two countries, which ends up involving three very bloody naval wars between 1652 and 1673.The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution33:12 The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution in the early modern period is a series of political revolutions which put in place a new kind of state, which is federated and the product of parliamentary representation and parliamentary votes. And so the United Provinces of the Netherlands is the first one established in the 16th century, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain is the second established in 1707. Then, the United States of America is the third. Each of these is conscious of its place in a sequence where there is copying and adaptation going on.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Hanseatic LeagueMark Kurlansky | UnSILOedNavigation ActsJohn LockeMontesquieuBaruch SpinozaHugo GrotiusGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of AucklandHis Work:England's Troubles: Seventeenth-Century English Political Instability in European ContextWhen the Waves Ruled Britannia: Geography and Political Identities, 1500–1800 How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution 1500-1800
4/19/202451 minutes, 46 seconds
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409. Capital’s Codes: The Legal DNA of Economy and Inequality feat. Katharina Pistor

Our guest today suggests that law is the cloth from which capitalism is cut. And lawyers are the tailors! From the enclosure movement to the financial crisis, law has been the engine of capital accumulation.Katharina Pistor is a Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School and the author of the book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, about how capital is created behind closed doors in the offices of private attorneys and why this little-known fact is one of the biggest reasons for the widening wealth gap between the holders of capital and everybody else.Katharina and Greg discuss the nuanced ways in which legal coding privileges certain groups. Katharina lays out the path of capital developing from land ownership and its metamorphosis into powerful financial instruments. Katharina and Greg analyze the legal frameworks that have contributed to the economic tapestry of today. They conclude with a discussion of the intricacies of global legal systems and their sway over commerce and society. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The unseen impacts of legal innovation36:32: Under our civil procedure rules, not everyone has access to the courts. Not everyone has the justiciable interest. Who does or who does not, who has standing in a court of law, determines already who can bring a case to court. So, there was this wonderful debate in the 1970s about the efficiency of the common law. So, if you litigate and relitigate, the best rules will come about. But even at that time, people pushed back and said, "But this is not randomly selected, which rules will be even litigated." There are other conditions that have to be in place. So, I think if we were able to completely reverse those or change those conditions to make sure that everyone has access to the courts; remember how long women couldn't litigate for their own rights or Black people couldn't litigate for their own rights. And now that has changed, but there's still certain interests that you can't bring. Typically, individual rights have a better chance than collective rights. And so, there are lots of "if we could change all this, you can make your own rules," and there's some umpires that sort of sometimes create a balance between this. Then, I think we would be in a different world, but that's not the world we have.Is common law taking over the world?31:47: When I say capital is coded in law, I named the law, and it's actually domestic private law. We don't have a global private law, and we don't have a global state that could enforce it. So the question could be, how can global capitalism exist without that global law? And what I'm basically saying: global capitalism can exist in theory with only one legal system, as long as all other legal systems are willing to respect the rules that are made and enforce them in their own courts. That's what the config of law rules do.Lawyers and the art of asset coding11:42 You can see that a lot of private wealth is held in different types of assets over time. And that's actually what fascinated me so much: the same legal institutions were first used to code ownership in rural land for the landlords. The same mechanisms can be used to create complex derivatives today. And the shift from asset to asset is something that the lawyers can maneuver because they know how to code different assets. It also allows, and this is important to recognize: it allows different types of groups to come forward. So it's not necessarily that you have only the aristocracy that wins all the time.Looking at the cumulative power of capital08:19: If you look at the cumulative power of capital and the agency that certainly corporations have, or also agents have through their patron rights over others, sometimes you really have the feeling that these are actors in their own rights that actually can exert power over others, in particular over humans, in a way that might not have been anticipated when we created these institutions, but that's the real effect that we feel and experience today.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Amartya SenMartha NussbaumLehman BrothersThomas PikettyHernando de SotoKuznets curvePaul CarringtonPierson v. PostGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Columbia Law SchoolProfessional Profile at Institute for New Economic ThinkingProfile on LinkedInHer Work:The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality
4/17/202451 minutes, 15 seconds
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408. Diabetes, Drugs, and Diet with Gary Taubes

Doctors and scientists have been studying how our diet affects our health since the 18th century. But despite technological advancements and varying hypotheses over the years, there’s a chance that the wisdom of the 1700s might be more accurate than more recent beliefs on how food contributes to our overall health. Gary Taubes is an investigative health science journalist and the author of books like Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. For decades, he’s studied the history of diabetes and obesity research and found instance after instance of faulty science that’s led to some of the most widely accepted beliefs about metabolic health.Gary and Greg deep dive into the centuries-long history of diabetes and obesity research, including some of the major moments and breakthroughs like the discovery of insulin. They also discuss what makes some science bad science, modern misconceptions about obesity and its causes, and the surprising impact WWII had on obesity research. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What is an allegiance bias?38:59: It's the first hypothesis that tends to have such an advantage over all those that follow. That the others have to then try and replace that, and then more and more people buy into that first hypothesis and believe it, and they base their treatments on it, and they write papers and textbooks about it. They've become more and more biased. I was just speaking to a nutritionist 80-year-old tremendous nutritionist the other day who used the phrase allegiance bias. So you develop an allegiance to what you believe, to the technologies you're using, to the therapies you're giving, and to what your colleagues believe. And all of these reasons are why scientists are supposed to express hypotheses with such humility. You get an idea of what's working and what's not, and you voice it with incredible humility because the worst thing that can happen is that it be wrong and be embraced. And it's the easiest thing to have.Rethinking conventional wisdom in health01:09:16: The internet took away the gatekeepers. So for anyone who's suffering from obesity or diabetes, if the conventional wisdom works for you, then you're fine, right? You eat a little less, you exercise, and you don't live with obesity anymore—end of story. You don't need blood sugar medications, but if you've tried the conventional wisdom, as I think most people do, and it fails, then you start looking for alternatives.What makes a good scientist?24:34: When you do an experiment, you learn how you screwed up if you're a good scientist because, by definition, you're always doing something no one's ever done before because it's boring to do stuff that people have done before. So you're always doing something new. You're always working at the limits of what your apparatus or your observational equipment can do. And 99 times out of 100, you're going to screw up that first time out, and then you're going to learn how you screw up and you're going to fix it. And you iterate your way toward what you hope is truth.Show Links:Recommended Resources:CERNBradford Hill criteriaJohn RolloElliott P. JoslinOskar MinkowskiAncel KeysCarl von NoordenGustav von BergmannJulius BauerLouis Harry NewburghJeffrey M. Friedman AtkinsEric Westman Virta HealthBittersweet: Diabetes, Insulin, and the Transformation of Illness by Chris FeudtnerGuest Profile:Professional WebsiteHis Work:Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful TreatmentsWhy We Get Fat: And What to Do About ItGood Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat EatingThe Case Against SugarBad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion Nobel Dreams: Power, Deceit, and the Ultimate Experiment What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie (New York Times Magazine) 
4/15/20241 hour, 19 minutes, 42 seconds
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407. The Delicate Balance of Teaching and Research in Modern Academia feat. Nicholas Dirks

University professors have to become good at doing the intricate dance between research and teaching, as institutions have to help their faculty navigate this balance as well as maintain a good experience for the students in the institution.Nicholas Dirks is the president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, the former chancellor of UC Berkeley, and the author of several books. His latest book is titled City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University.Nicholas and Greg discuss how universities have dealt with and should deal with current issues and challenges with faculty governance, and the evolution of student activism while maintaining academic freedom. They discuss the challenges of maintaining relevance, fostering interdisciplinary study, and adapting to the 21st century's demands while preserving the essence of academic freedom and intellectual debate.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are universities too unique for outsiders to manage?46:32: The difficulty you have when you bring somebody in from outside of the university to have a senior administrative position is that there's just so much about the university that is, only really possible to learn if you've been in it. And for the most part, in the corporate world, when somebody is running a company, they've worked in either that company or they've worked in that field. I've never been offered a job running Goldman Sachs or Google, but I have been offered a bunch of jobs running universities. Well, I say that because I think the presumption that universities are badly managed and therefore they need to have somebody who really knows about management doesn't fully take on board what the impediments to managerial success are in the university. And in part, it's about precisely the things we've been talking about—the kind of resistance to change on the part of the most senior, the most valuable faculty that you have, certainly as much as it is about the failure of the imagination of the administrator.Modeling prompts institutional change 45:20: You can't change an entire institution, and you can't do it even in the corporate world. It's a little more [difficult], particularly for a long-established institution, but you can begin to change things on the edge. And as you do so, you can model how things might actually be better.What can we learn from history and anthropology that’ll help reinvent liberal arts01:00:25: One of the things I learned from history and anthropology is how much things change over time. And so what today are the appropriate ways for one to both justify and organize a liberal arts curriculum that would inherit some of the things that I think were so important about earlier modes of doing this, reinvent it for the modern moments, and be more appropriate for the world that our students are in and about to enter. [01:01:14] I believe that we can find something that might not be the same, and I might not have it exactly, but we'll continue to carry on the tradition of a certain kind of knowledge that doesn't become confined to either disciplinary or professional modes of knowledge that can enlighten and enable one's disciplinary and professional education in time but can also address these issues about what it means to be human.Rethinking institutional change47:32: It's really critical to find new ways to think about institutional change in higher education. And I do believe that we risk serious problems in the sector if we don't take it much more seriously and then need to make this kind of collective commitment to know ourselves and think differently about who we are, how we function, who we're here for, how we contribute to society, and how we survive in the long term.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Clark KerrThe Uses of the UniversityFranz BoasMario SavioMax Planck Institutes and ExpertsAndrew DelbancoDavid Starr JordanArthur Oncken LovejoyAmerican Association of University ProfessorsLeland StanfordJohns Hopkins UniversityPell GrantJohn HagelJohn Seely BrownFrantz FanonGuest Profile:NicholasBDirks.comProfessional Profile at The NYASFaculty Profile at UC BerkeleyLinkedIn ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageCity of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the UniversityCastes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern IndiaThe Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial BritainCulture/Power/History: A Reader in Contemporary Social TheoryThe Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom
4/12/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 42 seconds
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406. Tackling Healthcare’s Big Business with Elisabeth Rosenthal

To our guest today, the current American healthcare system feels less like a means to get well and more like a gigantic racket. We’ve gone from hospital visits in the 1950s costing five dollars a day to getting billed for everything from the oxygen reader on your finger to the IV bag. So how did we get here?Elisabeth Rosenthal is the senior contributing editor at KFF Health News and the author of the book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. Before her career in journalism, she spent some time practicing medicine at an emergency room in New York City. Elisabeth and Greg discuss the puzzling economics behind healthcare pricing, how medical bills balloon because of too many hands in the honey pot, and some practical advice for people heading to the hospital. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Private equity goes with where the opportunity is, and it's in health care04:32: One person told me, when I was writing my book, between the hip manufacturer, the implant manufacturer, and the patient's bill, that there are 13 people taking a cut of the price of that implant. 13 middlemen, and we just keep adding middlemen who take more money from the system. So the interesting thing is how much of that, now 3.5 trillion dollars that we spend on healthcare, how much of that is actually going to care, and how much of that is being siphoned off for profit, for executive salaries, for investor profit. I don't know what the percentage is, but it's like a Rube Goldberg machine for extracting money. And the poor patient is, well, what about me? You're just kind of an ATM; it’s really sad. Private equity goes where the opportunity is, and it's in healthcare.Which side are the insurers truly on?11:48: People have this misguided thinking that, ‘Oh, my insurers are in my corner’ They're not in your corner. They're like, ‘They take in premiums, and they pay out claims.’ And if they can raise the premiums and raise the copays and deductibles, they don't really care if the prices go up. Plus, they have these very sophisticated deals with big hospital systems.Are we regulating the wrong things in healthcare? 39:33: We regulate all the wrong things. Yes, putting stitches in your hand is fine. You don't need a doctor to do that. A tech can do that fine. But in the U.S., you are going to be billed as if a doctor did it, whether a doctor did it or not. You might be billed for the physician assistant who did it too. You might be charged for both because the doctor might have come and looked at it and said, "Yeah, that needs stitches." So it will be billed in this crazy way, but I think on the other hand, the physician assistants and nurse practitioners are looking for independent licensing. Mostly everything they do is billed as if the doctor did it, even if the doctor was 50 miles away. So that's why some of the bills are so high.Navigating consumer rights and prices50:23: When you go to a hospital, and they give you that clipboard to sign 20 forms or even a tablet, I always cross out the part that says I will pay for anything that my insurance doesn't cover because that's in one of those forms that are always in there. And people should never sign that; you can shop for the electives, small-dollar items. You can get estimates, and to me, this is where the government should come in.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Uwe ReinhardtWillie SuttonRube Goldberg machineNo Surprises ActDiagnosis: Debt (KFF Health News)March of DimesJuvenile Diabetes Research FoundationGuest Profile:Professional Profile at KFF Health NewsHer Work:An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back How Your In-Network Health Coverage Can Vanish Before You Know It (KFF Health News)
4/10/202456 minutes, 9 seconds
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405. Reassessing the Moral Narrative of Colonialism and Morality feat. Nigel Biggar

Historical, moral judgment can be a difficult thing to navigate in the context of colonialism. Have you ever pondered the role of truth in history and its impact on today's political culture? Nigel Biggar is a p theologian, ethicist, and the author of several books. His latest work is titled,  Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning.Nigel and Greg discuss whether historical accuracy should bow to political objectives or stand resolute in the face of revisionist pressures when it comes to European culture and the history of Western civilization. They reflect on the delicate balance between preserving facts and fostering reconciliation in a politically charged world. Nigel also talks about the Ethics and Empire Project's ambitious undertaking to assess empires across cultures and times and offer a deeper view that challenges historical judgments.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Historians and their moral judgements about colonialism05:22: The problem with activist historians making moral judgments is, as it were, historians make moral judgments about colonialism, slavery, etc. They do so with the mantle of the authority of historians, but their moral judgments, from my point of view, really have no more moral authority than that of an ordinary person.Why do we value understanding other cultures more than understanding other time periods?32:11: An indiscriminate blanket condemnation of another culture is usually wrong and unwise because it is rare that every culture has got it right and every culture has got it wrong. So, we need to be open to the possibility that other cultures sometimes have something to teach us.Considering context in moral judgments:10:42: We can look back and judge certain instances where, let's say, European colonists were excessively violent, and the case of the Puritan attack on the Native American village of Mystic in Connecticut or Massachusetts in the 1600s. Fellow Puritans and Native Americans who were present were appalled at the excess and violence. So even at the time, people recognized excessive violence, but compared to our circumstances, theirs were very insecure and recourse to violent self-defense and often, of course, self-defense, will take the form of aggression. We need to put ourselves in those shoes before we judge what violence was excessive. So it's partly a matter of taking into account very different circumstances, and any good judgment, moral judgment, needs to do that, whether we're judging something that happened 200 years ago.Is it possible to do history that is not presentist to some degree?50:23: When it comes to making moral judgments about the past, which I think sometimes is perfectly appropriate, some people say, as you suggest, that one shouldn't use the norms of the present to judge the past. Well, when we're in the business of making judgments, we can't help doing that.Show Links:Recommended Resources:ColonialismPresentismNdebele peopleCecil RhodesFrancoist SpainRepublican factionGarret FitzGeraldEaster RisingBantu peoplesRaja Ram Mohan RoyAmerican Colonies: The Settling of North AmericaEthics and EmpirePascal BrucknerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Oxford UniversityNigelBiggar.ukWikipedia ProfileSocial Profile on XHis Work:Amazon Author PageColonialism: A Moral ReckoningWhat's Wrong with Rights?Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian EthicsThe Ethics of War and Peace Revisited: Moral Challenges in an Era of Contested and Fragmented SovereigntyBetween Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the NationThe Future of Christian Realism: International Conflict, Political Decay, and the Crisis of DemocracyAiming to Kill
4/8/202454 minutes, 48 seconds
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404. The Evolution of Burnout with Christina Maslach

Since the pandemic, the term “burnout” seems everywhere. But is burnout something that’s always existed at work, or is it a modern phenomenon? Have jobs changed or have workers' expectations and needs shifted?Christina Maslach, an emerita professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, has pioneered research on burnout. For decades, she’s studied its causes, effects, and potential remedies. Her work has led to many books on the subject, including The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs. Christina and Greg chat about the history of the term “burnout,” how it’s not merely a result of heavy workloads but also stems from the quality of work and the surrounding work environment, and the six core needs essential for employee well-being. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is it burnout or are you just exhausted?33:41: People often assume that if they're exhausted because of long hours and lots in a big load, is that burnout? And I'll say, "No, you're exhausted, but do you still like your job?” Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's a great job kind of thing. How do you feel about the work you're doing? Oh, I'm good at this. I said, "You're not burned out. You are what we call overextended, and it's the exhaustion, and it's often a high workload and unable to get enough rest and recovery and stuff like that.” But that's what we call job burnout when the other two things kick in as well. It's not just that you're highly stressed. There is more than that. If you still love what you do and still feel good about what you're doing, there's all these other things about the work that are positive; you'll be more willing to cope with that and figure out how to deal with it, and so forth. It's just not another word for stress, and it's that negative, cynical response to the job that is, in a sense, more the hallmark of burnout. That's really what makes it job burnout, as opposed to people use burnout for everything.Components of a burnout response10:21: These are the three components of a full burnout response: The exhaustion of the stress response, the cynicism, the negative distancing from the job, and the negative self-assessment of my own effectiveness in this job. What can help in dealing with burnout in the workplace?37:59: Often, when I've asked people if you could have something that you think would help, in terms of dealing with burnout, they will say, "Somebody who is a mentor, somebody, a safe harbor, somebody I can go to, or some people that I can go to and talk to, and we work out problems, or I get advice, or they help me out, and I do the same for other people, it's reciprocal, and that kind of thing," and if I feel I can't ever trust anybody that has been, a real cause of, I could do this work somewhere else. But if people talk about colleagues, they're like gold.People do not recover as well from chronic stressors as they do from occasional stressors07:09: Chronic job stressors—that means they're there all the time. They don't go away. You think you've dealt with something, and here I am all over again dealing with this. What we know from decades of work on stress and coping is that people do not recover as well from chronic stressors as they do from occasional stressors.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Harrison Gough “The measurement of explained burnout” | Journal of Organizational Behavior Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon” Frederick Winslow TaylorDying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance―and What We Can Do About It by Jeffrey Pfeffer“Globally, Employees Are More Engaged — and More Stressed” | Gallup, 2023Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at UC BerkeleyHer Work:The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their JobsThe Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It Banishing Burnout: Six Strategies for Improving Your Relationship with Work
4/3/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 50 seconds
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403. Bridging Worlds: Explorations in Science, Spirituality, and Social Dynamics feat. David Myers

Prepare to have your notions of nature vs. nurture thoroughly examined as we navigate the intricate web of genetics, environment, and well-being. What is more impactful than parent influence on children’s development?David Myers is a professor at Hope College and the author of many books, including Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith, How Do We Know Ourselves?: Curiosities and Marvels of the Human Mind, and The Pursuit of Happiness: Discovering the Pathway to Fulfillment, Well-Being, and Enduring Personal Joy.David and Greg discuss the captivating terrain of psychology's overlap with philosophy. The transformative power of active educational engagement. We also delve into the 'religion factor' in personal happiness, contemplating whether secular institutions can replicate the community and meaning often found in religious congregations. David also explains the delicate balance between intuition and analytical thinking, inspired by an amusing interaction with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The science of happiness9:31: Most people say they're pretty happy; three in ten Americans say they're very happy; six in ten say they're pretty happy; only one in ten say they're not very happy. But what does that really mean? Well, it turns out that people that say they're very happy or that describe their life as deeply satisfying rather than unsatisfied, in fact, they look happier to other people. They smile and laugh more. Their friends rate them as happier. They're less vulnerable to disabling depression, and so forth. So, I think there is a lot of evidence that those subjective well-being measurements by which people assess their own happiness and life satisfaction have validity. And they're connected to other things that are also indicators of well-being. And that's why we have a science of happiness and a whole field of positive psychology now.Impact of religion on one’s well-being10:37: We know that actively religious people who worship regularly with a faith community are much likelier to say they're very happy than are people who are religiously disengaged. These people are connected to other people in a communal experience where there's mutual support. Religion is also a meaning system, and people who live with a sense of meaning and purpose in life report greater happiness than others.A shocking finding on the effect of parental nurture on children’s development16:27: Behavior genetics research has also had an even more spectacularly shocking finding: the effect of parental nurture on children's developing traits, such as their intelligence and personalities, is, assuming we're within the normal range of parental variation, excluding abuse and neglect. Parental nurture is a surprisingly small variable. Parental nurture matters for values, politics, and the religious faith of children as they're growing up, but their basic traits are not much influenced by parental nurture. What does matter more than we've calibrated in the past is peer influence. Particularly as kids grow up into middle and high schoolers. They're really much more attuned to and adapting themselves to the ideas and the lifestyles and so forth of their peers than they are of their parents.Do genetic factors play a role in one's personality, subjective well being and, and social factors?13:17: I would say that I have been amazed by the results of behavioral genetic studies, which we now have on many millions of twins, for example, both fraternal and identical twins, and also comparing biological and adoptive siblings with their biological and adoptive parents. About 50 percent of the person-to-person variation in various important traits, like intelligence, extroversion, and even physical characteristics—psychological trait characteristics—are especially attributable to genetic differences. Note that that doesn't mean that 50 percent of my intelligence, yours, or your extraversion is attributable to genes. You are 100 percent the product of your genes in your environment. However, if we want to understand individual variation, the differences among individuals, genes are very important. Show Links:Recommended Resources:TalkPsych.comEudaimoniaJudith Rich HarrisCarol DweckDaniel KahnemanAmos TverskyWilliam JamesBlaise PascalIsaac NewtonJonathan HaidtJean TwengeGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Hope CollegeDavidMyers.orgWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PagePsychology Through the Eyes of FaithHow Do We Know Ourselves?: Curiosities and Marvels of the Human MindLoose-leaf for Social PsychologyThe Pursuit of Happiness: Discovering the Pathway to Fulfillment, Well-Being, and Enduring Personal JoyThe American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of PlentyPsychology in Everyday LifeIntuition: Its Powers and Perils
4/1/202452 minutes, 52 seconds
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402. Replacing Democracy with Epistocracy feat. Jason Brennan

Democracy stands as one of humanity's most treasured institutions, but what if the very foundation it’s built upon is less solid than we believe? What is an epistocracy and how could it work better as a form of government?Jason Brennan is a professor at Georgetown University and the author of several books. His latest work is titled Against Democracy.Jason and Greg discuss how voting, often romanticized as the pinnacle of civic duty, hides a twisted web of irrational loyalties and tribal instincts that can lead us astray. Jason explains the historical context of political discord and the role of expertise in an era where trusted figures become polarizing symbols. They scrutinize the influence of political factions and social signaling, the curious ways in which political interests align across different cultures, and whether deliberation in democracy genuinely elevates decision-making or merely intensifies division. Jason concludes by revealing the hidden trials and tribulations of pursuing a PhD, and the emphasis on research productivity over teaching, the financial realities of academic life, and the necessity of guidance for non-academic careers.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why don't voters admit their ignorance and defer to experts in policy matters?16:37: You're right that even in markets when we do a lot of delegation, however, we still have a kind of check on this, right? So, I know only the most basic plumbing. So if I have any big problem, I'm going to have to call the plumber in. But when the plumber leaves, I can tell if there's still a leak underneath the bathtub, right? It's like, well, the water is still dripping, so he must have done a bad job. I couldn't fix it myself, but I can check to see whether he fixed it. [17:09] We don't have that same ability when it comes to politics. If a person implements a policy, I put in the Cares Act; did that make things better? How would you know? How would you measure that? That takes expert ability, not just to sort of know what's happened in the past five years as a result of it, but to disentangle the effects of that policy from all the other confounding things. I mean, you and I see policy papers where people try to do this, and it's extremely difficult. So the average person doesn't know how to do that. They do, however, defer to experts in a way, but the experts they defer to are people like comedians on late-night TV who make fun of the other side.Politics as Social Signaling28:46: A lot of what we're doing with politics is this kind of signaling to one another: we're the right kind of person, we're good, we're virtuous, we're kind. Please like me, be my friend, etc. I think that's what's happening in politics. We're using our vote as a way of getting social benefits for ourselves.Why does Europe's political landscape look different?23:21: One of the reasons why I think political distances, or differences, are less pernicious in most of Europe than they are in the U.S. is partly because when you have proportional voting systems, you have more viable political parties. And as a result, it's like your neighbors are all going to be people at different parties. It's really hard for you to segregate yourself in terms of your work, where you live, whom you date, and whom you befriend, because there's just so much variation. So, you can't afford to make that the same kind of signal that you do in the U.S., we have a first-past-the-post voting system that predicts there's going to be two major parties, and I think we get this behavior as a result.In politics, you don't get the same kind of reward-punishment system that you get elsewhere15:42: When it comes to politics, there are only two major parties, and so you can afford and get rewarded for excluding a bunch of people and just playing along with your team. So I think the incentive structure of politics is worse than the incentive structure we have in most other aspects of our lives.Show Links:Recommended Resources:EpistocracyJeremy WaldronAlexis de TocquevilleVoltaireJean-Jacques RousseauThomas ChristianoJohn RawlsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Georgetown UniversityWikipedia PageProfile on PhilPeople.orgHis Work:Amazon Author PageBusiness Ethics for Better BehaviorAgainst Democracy: New PrefaceDemocracy: A Guided TourCracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher EducationGood Work If You Can Get It: How to Succeed in AcademiaPolitical Philosophy: An Introduction ( Guides Book 1)Injustice for All: How Financial Incentives Corrupted and Can Fix the US Criminal Justice SystemLibertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know?Why Not Capitalism?When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State InjusticeWhy It's OK to Want to Be RichIn Defense of Openness: Why Global Freedom Is the Humane Solution to Global PovertyA Brief History of Liberty (Brief Histories of Philosophy Book 1)Compulsory Voting: For and AgainstGoogle Scholar Page
3/29/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 44 seconds
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401. Why Science is Fundamentally Irrational feat. Michael Strevens

What can we learn looking back on the paths of influential thinkers like Popper and Kuhn today? How are the motivations and passions of scientists left behind in the pursuit of scientific progress??Micheal Strevens is a professor in the Philosophy department of New York University and the author of several books. His latest work is titled, The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science.Michael and Greg discuss the unspoken motivations and aesthetic judgments fueling the progress of science. They explore the delicate balance between rigorous empirical data and the broader intellectual landscape in which it resides, offering insights into the irrational but inherently human elements of scientific inquiry. Michael shares his own experiences and the profound joy found in understanding causal models in a field where explanation often trumps prediction. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The rule of science10:11: I think science has its problems at any point, but it's in reasonably good shape in the sense that there's a sort of an agreed set of rules for playing the game, the iron rule, as I call them. I mean, even something like p-value null hypothesis testing, that has its downside, of course, but it is a rule for doing science. And if you just think of it as a kind of a set of boxes you have to check to have research that you can stick into a journal, then I think it mostly actually does what it's supposed to do. It's possible to game it and for things to go south in certain kinds of situations. But as long as you don't take it too seriously, it's actually telling you something about the intrinsic quality of the data. Basically, really just formal threshold the data has to pass. It's like a legitimate move in chess. Okay, a move can be legitimate and also a really crummy move, and likewise, data can satisfy these rules and still be terrible data.Michael's motivation to tackle motivation in the world of science03:46: Perhaps the most important things about modern science were more connected to the psychological or the sociological, to the institutional framework of science, rather than to the kind of thing that, more traditionally, stood out for philosophers of science—stuff to do with the method in a kind of logical, intellectual sense, a reasoning sense. And so it was a kind of switch in my thinking from arguing and logic to questions more subtle and background questions about motivation.Diverse attitudes in science11:34: I think there's a huge range of attitudes in science. There are a lot of scientists who it's just their daily job almost, and so they go and do the job and don't spend a lot of time worrying about it otherwise. And then there's some scientists who really feel like they want to make some breakthrough and come up with some revolutionary discovery. All of them have to, as it were, play the same game. And the game works ultimately independently of their personal motivations, simply by generating enough facts with enough systematicity and attention to detail that if there is some problem with the big framework, science will ultimately find it.How do we optimize research efforts for maximum ROI on the frontier?41:10: In a world where doing science costs millions and millions of dollars, it's not so easy to just leave it up to the judgment of scientists as a whole. It's a tough problem, but on the whole, I think it's good not to try to pick out just a few projects and funnel everything towards those few projects. I'm afraid I don't have too many good ideas about the alternative, apart from that, except to allow diversity to flourish in one way or another. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Karl PopperThomas KuhnNewtonian DynamicsQuantum MechanicsArthur EddingtonAlbert EinsteinIsaac NewtonRené DescartesRobert BoyleBruno LatourPhilosophy of ScienceP-ValueCase MethodGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at New York ProfileProfile on the Guggenheim Memorial FoundationHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern ScienceDepth: An Account of Scientific ExplanationBigger than Chaos: Understanding Complexity through ProbabilityTychomancy: Inferring Probability from Causal StructureGoogle Scholar Page
3/27/202452 minutes
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400. The Essence of Human Bonds from Tribes to Modernity feat. Robin Dunbar

Unlock the mysteries of human connections as we share a compelling dialogue with the man behind ‘Dunbar’s Number,’ the number of connections that humans can and do maintain across different cultures and time periods. What evolutionary forces have sculpted the essence of friendship and religion, also impacting our well-being and longevity?Robin Dunbar is emeritus professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford. He is also the author of several books, including Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships, How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures, and The Science of Love and Betrayal.Robin and Greg discuss storytelling and its influence on religion, probing how our cognitive prowess has enabled us to imagine unseen worlds and foster expansive social networks. Robin explains the transformative power of religious rituals and their ability to engender deep community bonds and emotional transcendence. They also examine the practical applications that our ancestral social constructs hold for the contemporary world. From the role of HR departments in nurturing community to the competitive edge ingrained within the collegiate system, they dissect the building blocks of successful organizational cultures and also what it looks like to cultivate meaningful relationships in an increasingly digital world.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is religion what makes humans unique?10:11: Of the things that distinguish humans from all other animals, birds, mammals, whatever: religion is certainly a key one, but I would probably want to argue that religion itself is derivative of something else that's more generally important; that is, actually storytelling. It's the ability to tell stories, as it were. And stories are about thinking about and concocting tales about worlds that we can't physically see. So if you like invisible worlds, things that, as in a sense of fiction, is the classic case, but all the kinds of many different kinds of stories you tell—fictional and even factual stories about places far away, metropolis tales, are all about things that we can't physically see. We have to imagine in our minds, and religion is part and parcel of that spread.Friendships affect your lifespan07:10: The single most important factor affecting your mental health and well-being, your physical health and well-being, and even how long you're going to live into the future from today on is the number and quality of friendships you have. And the optimal number seems to be about five.Storytelling is a key component of religion39:10: A key component, I think, of religion, storytelling seems to play a very strong supplementary role in bonding communities. So if we want to bond large-scale communities of the kinds we have now and then, one of those is having a shared history of that we are here, not necessarily as the favored sons and daughters of God, but that we are here because of a certain kind of history.Is there a way to create a sense of belonging in an organization?46:15: There's no silver bullet that applies to every organization; you have to look at the particular local culture and think about what kind of works in that kind of environment. And given the fact that these days people have families, they want kids, they want to get home to put to bed, and they have other friends that, outside, as it were. So you've got to design it around people's natural lives as we live them these days.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Theory of MindNew Zealand National Rugby Union Team (All-Blacks)HakaMultinational CorporationThe Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work - GallupAmazon’s Two-Pizza TeamsDunbar's NumberGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at OxfordWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Social Brain: The Psychology of Successful GroupsFriends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important RelationshipsHow Religion Evolved: And Why It EnduresPrimate Social Systems (Studies in Behavioural Adaptation)Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary QuirksGrooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of LanguageEvolution: What Everyone Needs to KnowHuman Evolution: Our Brains and BehaviorThe Science of Love and BetrayalHuman EvolutionGoogle Scholar PageResearchGate Publications
3/25/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 21 seconds
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399. The Science Behind Human Connection and Engagement feat. Nicholas Epley

Have you ever considered the transformative power of a simple hello or the profound effect of asking someone about their day? Why might our attempts at perspective-taking be inadequate compared to  the straightforward solution of ‘just ask.’Nicholas Epley is the John Templeton Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science, and Director of the Roman Family Center for Decision Research, at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is also the author of a book titled, Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want.Nicholas and Greg discuss how social nuances influence every aspect of our lives. Nicholas’s expertise, combined with Greg’s teaching experiences, bring to light the nuanced dance of cross-cultural social engagement and the impact of technology on our interactions. This episode isn't just about making more friends or being likable—it's about harnessing the often overlooked science of social cognition to enrich every interaction you have. Discover why the 'superpower' of social cognition might be the most underutilized tool in your personal and professional arsenal.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Conversation is an entirely cooperative process 16:25: Conversation itself is just an entirely cooperative process that tends to pull us together with somebody else. So, for us to have a conversation, we have to start by establishing some common ground with each other, figure out what we're going to talk about.That's inherently cooperative. We're going back and forth. We're taking turns. We're cooperating, right? And cooperation tends to pull people together. Reciprocity is, without question, the dominant social norm in social interaction. So, if I were to punch you in the face, you would probably punch me in the face back, right? That'd be a bad interaction. But if I reach out and say hello to you with sort of authentic kindness, you tend to respond back in the same way. And, it's those iterative social processes—those complicated social processes—that people tend to really underestimate the power of.Deep talk is better than small talk, but small talk is better than no talk25:43: Small talk is better than no talk in a given moment; deep talks are a little better, or not as bad as you might think it is. But when you see people reporting that having a really deep conversation with somebody is better than a shallow one, it's typically when they have both and can compare them on their own; the small talk is actually pretty good. How our social thinking keeps us from getting feedback07:50: I think a bigger problem with a lot of our social thinking is that it can create reality, which then keeps us from getting the feedback we need. So Greg, if I thought you wanted to talk to me, I'd have a conversation with you, and I'd figure out if that assessment was right. So I'd get feedback on that because I would approach you and would find out if we're in a coffee shop, I didn't think you want to talk to me or didn't look very interesting, whatever. I decided, nah, I'm not going to have this conversation. Notice I wouldn't have anything to learn from. So when it comes to social thought, sometimes, particularly when it's about whether doing engage with somebody to connect with somebody or not, our beliefs are self-fulfilling, and they can keep us from getting the feedback we need.The truth about our fear of social engagement28:05: Our fears about how social engagement is going to go, particularly when it's positive, just tend to be a little off, a little overly pessimistic, in part because we don't seem to fully appreciate that when you reach out positively to others, they tend to reach out positively to you in return, and people are happier to be seen and have somebody take some notice of them. That's just very powerful—surprisingly powerful.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Juliana SchroederEinfühlungLiz Dunn - UBC Cell Phone ResearchGuest Profile:NicholasEpley.comFaculty Profile at the University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessLinkedIn ProfileHis Work:Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and WantGoogle Scholar Page
3/20/202459 minutes, 34 seconds
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398. Navigating the Ideological Shift in Academia feat. John Ellis

How did higher education come to be dominated by academics on the ideological left, and what are the potential consequences of this monoculture on diverse fields such as literature and engineering? What’s the mechanism behind this shift, and where did it originate?John Ellis is Chairman of the Board of the California Association of Scholars, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of several books. His most recent work is titled, The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done.John and Greg discuss the transformative changes happening in higher education. John questions the sustainability of the ideological shift towards political correctness and identity politics within humanities departments. Together they examine the impact of the marginalization of traditional scholarly perspectives and the wider implications for society's dialogue.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What happens when one political ideology dominates the campus1:00:01 The more you get a group of people in one room that agree with each other,  the more you ban from that room any contrary opinion, the more those people will descend into stupidity because there's nothing to check them. What keeps people like you and me alive intellectually is that if we say something that has a flaw in it, someone is going to see those, spot the flaw. And in a thriving university, there are enough bright people around you, that if you say something with a weakness in it, there'll be someone who'll point it out to you, and you'll be better off. Because now, when you have a group of people that  all agree with each other, that discipline, self-correction is gone. And so you'll descend into greater and greater irrationality and stupidity, and that process is still ongoing.Do universities only appoint people like themselves58:48 The universities will not change. They are, at the moment, peopled by a sect, a minority sect, a political sect that is extraordinarily tenacious and unwilling to compromise. Extraordinarily intolerant and intemperate, and they will go on appointing people like themselves. And we're still seeing the grip on this. The grip of the radical left is growing ever tighter, day by day. People don't seem to grasp this, but it is true.The idea of objectivity in sciences and engineering40:25 There is definitely an assault on the idea of objectivity in sciences and engineering. I mean, you've heard about black mathematics and so on, which is a nonsense ideal. My favorite saying is, "Only an engineer can build a bridge that will stand up. It will only just stand up. anyone can build a bridge that is overbuilt." These standards are seriously under assault now. No one quite knows how far they'll go. Certainly, there's some good work still being done in the sciences.DEI as a reflection of the values of a radical faculty56:14 The reach of the radical faculty, its grip on American academia, is extensive. It is pervasive. It is everywhere.  And one of the things that I've found is very odd. What I don't understand is the fact that what was happening on one campus was replicated on almost every other campus,  and yet it seemed so, you know, irrational to me, and yet the whole country, the universities in the whole country were exhibiting the same kind of directionality.  And I still marvel at this. That there weren't more holdouts,  but, no,  the DEI is a reflection of the values of the radical faculty. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Michel FoucaultJacques DerridaMcCarthyismStudents for a Democratic SocietyDavid LodgeLawrence SummersGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UCSCLinkedIn ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be DoneThe Theory of Literary Criticism: A Logical AnalysisAgainst DeconstructionLiterature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the HumanitiesLanguage, Thought, and Logic
3/19/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 19 seconds
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397. Food: An Underutilized Historical Lens with Mark Kurlansky

What does the changing value of salt over history tell us about the future of oil? How are the views around milk and dairy products connected to class politics? Prolific author and journalist Mark Kurlansky has written 39 books with more on the way. His work has ranged from historical nonfiction to children’s literature to deep dives on food like his latest book, The Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food―Featuring More Than 100 Historical Recipes.Mark and Greg chat about the underestimated historical value of cookbooks, the evolution of dietary habits, and Kurlansky's work on nonviolence. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the birth of the idea of his book “Salt”03:03: In my Cod book, I realized the importance of salt because you couldn't have a fishery if you didn't have salt. And my publisher was very interested in me doing something on salt and really pushed me to do it. And I kept saying, "But where's the story?" And then I realized that the story is that there was this ingredient, commodity, mineral, that was of tremendous value that nations would go through…. I mean, they founded colonies, went to war, and went to all these lengths to get this salt, and then salt lost its value. So what was it for? And I believe that is the trajectory of oil.The role of salt and cheese in the international economy22:35: You have to think about: Before the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted to have an international economy, what did you trade? Mostly food. And you couldn't trade food unless it was salted. So basically, if you didn't have salt, you didn't have an international economy. And as far as dairy farmers go, your possibility for trade was to make cheese.Do we need to reprioritize our food?43:19: The way I think commercial fishing should go, fish aren't going to be cheap. They can't be cheap. Cheap fish is the enemy, because if you're going to tell a fisherman to catch less fish, you better get more money for it, or he's going under. So does that mean that poor people can't eat fish anymore? This is a real question. It's a question about improving agriculture, improving beef and dairy, and everything that you do to improve it ends up making it more expensive.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Waverley RootJacques PépinFrederick DouglassWilliam Lloyd GarrisonMario SavioE.O. WilsonDavid DellingerGuest Profile:Professional WebsiteHis Work:Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the WorldSalt: A World HistoryMilk!: A 10,000-Year Food FracasThe Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food―Featuring More Than 100 Historical RecipesThe Food of a Younger Land: A portrait of American food from the lost WPA filesNonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library Chronicles)1968: The Year That Rocked the WorldBIG LIES: from Socrates to Social MediaBirdseye: The Adventures of a Curious ManThe Basque History of the World: The Story of a NationThe Big Oyster: History on the Half ShellSalmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common FatePaper: Paging Through HistoryThe Unreasonable Virtue of Fly FishingThe Food of a Younger Land: A portrait of American food from the lost WPA filesThe Last Fish TaleHavana: A Subtropical Delirium
3/15/202450 minutes, 40 seconds
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396. The American Healthcare Puzzle: Solutions and Strategies feat. Vivian Lee

Our healthcare system is a complex dance of costs and inefficiencies, yet it's one we can't afford to sit out. What results have flowed from shifting the cost of healthcare to employers, and how have attempts to change that system sometimes backfired in unexpected ways?Vivian Lee is a healthcare executive, an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School, and an author. Her latest book is called, The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone. Vivian and Greg discuss the disconnect between healthcare consumers and payers and dissecting the employer-based insurance model. They scrutinize payment models and incentives, discussing the stark consequences of shifting healthcare costs to employees and the resultant avoidance of crucial preventive care. Vivian talks about the financial motivations of health providers versus patient demands, creating a landscape where escalating costs and quality care seem to be in constant conflict.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why we need to know where our dollars are going in healthcare22:19: I think it's very important that everyone really understands a little bit about healthcare and where their dollars are going. When you look at the graphs, all of us would be doing a lot better if our healthcare expenditures were lower. It's just hidden from us because it's taken out before we even get our paychecks, because our employers are using those dollars that should have been going to our pay raises for the last 20–25 years and using it instead to pay for healthcare costs. I think we need to know it for a number of reasons. One, because we need (we need was deleted in the audio-perhaps restore) the public to move forward to be able to improve healthcare payment policies in this country. We have to act through the way in which we vote. We also need it because we need to understand better our own actions. What of our behaviors are most important for our own health outcomes? And so having a more nuanced understanding of what we can do in terms of our daily behaviors that can impact our own health, I think, would be also really, really important.The US lacking universal healthcare for everybody is a key factor in its healthcare economy05:28: In health care, we are responsible for caring for people when they show up to us, and we can't decline people just because they don't have health insurance. So, as a result, we also have this strange subsidization model within health care where we have to overcharge some people in order to cover the costs of care for those who aren't covered.Money affects change in healthcare16:49: Any time we want to change the system, it's going to be hard. It is hard because there's already so many dollars in healthcare and there's so many vested interests who, naturally, if they're doing well, want to maintain the status quo. So change is always hard, especially in healthcare, because of how much money is already involved.How can we maximize the data from digital health systems37:11: Increasingly, we have the opportunity to use the data from all the operating rooms that are going on in the country and in the world every single day, where we have information about how surgeons are doing things in particular ways with different kinds of patients. We know about the different patients, we know about what the surgeons are doing, and we also know about the outcomes that happen six months, a year later, two years later. We've been collecting these data with our digital health systems for a long time now. What we haven't been doing is using the data to create more evidence to say, "Oh, actually, we really do know that doing it exactly this way with this artificial hip provides really good outcomes," and that would be the evidence that you would need to talk to the surgeon or convince everybody to go to that standard approach.Show Links:Recommended Resources:RAND Study: Skin in the GameKFF Study: Health Care Debt In The U.S.: The Broad Consequences Of Medical And Dental BillsGuest Profile:VivianLeeMD.comLinkedIn ProfileWikipedia ProfileHer Work:The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for EveryoneCardiovascular MR Imaging: Physical Principles to Practical ProtocolsGenitourinary MRI, An Issue of Magnetic Resonance Imaging ClinicsSelect Topics in MR Imaging, An Issue of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Clinics
3/13/20241 hour, 1 minute, 59 seconds
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395. Tracing the Roots of Curiosity: From Galileo to Feynman and More: feat. Mario Livio

Curiosity isn't reserved for the elite thinkers; it's a fundamental part of being human that propels us from the cradle to the cosmos. But what is the evolutionary necessity of curiosity, its manifestation in children and adults, and its intimate relationship with all of our personalities?Mario Livio is an astrophysicist formerly at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the author of several books. His latest works are titled Galileo: And the Science Deniers and Why?: What Makes Us Curious.Mario and Greg discuss the educational systems and societal attitudes towards curiosity, with insights into Galileo's legacy and the synergies between science and art. Mario talks about the increasing tide of science denial and affirms the vital role of curiosity in perpetuating awe. Mario takes Greg deep into the concept of curiosity, and they explore the diverse ways in which curiosity is expressed and how it correlates with creativity and knowledge.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What’s the difference between perpetual and epistemic curiosity?05:30: Perceptual curiosity is the curiosity we feel when something surprises us or when something kind of doesn't agree with what we know or think we know. And it is that curiosity which, when studied on the neuroscience side, they find that the areas in the brain that are associated with conflict, or sometimes with hunger or thirst, are the ones that are activated also when you have that type of curiosity. Epistemic curiosity, on the other hand, is when we really want to learn something new or we want to understand something we didn't understand before. And there, actually, the area in the brain that's activated is the one that's activated for anticipation of a reward. You know, it's like when you sit in a theater for a play you wanted to see for a long time or when somebody offers you a piece of chocolate. So that's the one that we want people to really have more of, to be more curious epistemically. Is curiosity necessary for creativity?11:43: Curiosity seems to be a necessary condition for creativity, even though it is not always a sufficient condition for creativity.Is there a universal approach to curiosity?28:19: The best idea that I can think of is that you start with something that you know for a fact that this person is already curious about,  but you find an ingenious way to move from that to the topic that you are interested in to begin with.Science and arts can be intertwined41:05: Scientists try to understand the universe and make predictions about it, while artists give a human, emotional response to the universe. So, in some sense, these two things are complementary to each other. That's how I see this. But I would be very sad if we had one and not the other, so I really like this complementarity.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Kate ChopinMark TwainLeonardo da VinciRichard FeynmanMihaly CsikszentmihalyiGalileo GalileiWilliam BlakeGuest Profile:Mario-Livio.comSocial Profile on XHis Work:Amazon Author PageGalileo: And the Science DeniersWhy?: What Makes Us CuriousBrilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the UniverseIs God a Mathematician?The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of SymmetryThe Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing NumberThe Accelerating Universe: Infinite Expansion, the Cosmological Constant, and the Beauty of the CosmosStories in Scientific American
3/11/202444 minutes, 28 seconds
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394. Where Money Comes From with Paul Sheard

There’s a great misunderstanding surrounding government debt and its economic implications. Many view it as a financial burden that will be passed down to the next generations. But what if, in fact, government debt is a critical component to how money gets made? Paul Sheard is the former vice president of S&P Global and the author of The Power of Money: How Governments and Banks Create Money and Help Us All Prosper. He’s got decades of experience analyzing global financial markets and was the chief economist at Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis. Paul and Greg chat about the common misconceptions around how money is made and injected into the economy, government debt, and the role of quantitative easing.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The hidden costs of cutting government spending20:04: This is a very widespread idea that the most virtuous thing is a balanced budget. Government deficits are somehow bad. This mountain of government debt is this bad thing and a burden on the future population. Well, that's like saying we have this expanding bathtub, and we need water. The water level in the bathtub to keep expanding as well. But we want to turn off one of the taps. The tap, the government spending tap, the government deficit tap. If you do that, you're going to need to turn on bank credit creation, tap much, much more. So much more water comes out of that.The important thing about government spending20:48: Government debt, government spending, has various elements, but one of the very important things that it allows is for money to be created and for purchasing power to be transferred through time.Monetary and fiscal policy intertwined05:00: We've sort of, for good, understandable reasons, developed this world where we think of monetary policy as being one thing, that's the preserve of independent technocratic central banks, and we have this fiscal policy, but that's the stuff that's separate, and that's the stuff that politicians have to deal with, where in actual fact they're actually very, very closely intertwined.The canonical misunderstanding of how money come in our economy09:05: Most people, if you ask them that, "Where does money come from?" they would think they understand. They'd give you some answers. And they'd say, "Central banks create money." Or they would say that banks collect savings, and that's the money that is in the economy, or they talk about governments borrowing money. All of those things are actually wrong or not really accurate descriptions.Show Links:Recommended Resources:S&P Global Japanese asset price bubbleQuantitative easing Modigliani-Miller theorem John C. Williams Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Ben BernankeFederal Reserve ActTroubled Asset Relief Program Guest Profile:Paul Sheard bioHis Work:The Power of Money: How Governments and Banks Create Money and Help Us All Prosper
3/8/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds
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393. Behind the Scenes of Medical Research feat. John Ioannidis

The acceleration of research in science, comes with an increasing number of flawed resultsparticularly in the medical sciences, where misapplied statistical measures and the relentless pursuit of publishing create a breeding ground for Type I errors. What is the role of the humanities in medicine, and what other revelations did the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately reveal?John Ioannidis is a professor, writer, physician, and researcher who studies scientific research. John and Greg discuss the current state of scientific research and the challenges researchers face, including uncertainty in statistics, the prevalence of flawed findings, and the need for effective hypothesis testing. John also highlights the need for collaboration, transparency, and accuracy in research. John and Greg also explore the intersection of science, politics, and empathy, advocating for a more humane healthcare system that honors the arts and literature.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How incentives drive scientist 22:19: Incentives are a core feature in driving what we want to get out of science. Scientists are very bright people, very smart, and they will do their best to try to fit whatever orders are given to them. So if they're told, "You need to get extreme, extravagant, extraordinary results," they will come up with them because that's what will allow them to continue doing what they enjoy and what they love. I'm not saying that they're criminals in doing it. They just want to do science and continue to do science. So, we need to find ways that our reward and incentive system is aligned with the expectation not being spectacular but flawed results, but accurate results.What can medicine learn from A/B testing?35:34: Medicine could learn a lot from the massive scale that A/B testing is conducted in some other fields, mostly commercial, but pretty effectively. What we have learned from A/B testing is that, first of all, our prior beliefs are not very solid or not very accurate. So if people try to make guesses of what will be effective and what will not, probably they're better than chance, but not much better than chance.Science vs. politics01:01:49: Scientists are not trained to be politicians. They're not trained to be taming beasts, and it's a very different job. And it's very unfortunate when people who are those who tame beasts and are in the political sphere, instead of trying to find ways to bridge divides and close differences, find a way to have a societal response that is more understanding and more empathy, sympathy, and love for each other. It leads to just a split and division and even situations of disruption in a sense of the social fabric.Is science self-contained?01:07:17: Sometimes we tend to think that science is self-contained, but science is about humans, especially medicine; it is about humans who suffer, have emotions, have beliefs, and face big dilemmas in their life and in their deaths. And I don't think that you can answer all of that just with either equations, biological samples, or with very fancy analytical methods. We need something more than that to struggle with our inadequacy. I feel very inadequate all the time, just trying to cover that inadequacy as much as I can.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Ronald FisherP-valueP-hackingReplication crisisDaryl BemBayesian statisticsInfection fatality ratio and case fatality ratioOperation Warp SpeedManhattan ProjectWilliam Carlos WilliamsJohn KeatsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford MedicineFaculty Profile at Stanford UniversityWikipedia PageHis Work:Google Scholar Page
3/6/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 30 seconds
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392. Mastering the Art of Influence feat. Zoe Chance

Unlock the secrets to commanding any room with the power of influence and persuasion. Imagine ascending the corporate ladder with ease, your words leading the way—this episode will get you started.Zoe Chance is formerly a creative force behind the Barbie brand at Mattel, currently teaching at the Yale School of Management, and author of the book Influence Is Your Superpower: How to Get What You What Without Compromising Who You Are.Zoe and Greg discuss why finesse in influence is not just for marketers but a universal key to professional success across a wide range of jobs including teaching and education. Zoe explores the power behind the art of saying no, a skill that builds resilience and carves out space for personal growth, and the counterintuitive truth that a well-placed no can magnetically lead to more affirmative responses. They talk about the cultural conditioning that shackles us to a relentless cycle of yeses, and Zoe gives some techniques that allow the softer voices to echo through boardrooms and beyond. Find out also how to use the ‘Kindly Brontosaurus’ to get what you really want.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why paternalism and materialism work well with behavioral economics53:39: Behavioral economics allows freedom of choice, and still, it nudges or encourages people towards certain outcomes. And the reason that paternalism or maternalism works well with behavioral economics is that if people feel that you are nudging them in a direction that's consistent with their best interests, they tend to not mind the nudging and the influence that you were doing. If they feel that you are trying to manipulate them to do something in your best interest but not theirs, then there can be tremendous backlash. So, this maternalism, paternalism piece is important. And when somebody feels that you're trying to influence them to do something that they don't feel bad about the possibility of doing, and it's not you just being this selfish, manipulative person, it feels pretty good on both sides. So, I like influence that feels good on both sides.The magic of “no”13:36: The magic of "no" is that when we're more comfortable saying no to other people, we're more comfortable with them saying no to us. And that means that our requests lose this edge of neediness that can be repulsive. So, practicing saying no leads indirectly to other people wanting to say yes to you.The concept of “behavioral introversion”26:56: There is the "what we do" and the "who we are" piece of introversion, extroversion. So the behavior and the traits, and we're probably not going to do anything about our traits, at least not in the short run. And we have a bit of control over our behavior. And then, as teachers or leaders in environments where we have a wide range of introverts and extroverts, we may not be thinking about how there are people who are extroverted in some contexts that show up as introverts in the domain in which we see them.Influence is part of the job04:19: Influencing other people, for most people in most jobs, is a huge part of our job. And it's definitely a bigger part of our job as we rise in an organization and levels of increasing responsibility. And I used to think that if you're the boss, you just get to tell people what to do, and they're going to do it. We know it's totally not like that, becoming less, but I think it has probably always been not that effective.Show Links:Recommended Resources:John G. LynchSusan CainThe Kindly BrontosaurusBernard RothLibertarian paternalismCompetent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks350.orgGuest Profile:ZoeChance.comFaculty Profile at Yale School of ManagementLinkedIn ProfileProfile on XProfile on Psychology TodayHer Work:Influence Is Your Superpower: How to Get What You What Without Compromising Who You Are
3/4/20241 hour, 1 minute, 33 seconds
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391. Balancing Incentives and Morals in Economics and Society feat. Samuel Bowles

How can tempting kids with an extra allowance for extra chores cause them to lose interest in helping out at all? How do incentives work and fail on each level from knave to king? What can be learned from examining the intersection of economics, preferences, and morality?Samuel Bowles is an economist, professor, and the author of several books on economics and related topics. His latest work is called The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good Citizens.Samuel and Greg discuss how our modern service and information economies pose unique challenges to traditional market principles. Sam shares studies that illuminate the intricate relationship between intrinsic motivation and external rewards. They also debunk misplaced beliefs in equilibrium and Sam emphasizes the need to align economic education with the challenges of climate change. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:A mistake economists make when it comes to the functions of law28:59: Here's a mistake that economists sometimes make: When we think of people acting, we think that we're acting to get stuff. When we make a decision about saving, investment, getting a job, working hard, whatever, shopping, we're getting stuff. Now, we know, you and I, that when we act, we're acting to get stuff, and we're also acting to be something. So, it's not just getting we're talking about; it's becoming. Now, we know, you and I, that when we act, we're acting to get stuff, and we're also acting to be something. So, it's not just getting we're talking about; it's becoming. Now, yes, we want to be someone. We want to be a particular kind of person. Now, if you add becoming to getting, then you have a better view of what humans are like. Now, what is this becoming? Are we just being generous so as to impress other people? Yes, probably; that's part of it. But, speaking for myself, but also on the basis of a lot of psychological research, we're also signaling to ourselves,  we're reaffirming to ourselves that we're that kind of person.Do we treat people as selfish when it comes to policy-making?05:12: If you design policies that treat people as if they're self-interested, you're more likely to get people to act in self-interested ways. So, it's not only that these policies are going to be misguided; they may even be counterproductive and backfire. And they may produce a citizenry which requires increasing regulation and increasing coercion. Because if you generate an increasingly self-interested population by treating people as if they're selfish, well, then you're going to end up with a very, very authoritarian society or chaos.Exploring the relationship between markets, generosity, and rule of law in European history51:52: One of the ways you transact goods when you don't have markets is gift, but another way is theft. Now, I think that the really key idea and my explanation of why Europeans tend to be more generous than people who have less contact with markets, historically talking about Western and Northwestern Europeans most. I think the reason for that is that we've had markets under the rule of law for a long period of time. In a rule-of-law society, you can actually take a chance on trusting somebody. And the reason is the worst possible outcome isn't so bad. They're not going to take your kids. They're not going to burn down your house. Maybe you're going to get cheated once or twice.Embracing incentives, constraints, and community to create change10:46: We'll never solve the problems facing us, whether it's economic injustice, how to handle new innovations, or how to handle climate change. We have to have a combination of incentives and constraints of the traditional kind and appeal to people's desire to be members of the community and to actually do something that they'll be proud of because they're good human beings.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Adam SmithCeteris paribusDavid HumeJohn Stuart MillAlexander HamiltonFriedrich HayekArrow–Debreu modelThomas SchellingWendy CarlinVoltaireJeremy BenthamAlbert O. HirschmanCORE EconGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Santa Fe InstituteFaculty Profile at UMass AmherstProfile at The Institute for New Economic ThinkingProfile on CEPRWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good CitizensAfter the Waste Land: Democratic Economics for the Year 2000Notes and Problems in Microeconomic TheoryA Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its EvolutionThe New Economics of Inequality and RedistributionMicroeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and EvolutionUnderstanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and ChangeGoogle Scholar PageMoral economicsMachiavelli’s Mistake: Why Good Laws Are No Substitute For Good Citizens
3/1/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 56 seconds
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390. Decoding the Expert Mind feat. Gary A. Klein

How did a breakthrough in understanding how humans make split-second decisions and how did studying firefighters unlock the key piece of understanding expertise?Gary Klein is the President of ShadowBox LLC who researches decision-making and is the author of several books. His latest book is Snapshots of the Mind, a compilation of essays that span his career. Also recently published was the 20th Anniversary edition of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions which explores the ways in which expertise factors into decision-making in ways you may not have realized initially.Gary and Greg discuss the complexities of decision-making, covering the importance of experience, expertise, and the role of mental models. They also explore concepts such as positive cognitive psychology and the idea of implementing positive aspects of decision-making as opposed to focusing on flaws. Gary discusses his innovative ShadowBox method used for training decision-makers by providing simulations of expert decisions. He also talks about the role of insights in successful decision-making and the challenges organizations face in fostering a culture of insights.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Can you have an optimal error path?46:24: So, you want people to learn from feedback. But it's not that trivial because a lot of times, I see people say, "Yeah, we're going to provide feedback about whether you succeeded or not," but that's just the beginning. You also want to help people diagnose why they got it wrong, what they were misinterpreting, what they were missing that they should have been watching more carefully. And so there's that diagnostic part, which gets into the tacit knowledge, which sometimes people can do by themselves. Sometimes, you want to bring in another pair of eyes, somebody with more expertise, to help you unpack: "Why did I get that wrong? Or was there something I could have done that would have prevented this?" So you want to have that kind of opportunity for diagnosis to help get richer feedback rather than just, "I got it right or I got it wrong."Should you trust your intuition?19:25: People ask me, "When should you trust your intuition?" And the answer is never because intuition can mislead you. But that doesn't mean you should trust analytical methods either because they can mislead you as well. So, you need to be able to use both for intuition. You don't want to totally trust your intuition, but you want to at least listen to your intuition because your intuition may be telling you some things that aren't captured in the analyses.Distinguishing experts from journeymen28:26:  One of the hallmarks of humans, and particularly experts, is to engage in speculative reasoning when you've gone beyond what they've encountered before. And that's one of the ways that we distinguish experts from journeymen: you throw something at an expert that the expert hasn't seen before, and their eyes light up, and they say, "What can we do about this?" Whereas a journeyman says, "I don't know. I'm going to have to call somebody else in." And they get uncomfortable rather than enthusiastic. So yes, as people become more skilled, they love the challenge of having to engage in speculative reasoning. That's human capability and a human source of power.How experts navigate mistakes47:55: Some people, if they make a mistake, say, "Okay, I'm putting it behind me." But the real experts don't put the mistakes behind them. They're really upset about these mistakes, and they keep mulling about it until they can come up with some idea. "Here's what I could have done. Here's what I should have done." And then they can start to relax. And that's one of the ways we distinguish the real experts from the ones who are just pretending: you ask people what's the last mistake they made, and the real experts know the last mistake they made because they're still processing it.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Martin SeligmanDaniel KahnemanAmos TverskyArab oil embargoBilly BeaneBen ShneidermanCase methodKnowledge shieldingGuest Profile:Gary-Klein.comShadowboxTraining.comWikipedia ProfileLinkedIn ProfileHis Work:Amazon Author PageSnapshots of the MindSources of Power: How People Make DecisionsSeeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain InsightsStreetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision MakingWorking Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task AnalysisIntuition at Work: Why Developing Your Gut Instincts Will Make You Better at What You DoLinking Expertise and Naturalistic Decision MakingResearchGate ProfileGoogle Scholar Page
2/28/202458 minutes, 46 seconds
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389. Why Understanding Statistics Is a Fundamental Part of Life with David Spiegelhalter

When people are told a statistical claim, particularly about risk, the most important follow-up they can ask is about magnitude. How big of a number or impact is this? But many lack a basic understanding of statistics and how they fit into our world. It’s not baked into the fundamentals of education. David Spiegelhalter is an emeritus professor of statistics at the University of Cambridge. His books like The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data and Covid By Numbers: Making Sense of the Pandemic with Data help contextualize the importance and impact of statistics in everyday life. He and Greg discuss the vital role of data literacy, how concepts like 'micro-mort' and 'micro-life' can measure risk, and the ramifications of faulty statistical interpretation during crises like COVID-19. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:You can't talk about risk without talking about its magnitude04:31: To talk about risk without talking about magnitude, I think, is an abominable thing to do. It's manipulative. It's always manipulative. If someone's going to talk about risk, they are trying to worry you, and they're trying to manipulate your emotions. Most of the time, we talk about increased risk and the risk (delete the ‘of” )without having any idea what the magnitude is. And even if we do, it's quite difficult to know: is that a big number or not? So, I think that this is absolutely essential: whenever people are told something, a claim, they should ask, "How big is it? And is this really a big number? Is this really important?"Risk as analysis is very often dominated by risk as feeling21:22: Risk as analysis is very often dominated by risk as feeling, and you've got to have risk as feeling, I think, in there as well. But it's when one of them takes over. And I think the real problem with this is that if you just operate on risk as a feeling, it's so easy to be manipulated by people. "Oh, this is awful. This is awful." You've got to be really careful of this. And you think, "No, it's not bad," or understating what the risks of some things are. So I think that if you're very vulnerable, if you only operate on risk as a feeling, you're vulnerable to manipulation.How do you gain micro life?38:40: You can gain micro-lives by exercising and stuff like that. And so, but that's highly nonlinear. The benefits from the first 20 minutes of exercising are considerable. It's about 40 minutes. So it's about a micro-life and a half, or something like that. After that, it's about the past. So, if you exercise for half an hour, you live an extra half an hour. So you better enjoy exercising because that's the extra bit you're living. And it's like time, and I quite like this image that while you're exercising moderately, your aging stops. You're not aging that half hour.COVID's positive impact on public interest in data47:00: During COVID, it was amazing. The popular interest in statistics, data, and graphs—I was on the media all the time trying to explain stuff. And that's carried on. It's even good. Is there any good news about COVID? One of the small things I think might be the greater public tolerance for an interest in data and graphs and more subtle ideas being used.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Ronald FisherRon HowardPaul SlovicGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of CambridgeHis Work:The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from DataCovid By Numbers: Making Sense of the Pandemic with DataThe Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger and DeathSex by Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour 
2/26/20241 hour, 38 seconds
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388. Is There a Tradeoff Between Profit and Purpose? feat. Alex Edmans

The current debate over corporate Governance depicts a conflict between shareholders and stakeholders. But what if their interests were aligned?Alex Edmans is a professor at the London School of Business and an expert on the impact of ESG factors on firm performance. His latest book is called Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit. Alex and Greg discuss the pervading discourse on ESG factors and fiduciary duty. Alex compares the benefits and challenges of long-term versus short-term activism. Join us as we debunk the stereotypes of activist investing, asserting its potential to spark long-term value through a lens that values genuine insight over raw data. Greg and Alex also navigate beyond the surface of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion metrics, drawing a parallel with the flawed educational policy of No Child Left Behind. Alex also gives his personal reflections on the importance of research in real-world business applications and leveraging purpose statements for strategic decision-making both in business and life.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why is it difficult to craft a statement of purpose for companies?36:03: So why is it difficult to come up with a mission statement, either for a company or for a person? To mean anything, it has to be selective. You can't be all things to all people, and that's why it's difficult to come up with such a statement because there's certain things that you miss out. So when I say to use rigorous research to influence the practice of business, that rules out just doing research for purely intellectual purposes, only to be published in top academic journals and be applauded by fellow academics. Instead, it's something where I'm doing this because I want to influence the way people think and act.Is shareholder capitalism bad for companies?11:42: Shareholder capitalism is actually not a bad thing as long as we correctly recognize that shareholder value is long-term shareholder value.Reforming companies by improving it for the long-term16:34:  Some of the most valuable companies today, such as the tech companies in the US, are worth far more than their quarterly earnings. Because investors are valuing the future, indeed, the most successful activist investors are the ones that will try to improve a company's productivity and innovation, and indeed there was some nice academic research which looks at the source of the value creation from activist shareholders, and it's not value extraction, value capture, it's indeed things such as improving productivity and improving innovation.Pursuing action, not profit08:46: So, one of the messages of the book [Grow The Pie] is actually the best way to pursue a goal. Let's say it's profits. It's not actually direct. If you go in with the mindset, and you're right to highlight the mindset, can I make money from this? There are many good things that do make money in the long term, but because that monetization is unexpected and difficult to predict, if you have the mindset of, I'm only going to do something if it makes me money, then I might not actually take that action.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Pareto principleM-PesaMichael PorterMilton FriedmanESG - Environmental, social, and corporate governanceDEI - Diversity, equity, and inclusionSASB - Sustainability Accounting Standards BoardNo Child Left Behind ActMcKinsey & CompanyBlackRockCSR - Corporate social responsibilityProject Last MileDoctors Without BordersBob IgerGuest Profile:AlexEdmans.comGrowThePie.netFaculty Profile from the London Business SchoolProfile on LinkedInSocial Profile on XWikipedia PageHis Work:Amazon Author PageGrow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and ProfitMay Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases―And What We Can Do About ItGoogle Scholar Page
2/23/202437 minutes, 43 seconds
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387. Reframing Our Concept of Negative Emotions with Krista K. Thomason

Is it better to suppress our negative emotions? How do we feel things like anger, envy, or spite without letting them take over and impact our relationships? Do these so-called negative emotions serve an important purpose in how we perceive the world and ourselves? Krista K. Thomason is a philosophy professor at Swarthmore College. Her books, Dancing with the Devil: Why Bad Feelings Make Life Good and Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life, deal with the philosophy of emotion and examine why negative emotions are a key component of life. She and Greg discuss the history of philosophical thought when it comes to emotions, why bad feelings don’t always need to be turned into something productive, and why a life free of negative emotions wouldn’t actually be fulfilling at all. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The price you pay to master your emotions49:52: We pay a price for the kind of control that I think we often want when we're trying to master our emotions. I think that's oftentimes what we're looking for. We're looking for safety and security, and we're looking for inner peace. We're looking for a life that is, as they say, frictionless and stress-free and all that. But I think what kind of life do we end up with if it's a kind of life where we have absolutely everything under our thumbs, and nothing escapes the boundaries of our will? What have we done? What sort of life is that? Is life in the comfortable, easy chair a life worth having, even if it never comes with any pain?The role of emotions in self-discovery08:24: Understanding and paying attention to your emotions is part of self-discovery. It's part of figuring out what are these things that matter to me. And sometimes your emotions will show what you're invested in and what matters to you, maybe before you fully realize it yourself. So there's this way that they can kind of point us in certain directions and help us learn things about ourselves that we may not initially realize.Are negative emotions good?05:45: We have this tendency to think that positive emotions are good, helpful things in our lives and that they're sources of information, but the negative emotions are somehow built on false positive beliefs. They are fundamentally irrational. They are seeing the world in the wrong ways, whereas positive emotions are seeing the world in the right ways.On self-maturity18:59: Emotional maturity doesn't have to mean reason controls the emotions. Emotional maturity can mean I am good at identifying what I'm feeling. I'm good at accepting that this is how I feel about something, and I'm also good at recognizing that this is how I am experiencing this situation that may or may not be reflecting how the situation actually is. But also, I'm good at just feeling my emotions without necessarily feeling like I have to do something with it.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Baruch SpinozaStoicismFriedrich NietzscheMoral Saints by Susan WolfReflections on Gandhi by George OrwellThe Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du BoisOn Solitude by Michel de Montaigne Lisa Feldman BarrettGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Swarthmore CollegeProfessional WebsiteHer Work:Dancing with the Devil: Why Bad Feelings Make Life GoodNaked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life
2/21/202454 minutes, 44 seconds
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386. The Lost Art of Civility in a Divided World feat. Alexandra Hudson

What is the difference between politeness and civility? How do you show respect for others during difficult discourse instead of siloing yourself away in only like-minded company?Alexandra Hudson is an author and writer of the book, The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves, and also the creator of the Civic-Renaissance newsletter. Alexandra and Greg discuss Alexandra’s views on civility and humanity. Alexandra also recounts the wisdom of historical figures like Augustine and Pascal, shedding light on the balancing act between self-interest and societal harmony and why civility remains crucial, even when it's challenging. This episode not only offers a profound examination of civility's role in healing society but also provides actionable insights for integrating these timeless principles into the fabric of everyday life. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are we overdoing democracy?38:36: I argue in the final chapter of my book [The Soul of Civility] that we've made idols out of democracy, out of public life, out of our national public discourse. When we have an unhealthy love, unhealthy addiction to something, we know that we've made idols. We have an unhealthy addiction to this because it's invaded all areas of our lives. Things that were historically apolitical now have a profound political dimension and valence to them, like sports, schools, and education, and what newspaper you read, what area of town you live in, all of these historically apolitical decisions now, like you can assess a person's political dimension based on these decisions. And we do that all the time. That's not good—not good for our souls, not good for democracy. Democracy is a beautiful, important, and wonderful thing, but there's such a thing as too much of a good thing, and we're overdoing democracy by making it part of every aspect of our lives, and we're undermining it as a result.Civility is inherent good04:15: We need to realize that even when the stakes are high, we still owe the other some basic baseline of respect. That is civility. Even when it might be costly to us and even when it's inconvenient, that's just the right thing. Inherently, that is the right thing to do. And it's an obligation we have.The essential distinction between civility and politeness19:21:  I also realized this essential distinction between civility and politeness. That politeness is manners; it's etiquette; it's technique; it's external. It's the stuff where civility is internal. It's the disposition of the heart. It's a way of seeing others as our moral equals who are worthy of respect. And crucially, sometimes respecting others requires being impolite, telling hard truths, and engaging in robust debate. What are the foundational questions you ask yourself to be considered truly educated?44:51: This is the dialogue about foundational questions that every single human being should have the opportunity to ask and answer for themselves in order to be considered truly educated. Questions of origin, purpose, and destiny: Who are we? Why are we here? What is the best way to live? These are thoughtful questions that thoughtful people across history and culture have reflected on and offered answers to. And we do ourselves a profound disservice if we don't grapple with these questions in the context of how other thoughtful people before us have answered them.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Augustine of HippoSigmund FreudBlaise PascalChimeraRamayanaGiovanni della CasaPetrus AlphonsiDistichs of CatoAlexander PopeGeorge Bernard ShawSlow HorsesRobert D. PutnamErasmusHannah ArendtAlexis de TocquevilleGuest Profile:AlexandraOHudson.comFaculty Profile from Indiana UniversitySocial Profile on XLinkedIn ProfileHis Work:The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and
2/19/202457 minutes, 13 seconds
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385. Understanding The Science Behind Brain Balance and Mental Health feat. Camilla Nord

How do you reach the goal of a balanced brain? What will the future of mental health treatments look like, and how do we find the line between psychology and physiology? Camilla Nord leads the Mental Health Neuroscience Lab at the University of Cambridge and is the author of the new book, The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental Health, which explores several scientific developments that are revolutionizing the way we think about mental health, showing why and how events—and treatments—can affect people in such different ways.Camilla and Greg discuss how phobias, immune responses, and learning intertwine, painting a picture of a brain that wields a direct influence on our physical states. They also examine the role of dopamine, unveiling its true colors in motivation and the intricate dynamics of mental health treatments from Cognitive Behavior Therapy to the uncharted territories of psychedelics and chore therapy. And finally Camilla lays out her view of the shifting landscape of mental health research. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Brain disruptions happen in the brain, whether neurological or physiological 05:21: If you look at the history of psychiatry, lots of conditions that are now considered neurological conditions, because we understand to some degree their physiological basis, something like epilepsy, were not long ago called psychiatric conditions because we didn't. And it's sort of like every time we understand the basis of a brain disorder, it gets sucked up into a different category, into this neurology category. When in reality, these are all brain disorders that we have a better or worse understanding of the origin for. And often, we know less about neurological disorders than people might think. And we might know more about psychiatric disorders than people might think, but they are all disruptions happening in the brain. Awareness isn’t enough to fix mental health36:58: Mental health is something that we all experience. Mental illness is not; it is something that some of us experience sometimes. In those times, it's critical to get those people the resources and treatments that they need. And sometimes, mental health awareness campaigns get in the way because it makes something like anxiety seem like a universal phenomenon, rather than anxiety disorders as a specific phenomenon that some people really suffer from and need help for.Brain disruptions happen in the brain, whether neurological or physiological32:05: I think often, one assumption is that dopamine just feels good. And whenever you experience something that kind of feels good, that must be dopamine. That's actually a mischaracterization of dopamine…[32:30] Dopamine, what it really is closer to is when you want something, when you're motivated to get something. And then it also is, of course, involved in how you learn about that thing. So it has a couple of different functions, different roles in the brain. But the motivational role of dopamine is a really fascinating one because it means you could be motivated to get something that isn't even necessarily pleasurable.Unmasking dopamine30:21: I think if you asked people who experience pain, they would say the optimal amount of pain is zero. But that's because we forget just how much we've learned about the world through pain. So if you look at a toddler in pain at some point every single day, and that's how they learn what things not to do so that they don't injure themselves, so they don't walk into a table, so they, you know, catch themselves when they fall over and don't just smash their face, so adapt to the world, they fit themselves in the world, partially via those painful experiences.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Hedonia and EudaimoniaAmy EdmondsonBayesian statisticsPlaceboDr. Caitlin HitchcockBipolar disorderGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of CambridgeMental Health Neuroscience LabLinkedInSocial Profile on XPsychology Today ProfileHer Work:The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental HealthGoogle Scholar PageResearchGate
2/16/202456 minutes, 30 seconds
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384. Putting the Family Back Into Economics with Melissa Kearney

The family household is a fundamental unit of economics, and by extension – a fundamental unit of society. But the amount of research and study on the family within the profession of economics is still developing. Melissa Kearney is a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and the director of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group. Her book, The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind, examines how the makeup of families can determine a child’s economic success. She and Greg discuss the success gap between children from two-parent homes vs. one-parent homes, the role families play in the overall economic state of our country, and what needs to be done to bridge that inequality and address poverty.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why does family structure matter in economic success and social mobility?03:43: When you look at all of the research that economists have done on poverty, inequality, and social mobility, family structure is important and determinant of all of that. And so what I'm doing is not uncovering something that isn't there in all of the academic evidence. I just think it doesn't get the attention it deserves when we then say, so what should we do about inequality, threats to social mobility, or poverty? We take family structure as a given in all of our research, and so it matters because it is so determinant. Even if we wish it were otherwise, it is so determinant. We just see that over and over and over again that kids from one-parent homes are less likely to graduate high school, graduate college, go on to achieve high earnings. It's really determinant of all of these markers of what we might think of as economic success.The real constraints of higher educated parents vs. economically constrained parents36:58: Higher-educated folks, married parents; they have more resources that allow them to be the kind of parents that they want to be. And more economically constrained parents have less; they have fewer resources, allowing them to be that.The impact of diverging structures on social disparities08:02: We don't just want to think about single moms and their kids being more likely to live in poverty, but I think the right way to think about it now is that the divergence in family structure between the college-educated class and everybody else is perpetuating inequality. It's exacerbating inequality precisely because these gaps are really large.Shared income and time are key for positive child development14:46: As an economist, my earnest wish is that this shouldn't be such a third-rail topic to talk about because nobody is blaming single parents for not doing an awesome job and putting in the hard work. But when there's a second parent in the house, there's more income coming in; there's more time coming in; there's more supervision; and there's more bandwidth. And we see that all of that collective input yields better outcomes for kids.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Gary BeckerRaj ChettyClaudia GoldinNicholas EberstadtLouisiana Fathers Form 'Dads on Duty' Group to Help Stop Violence at Their Children's High School (People Magazine)Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of MarylandDirector, Aspen Economic Strategy GroupNonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings InstituteHer Work:The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling BehindParental Education and Parental Time with Children
2/14/202457 minutes, 8 seconds
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383. The Interdisciplinary Nature of Evolution with David Sloan Wilson

What do biology, religion, philosophy, and economics all have in common? Well, to some degree, they can all be grounded in the theory of evolution. David Sloan Wilson is a professor emeritus of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University at the State University of New York. He’s written a slew of books on a wide range of topics, all dealing with evolution like, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior and Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives. David and Greg discuss how everything can be explained by evolution, why the last 50 years of science have been groundbreaking, and Darwinism’s shifts over time. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What are the dominant narratives in the management field?42:34: So you have two things that are dominant narratives in the management field: laissez-faire and centralized planning, command and control planning, and neither one works. What does work is a process of managed cultural evolution. It's where we have a whole field of management that could not be more important for human affairs, which are suffering under these faulty ideas and just waiting for this in a series of essays or print conversations, this third wave, a managed process of cultural evolution... These two things don't work, and only one thing that can work emerges and is what practitioners typically converge on. So if you look at people that are not driven theoretically but have a lot of experience, they've typically become pragmatic cultural evolutionists. They try a bunch of stuff out. They have some systemic goal. They stick with what works, and then they repeat.On Darwin's impact on human understanding04:11: It is still the case that Darwin's theory of evolution is the unrivaled explanatory framework for all living processes. It is indeed true that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Now, when we go to humans, the very concept that humans are not part of biology is weird, but there's a historical reason why this framework, for all of its explanatory scope within biology, was constricted and was not applied to humans, especially human cultural evolution, until the closing decades of the 20th century. But now, that is taking place.Does selfishness beat altruism in groups?20:57: All natural selection is based on relative fitness. It doesn't matter how well you survive and reproduce in absolute terms; only compared to other organisms in your vicinity. And because of relative fitness, any behavior or trait that is oriented towards the welfare of others or one's group as a whole has a disadvantage—an inherent disadvantage compared to a more self-serving trait. So, that's why selfishness beats altruism within groups.The Intersection of genes and symbols in shaping our worldview45:05: The concept of a symbotype is the cultural equivalent of your genes, both for your symbotype and your genotype. There's quite a bit of flexibility in the way you see the world and your genes; they actually provide you with a repertoire of behaviors. So, you respond to your environment, but it's a limited repertoire, and if you want to go beyond that repertoire, you need to change something. You need to change your genes; you need to change your symbols. So, to an extent, in order to change the way we see the world and act upon the world—in other words, what takes place on the outside, we must change what takes place on the inside.Show Links:Recommended Resources:On the Origin of Species by Charles DarwinNothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution by Theodosius DobzhanskyWhy is Economics not an Evolutionary Science by Thorstein VeblenWilliam JamesCharles Sanders PeirceHerbert SpencerSociobiology: The New Synthesis by E.O. WilsonAdaptation and Natural Selection by George C. WilliamsThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsChaos: Making a New Science by James GleickThe Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley by Victor HwangElinor OstromGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Binghamton UniversityProfessional WebsiteProSocial WorldHis Work:Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of SocietyEvolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our LivesThis View of Life: Completing the Darwinian RevolutionThe Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a TimeDoes Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (Foundational Questions in Science)A Life Informed By Evolution: A Memoir Atlas hugged : the autobiography of John Galt III
2/12/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 21 seconds
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382. The Crypto Craze: Unveiling the Hype, Scams, and Ethics feat. Zeke Faux

What happened when El Salvador made Bitcoin an official currency? Who uses cryptocurrency the most? How does the blockchain both help and hinder would-be scam artists and criminals?Zeke Faux is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News, a National Fellow at New America, and the author of Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.Zeke and Greg discuss crypto bubbles, the crypto space, and the memorable characters Zeke encountered, such as Sam Bankman Fried. Zeke explains his investigations into Tether, the mass scamming compounds in Southeast Asia, and his personal experiences within this fluctuating industry when he bought his own Mutant Ape NFT.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why crypto investors overcome risks18:25: If you are making a crypto investment and your money is on some DeFi exchange or some centralized exchange, that seems pretty good. What kind of yield would you want just to let them hold your money? It'd have to be a pretty high-yield investment just to get over the risk that something unforeseen will happen, right? There's some chance that even if it seems great, that's something you didn't think is wrong with this because it keeps happening again and again in crypto. And I think what makes these people overcome is that they're not dumb. They know that these risks are there, the crypto investors. But they think, okay, maybe there's a 10% chance that something goes wrong here…[19:22] That's what makes people overcome everything: this desire to get rich quick, in this sense that it's possible because they've seen a lot of other people do it and get rich.The difference between internet and crypto bubble07:29: In crypto, the crypto guys do use crypto, but only to buy it. It's not serving any purpose other than just buying it, trading it, and doing things within this crypto world. Whereas with the internet, it was clearly a lot of fun, and it was affecting a lot of parts of real life. The internet bubble got way ahead of what could be justified by how much money these companies were making. But to me, there was never any doubt that the internet was a powerful innovation that was going to change our lives.Exploring 'Number Go Up' psychology in blockchain03:29: The key to it is psychology, and the title "Number Go Up" comes from this saying that I heard at my first crypto conference in 2021. I flew down to Miami. I thought I would hear more about technology. I thought I'd see bankers or fintech entrepreneurs who had ideas about how they're going to disrupt the financial system with this new technology, replace intermediaries, and make global transfers faster and cheaper. And instead, I heard this guy on stage saying, "Our technology is called number go up, and number go up technology means the price goes up, and that makes people excited, and they buy more, and the price goes up more, and then more people get excited, and pretty soon, Bitcoin is going to be at a million." And I just couldn't believe it. I was like, "Is that what it's really all about?"The treatment of crypto wallet transactions vs. traditional banking in stablecoins37:25: I can open a PayPal account, and I send money to PayPal. And now I have PayPal dollars that I can zap to your account. And that's not so different from a stablecoin. However, PayPal wants to know who I am. They follow all the banking rules and regulations about knowing your customer. They want to know who you are. You can't hold PayPal dollars without disclosing your identity. However, if I have a crypto wallet on my phone, like Metamask or any of the tons of other options, I can hold tethers on my phone and send them to your phone without disclosing any identifying information. And it seems like it's a very similar transaction that's treated very differently by regulators right now. And I just wonder if that will continue, especially if stablecoins keep growing.Show Links:Recommended Resources:BlockchainBitcoinDogecoinDecentralized financeSam Bankman-FriedTetherBitfinexCantor FitzgeraldGuest Profile:ZekeFaux.comProfile at NewAmerica.orgLinkedIn ProfileSocial Profile on XWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering FallBloomberg Articles
2/9/202459 minutes, 7 seconds
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381. Using Cultural Evolution to Design Better Companies with Andrew McAfee

Why are humans the only species on the planet that’s been able to cooperate on such a massive scale and continuously reinvent our culture? Andrew McAfee is the co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy and a principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His books, such as the Machine trilogy and The Geek Way, examine how technology and cultural evolution have shaped the modern workplace.He and Greg discuss what has allowed humans to evolve to be these super collaborators, how that evolution translates to organizational culture, and why the education system might be in need of an overhaul. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What does science do with overconfidence?27:00: What science does that is brilliant is it says to us, overconfident human beings, "You're going to win. You're so smart. Your evidence is going to be right. Go collect the evidence; you're going to be right," and we over overconfidently march off and go do all that. So the amazing thing that happens, the jiujitsu that happens, is that science takes our overconfidence and channels it exactly where it should be. Which is doing the hard work to gather evidence and then confidently getting up in front of your peers and presenting it and have them kick you in the teeth over and over again. It ain't fun, but that's what we signed up for. And what I think is going on at geek companies is they're importing that ground rule to make their decisions. That's why their batting average is higher.What is it that allows humans to do this thing unique on the planet?05:12: We human beings, this weird species, have two superpowers. One of them is that we come together and cooperate intensely with large numbers of individuals who we are not related to and who are not our kin…[05:34]The other one is that we evolve our cultures much more rapidly than any other species on the planet.Navigating disagreement and safetyism in higher education33:53: If we're not training people about how to debate, disagree, argue, and do it without being jerks or without being completely thin-skinned about it, we're not doing people a service. We're doing them a real disservice. So I think there has been increased safetyism, especially on college campuses. And I think that is not serving young people well for a whole bunch of reasons.Is our politics and bureaucracy complements or substitutes?45:53: We want status, and that's where bureaucracy comes from. I'm going to figure out a need to be involved in this work. That gives me status. I honestly believe that's the deepest reason for this stultifying bureaucracy that we come across. The CEO of most companies, if they look at what the processes are like inside their company, they go, "How did things get this bad? What is going on here?" This is not anything close to what I want, but that's because the people in the organization create that encroachment or that encumbrance all the time.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Amy EdmondsonAmy Edmondson on unSILOedChris ArgyrisThe Ape that Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-WilliamsThe Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph HenrichThe Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science by Michael StrevensFinal Accounting: Ambition, Greed and the Fall of Arthur Andersen by Barbara TofflerMaria MontessoriGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at MITProfessional WebsiteAndrew McAfee on TEDxBoston 2012His Work:The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary ResultsThe Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital FutureRace Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the EconomyEnterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest ChallengesMore from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources―and What Happens Next
2/7/20241 hour, 1 minute, 19 seconds
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380. Examining the History of Mind feat. George Makari

For centuries, the health of the body was the province of doctors while the health of the soul was the domain of the clergy. What happened with the discovery of a concept of mind as thinking matter? In this episode, we trace the emergence of mind and mental health as a new aspect of what it means to be human.George Makari is a psychiatrist, historian, and the author of three books: Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia, Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis, and Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind.George and Greg discuss the transformation in the way we perceive the mentally ill, thanks in part to the contributions of Philippe Pinel and others who dared to challenge the status quo. They explore the early intersection of sensibility, vitalism, and literary movements that have shaped modern mental health practices. They also dive into xenophobia, where it came from, and how it persists.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Do people in the world of intellectual history need to spend time thinking about medicine and the history of medicine?02:38: When you went in search of the history of mind, what you found was maybe a history of the mind through the lens of philosophy. Charles Taylor wrote a good one like that. But the more and more I looked into it, it became so clear that the notion of the mind was highly implicated in science, medicine, politics, and broader social change. And that a lot of our 21st-century categories apply back to a time where they didn't really exist…[03:38] The argument in the book is that claims about these major human essences—the soul, the mind, the brain—have very important socio-political ramifications and, not just downstream, but can be affected by socio-political cultural beliefs. So, I tried to tell that bigger story—medicine being part of science, being part of politics—and trying to piece out how these different kinds of things interacted in the creation of the kind of state that we're in now, thinking about soul, mind, and body.Are we all a little mentally ill?26:32: Sensibilities getting disrupted, causing depression or something like that. We are all, potentially, the victims of that. So, there is this notion that the mind is a fragile thing. It's not simply that God gave us one, and it's fine. It's part of the body; it's part of the physiology; it's part of this sensible creature who the environment can deeply impact and who can deeply impact the environment.On the origins of xenophobia33:12: I did a little bit of etymology and whatnot and found that the Greeks actually, in antiquity, had never used the word xenophobia. And that was critical because phobos in antiquity is just fear. It doesn't mean anything medical. But by the time the term gets invented in the late 19th century, phobia was a medical term, and there were a multiplicity of phobias that had emerged in the late 19th century, up to 75 different ones. And xenophobia was one of them, so that it was now an irrational fear, and that makes all the difference, that adjective. It's an irrational fear; it's a mental illness; it's not just a fear. And so, when you talk about the irrational fear of the stranger, that becomes one of the origins of the concept of xenophobia. As it kind of makes its way.The "Other Anxiety" of encountering difference48:03: Bringing people from foreign worlds together works to some extent, and I call that other anxiety. I was like, we shouldn't call that xenophobia because we all have that. If I meet someone who looks different than me, who speaks a different language than I do, and who worships differently than I do, I am going to have some anxiety about what goes on with that person and how they're different and how they're thinking about me. So that's almost universal, and we should think about that as the easiest part of the problem: bringing people together.Show Links:Recommended Resources:René DescartesJohn LockePierre GassendiBaruch SpinozaFrancis WillisPhilippe PinelBethlem Royal HospitalCharenton-le-PontSensibilityVitalismFranz MesmerFranz Joseph GallG. Stanley HallGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Weill Cornell Medical CenterFaculty Profile at Yale UniverstyGeorgeMakari.comWikipedia ProfileHis Work:Of Fear and Strangers: A History of XenophobiaSoul Machine: The Invention of the Modern MindRevolution in Mind: The Creation of PsychoanalysisAcademic Publications
2/5/202454 minutes, 49 seconds
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379. Using Math To Predict the Future feat. Kit Yates

Math is all around us. When you’re debating when to cross the street to avoid oncoming traffic, you’re doing math. When you sing in the shower and you notice how your voice bounces and sounds, that’s math. Kit Yates is a professor of mathematical biology at the University of Bath. His books, How to Expect the Unexpected: The Science of Making Predictions―and the Art of Knowing When Not To and The Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives look at real-world applications of scientific and mathematical concepts. He and Greg discuss why the idea of math needs to be reframed, what it takes to scientifically predict the future, and why it’s more important than ever to have basic math skills in this world. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Math is a creative discipline40:52: Maths is a creative discipline. Sometimes, it involves stewing and thinking about things, and in my case, it involves applying mathematics to the real world and building models of the real world. It's a really creative process because you've got to decide which bits you want to keep and which bits you can throw away, which are the most essential parts. And that's not a thing that you do in 10 seconds. This is something that you have to think really hard about and try and do trial and error and get things wrong, right? We don't encourage people to get things wrong enough. Getting things wrong is the way that you learn how to get things right. And in modeling, we go around in these cycles. When I'm doing a mathematical model of the biological process, we go through this process: model, predict, test, and alter. And then you go back. So you build your model, make a prediction, and then test it against biology, and it's not right. And that's good because you've learned something, and you go and change your model, make a new prediction, and go around the cycle. And this is how mathematical modeling works in general. But it's a really creative process.You don’t need to be good at math to understand it32:09: We don't need to be mathematical geniuses, but we do need to be aware of the places where mathematics can have an impact, and those are increasing in frequency over time. We're increasingly presented with more and more data.On thinking of math in form of stories and narratives03:09: We’re seeing the products of mathematics all around us all the time, and I think that I wanted to share that through the medium of stories because people connect with that. I wanted to tell the stories of real people's lives where they've been impacted by mathematics, perhaps without even being aware of it, so that other people who read the book can then be aware of what's going on and spot those situations when they start to come up.It's better to be uncertain about a prediction than to trust a hundred percent in a poor prediction05:56: We are so convinced that we're right; we fail to check the possibility that we could be wrong. We fail to ask the question, "What if I'm wrong?" And actually, we can get into trouble with that. It's much better to be uncertain and to admit and acknowledge that uncertainty about a particular prediction than it is to be 100 percent certain with the risk that the prediction is wrong.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Bayes’ theoremPonzi schemeGoodhart’s lawStreisand effectMonty Hall problemJohn Forbes Nash Jr.Independent SAGEGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of BathProfessional WebsiteHis Work:How to Expect the Unexpected: The Science of Making Predictions―and the Art of Knowing When Not ToThe Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives
2/1/202452 minutes, 33 seconds
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378. Making Healthcare More Equitable feat. David A. Ansell

In some neighborhoods in the US, life expectancy is lower than in some developing countries. How do poverty, inequality, and the uneven distribution of healthcare resources contribute to this problem? Dr. David A. Ansell is a professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His books, County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital and The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills examine the aspects of inequality that lead to a decline in life expectancy among marginalized groups. He and Greg discuss Dr. Ansell’s experiences working in hospitals in some of Chicago's poorest communities and why the current healthcare systems are leaving vulnerable populations behind.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The impact of capital extraction on communities and social cohesion30:09: So this idea of when you extract capital out of a neighborhood, meaning the Sears leaves, the Western Electric leaves, the Zenith leaves—the big companies leave because white people have left. The bosses now, the ones who run the factories, said, I'm not going to rebuild it here. Why do I want to drive into a black neighborhood? When you take that capital out, it's not disinvestment; it's extraction. And then people are left devoid of work that's meaningful. But look at the South and globalization. Then what happens is what sets in: Grandma gets depressed, but the uncles now are off doing something else, and they don't look in on her. So you begin to erode that social cohesion, and when it erodes to a degree, that is now something that you could measure as concentrated disadvantage.The destructive role of holding companies in healthcare44:51: It's not just capitalism; it's the toxic form of capitalism that we have in this country that's allowed our healthcare delivery systems to be overly endowed with profit-making machines—holding companies, not healing companies.How our ahistorical thinking hinders progress16:05: One of the challenges that we have in our world is that we're ahistorical. We have this myth of meritocracy. There are ways in which ideology, built into a society, blinds us to the structures and realities of the world that we're in.Rethinking healthcare in a broken system33:39: So, I think we need universal healthcare because this idea of cherry-picking that goes on – that's racialized because white people, in general, have better, or people who have been assigned to whiteness have better, insurance – drives the behavior of healthcare delivery. It needs to be eliminated by some form of universal healthcare.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisis Coates (The Atlantic)Raj ChettyPaul FarmerMichael MarmotSecond Bill of RightsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Rush University Medical CenterHis Work:County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago's Public HospitalThe Death Gap: How Inequality Kills
1/29/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 54 seconds
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377. The Art of Cheating and Deception feat. Dr. Lixing Sun

What’s the difference between a lie and deception? How does cheating show up in nature? And is it always a negative thing? Dr. Lixing Sun is a professor of animal behavior, ecology, and evolution at Central Washington University. His books, The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World and The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature explore the idea that not everything is as it seems in this world and seek to answer the question of why? He and Greg discuss the differences between lying and deceiving, examples of where you can find cheating in nature, and why humans have gotten so good at cheating and deception. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The substantial reality of female cheating39:34: Recently, studies show that female cheating actually is substantial, and there are lots of benefits associated with that. In my book, I talk a little bit about it, but now there is more to know why cheating is a good strategy among female animals, including humans. Data do not lie, especially about us. I have this data that's from studies; for men, 22 to 25% in their lifetime, they do cheat. And women, 11% to 15% cheat in their lifetimes as well. So, it's quite substantial.Self-deception in cheating09:20: Self-deception is for better cheating because when your consciousness is shut down, you can cheat fluently without finding any conflict.Cheating without conscious thought16:47: So as to how or why you don't need a brain to cheat, that's relatively simple because, as long as you have a niche—the ecological niche or, no matter what economical niche—the organisms can always take advantage of it. Basically, you have a niche and this adaptive evolution to fit the niche, to take advantage of it. So that's the evolutionary process. It did not require conscious thinking, sort of like in the psychology approach; in humans, you need conscious thinking.Lying vs. deception33:39: Lying is referring to communication. A boy crying wolf is lying because he is sending the wrong information to take advantage of being killed by others. So, that is lying. He should say there's no wolf when he cries for a wolf. He is lying because there's no wolf. That's the reality; that's communication. Deception is different. Deception is not necessarily communication, but deception is a take advantage of our cognitive bias.Show Links:Recommended Resources:John Maynard SmithCuckoo birdKingsnakeCoral snakeHenry Walter BatesViceroy butterflyMonarch butterflyRandy ThornhillBernie MadoffFrank AbagnaleGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Central Washington UniversityHis Work:The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living WorldThe Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature
1/25/202457 minutes, 42 seconds
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376. Unraveling the Cultural Significance of Food and Diet feat. Steven Shapin

Today’s episode is a historical feast, unraveling the entwined roots of food, philosophy, and the essence of self. But it isn't just for the history buff; it's a banquet for anyone curious about the rich tapestry that flavors our modern approach to nutrition and identity. Steven Shapin is Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at Harvard University and also the author of several books. His upcoming book is titled Eating and Being, A History of Ideas About What We Eat and Who We Are.Steven and Greg discuss dietetics far beyond mere sustenance, uncovering how health and moral virtue were historically seen as two sides of the same coin. They delve into the complex relationship between age-old folk wisdom and medical authority, and discover how our ancestors' understanding of well-being still simmers beneath the surface of today's nutritional discourse. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On exploring the relationship between food, identity, and modernity06:06: The book could be considered as a kind of gloss on the expression "you are what you eat" because at the end of the day, what I'm interested in is what's the relationship between what we think of the stuff that we put in our mouths and who we are. And that, so it's a story about some quite recent changes in answering that sort of question. So it's a story about how we became modern, and are we indeed modern?Balancing nutritional expertise and common sense in food choices31:43: You could tell a story about the way in which nutritional expertise trumps common-sense sensory experience. But that, as it were, aura of expertise doesn't illuminate all of our lives. And there is pushback to that, and it's from people who said we've had enough of this scientific inspection of what's on our plate.You cannot got from the scientific to the moral11:33: You cannot get from an is to an ought. In other words, you cannot get from the scientific to the moral. But it's precisely the occupation in dietetics, in what counts as the scientific medicine of past centuries, that's placed the is and the ought in the same field. So that what was good for you would guarantee health and a long life also constituted virtue. Moderation is a virtue. It's one of the seven cardinal virtues. I found it tremendously interesting, so I found myself telling a story about, in a way, how we think about food and ourselves, which is also a story about the modern moment.The multi-faceted considerations of healthy eating33:39: When you're eating, you have a mind of what's good for your body, insofar as you know what's good for your body. You might know it through past experience. You might know it from the Nutrition Facts label. You might know it from medical expertise. But you also have in mind what is good for conviviality: a nice meal with friends, have a drink—you don't have to get drunk, but have a drink every now and then—what's good for the environment, what's good for the agricultural laborers that produce your food, and what's good for the people who produce your package and transport your food. All of these belong in this pushback to the nutritionally modulated desire to consume only what's good for your body and live forever.Show Links:Recommended Resources:G. E. MooreMax WeberHenry V of EnglandJustus von LiebigScientific RevolutionRobert BoyleGalileo GalileiRené DescartesIsaac NewtonRobert HookeFrancis BaconThomas KuhnJames B. ConantGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard UniversityWikipedia ProfileHarvard Bio/CVHis Work:Amazon Author PageThe Scientific RevolutionLeviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental LifeA Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century EnglandNever Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and AuthorityThe Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late ModernNew Yorker Articles
1/22/202459 minutes, 46 seconds
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375. Outsmarting Pathogens: How We Fight Infectious Diseases Today feat. Dr. John S. Tregoning

What is the aftermath of a global pandemic and its impact on public consciousness? Will the surge in awareness about infectious diseases lead to sustained interest and funding, or is it merely a transient response to recent events?Dr. John S. Tregoning is a Professor in Vaccine Immunology at the Imperial College of London and the author of the recent book, Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them.John and Greg discuss the evolution of the war against pathogens, the complexity and significance of vaccines and the impact of pandemics on public health awareness. John lays out the role of scientific advances in diseases prevention, the potential of RNA vaccines, and future strategies to ward off pandemics.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On clinical trials48:49: The clinical trials and the burden of proof for the vaccines was the same as it was outside the pandemic. There was nothing different. It wasn't done quicker; the gaps between the trials was shorter. So normally, you do the first part, you pause, you publish, you get more money, you do the second part, and it was the pause and publish that disappeared. So, all the trials were done as stringently as they would normally do. The big challenge was that suddenly, you had this drug that was being given to a billion people. And if you gave apples to a billion people, some people would get sick. If you give aspirin to a billion people, a lot of people would get sick. If you gave paracetamol, anything to that many people that quickly, some people are going to get sick. And I think that communication of like, yeah, it's hard, right? Say for most of you, this is fine, but for some of you, and we don't know who, some of you are going to get very sick, and that's quite a tricky sell.Science is an imperfect answer08:28: That's all science ever is. It's an imperfect answer. There's always doubt, there's always questions, and we're just using the tools we have at the time to interpret the world around us.How do we know in the world of public health, where we should be investing our resources?18:49: The basic measure is that more public health, the bigger; every pound spent on public health saves two pounds later down the line. So, if I had the big pot of money, I would be investing in people's basic underpinning health, so make sure trying to reduce obesity, try to reduce smoking, try to reduce drinking—all of the things that make it worse when the pathogen gets to you—all of that investment is going to pay double because it pays you in. Not getting infected pays you in overall general health as well. The earlier you can nip it in the bud, the better. And so that goes for prevention. It probably goes for thinking about surveillance, investing money in making sure that we're catching the pathogens early, and then having high containment units.What happens when a new virus emerges?38:37: When a new virus emerged, it gave us insight into what would happen when a new virus emerged and the people most at risk. It doesn't have to be particularly pathogenic. There are people who have frail, damaged lungs, and if you put a virus into that, it's going to cause disease and death.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Antonie van LeeuwenhoekJohn SnowLouis PasteurRobert KochWalter ReedIgnaz SemmelweisSmallpoxSARS-CoV-1Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV)mRNA vaccineGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Imperial College of LondonLinkedInSocial Profile on XHis Work:Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight ThemGoogle Scholar PageImperial College of London ArticlesResearchGate Page
1/18/202451 minutes, 24 seconds
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374. Learning About the Future by Understanding the Past feat. Neil Shubin

Understanding the origins of species and the evolution of our planet has really become a multidisciplinary field. In order to understand how birds evolved to fly or fish evolved to walk on land, you have to look at fossils. But you also need to think about the molecular biology part of that story. Neil Shubin is a professor of biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago. He’s the author of numerous books, including Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA and Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. Neil and Greg discuss the importance of understanding both biology and geology when looking at evolution, the mysteries that still exist in our DNA, and what Neil was doing with thousands of dead salamanders in his lab once. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Evolution is not designing things for a blueprint11:10: Evolution is not designing things from a blueprint; there's not a blueprint, and everything's designed from scratch, fit for purpose. No, what you're having is you have ancestors that are being modified to make new things. So you're modifying ancient genes to make new structures. That means history is very important; history provides constraints because you're not starting from scratch, but it also creates opportunities because you’re in a particular environment with particular genes, you may be in the right place at the right time.Does evolution happen at variable speed?10:41: Evolution happens, by all accounts, very gradually from generation to the next. But when we look at it over geological time—which is the window we have as paleontologists—it may look rapid, but it's probably very slow if you were on the ground watching it and measuring it year to year.Evolution is not about rewiring, but about rerouting15:14: When you think about these molecular switches—what we're looking at—is that you can look at not only where a gene is active in the body, but you can also look at the sort of almost the genetic software that tells the gene when and where to be active. And it turns out a lot of the big changes in evolution are not as much about evolving new genes—they're about using old genes in new ways: that is, changing when and where they're active. That's where those switches—the genetic regulatory elements—come into being. In part, there's a lot to that story, but the crazy thesis is right there.How is it possible to be both broadened and specialized at the same time?40:13: So collaboration is the answer to that. So, what we try to foster is a culture of collaboration among scientists. That is, when I train scientists in the lab, I don't ask them to be experts in both paleontology and development. I ask them to be experts in the empiricism of one field, particularly in parts of the fields that are relevant to them. But I insist that they be able to have critical thinking. And creative thinking across the fields, but their empiricisms, the way they do their work, whether it's lab work or field work or sometimes both, they have to specialize there.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Charles DarwinSt. George Jackson MivartErnst HaeckelGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of ChicagoProfessional Profile on National Academy of ScienceNeil Shubin on XHis Work:Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and PeopleYour Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
1/16/202446 minutes, 2 seconds
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373. The Fragile Balancing Act: How Healthcare Fails America feat. Bethany McLean

What is the correct balance between short-term profit and long-term resilience as far as healthcare is concerned? How does the 'panic, neglect' cycle underpin our societal and managerial flaws?Bethany McLean is a journalist, editor, and author of several books. Her latest book, co-authored with Joe Nocera, is titled The Big Fail: What the Pandemic Revealed About Who America Protects and Who It Leaves Behind. Bethany and Greg discuss the paradox of America's healthcare system—immense spending that does not equate to superior care, a disparity made glaringly obvious during the global COVID crisis. They dissect the financial interventions of recent administrations and biases that tip the scales in favor of the affluent, leaving small enterprises and the vulnerable in the lurch. Bethany gives a critical examination of the swift mobilization that birthed vaccines under Operation Warp Speed, an emblem of successful government-industry collaboration amidst a turbulent political backdrop.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:“I don’t know” isn't a weakness, it's a skill48:42: The ability to say, "I don't know," in a way that isn't weak is a skill I hope our leaders can start to learn: "I don't know, but here's what we think. Here's what we're trying to do." I think, for all of us, not resorting to ideological divides as quickly as we do, and to really try and understand that where different people are coming from. I mean, I remember this whole ugly thing at the start of the pandemic: that you were a really bad person if you cared about the economy; that meant you cared about money over people's lives. And I was like, "The economy is people's lives.” I mean, what functioning society doesn't have a functioning economy? It doesn't happen there intimately bound up together. Is the healthcare system failing to deliver value for its costs?17:52: I sometimes think our healthcare system just needs to be ripped out by the roots and replaced because everything we do jiggers around the edges, just ends up making matters worse and creating more loopholes that financial players come and take advantage of. And none of it seems to do anything for either lowering the cost of health care or actually keeping people healthy.Science isn’t the truth, it is a method of ascertaining truth25:59: There was a fundamental misconception, stoked by people who said, "Follow the science," as to what science actually is, and as well as I do science, it's a method of asking questions. It's formulating a theory and then gathering evidence and seeing if the evidence supports or disproves the theory. And then, if it disproves the theory, you adjust the theory. But science isn't truth with a capital T. It's a method of ascertaining truth, of arriving at truth. And we wanted to believe that there was truth with a capital T. And I think that was one portion of the damage done.Is the government short-sighted when it comes to looking at crises?09:38: The government is shortsighted, and part of it goes back to the issue that the government only knows how to look at the last crisis, not how to prevent the next one…[10:16] I think our government has become fairly incompetent and unwilling to lead. And that's partly because we are so divided as a society that it's difficult to lead, but partly because people would rather score ideological points than actually exercise leadership.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Bernie MadoffBen BernankeAnthony FauciCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Gavin NewsomRon DeSantisBill de BlasioAndrew CuomoGuest Profile:Bethany McLean on LinkedInBethany McLean on XVanity Fair ArticlesHer Work:The Big Fail: What the Pandemic Revealed About Who America Protects and Who It Leaves BehindSaudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It's Changing the WorldShaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage GiantsThe Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of EnronAll the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
1/12/202454 minutes, 8 seconds
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372. The Science Behind Our Choices feat. Robert M. Sapolsky

As we wrestle with the notion of humans as complex biological machines, we confront the unsettling idea that our behaviors might be preordained by genetics and our environment rather than a result of conscious choice. How do we walk the tightrope of acknowledging scientific revelations while grappling with our innate need to assign blame and praise?Robert Sapolsky is a professor in the neurology department at Stanford University and the author of several books. His latest is Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will.Robert and Greg discuss the neurological underpinnings of punishment and question whether our justice system is in line with our evolving understanding of human behavior. They examine the dynamics within societies that prioritize rehabilitation over retribution, as seen in the Norwegian criminal justice system, and ponder if mercy and forgiveness should be more central to our own.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On exploring religious perspective on free will 40:32: If you've spent a hell of a long time thinking about where human goodness comes from, the human capacity to do evil, where its meaning from, what does pain mean and all of that, and it basically doesn't matter if you conclude there's a loving God or if you conclude it's an indifferent universe or if you conclude I am the captain of my fate or if you conclude we're just biological machines. If you've done that hard work, you are going to come out much, much more ethical than average. It's the people who say whatever in between where they are most easily malleable.Is our brain prepared for adversity?29:43: What we often view as a brain distorted by adversity early in life is a brain that was doing exactly what it should be doing for preparing for a world in which there was going to be nothing but that adversity, and it's only when you put someone in a different setting that you see the dramatic mismatch there.The dopamine drive behind punishment and moral dilemmas15:45: When I see some barbarian advocating some horrible, punitive, vicious, dripping with viscera sort of thing to do to some poor bastard or any such scenario like that, I got to remind myself of something that is a very, very reliable way of getting primate brains to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, and a sense of reward and good feeling is to get to punish someone, to get to punish someone when you feel in the right. That's an incredibly strong thing in us. That's a feature of how we're wired. Culture comes in; we can feel a sense of righteous justice being served by locking away somebody for life without parole, rather than in a town square, like using pincers to take out their eyes and then burn them in front of everyone, are shifting standards.Where do we get our free will from?18:19: I spend six chapters in the book going through the world of people who say, "Ooh, we get our free will from quantum indeterminacy. We get our free will from emergent complexity. We get our free will from chaoticism." Those are three totally cool areas, and they're amazing and all. That's not where you can get free will from, and the models they put up always require, at some point, things to work very differently from how they actually do.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Benjamin LibetJohn SearleCarol DweckDeterminismGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at StanfordRobert Sapolsky on LinkedInHis Work:Determined: A Science of Life without Free WillBehave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and WorstThe Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology Of The Human PredicamentA Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the BaboonsWhy Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and CopingGreat Courses
1/10/202448 minutes, 27 seconds
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371. The Invention of Creativity feat. Samuel W. Franklin

The word “creativity” as we understand it today didn’t become popular until the mid-20th century. So, what changed around 1950 that led to this mainstreaming of creative thought? And how was creativity described before that? Samuel W. Franklin at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands charts the recent history of creativity in his book, The Cult of Creativity. He and Greg discuss how the meaning of the word “creativity” has shifted over time, the invention of brainstorming, and why engineers and scientists of the mid-20th century were drawn to creative thinking.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Creativity as a cognitive ability and natural human process11:48: When we want a creative job, it's often because it's something that we think is going to allow us to become our truest selves but also make a living creating economically valuable novelty. It was this thing that allowed people to have it both ways, to see economic and psychological goods as being aligned.Creativity's constellation of concepts03:32: Creativity isn't necessarily a totally new concept. It's a new term that allows us to pull together a constellation of different concepts, connotations, and vibes that allow us to say new things. So in that sense, it is a new concept because it's a new handle. So I think what it does is allow us to name some theoretical attribute that is a human attribute.On individualism versus group work 26:41: The debate in business seemed to be: when you're trying to come up with something new or trying to solve a problem, should you get people together to do it? Or should you send people off on their own to do it? This is a debate that is perennial. It goes on to this day. There are people who have methods that are elaborations of brainstorming, improvements to brainstorming that they swear are good for group work, and I'm sure they do serve their purposes quite well, given the right context. And then there's people who just swear that there's no way to do it. I don't think we'll ever resolve it. I think that it's probably all about context.Changing the way we view creativity47:55: We see creativity as a psychological thing—something that happens in the realm of brain work. And so I think that when we say that we should all be teaching our kids creativity, maybe that could be a good thing. It could result in educational policies that I like. But what it also does is it expects all of those kids to go on and be entrepreneurs and tech people. And I don't necessarily think that's what we should be training our kids from. Not because I want them all to be working in factories, but because I think that's not the role that education should serve.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Joseph SchumpeterWilliam WhiteHarry BravermanScientific management and TaylorismApplied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Thinking by Alex OsbornTorrance Tests of Creative ThinkingAbraham MaslowGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Delft UniversitySamuel W. Franklin on LinkedInSamuel W. Franklin on XHis Work:The Cult of Creativity: A Surprisingly Recent History
1/8/202457 minutes, 10 seconds
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370. Managing Climate Risk feat. Bob Litterman

The financial world has to grapple with the complexities of climate change just like everyone else. Bob Litterman is an esteemed figure in risk management and investment and the author of the book Modern Investment Management: An Equilibrium Approach.Bob and Greg discuss the dawn of quantitative finance and the integration of academic theory into the bustling trading desks of Wall Street. Bob sheds light on the intricate dance between market intuition and the precision of quantitative models, with the pivotal Black-Litterman model's influence on investment decisions. Bob helps peel back the layers of asset allocation conundrums, correlated assets, and financial forecasts. The conversation takes a deep look at the potential of carbon pricing, the inertia in climate policy, and the financial sector's crucial role in a sustainable future, highlighting the nuances of navigating investment strategies amidst these global challenges.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why everybody hates taxes, but love subsidies52:12: Incentives come in all different forms, and the IRA is a bunch of subsidies. People do love, and it is creating a lot of movement and a lot of investment. But, we just can't afford it. Like the subsidy to fossil fuel in the U.S. is an order of magnitude bigger than our piddling subsidies to low-carbon investments. And then you say, "Well, why don't we do more?" It's because who's going to pay for it? Ultimately, it's the taxpayers. And so that's why people don't like taxes. And that's why we can't subsidize our way out of this. We've just got to create the incentives. If you ask people, "Should polluters pay?" You know, it gets an 80% or 90%  approval rating. So, I'm sure we're going to get there. But, it's a tough political hurdle to get over; that's the problem.Risk is covariance with marginal utility21:57: Most people think about risk as volatility…We think of risk as covariance with marginal utility. I've probably lost half the people out there, but it means that money in good times is not as valuable as money in bad times.How can we get the price of carbon tax right?26:41: We don't have good models, and those models have a lot of uncertainty as to what the right parameters are and so on. I think we just have to buy into that and recognize that we aren't going to have the right answer. There is no right answer. And so the uncertainty means you have to err on the side of caution. We have to have a price that's high enough today that we react very strongly, and then we have to respond to new information. We shall see if things are worse than we expect and have to raise that price. The price should be high enough, though, right today, that we expect to solve the problem. And we expect the price to come down as the uncertainty is resolved over time. That's how high it should be, that we expect it to come down over time. Are economists helpful on climate risk?26:28: I remember reading an IPCC report, probably ten years ago, that said economists aren't very helpful on climate. They tell us that the damage from another ton could be anywhere from $2 to $200 a ton. What good is that? The answer is risk management. That's risk. Yes, it could be all over the place. So the right question to ask is, "What does your model say it will be? $100 a ton." The right question is, at what price are you highly confident that we're not going to go off the cliff, run into those tipping points? And that's a different question.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Fischer BlackSalomon BrothersGoldman SachsBlack–Scholes modelBlack-Litterman Model: Definition, Basics, and ExampleCapital asset pricing modelIntergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangePigouvian taxTreasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS)Guest Profile:Wikipedia PageProfile on FIASIWWF ProfileStanford Energy ProfileClimate Central ProfileHis Work:Modern Investment Management: An Equilibrium ApproachCFTC ReportPresidential Report
1/2/202455 minutes, 12 seconds
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369. A New Type of Firm for the Digital Age feat. Karim R. Lakhani

In the 20th century, the multidivisional firm was born. It quickly redefined business strategy and the way our world runs. Now, as the digital age advances and AI continues to become more and more critical to the way industries operate, a new kind of firm is emerging. Karim R. Lakhani is a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and co-founded the Digital, Data, and Design Institute (D^3) at Harvard. His book, co-authored with Marco Iansiti, Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World, looks at the ways corporations have attempted to restructure in the digital age. Karim and Greg discuss what it takes to adapt a business model to the age of AI successfully, some of the missteps companies have made when trying to go digital, and what should be deemed proprietary knowledge when it comes to AI. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Rethinking the multi-divisional model06:02: Over the last hundred years, the multi-divisional firm has enabled this built environment that we live in, right? All the accoutrements of, I'm using such a technical term, accoutrements. All the features of the modern world, what we take for granted: the fact that our plumbing works, our electricity works, our subway systems work, our transportation systems work mostly. But the modern world we live in, the built environment that we live in, has come about because the multi-divisional firm, the firm was established; the multi-divisional firm was established, and we were able to marshal capital, technology, and people to do productive things. And so this is a massive achievement, right? And the shadow of that lives on today. Most of us live in these multi-divisional, siloed firms.Is your organization mirroring your technology?03:21: The mistake that most incumbent companies make—the companies that aren't coming from Silicon Valley or aren't born natively digital—is that they think it's just an add-on. They just think, "We'll just sprinkle this on top, and it'll be business as usual." When, in fact, Conway's Law basically says there's a mirroring hypothesis, right? The structure of the technology mirrors the structure of the organization. And if you're going to have a new architecture for your technology, you need a new architecture for your organization.Is innovation still an afterthought?24:31: Innovation was often an afterthought in most organizations because, once you figure it out, you've stumbled into something good and just milk the heck out of it for a while. And then you were like, okay, let's acquire something else, right? And because the rate of change was very slow, while there were lots of innovation scholars back in the fifties and sixties writing stuff, it wasn't viewed as a core strategic imperative for most organizations.Balancing openness and advantage in the data age51:40: Now that this new tool is available, why would we stop it from being available? But you can imagine the discussions in the dean's offices, the provost's offices, and the board of directors for these presses about, oh my god, all of our knowledge is being stolen. The same dilemma is going to happen inside and outside of companies. And what is your data strategy? What will you select and reveal? What will you keep private? What will give you an advantage or not?Show Links:Recommended Resources:Conway’s LawAlfred ChandlerAlfred SloanThe API Mandate from Jeff Bezos The Digital Mindset: What It Really Takes to Thrive in the Age of Data, Algorithms, and AI by Paul Leonardi and Tsedal NeeleyThe Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary Results by Andrew McAfeeGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard Business School Digital, Data, and Design Institute (D^3)His Work:Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World
12/21/202353 minutes, 12 seconds
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368. Love and Quarrels: The Unseen Sides of Marriage feat. Devorah Baum

Ever wondered why marriage, one of the most common themes in literature, is largely ignored by philosophers? What about the complexities of present-day marriages, with political differences, and even the dynamics of arranged marriages today?Devorah Baum is a Professor of English at the University of Southampton, a filmmaker, and the author of several books. Her latest book is called, On Marriage. Devorah and Greg discuss the insights of philosophers like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche who saw marriage as an obstacle to philosophy. They also examine the post-nuptial life depicted in Beckett's works and the story of Scheherazade in A Thousand and One Nights. Greg asks Devorah about romcoms, the role of parenthood in marriage, and the rise of pornography. This episode promises a wealth of insights into the institution of marriage. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The hidden economics of marriage19:31: Marriage is about marshaling a certain kind of resources. It's about orderly inheritance. It's about making sure that what the state would have to pay for, like the labor of social reproduction, is made private, brought indoors, and a lot of care work that goes on there, and so on. And then you overlay that with the language of love, altruism, and duty in the family, and you get away with stuff. So we can see that these are the conditions that have allowed. The private life of the marriage to keep the state or society well-oiled and running without having to pay some people or even recognize their labor because it's what they want to do naturally, and so on, and that's love.One of the great malaises of contemporary culture is self-righteousness48:13: One of the great malaises — I would even say diseases — of contemporary culture is a culture of self-righteousness, of people feeling that they have to be right all the time and about everything. And I think there's no pleasure in it. They can be reminded by these cultural productions that being in relationships with others isn't about being right all the time. In fact, you can't be, and just to be in perpetual agreement with the people you hang out with isn't to be in any relationship at all.Why do our romances imagine two against the world?07:31: Our dream and our great romance of love is Romeo and Juliet, whose love affair is incompatible with a sanctioned, approved marriage. They marry, but the world doesn't approve of their marriage. And so they die, as though that marriage has no future, that love. And so I think something about our idea and our dream of love is distrustful of marriage because marriage, to be successful and to be sustained, is the sort of third. The world says, "Yes, you two can be together. We can get along with you." The world gives its blessing to the couple and says, "Yeah, we can work with you." So, something about that pollutes the ideal purity that the lovers imagine they have with each other, sort of two against the world. And that is our vision of romance.Why are conflicts sometimes beneficial to marriage?40:41: In the romantic mythos, we have this idea, this dream of marriage where you can be opposite, and you can make peace with your differences. Sort of, the conclusion of a romantic comedy, ideally, or the kind of romantic comedies I have, is not one where there was a master-slave sort of battle going on, and then eventually one triumphed, and the other one said, "No, you were right all along, and I was wrong all along." What makes it feel romantic and alluring is that we imagine the argument continuing after the wedding, too, because we saw how much pleasure it brought them beforehand. So you can make peace with your differences, which isn't a piece that doesn't have conflict in it, but it's a piece in which the conflict can be not only endured but to some extent enjoyed and is a source of respect and mutual education and, indeed, edification.Show Links:Recommended Resources:One Thousand and One NightsHappy Days (play)Exhibition (film)Norman RushGiambattista VicoEmmanuel LevinasJavier MaríasStanley CavellWesley Morris“Marriage is like a cage…”Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of SouthamptonHer Work:Amazon Author PageOn MarriageFeeling Jewish: (A Book for Just About Anyone)The Jewish Joke: A Short History-with PunchlinesIMDB ProfileHusbandThe New Man
12/18/202349 minutes, 32 seconds
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367. The Neuroscience of Social Connection feat. Amy Banks

Despite our culture of rugged individualism, it’s widely accepted among psychologists today that we need social connections to thrive. And neuroscience may be the key to understanding how relationships impact us on a physiological level.Amy Banks is the founding scholar at the International Center for Growth in Connection. Her book, Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships, delves into the neuroscience of social connections and provides a toolkit for bettering the relationships in our lives. Amy and Greg discuss why connection is fundamental to humans, Amy’s brain pathway acronym CARE, and how to repair relationships in your life so that they are more fulfilling.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is there something that we can do to make people less anxiety inducing?17:19: In a relationship that ranks pretty low on the Calm scale, it could be you, it could be them, and it could be some confluence of both of you. But what's important is having a snapshot of that. If it is the relationship actually that doesn't feel supportive, safe, where there's not a lot of mutuality, where there's not a lot of listening in addition to talking, when it doesn't have those qualities, then in order for your health and well-being to thrive, if you will, you got to have some other people. You got to have some other people to offset it, you know, we're heading into the holidays, and it often happens around families, right? Where you might be demanded or need to be someplace with people that maybe necessarily aren't on the same wavelength that you are, right? How can you assess the emotions you make others feel?13:28: When do we ever ask people, 'How do I make you feel?' That actually would be a really fruitful conversation to have with a friend or relative. Or, 'You look anxious. Do I make you anxious? Is there something I do that makes you anxious?' We don't have those kinds of relational conversations.Where did we ever get the notion that relationships were secondary? 02:54: Our entire culture was built on this notion of separation, individuation, stand on your own two feet, and we have such a robust history, literally, politically, and psychologically, developmentally, of believing that to be the case. We've created an economic system around capitalism. That's all about competition and the survival of the fittest. There's so much that's still Darwinian in the way that we think human beings work.The untapped potential of marginal relationships40:41: There are a lot of marginal relationships where, once you begin to understand what the qualities of a healthy relationship are, you can begin to try to have conversations that point in that direction and see who's open to trying to interact differently. There's a lot that you can do with marginal relationships that is really more out of social ignorance, not being taught, and not malevolence when I talk to people about this. And when I do my teachings, people by and large are just relieved to hear this news about relationships, and it gives them some guideposts to begin to think about how they might try to shift, change, or grow the relationships that maybe aren't as satisfying as they would like them to be.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Jean Baker MillerStephen PorgesBrain Lock, Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Jeffrey M. SchwartzGuest Profile:The International Center for Growth in ConnectionProfessional WebsiteHer Work:Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy RelationshipsFighting Time
12/14/202355 minutes, 9 seconds
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366. Dissecting Workplace Friction: A Deep Dive feat. Robert Sutton

Why does there seem to be such a struggle to get things done in some organizations? How can you unlock the mystery behind the persistence of bad management practices? What is the problem of inaction, and how are workplaces impacted by the human tendency to add rather than subtract?Robert Sutton is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the author and co-author of several books, including his latest book, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt, and his upcoming book The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder.Bob and Greg discuss practical examples of organizational friction, examining the story of Larry Page and Google, observing the transformative leadership of Satya Nadella at Microsoft, and even sharing his personal triumphs and trials. Greg questions the place of assholes in positions of power and the impact they have on organizations. Bob talks about time management and its crucial role in the daily operations of organizations, sharing stories from companies that have triumphed and those who stumbled. They also discuss the potential of AI and textual analysis in identifying bottlenecks within a company. Tune in, learn, and transform your workplace.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What are the factors that contribute to an individual being considered a workplace jerk?21:58: So, what are some of the characteristics that lead people to turn into jerks? One is being in a hurry. The pressure to rush, rush, rush, even when it doesn't make any sense in many organizations, has increased, or at least stayed the same. Another one is sleep deprivation. I mean, if people are exhausted, they're tired. It's not like those things have gone away. And then the other thing that happens, in the other problem with assholeness is, and these are all things that can be produced in the lab easily, and it’s very contagious. Negative behaviors are more contagious than positive behaviors. And, by the way, when there are power differences in organizations, when people are powerful, objectively powerful, or feel powerful, they focus more on their own needs. They focus less on the needs of others, and they act like the rules don't apply to them.Does being a jerk help you get ahead?13:28:  On the whole, we can have some arguments about when being a jerk helps you get ahead. And it depends on the game: old Microsoft versus new Microsoft. I think that the jerks get ahead in the old system, but not in the new system. But when you're working for somebody like that, there's just no evidence that it helps the underlings or yelling at customers, except in some, maybe very rare, situations.Generalists vs. specialists51:43: Everybody doesn't have to be a generalist. You just need enough generalists to glue the thing together. And actually, great specialists are absolutely fabulous, as long as there's somebody there who understands how the system fits together. So I'm not completely opposed to specialists who don't care about anybody else. I just want them to be in a system that glues their behavior together.Does gossip have a function in an organization?55:11: Gossip actually has a function in an organization, and the function is that it brings out information that is not captured by formal systems and being in touch as a leader with the gossipers. It's Scuttlebutt. And, so one of the CEOs I know said what she used to always do—that she did somebody who did very well getting ahead in situations where women didn't always get ahead—was try to make friends with the people who were known gossips and complainers. She said it for two reasons. One, they tend to give you the negative information first, and the second one was a little bit more, maybe insidious, she said. Well, if you could give that person a different perspective that everything didn't suck that sometimes you could actually even change the gossip in the system.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Satya NadellaEdwin CatmullLarry PageDeborah H. GruenfeldDacher KeltnerTodd ParkMelissa ValentinePaul S. AdlerAmy EdmondsonGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford GSBProfessional Profile at StanfordBob Sutton's WebsiteBob Sutton on LinkedInThe Friction PodcastHis Work:The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things HarderThe Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like DirtGood Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the WorstThe No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn'tWeird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative CompanyScaling Up ExcellenceHard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based ManagementThe Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
12/11/20231 hour, 41 seconds
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365. The In’s and Out’s of Organizational Economics feat. John Roberts

Management oftentimes can be a difficult and precise artform. How does leadership at a company decide how the organization should be structured? What divisions should be created? And how will the inevitable problems that arise be handled? John Roberts, a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor, is one of the leading thinkers on organizational economics and has written numerous books on the subject like The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth. John and Greg discuss how the discipline of organizational economics came to be, why some organizational structures are more effective than others, and why the transmission of knowledge from academic to management can be tricky. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is it essential for leaders to step back from the daily grind and adopt a broader perspective to effectively formulate strategy?38:43: Opportunities for senior managers to get away from things for a while are important and underdeveloped. My guess is that classroom education isn't the right way because the tendency is to prepare for the class. You've got more time than usual, but you don't really have a chance to sit back. But it might be an element of it. So, some combination of small group class activities where there are a bunch of your peers, and you're talking about big ideas, coaching where you have somebody who asks good questions.Is culture the most important thing in an organization?13:56: I've come to the position that probably the most important thing in an organization is the culture...If you have a strong culture that really determines the way people think, the way people interact, what things they'll do and what things they won't do, what they'll put up with, how much they focus on today versus tomorrow, and a whole range of things, that can be much more important than the formal architecture or the established routines.Differentiating information and communication technology29:16: People didn't see communication technology and information technology as separate things. They just saw them as the internet. One of them encourages centralization. The other encourages decentralization. But that was a big part of what was going on—that we weren't asking the right questions. We were just talking about technology. We weren't talking about the specific technologies that were involved.Navigating the complexities of decentralized decision-making in a dynamic Environment21:04: You can't run a centralized, top-down, hierarchic organization of any size. Even if the technology weren't changing on you, the environment is changing on you. Even with the best communication technology and the best information technology, you can't get the information from here to here. So you have to make a lot of decisions within the bowels of the business. And that means you have to make sure that the system is set up so that these decisions here are compatible with the other guy's making. That's a delicate thing to do. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Ronald CoaseJohn Browne of BP“Why Do Management Practices Differ across Firms and Countries?” by Nicholas Bloom and John Van ReenenOliver E. Williamson“Does Management Matter? Evidence from India” by Nicholas Bloom, Benn Eifert, Aprajit Mahajan, David McKenzie & John RobertsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford UniversityHis Work:Economics, Organization and ManagementThe Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth
12/7/202346 minutes, 21 seconds
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364. Innovation at the Crossroads of Medicine and Economics feat. Anupam B. Jena

How can economics shape our understanding of healthcare? How can cognitive biases lead even seasoned doctors into harmful errors, and what potential does machine learning have to mitigate these mistakes? Anupam B. (Bapu) Jena is a professor of Health Care Policy and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Associate Physician in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, host of the Freakonomics M.D. podcast, and the author of the book Random Acts of Medicine: The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our Health. He has an MD in medicine and a PhD in economics. Bapu and Greg discuss the impact of timing on healthcare. From the intriguing effect of birthdate on ADHD diagnosis and how patient outcomes in medical care correlate to how recently a physician was in residency to the puzzling improvement of cardiology patient outcomes when there are fewer cardiologists present. They discuss the lessons learned from Covid through both medical and economic lenses and why the effectiveness trajectory of surgeons differs from that of other physicians. This is a fascinating dive into the data side of medicine, with several surprising takeaways for any listener.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the intersection between medicine and behavioral economics25:30: One of the things that I've thought about the intersection of behavioral economics and medicine is that it may not be surprising that the types of things that behavioral economists will often study show what they do, right? Because when the stakes are not high, it's not hard to sort of rely on that autonomous part of your brain that tells you that someone who's 40 is different than someone who's 39. Why does it matter? You go to the grocery store, something $7.99 versus $8, and yes, you're more likely to buy it when it's $7.99 versus $8. But you wouldn't think that if that applied to life-saving chemotherapy, you'd be more likely to buy the chemotherapy that's $7,999 versus $8,000. You would think, wow, life-saving chemotherapy. I'm going to figure out which therapy I need. I'm not just going to let a mind trick or heuristic move me in one way or the other.What do we need to do in order to do medicine better?47:20: What you really want to train doctors to do is be able to create differential diagnoses, like clinically problem solve, and understand that when things aren't lining up the way they should, to know that they need to search further to figure out the answer. In that aspect of problem solving, I think economists do very well because the nature is, the work is different in that respect in medicine; I think we rely too much on pattern recognition to sort of help us understand answers to questions. And there's like a reasoning that is sometimes not taught.Do we demand too much from our doctors?28:48: It's easy to miss things, right? And it's easy to not realize what's the big thing that you need to be looking for versus the small thing. And you get that with experience. I think with experience, you do better there, but it's certainly the case that even with experienced doctors, they still miss things, and I think that's where computers can be really helpful. They can be in the background, as they see. The data that is generated on a daily basis for a person, seeing what the past medical history of that person is, seeing the trajectory of all of those things, like how are the labs looking over time, what is the imaging looking like over time, what are the nurses' notes saying about delirium or agitation, are there more mentions of that as we're going on? A computer could see all that information and put it together in a way that a human being might not be able to. And at the very minimum, I think it could offer us some good insights that can help us consider things that we weren't considering.On the origins of Anupam's study18:21: It was another data point to tell people that sometimes less is more, but what I think it did more of, and probably what most of my studies do more of, instead of moving the needle in terms of one specific clinical practice, is just getting the medical world more in tune with these ideas of natural experiments and trying to just be a little bit more curious and innovative when we come up with approaches to studying questions because a lot of what we study in medicine is critically important. I mean, it matters for our health; sometimes it matters for life and death. We have the ability to do randomized trials, and those are great, but sometimes we can't do them, or we don't do them. And we can't phone it in for those other types of analyses. We've got to be as curious, as intellectual, and as creative as we can be to try to figure out the right answer.Show Links:Recommended Resources:David O. MeltzerDevelopment economicsRandomized controlled trialWhen the Doctor’s AwayThe COURAGE TrialDaniel KahnemanAmos TverskyLeft Digit BiasMarcus Welby, M.D.The Norwegian breast cancer screening programGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard Medical SchoolAnupam B. Jena Profile on Analysis GroupAnupam B. Jena on TwitterHis Work:Anupam B. Jena Amazon Author PageRandom Acts of Medicine: The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our HealthFreakonomics M.D. PodcastGoogle Scholar PageArticles on National Bureau of Economic ResearchArticles on HealthAffairs.orgAnupam B. Jena Substack
12/4/20231 hour, 1 minute, 14 seconds
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363. The Transformative Power of Design feat. Vijay Kumar

Far from just making things pretty, design has become an essential part of strategy and now has a dynamic role in organizations. It’s not just about design; it's about the transformative power of design.Vijay Kumar is Charles Owen Endowed Chair and Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also the author of 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization, a comprehensive toolbox that equips you with the understanding and tools to tackle your projects with a design mindset.Vijay and Greg dive into the complexities of design education, blending intuitive, collaborative, and scientific techniques, and how systems thinking is an absolute must-have for success. Vijay brings to light how top-down leadership, when married with bottom-up innovation champions, can shift mindsets towards innovation.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The levels of impact of innovation 14:04:  In my work, I think of these impacts in organizations at three levels: creating awareness, which is creating the basic awareness about how innovation happens, and looking at some examples and looking at successes and failures is good, that awareness gives you some basics to start your journey. But the next level is experience, awareness alone is not enough for you to practice. The experience level is: can we give people some experience, a hands-on experience? [15:27] Now, the next level is creating competence. Like creating competence, you have to go into a deeper level of understanding of all these methods, and it is a multi-year or perpetual activity that you need to engage and to absorb the competence of innovation methods and tools to make new things happen.Rethinking design innovation in a world of minimalism12:48: The idea of design innovation, on a minimalistic level, loses its richness; it loses the essence of the power of design. The simplification is that the whiteboards, post-it notes, and a one-day workshop. But the fact and the impact are so minimal in my understanding.How can we encourage innovative thinking?09:19: The executives or the leaders who have bought into the idea of the importance of innovation can make a big difference in influencing their team and the other folks working in the organization by constantly giving examples or demonstrations or talking about the impact the design of the innovation could have on the company's offerings. That's one direction—the top-down direction of influence.How do we foster ownership?29:08: Ownership of people's actions takes place when they first-hand experience the value of something. So the engineers that are doing research on the field suddenly become part of the field, doing interviews, talking to customers, and getting insights. So, they take ownership of that process by immersing themselves in that context. So ownership is a big part of my belief that, in order to give ownership, you have to make people participate in these diverse types of activities.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Larry KeeleyHuman-Centered DesignJames G. MarchCutting Cubes Out of FogChristopher AlexanderCharles Owen LinkedInAlfred P. SloanSix SigmaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Illinois Institute of TechnologyVjiay Kumar on LinkedIn101 Design Methods WebsiteHis Work:101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your OrganizationGoogle Scholar PageResearchGate Page
12/1/202352 minutes, 50 seconds
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362. The Power of Our Senses: Insights from the Animal Kingdom feat. Ashley Ward

How do human senses compare to those of animals? In what ways are they similar, how are they different, and how do they help us make sense of the world?Ashley Ward is a Professor of Animal Behavior at the University of Sydney, Australia, and also the author of several books about animal behavior. His latest book is titled Where We Meet the World: The Story of the Senses.Ashley and Greg discuss the complex labyrinth of sensory perceptions, illuminating how vision, taste, and smell can shape our understanding of the world. Ashley dissects the extraordinary ways animals and plants detect threats and communicate, the surprising power of smell in social insect communication, and interesting theories about the evolution of human behaviors like kissing and hand-shaking. They dive into animal behavior and group decision-making, including swarm intelligence and the dynamics of animal hierarchies in this fascinating exploration of animal behavior and sensory experiences.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Can we train ourselves to smell fear and excitement?08:53: So, there's a huge value to interacting directly with other people, and an awful lot of cues are provided that go beyond the visual and hearing when we communicate by language. As to whether we can smell fear and excitement, the evidence suggests that we do produce different chemicals when we are in an aroused emotional state, such as when we're terrified by something or when we're thrilled about something. And those kinds of subtle cues can be collected by other animals. Dogs are an obvious example. And we might think that we're simply not capable of this. Our sense of smell, let's say, is not sophisticated enough to pick it up, but it does vary enormously from person to person. And there are people who have such an exquisite sense of smell that they can start to pick up these cues.Information is a vital currency to animals47:20: Information is a vital currency for all animals, and by pooling that information in whichever way, they can develop much, much better strategies. That applies to humans: If we're trying to make excellent decisions, then the best way to do that is to take a broad view of the information that's out there. Now, there are two ways of getting that information. You can either go out there and collect it all yourself, which is incredibly time-consuming. Often, in many cases, totally impossible, or you can use social information, which is readily available and relatively cheap, and as long as you get enough of it, it's very accurate. This is what the animals are doing. Decoding scents38:51: Our perception—our sensation of smell—is produced by a mosaic of different activations in the receptors. We have 400 different smell receptors, and each smell is a composite of different activation patterns. Receptor numbers 189, 157, and 14 might all be activated, giving you the smell of a tangerine. But if it's not 14, 15, then maybe that's a lemon or something. And that's the difficulty. There are so many different permutations of inputs that go into each smell. There's a very difficult matter to untangle that and find the exact right receptor activation pattern which corresponds to each different smell.Taste complexity across species43:30: The pattern is that the more carnivorous an animal is, the fewer the different kinds of tastes, the less sensitive its sense of taste is, and the more herbivorous an animal is, conversely. The more complex and sophisticated their sense of taste is. So cows have a much better sense of taste than we do. We sit somewhere in the middle. We have approximately the same complexity in our sense of taste as a pig does. We're more complex than cats and dogs. We're less complex than rabbits and cows.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Movie Theaters Smell Like People’s FeelingsHand Shaking and SmellQuorum Decision-Making in Foraging Fish ShoalsConvoy battles of World War IIJack the Railway BaboonAssateague IslandBayesian inferenceSynesthesiaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at The University of SydneyAshley Ward's WebsiteAshley Ward on LinkedInAshley Ward on XHis Work:Where We Meet the World: The Story of the SensesThe Social Lives of AnimalsQuestions and Answers on Saltwater Aquarium Fishes: Understanding Behavior for Successful FishkeepingQuestions and Answers on Freshwater Aquarium Fishes: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Raise HealthyGoogle Scholar ArticlesResearchGate Articles
11/29/202348 minutes, 13 seconds
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361. Understanding Allergies and Immune Responses feat. Theresa MacPhail

Ever wondered why allergies seem to be on the rise? How about the intriguing link between the industrial revolution and our own immune responses?Theresa MacPhail is an Associate Professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, a medical anthropologist, and author of several books. Her latest is called Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing World.Theresa and Greg discuss the history of allergy research, the evolution of anaphylaxis, and the astounding revelations from her book, Allergic. Theresa talks with Greg about food labeling laws and the spike in pollen counts due to climate change. She also provides fascinating perspectives on how exposure to new pollutants, changing diets, and the advent of antibiotics have potentially disrupted our immune system's natural functioning. They dive into the importance of early investment in understanding conditions like asthma, food allergies, and eczema, alongside the potential dangers of overusing antibiotics. They also discuss what smarter societal immune responses would look like in preparation for future pandemics. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The Importance of early adrenaline intervention in anaphylaxis13:59: What adrenaline does is it stops that histamine process. So the earlier you get a shot of adrenaline, the better your survival rates, which a lot of people don't know. It takes only 30 minutes for somebody to go from perfectly fine to dead on arrival at the hospital if you don't intervene in some way. And they have a serious anaphylactic response. So time is of the essence, and doing everything you possibly can, which is something I've been talking a lot about when I'm talking about the book because that's something that's easy for people to know and can make a big difference just in the interim while we're trying to figure out the larger problem of can we help our immune systems adjust to this modern world that we're living in, that clearly our immune systems are not thrilled about.Debunking the germ theory47:20: We take it for granted that everything's bad—bacteria and viruses are bad. And it turns out that not really; some of those bacteria and some of those viruses are actually helpful, and we need them to function appropriately.On training our immune system28:38: Our immune systems need this training by age three. So, before around age three, our immune systems get set in their ways. And before that, they're pretty malleable, so they can be exposed to tiny amounts of things and learn to cope with it fairly well. But then, if you get massive changes after that, which is why you move from one coast to the other, through your immune system, because it was trained on the stuff that was around you when you were growing up. And then, if you transport yourself to a new area thousands of miles away, your body has to, in essence, decide about new things with a mature immune system that isn't as flexible.Can we develop an allergy later in life?30:347: The orthodoxy of immunology was that you couldn't develop an allergy later in life. And that has been turned on its head. So if you look at most of the modern research, there is an adult-onset food allergy. There just is. There are adult-onset, other types, and forms of allergy. And what you always had genetically was the predisposition.Show Links:Recommended Resources:AnaphylaxisHistamineFertile Crescent RegionVenomous AnimalsAlpha-gal AllergyAtopyAdult Onset AllergiesIGE AntibodyGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stevens Institute of TechnologySpeaker’s Profile on Penguin Random House Speakers BureauTheresa MacPhail's WebsiteTheresa MacPhail on LinkedInTheresa MacPhail  on TwitterHer Work:Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing WorldThe Viral Network: A Pathography of the H1N1 Influenza PandemicThe Eye of the VirusGoogle Scholar PageArticles on NoemaArticles on The Guardian
11/27/20231 hour, 1 minute, 21 seconds
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360. Measuring Labor Productivity feat. Robert J. Gordon

How do you measure the true productivity of a country’s economy? What gets missed if the only metric being examined is the GDP? Robert J. Gordon is a professor of social sciences and economics at Northwestern University. His work focuses on the history of labor and capital productivity and has written numerous books, including, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War. Robert and Greg discuss why the GDP doesn’t give a full picture of a country’s economic growth and productivity, why the years between 1929 and 1950 saw the most rapid growth, and whether or not we’ll see another growth spurt in the age of AI. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is our productivity running low?37:46:  If we compare the forecasts of productivity growth that are baked into the government's budget forecasts and economic forecasts, our productivity over the last nearly 20 years has been running somewhat slower than they're assuming for the future. So, there's room for productivity growth to improve by a substantial amount without really changing the overall outlook for this enormous increase in public debt. That is going to go together with higher interest rates and severely impede the ability of future governments to finance Medicare, Social Security, and the general operations of government.Understanding the US productivity growth09:39: The fact is that the economy was producing well under its capacity in the 1930s, and it's a black box to figure out how much the economy was capable of. But we were producing at full capacity in 1929, and we certainly were in 1948, and so the growth rate between those two years was by far the most rapid that we have had.On measuring total factor productivity09:19: One of the fuzzy dividing lines in measuring total factor productivity is how much of the innovation is attributed to the capital and treated as an increase in the quantity of the capital, thus diminishing that ratio I just expressed. And how much of it comes out as the difference between output and input growth, and that dividing line is somewhat the quality of capital.ChatGPT and the potential job losses for future productivity gains32:34: To interpret ChatGPT and the potential for job losses for future productivity gains, it helps to break down the economy into three groups of workers. One group produces goods in mines, in farms, in factories, and they're producing objects with other objects. They're not involved in creating textual or visual material. So, the impact in the goods sector is going to be fairly minor, certainly compared to the development of automation. Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible! by Otto BettmannAlexander J. Field’s workOpportunity Insights group at HarvardGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Northwestern UniversityProfessional Profile on National Bureau of Economic ResearchSpeaker’s Profile on TEDTalkRobert J. Gordon's WebsiteRobert J. Gordon on LinkedInHis Work:The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War
11/22/202349 minutes, 2 seconds
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359. Debt, Forgiveness and the Nature of the Corporation feat. David Skeel

In ancient times, debtors were treated with severe punishment, even sometimes being dismembered. So when did things start to shift towards debt forgiveness leading up to the modern-day concept of filing for bankruptcy?David Skeel is the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He’s the author of several books that look at the history of corporate law, debt, and bankruptcy, including Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From and Debt's Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America. He and Greg discuss the origins of debt forgiveness in the world, how Christianity and the Bible played a role in that shift, and the proper amount of risk corporate leaders should take. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:A biblical perspective on debt and bankruptcy17:40:  There's a verse in the Old Testament that says you cannot take as collateral a debtor's millstone. And the idea there is that is the tool of the trade. There's another verse that says if you take the debtor's cloak as collateral, you've got to give it back at the end of the day. The idea being that the debtor's going to need that to keep warm. Even going back thousands of years, a sense that there needs to be a balancing. You need to make it possible for creditors to get repaid, but you also need to be aware of the humanity of the debtor and the needs of the debtor.Debt is like sex and fire09:28: Debt is like sex and fire; both of them were important in the ancient world and are important now, but they also have some dangerous downsides if they're misused. And that's the picture you get of debt: that people need debt is inevitable, but it's easy for people to get in over their heads, and there needs to be a way to deal with that possibility.How do you respond to risk-taking?29:43: One simple response to the risk-taking concern is to be mindful of regulations that create bad incentives in that respect, such as tax rules. And also, things like disclosure can make a difference.Sometimes lots of failures is an indication of a good economy or a good system, not a bad one23:32: There is empirical evidence that shows that in countries where you have a more generous bankruptcy system and more generous availability of a fresh start, you do get more entrepreneurship. There is a direct relationship between the two, but risk-taking can sometimes be problematic.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Republic of Debtors: Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence by Bruce MannThomas H. JacksonBankruptcy Reform Act of 1978Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of PennsylvaniaDavid Skeel on XHis Work:Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From (Law and Current Events Masters)The New Financial DealDebt's Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in AmericaTrue Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World 
11/20/202357 minutes, 2 seconds
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358. The Art of Venture Capital feat. Sebastian Mallaby

How much does venture capital actually have to do with finance? It turns out, not that much. Rather, venture capital has more to do with psychology, network theory, and organizational dynamics. Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He’s written numerous books, including The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future and More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite. He and Greg discuss how venture capital can be a form of finance without much finance, why governance plays such an important role in successful venture capital, and why other places have found it difficult to replicate the Silicon Valley model. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Embeddedness is essential for startup success 45:09: Most of the good GPs I wrote about in my book either had an engineering degree or some other skill which would add value to the portfolio company, maybe be an expert in go-to-market strategies. Secondly, they know something about business and finance; perhaps they have a business degree. Thirdly, they may have started a startup or been an early employee in a startup. So that experience from the inside of being an entrepreneur, and you don't need maybe all three of those things, but you probably might need two. That's the obvious thing. The less obvious thing is that You need to be what I call embedded. You need to be in a network which is going to be generating startup founders, and you need to have standing in that network. You need to have thought leadership such that the founders that emerge from this network are going to want to come to you for money because they're also going to want you as their advisor, and that embeddedness is super important.What VCs are looking for04:00: Credibility, storytelling, embeddedness in the network, a sense of vision, a sense of passion, and commitment from the founding team. These are what the Venture Capitalists are looking for.Is there any chance we could create a more factory-like system for identifying good investments and good founders and investing in them?41:42: I think fundamentally the things that AI will not cannibalize are things where human-to-human contact is super important, and that is true of venture investing because it is about a venture capitalist, a human being, meeting a startup entrepreneur. They have to agree that they're going to be partners together and that this is going to be something you can't exit very easily, and you're probably going to be meshed together if it goes well.Behavioral dynamics23:28: Behavioral dynamics are super interesting when you think about the question of whether solo venture capitalists—whether that's a good model—became fashionable in the last three, four, or five years. I think partly a function of the bull market leading up to 2021 because it was relatively easy to raise capital. If you had some decent claim to be embedded in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, you could go out as an individual and raise some money, and why not do it by yourself? But I think that when you're trying to make slippery judgments on early-stage ventures, which have no quantitative guidelines, as I began by saying, all you have is the ability to test your human judgment on a smart partner who will push back against you and say if they disagree. So I think the dynamics within venture companies like that Monday morning meeting when you decide what to invest in, you've got six or seven partners around the table. That's super important.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Ronald CoaseRegional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 by AnnaLee SaxenianSequoia CapitalKleiner PerkinsGuest Profile:Professional Profile for Council on Foreign Relations His Work:The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New FutureMore Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite The World's Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations
11/17/202356 minutes, 24 seconds
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357. The Science of Successful Project Planning feat. Bent Flyvbjerg

Why are only 8.5% of large projects completed on time and within budget? No matter what type of project you're involved in, whether it's home renovations or space exploration, this conversation promises a wealth of knowledge and insights.Bent Flyvbjerg is a professor at both Oxford University and the IT University of Copenhagen. He is also the author of several works, and his latest book is How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything In Between.Bent and Greg delve into the influence of strategic misrepresentation on project outcomes and the often-overlooked power dynamics within organizations that wield considerable influence over a project's fate. They discuss fascinating case studies from the Sydney Opera House, Pixar's blockbusters, and Amazon's product development approach.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The more you allow your brain to work, the more biases you're going to have10:49: The more you allow your brain to work, the more biases you're going to have. If you're allowing your brain to work in this manner where it's trying to figure out things for this specific project, if you allow your brain to work in collecting data on similar projects, where it's an empirical fact that these data had the performance that they did and now you use this empirical fact as your base rates for what you're doing, then you're doing the right thing. Then you're thinking the right way. But if you're thinking the conventional way, where you're trying to understand things inside out, you understand your product from the inside without taking other projects into account that's when you open the doors for all these cognitive biases that we have—because you have to make everything up.11:31: The mind is very good at making things up, and that's what you have to be careful about when you are working on big investment decisions.The need for courses in power and politics 56:59: If you're working on anything big, you are going to be in an organization, even a small organization. There's power. Wherever people are gathering, there will be power issues. And if you haven't been trained in how to deal with them, I don't know how you can be effective in a power environment.Why is uniqueness bias dangerous? 09:40: Uniqueness bias is a pretty mean bias in the sense that it makes us ignore reality. If you think my project is unique, you have no reason to look at other projects and go out and search for knowledge about what happened in other projects because it's irrelevant per definition, as you think your project is unique, right? And that's really dangerous.On rationality and power54:25: I think that it's less legitimate to talk about power than it is to talk about rationality. So it's much easier. And, by the way, on a lot of the project types that we are talking about, including IT projects, there's a large dose of engineers, and of course, engineers are trained in rationality, talking about rationality, and making their projects rational. But on the big projects, engineers are actually working in political organizations. And again, whether they are private businesses or public government, there's politics in both kinds of organizations. And that means that there's pressure to do things in certain ways.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Cass SunsteinPlanning fallacyOptimism biasFalse-uniqueness effectFat-tailed distributionSkewnessKurtosisNassim Nicholas TalebDaniel KahnemanMandelbrot setSydney Opera HouseGuggenheim Museum BilbaoFrank GehryPixarSarbanes–Oxley ActAlbert O. HirschmanJørn UtzonAndrew WolstenholmeGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at OxfordBent Flyvbjerg on XBent Flyvbjerg on LinkedInHis Work:How Big Things Get DoneRationality and PowerThe Oxford Handbook of Megaproject ManagementMegaproject Planning and ManagementReal Social Science: Applied PhronesisPublic Sociology: Proceedings of the Anniversary ConferenceDecision-Making On Mega-Projects: Cost-Benefit Analysis, Planning and InnovationMegaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of AmbitionMaking Social Science MatterGoogle Scholar PageMedium Articles
11/15/202357 minutes, 11 seconds
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356. Epicureanism and Its Modern Relevance feat. Emily Austin

In this episode, we unravel the misunderstood philosophy of Epicureanism. Don't be fooled by common misconceptions - Epicureanism isn't just about hedonism. It's about a balanced pursuit of tranquility, ataraxia, and the good life.Emily Austin is a Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and the author of Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life. Emily and Greg compare and contrast Stoicism and Epicureanism, two philosophies with differing views on virtue and happiness. Discover why modern Stoicism has drifted from its ancient foundations and how the life of Seneca may have twisted his philosophy. Emily and Greg also break down the significance of shared meals in Epicurean tradition, discussing the peculiar competition around extravagance and the possible elitism attached to it. They also discuss Epicurus' methods to mitigate the fear of death and the complexities of living unnoticed in our modern, hyper-connected world.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Allegiances are central to friendship32:37: As an adult, it's fascinating, right? When somebody starts to have some success, people basically almost pretend they don't know you. Will be like, “Hey, let's go out for a drink,” right? But given the finite amount of time and energy we have, you go out for a drink with that person, and you're neglecting a friend who's been trustworthy. And so you can start seeing some of this sort of shifting allegiances, even in adulthood. It's fascinating. So, those are the things that I think for Epicurus are central to friendship. But then once you have those things, you enjoy all these extravagances together, and those friends are there for you during times of need, and you have all these wonderful memories with them. Even when you find yourself dying, you don't feel like you're going to be abandoned.What sets Stoics and Epicureans apart?18:10: One of the big differences between the Stoics and the Epicureans is that the Epicureans avoid politics. And the Stoics think it's a demonstration of your masculinity, and your excellence to participate in politics.Friends don’t make friends anxious30:16: There is this kind of view about extravagances, and this way that we internalize kinds of status pulls us away from having meaningful relationships. It produces anxiety to see your friends, right? And then, I think that it is true for Epicurus too, like just in the general sense that friends don't make friends anxious. As I have it in the book, the two most important things for having a good friend are trust and a shared sense of fundamental values.Epicurus thoughts on desire24:13: One feature of a desire like that is that it's never satisfied because there's always more. And Epicurus thinks tranquility is a kind of satisfaction. It's being satisfied with having what you need. So if you have these desires, he thinks you're always going to be dissatisfied. Then they're competitive, so you're going to alienate people, and if you care a lot about them, then you're going to commit injustice, and that's going to cause anxiety. Or you'll become like a lackey or a bully to get them more, and that will again cause anxiety and alienate you. And so he thinks you should cut those out entirely. So necessary ones, get them, focus on them, their priorities, and then pursue the extravagances as they come along, and often those will be the most memorable experiences of your life. So, for various reasons, including the role of memory and his coping with misfortune, he wants you to pursue them the right way.Show Links:Recommended Resources:EpicureanismLucretiusHedonismAtaraxiaHedonic treadmillHyperbolic discountingStoicismSeneca the YoungerNeroLonesome DoveWakeAthenaeusGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Wake ForestProfessional Portrait by Wake ForestHer Work:Amazon Author PageLiving for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life
11/13/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 40 seconds
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355. Crowdsourcing Strategy Through Openness feat. Christian Stadler

Strategic Insights are everywhere, but they often go unnoticed by leaders. How can leaders of organizations harness the ideas around them by opening up their strategic planning process?Christian Stadler is a Professor of Strategic Management at the Warwick Business School and the author of the books Open Strategy: Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-Suite (Management on the Cutting Edge), Enduring Success: What We Can Learn from the History of Outstanding Corporations, and the German book Krieg. Christian and Greg discuss the challenges of idea generation in established companies and champion mid-sized businesses for their ability to introduce fresh perspectives. Christian explains Open Strategy: promoting a culture of openness, reshuffling within an organization, and creating unexpected connections, all geared towards fostering an environment that thrives on change. They also take a look at how academia and organizations can build open environments that encourage lifelong learning and innovation.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How much of our business idea should we share with other people?30:38: You can control what you share and what you do not share when you open up, and try to get input from people. If it comes to that lot of details of formulating a strategy, then you probably have to reveal more. But for this, you can have a much more controlled setting where you bring people in who sign non-disclosure agreements, and then it's much more similar to what the consultant typically would do in this space. So here, you can contain that. If you talk about idea generation, you don't need to tell people much in order to get their ideas, and you don't need to share that much afterwards what you do with that information either.New ideas thrive even in stable environments47:25: Even if you have a stable environment, it doesn't prevent you from bringing in ideas on some dimensions, be it new product ideas, new markets, or opportunities where you can still engage larger groups of people in this. There are more opportunities when there's more radical change on the horizon.Who do you communicate ideas and problems in companies?23:33: Some companies develop this online culture where people constantly comment on things. To keep it alive, the top leadership needs to be visible in this space as well. And you need to have strong moderation. So, the illusion that this is somehow making less work and you can almost outsource this to somebody else is an illusion. You need somebody who sits on top of this, who moderates, who filters out things. There's crowdsourcing tools as well that can help you with this.Is it harder to generate new ideas in large companies?16:32: The other big problem you have in large companies, in particular, is silo thinking, where you have departments duplicating work and not talking to each other, where just being able to connect different departments sometimes would lead to this recombination of knowledge, which is a main kind of mechanism to create new ideas. But it's hard to do in large organizations.Show Links:Recommended Resources:VUCAMichael PorterHow CEOs Manage TimeInnovative Medical Products, Inc.Centre for European ReformInside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill GatesAdam M. Kleinbaum ArticlesThe Rise of AI-Powered CompaniesGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Warwick Business SchoolProfessional Profile on Winthrop GroupChristian Stadler's WebsiteChristian Stadler on LinkedInChristian Stadler on XChristian Stadler on YoutubeHis Work:Open Strategy: Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-SuiteEnduring Success: What We Can Learn from the History of Outstanding CorporationsGoogle Scholar ArticlesForbes Articles
11/10/202348 minutes, 44 seconds
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354. Evolutionary Ideas and COVID-19 Controversies feat. Matt Ridley

Is History driven by heroic individuals or by variation and selection? What determines the speed of innovation? Matt Ridley is a science writer, journalist, and businessman. His books include The Red Queen, The Origins of Virtue, Genome, Nature via Nurture, Francis Crick, The Rational Optimist, The Evolution of Everything, and How Innovation Works.Matt and Greg discuss the integral role freedom, idea exchange, and trade play in driving innovation. They delve deep into the concept of creative destruction and how it's essential for large corporations to reinvent themselves to stay competitive or be allowed to cease to exist suddenly. Matt talks about the debate surrounding the origin of COVID-19, its implications for virology, and the spread of false information in our interconnected world. The discussion examines the controversial lab leak hypothesis and the impact of China's rise on global innovation.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why is it that evolutionary thinking is like the gift that keeps on giving?02:25: The message of my book, "The Evolution of Everything," is that we don't want to let this insight remain confined to biology. It's just as useful as a way of understanding human society in lots of different aspects. Not just economics, but social change as well. Because really, the simple idea that if there's variation, if there's trial and error, if there's experimentation going on, then some ideas are going to survive at the expense of others. And that's going to lead to progressive adaptation. That's going to lead to progressive improvement in some technology, in some social habits, whatever it might be.Innovation is more about rearranging the world14:20: Recombination of existing genes is the main way that innovation happens in evolutionary biology, much more common than de novo mutation, and that's true of us too. Most of the new products we produce in the world by innovation are actually just the same old materials combined in new and interesting ways. Innovation is more about rearranging the world than it is about coming up with completely new things.Crony capitalism extends corporate lifespans, stifling innovation27:41: Crony capitalism, corporate favoritism, is a tried-and-true and tested way to stay in the game. But it tends to come at the expense of innovation, and it tends to leave you more and more vulnerable to collapse when you do. Get to face real competition. It tends to leave the company vulnerable to disappearing. Everybody thinks they know innovation, but only few people can pin it down30:46: The main reason we're living lives of far greater comfort than we did 500 years ago is still somewhat mysterious. We can tell you things like it needs freedom, it needs trial and error, and things like that, but we can't switch it on and off, let alone tell you when and where it's going to happen. In that sense, it's a surprisingly slippery thing, innovation. Everybody talks about it. Everybody thinks they know about it, but surprisingly, few people can really pin it down. And as I say, you can't put it in a mathematical model, at least not in a very convincing way.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Intentional stanceGreat man theoryFrancis CrickInfinite Improbability DriveMemeGeoffrey WestLinear modelFrancisco MojicaCOVID-19 lab leak theoryZoonosisMichael ShellenbergerGuest Profile:Speaker’s Profile on Chartwell SpeakersMatt Ridley's WebsiteMatt Ridley on LinedInMatt Ridley on XMatt Ridley on YouTubeMatt Ridley on TEDTalk Matt Ridley on Talks at GoogleHis Work:Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity EvolvesHow Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in FreedomThe Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas EmergeThe Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human NatureGenome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 ChaptersThe Origins of VirtueNature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us HumanFrancis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic CodeClimate Change: The Facts 2017
11/8/202356 minutes, 7 seconds
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353. Studying the History of Knowledge feat. Peter Burke

How does one tell the story of knowledge through the centuries? And what kind of knowledge is being discussed when looking at its history? Peter Burke, a professor of history at Cambridge University, has written more than 30 books over the course of his lifetime and has taken a special interest in studying the history of knowledge and polymaths. He and Greg discuss a couple of his major works like The Polymath: A Cultural History from Leonardo da Vinci to Susan Sontag and What is the History of Knowledge? (What is History?). They also discuss how the history of knowledge can not come without a history of ignorance, whether or not polymaths are a thing of the past, and if the aggregate amount of knowledge is increasing today.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Decision-Making, where history of knowledge meets general history39:59: I got into decision-making, and the nice thing about it is it connects history of knowledge with general history more clearly than other studies in the history of knowledge. So it breaks down one more barrier because one great thing about history in the last couple of generations is the interest of different historians in different other disciplines: economic historians studying economics, social historians studying sociology. The great price has been that in having a fruitful dialogue with their colleagues in the neighboring discipline, they no longer speak to other historical colleagues, but this history of knowledge and ignorance has the potential for connecting things. All these different practical areas where decisions are taken that is influencing the history of the world, and knowledge is playing this crucial part, or the absence of knowledge is playing this crucial part.What unique insights do historians offer to understand knowledge creation and innovation?48:30: Historians are people who specialize in telling you that the problem that you think is unique is one that has occurred a number of times in the past. And that's the most specifically historical. Otherwise, I think historians are like sociologists and even more like anthropologists because they try to understand the mindset of people in other cultures, and this is an absolutely indispensable kind of knowledge, which we need more and more in a globalizing world where we're constantly living. Meeting people from other cultures, constantly misunderstanding them, and constantly being misunderstood by them.How does the brain of polymaths work?21:17: Polymaths need a great power of concentration. So, they're described by their families and friends as they pick up a book, and they somehow sort of suck the contents out in half an hour, but they do this because they've got this incredible concentration. But because they're concentrating on the problem, and they're living in the everyday world, what other people notice is their failure: The failure of the polymaths to notice what's happening around them, absent-mindedness. But their mind, if it's absent from ordinary everyday life, is extremely present next to the problem they're trying to solve.New knowledge is always associated with new ignorance42:33: New knowledge is always associated with new ignorance, and this is inevitable given that human beings still sleep for eight hours a night except for a few polymaths. And they don't spend all their time acquiring knowledge. So if they acquire some of the new knowledge, for example, about IT, and then they've got less time to acquire some of the old knowledge.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Karl MannheimEdward ShilsGottfried Wilhelm LeibnizPierre BourdieuThomas AquinasLewis MumfordCs lewis discarded image Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at Cambridge UniversityHis Work:Ignorance: A Global HistoryThe Polymath: A Cultural History from Leonardo da Vinci to Susan SontagThe Art of ConversationWhat is the History of Knowledge? (What is History?)French Historical RevolutionThe Italinan REnaissanceWhat is Cultural History?Social History of KnowledgeFortunes of the CourtierEyewitnessingCultural Hybridity
11/6/202352 minutes, 59 seconds
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352. The Crackdown on Private Equity feat. Brendan Ballou

Nowadays, if someone wants to make a lot of money in finance, they don’t go and work for investment banks. The real money to be made is at private equity firms. With most of these firms controlling a huge percentage of the country’s overall GDP and doing so largely unchecked, is it time to take a hard look at the systems that protect and allow these actors to flourish?? Brendan Ballou is special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. His book, Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America, takes a hard look at the way private equity firms operate and the laws they exploit.  He and Greg discuss what sets private equity firms apart from other financial institutions in America, the ways private equity firms avoid liability when things go wrong, and what reforms are needed to the systems that essentially allowed private equity to become the beast that it is today. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Private equity as an institution is unique05:31: Private equity as an institution is unique for three reasons. One is that private equity owners tend to invest for just a few years, so you're talking about a three, five, or seven-year time horizon. Two is that private equity firms tend to load up the companies they buy with a lot of debt and extract a lot of fees. And the magic trick, as you probably know, a lot of these private equity deals is when they load these companies up with debt; for the acquisition, it's the company that holds the debt, not the private equity firm. So if things go badly, it's the company that's on the hook. It's not the private equity owners and investors. And then the third thing, and this is what really interests me as a lawyer, is private equity firms are enormously successful at insulating themselves legally from the consequences of their portfolio company's actions. So, if something goes wrong at a portfolio company, someone is hurt, or an employee is taken advantage of, whatever it happens to be, it's very hard to hold a private equity firm responsible.Is private equity an extreme version of capitalism?03:44:  Private equity is an extreme version of capitalism, for better or for worse...It's not an extreme form of capitalism. It's a deviation or a perversion of capitalism by the specific laws and regulations that we have that incentivize short-term term investing, reliance on debt, and insolation from liability. We've created these legal structures that allow certain people to capture all the upside of our economy if things go well, but walk away if they don't.Short-term gain versus long-term success12:17: The time frame that you've got for an investment changes your perspective on what you're going to do with it, whether you're going to jack up prices for the short term, even if it means that you're going to lose customers for the long term, underinvest in your employees and your innovation, even if it means that you might be scooped by the competition in a few years, and so forth.How are private equity firms compensated?31:00: Private equity firms are compensated on a 2-in-20 model: 2% of the profits above a certain threshold, 20% of the profits above a certain threshold, and 2% of the assets under management every year. The carried interest loophole says that both of those should be treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income, and capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income. That's pretty much all the money that a private equity executive typically makes. So, leaders of private equity firms have historically paid a lower tax rate than the firefighters and teachers that they nominally serve.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Other People's Money And How The Bankers Use It by Louis BrandeisThe Modern Corporation and Private PropertyPeter Whoriskey’s story on the Carlyle Group for The Washington PostWorth RisesSIFIsGuest Profile:Brendan Ballou on LinkedInBrendan Ballou on X His Work:Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America
11/3/202346 minutes, 13 seconds
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351. The Transformative Power of Gestures feat. Susan Goldin-Meadow

Ever wondered why some people seem to have an aversion to gesturing while speaking? Or did you know that even in the absence of sight, human beings instinctively use gestures to communicate?Susan Goldin-Meadow is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago and also the author of the books Thinking with Your Hands: The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts, The Resilience of Language, and Hearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us Think.Susan and Greg take a deep dive into the integral role of gestures in language acquisition, especially during early childhood. They also discuss the striking similarity of key gestures across various cultures, indicating a shared linguistic heritage, the fascinating evolution of various sign languages, and the unique ways they convey information distinctly from spoken language. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On integrating gesture with speech34:21: What gesture is really good at is integrating with speech. It needs to be integrated with speech. It's one of the reasons co-speech gesture is useless for deaf kids because they can't hear the speech, and then they see all of these things that we do, and they think, and so what they come up with is quite different from co-speech gestures. So, co-speech gesture is co-speech gesture and needs to be thought about along with speech. So, taking away speech isn't going to do it. If in fact, you tell people, "Okay, shut up, don't say a word," but gesture to describe this, your gesture will look different from the way it looks when it accompanies speech.Gestures are not as sophisticated as sign language26:18:  You can do whatever you want in sign language, and it works. It's a language. Gestures are not as sophisticated as sign language or spoken language.Transmission is important for language to take-off12:40: Deaf individuals used to be pretty isolated in hearing homes. But at one point, they created a Deaf education system, and they brought a bunch of homesigners, essentially, together, and they interacted with one another. So, at that point, they started to develop lexical items that they shared, things like that. But the language took off when new little deaf kids came into the community and learned the system from these older ones. So, there's some evidence that real transmission helps the language grow. You may need to share it and communicate. But transmission is essential in order for the language to take off.Sign language is more than just Hand-in-Mouth31:00: Signers gesture, but their sign language is categorical, just like spoken language, and their gesture is more imagistic. So, sign language sign-gesture mismatches work in the same way that speech-gesture mismatches work: to predict. Learning it can't be about two modalities because the signers are using one modality, just hands, to represent this stuff—and that turns out to be true. So it feels like it's not just hand-in-mouth. Hand-in-mouth may help. It may do some work for us, but there's something more. It really is the way gesture represents information and language represents information co-occurring together.Show Links:Recommended Resources:List of GesturesFrench Sign LanguageFrench Sign Language FamilyPaul EkmanDance NotationLabanotationGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at the University of ChicagoThe Goldin-Meadow LaboratoryNational Academy of Sciences ProfileSusan Goldin-Meadow on LinkedInSusan Goldin-Meadow on TEDxUChicagoHer Work:Thinking with Your Hands: The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our ThoughtsThe Resilience of LanguageHearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us ThinkGoogle Scholar PageResearchGate Publications
11/1/202338 minutes, 32 seconds
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350. The Risks of a Deteriorating Democracy feat. Victor Davis Hanson

Is democracy and the idea of citizenship deteriorating because of the state of our country’s education system? Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He’s written more than 25 books in the realm of classics, military history, and the American political system. His latest book, The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America, explores what it means to be an American. Victor and Greg discuss the modern threats to citizenship, the disappearing middle class, and how America’s education system may be exacerbating the problem.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is the decline of classics and the decline of liberal arts education the same things?32:16: Classics is an intensification of a history or a literature major, but it's the foundation of it. It had a much greater burden because it required or centered on two difficult languages, which you can become an English major or a history major without that as an undergraduate. But they're the same thing. They were the idea that you had a reverence for the past. You didn't go back and try to use the standards of the present to judge people in the past necessarily. You made moral judgments, but that wasn't the intent of history per se. In addition, through the use of literature and historical examples and writing, discussing, and debating, you develop oral fluency. You learn how to write grammatically correct English and stylistically engaging English. You thought. You were inductive. You didn't go into a class where the professor said if you say this particular gender is evil, the subtext is, and then you deduce examples that prove that.On globalism51:21: Globalism is a synonym for American popular culture in many ways. We have the most dynamic culture that has very few prerequisites to participate in, as Europe does. But the more sinister thing is: it's an elite-driven phenomenon.The power of citizenship02:33: Citizenship is very rare in history. It's usually either the person ruled or is either a member of a tribal organization, a mere resident, a subject, a serf, or a slave. But the idea that a citizen is empowered to self-govern and to create the conditions under which government exists by the consent of the governed doesn't exist anywhere outside the Mediterranean or before the 7th century.The shifting dynamics of race, class, and gender17:33: We used to talk about race, class, gender, race, class, gender, but class has disappeared. When you hear that mantra, it's usually race and gender. And this was very brilliant on the part of the left because class is a mobile, fluid concept, and a very successful capitalist society. One generation does not guarantee, necessarily, that they're all going to be in the class of their parents. I can tell you from my own family that's true, both positively and negatively. Races, if you fixate on it, so if you say race is the entire definition of deprivation, bias, racism, and not class, then it's immutable; it's forever.Show Links:Recommended Resources:ThucydidesTacitusDemocracy in America by Alexis de TocquevilleHerodotusBattles of Lexington and ConcordMichel FoucaultWar! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots by Ian Morris High Noon (1952)The Searchers (1956)Guest Profile:Profile for Hoover Institution at Stanford UniversityProfessional WebsiteVictor Davis Hanson on XHis Work:The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of AmericaThe Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical GreeceWho Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek WisdomThe Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny Carnage and Culture Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power 
10/30/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 49 seconds
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349. Deconstructing Asset Management: The Shifts, Opportunities, and Concerns feat. Brett Christophers

Ever wondered about the growing presence of asset managers in all aspects of our lives?Brett Christophers is a Professor in the Department of Human Geography at Uppsala University in Sweden and the author of several books. His latest work is titled Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World, and next year, he has a new book coming out called The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won't Save the Planet. Brett and Greg discuss the migration from public equity to private, the rise of large landlords and infrastructure providers, and the outsourcing of public services to the private sector. The conversation takes a deep dive into the realm of asset management in the housing sector. Brett offers an enlightening perspective on what it means for tenants when asset managers are landlords. They unpack the mixed bag of potential benefits and disadvantages that could arise in this scenario. Brett and Greg also discuss the rising trend of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing, and how asset managers are leveraging this wave.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are asset managers public service or a powerful rhetoric?40:43: One of the main lines of defense that these investment managers, asset managers, rely upon when they come under attack from the likes of me, but not only the likes of me, politicians from the likes of Elizabeth Warren and so on in the U.S., is they'll say, "Look, you don't want to be attacking us because we're providing a public service in the way you just outlined. If our funds perform well, then that's all to the well and good because the money we're investing through those funds is the money of the firefighters, the teachers, and the nurses." And that's a very powerful piece of rhetoric. It's that rhetoric which sustains the business model in large part because people buy that rhetoric, and therefore, the business continues on its merry way.The power of asset managers in infrastructure investments33:50: If governments have increasingly persuaded themselves that the private sector is the answer in terms of infrastructure investment, then almost by definition they've persuaded themselves that asset managers are the answer. Because asset managers have the command of the greatest surplus capital today, if you're looking into the private sector to invest, then, essentially, you're looking to asset managers because they're the ones that have all the dry powder.Are asset management companies publicly traded but still opaque?23:40: Public ownership entails a certain degree of scrutiny that is still lacking in the cases of these asset management companies, even if those asset management firms are themselves publicly traded. Many of them now are the likes of Blackstone, which would be a good example of that. So yes, the firms themselves are publicly traded, but much of what occurs through the funds that they established is obviously still very, very opaque in a way that is not necessarily true of publicly traded companies.Private equity and real estate investments use the same fee mechanisms and fund structures03:41: Whether you're talking about private equity or real estate investment, what you find is that they're often using exactly the same kind of fee mechanisms, fund structures, and so on. So that's why I use that terminology, because I think that the most important thing to really draw attention to is this fact that, at the end of the day, most of the money that they're investing is not their own. And that's a key feature of this. But even though, of course, they're using different investment strategies, different fund structures, and so on.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Pension fundKKR & Co. Inc.Blackstone Inc.The Carlyle GroupPensions in CanadaOMERSBrookfield CorporationMacquarie GroupSovereign wealth fundGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Uppsala UniversityHis Work:The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won't Save the PlanetOur Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the WorldRentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal BritainThe Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of LawBanking Across Boundaries: Placing Finance in CapitalismEnvisioning Media Power: On Capital and Geographies of TelevisionDavid Harvey: A Critical Introduction to His ThoughtEconomic Geography: A Critical Introduction (Critical Introductions to Geography)Google Scholar ArticlesThe Guardian ArticlesTime Articles
10/27/202358 minutes, 9 seconds
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348. Simplifying in the Age of Complexity feat. John Maeda

Is it possible to simplify life without losing the comfort and complexity that enriches it? John Maeda, vice president of artificial intelligence and design at Microsoft, has been writing about the intersection of design, technology, business, and life for years. His book, The Laws of Simplicity, explores the question of needing less while still getting something more. He and Greg discuss some of the pivotal moments in John’s career, how his view of design changed over the course of writing The Laws of Simplicity, and the aspects of business education that could use some tweaking. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Traditional design is not the same as customer-centricity26:42: Business is about design thinking. It's different. It's customer-centricity. It's all the C words, whatever. But the way design is taught, like your microphone, is so beautiful. It's super cool-looking, right? That was created not just to be easy to use. It was also created to be "beautiful, stand out, et cetera," whatever—all these other factors that are not user-centered. They're ego-centered, which you could argue is like user-centered design, but it's different…[27:32] Traditional design is good at messing with your mind, your ego, and your wallet or purse. And it's fascinating. But it's not the same as customer-centricity. And that's what's so interesting about it and useful about it at certain times in a product's evolution.Understanding powerful concepts of computer science23:27:  There are certain concepts in computer science that are hard to understand because they're so powerful. So, I focus on what's powerful. And what's powerful is that it never gets tired. That's weird. It can loot forever. It is able to encompass large data sets at any scale and at any level of precision. So, it can handle infinitely large issues with infinitesimal accuracy. That is strange. And so, going through these properties helped me understand how weird it is. Two kinds of supply chain risks10:32:  There are two kinds of supply chain risk. There's physical supply chain risk and digital supply chain risk. And a physical supply chain – we know what that looks like in our heads, or optimized with Amazon robots, etc. But a digital supply chain is like building on top of Azure, and Azure goes down. Whoa, what do you do? Or you've built your organization's communication system on Slack, and it goes down. Like, what do you do? So that's an invisible supply chain that we're just starting to understand in business, and they're very similar. Unless you're cyber-equipped, it's just that you can't see the kind of analogy you could make between the two worlds.On being equipped to explain computation30:13: I realized how powerful computation is, and I realized that anyone can explain design better than me. What is something that I'm equipped to do? Oh, I can explain computation. So, I wanted to make a way to explain to any business leader what computation is. Because if they don't understand it, they can't digitally transform.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer JohnsonMoore’s LawDonald KnuthTraitorous EightGuest Profile:Automattic Advisory Council Profile at MIT Media LabProfessional WebsiteJohn Maeda on LinkedInJohn Maeda on TwitterJohn Maeda on YouTubeJohn Maeda on TEDTalk John Madea on Talks at GoogleHis Work:The Laws of SimplicityHow to Speak Machine: Computational Thinking for the Rest of UsRedesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation
10/25/202345 minutes, 50 seconds
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347. Research vs Teaching: The Tug of War in Education feat. Jonathan Zimmerman

Will the subjects we debate in education still be relevant a century from now? There are enduring controversies and tensions in education that continue even today.Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and also the author of a number of books in the field of Education History. His latest work is Whose America?: Culture Wars in the Public Schools, and he is also the author of The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America. Jonathan and Greg discuss the dichotomy between research and teaching in the Higher Education system, unravel the implications of student evaluations, the necessity for peer review of teaching, and how the dynamics of teaching and learning, as relationship-based activities, leave a lasting impact on lives.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What is the most effective way of teaching?20:56: There's been a growing body of research about effective teaching, and there's a pretty strong and robust consensus about what's most effective, and the most effective teaching is the teaching that engages people in their own learning, right? It creates activities that very specifically require the students to ask and answer questions in the way the discipline does. So, the best history course makes people behave like historians, and the best chemistry course makes people behave like chemists. Now, if they've been socialized to sit there and do not a whole lot, they may bridle at that. That's life. Maybe I would, too, if I were them. But look, if our knowledge and professional authority means anything, it means that we know some things they don't, right? And one of the things we know is that they'll learn more if they are engaged in the questions of the discipline. And I think there are many good ways to do that, by the way.Is education always political?02:20: We're always going to have controversies around education because education is where we decide who we are. Education is the realm in which the people of a nation decide what the nation means and where they stand vis-à-vis it. So it's always political, it's always contentious, and we will always argue about it.History as a moral discipline59:09: I think history is a moral discipline. That's what it is: a bunch of stories, but these stories are morality plays in a very real way. And when these institutions we work at started, it was taken for granted that the faculty were in the business of trying to make better people. That was just a prima facie assumption.Why do we have to be in the same room?30:13: Why do we have to be in the same room? And I ask that of my students all the time. And I tell them, if I am just going to talk to you, I think I could just be on a screen. There's got to be something else. There's got to be some exchange. There's got to be some activity. If I'm just going to draw at you, you might as well replace me with a computer, but I think that should be the question that every single faculty member is required to answer. And there are many good answers, but you shouldn't be able to evade the question. Why are we in the same room? That should be the question in the frontal lobes of everybody, because we don't have to be.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Mark HopkinsMadrasaDavid RiesmanClark KerrLawrence SummersLies My Teacher Told MeEric HobsbawmJohn DeweyBruce lenthall - Center for Teaching & LearningGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Penn GSEFaculty Profile at Penn Arts & SciencesHis Work:Whose America?: Culture Wars in the Public SchoolsFree Speech: And Why You Should Give a DamnThe Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in AmericaThe Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American SchoolsToo Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex EducationCampus Politics: What Everyone Needs to KnowSmall Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and MemoryInnocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American CenturyDistilling Democracy: Alcohol Education in America's Public Schools, 1880-1925
10/23/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 15 seconds
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346. A History of The American Corporation feat. Richard N. Langlois

What technological and societal factors led to the rise of the large corporation in 20th-century America?Richard N. Langlois is an economics professor at the University of Connecticut and the author of the book The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise. His work examines the economics of organizations, business history, and theories of firm performance and innovation. Richard and Greg discuss the rise and fall of the managerial era in American corporations, common misconceptions about antitrust laws, and companies’ influence on the political system. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why does Schumpeterian innovation work?47:35: In the real world, you have to learn how to produce things. And that knowledge is private information most of the time. And so, you learn how to make a car a certain way… [48:09] So, if you're always spending your time looking for new ideas, you're not going to get good at the things you're doing, or you can focus on the things that you're doing and get good at them, but then you're going to be bad at looking around…But in the end, I think it's the case that if you get really good at one thing, like operating systems or big office computing systems, just the fact of getting good at that, it's going to make it hard for you to be good at other things, especially at other things that are different from what you're doing because there's a lot of barriers there. The threat of antitrust can influence organizational decisions34:57: The threat of antitrust or other public policies can influence organizational division decisions inside a firm, often in ways that are inefficient or that maybe aren't the best way to do things.Do big firms control the government?50:22: Companies are very good at influencing the government when some narrow thing really affects them, like a tariff on something. But influencing the government in some general way—what the results show is that companies don't care. They'll give money to whoever's going to leave them alone.On considering how exogenous factors influence organizations, not just internal factors.05:43: We need to think more about the ways in which these exogenous factors influence internal organizations instead of only thinking about organization from an internal point of view. So, how do we organize? How do we manage? How should we structure it? We also want to think about what the external constraints on organizational forms are. It may lead us to create organizational forms that aren't the kinds that we would have chosen in a perfect world.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Alfred D. Chandler Jr.Joseph SchumpeterRonald CoaseOliver WilliamsonSherman Antitrust ActThe Folklore of Capitalism by Thurman Arnold and Reeve Robert BrennerDesign Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity by Carliss Baldwin and Kim ClarkGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of ConnecticutRichard N. Langlois on LinkedInHis Work:The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy Firms, Markets and Economic Change: A dynamic Theory of Business InstitutionsOther Scholarly Articles
10/20/202358 minutes, 24 seconds
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345. The Delicate Dance of Communication feat. Matt Abrahams

Do you find communication a necessary evil rather than a tool for success? How can you use communication as a fundamental key to success in both your personal and professional lives?Matt Abrahams is a Lecturer in Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, podcaster, and author. His latest book is Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You're Put on the Spot. Matt and Greg dissect the difference between rehearsed and spontaneous communication, demonstrating how mastering both is within reach and discuss the pivotal role of mindset and attitude in the journey to effective communication. Matt gives insight on both providing and receiving feedback, and they explore how communication styles and preferences change between eras and age groups. Matt reveals how stories and structures enhance communication and how anyone can get better at communication with practice.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is there a universally 'correct' way to communicate?16:52: There is no one right way to communicate. There are better ways and worse ways, but no one right way. And when you put pressure on yourself to do it right, however you define that, you actually almost guarantee you will do it more poorly. Why? Your brain is like a computer. It's not a perfect analogy, but for this, it works. You only have so much processing power. You only have so much bandwidth. And if part of your bandwidth is being exercised by evaluating what you're doing, as you're doing it, the entire time you're doing it, you have less bandwidth to focus on what you're saying. So, I'm not saying we don't judge and evaluate our communication—you must. But if we can turn that volume down a little bit and just allow ourselves to do what comes naturally, we will typically do better because we have more bandwidth to focus on what we're doing.A structure is not a script, it’s a roadmap37:11: Structure is not about memorizing and hitting certain points; it's about directionality, and that can be helpful. And I'm not saying every communication needs to be structured in this way. But for people who are nervous and are novice to the particular circumstances they're in, having a structure helps you get through that communication.On setting up an environment where people are comfortable communicatin19:17: I firmly believe that we need to hear from as many people as we can to make good decisions. So it is incumbent on those of us in leadership roles—those of us who are teachers, parents—to set up environments where people feel comfortable. And what that means is to encourage people speaking, to listen when they speak, and to make sure that you prize people exploring ideas so you don't shut them down. You don't make people feel bad when they make mistakes. We have to actually set those environments up, and it is incumbent on all of us in positions of status and power to do that, and you do that partially by saying it but, more importantly, by demonstrating it.What are the three parts of goals?15:163: A goal has three parts: know, feel, do. You should say, "What is it I want people to know? How do I want them to feel? What is it I might want them to do?" As an intention going into a spontaneous speaking situation, but I don't do as politicians and some business leaders are coached to just morph everything to my goal. I think that leads to some of this disingenuous interaction. So I think it is possible to be goal-driven. I think it is possible to be authentic and, at the same time, spontaneous, adjust, and adapt. But that comes with practice and a little bit of letting go of the pressure we put on ourselves to do these things so right. And it's that pressure that can also make it feel artificial and inauthentic.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Think Fast Talk Smart Podcast - Greg Leblanc EpisodeTrevor WallaceAdam TobinJeffery PfefferKim ScottCollins Dobbs - Space, Pace, and GraceDavid EaglesmanSusain CainGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford Graduate School of BusinessMatt Abrahams' WebsiteMatt Abrahams on LinkedInMatt Abrahams on YouTubeMatt Abrahams on TEDxPaloAltoNoFreakingSpeaking.comHis Work:Think Fast Talk Smart PodcastThink Faster Talk Smarter BookSpeaking Up Without Freaking Out
10/18/202350 minutes, 48 seconds
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344. The Philosophy of Empathy feat. Heidi L. Maibom

Many scholars and philosophers have taken the stance that empathy hinders the true pursuit of knowledge and justice. But our guest today takes the opposite approach.Heidi L. Maibom is a professor of philosophy at the University of Cincinnati and the University of the Basque Country. Her book, The Space Between: How Empathy Really Works, argues that not only is empathy indispensable, but it's impossible to acquire knowledge about this world and ourselves without it. She and Greg discuss the place empathy occupies in philosophy, the different types of perspectives that go along with empathizing, and whether or not it's possible to have too much empathy. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Empathy is many things44:18: Empathy is many things, and that's partly why I find it distressing to read so many dismissals of empathy which focus on it as one thing. Either you have to understand the other person entirely—their entire history, their experiences, and so forth and so on. Of course we can't empathize in that way. Or you are empathizing with them as an act of "I know better than you," and so forth. We're empathizing with people for all kinds of reasons. It's important to appreciate that and also to then focus your empathy in the right way, depending on what kind of project you're engaging.Does empathy require identification?21:08: Empathy requires some amount of identification. But the identification is interesting because, in essence, what you're trying to do is map the other person's subjectivity onto your own. That's why you have to find a situation of your own that you have experience with to map that situation on. But at the same time, of course, you have to be aware of the ways in which you differ from the other person.Can you have too much empathy?49:05: People who are empathetic are more vulnerable to exploitation from others, to gaslighting perhaps, right? So, being empathetic comes with dangers and advantages. But I think that if we try to go back to this notion of the shape of subjectivity, being how I experience things as the one who acts and who thinks and so forth, then I think that when you then try to understand yourself, taking the perspective, as it were, from the inside, taking a perspective from the outside, as little engaged with yourself as you can be, as it were, and then if you are in a particular interaction with somebody else, the victim or the perpetrator perspective, in addition.How does philosophy of emotions tie with philosophy of empathy?36:02: There's a tremendous amount of information that we can derive from a successful act of emotionally empathizing with someone. And more information than from simply empathizing with a thought or thinking, okay, here is exactly what they're thinking. I think emotions are richer. It just gives us more information, and there's important aspects to an emotion, namely from the perspective of closeness with another person, from feeling understood, just seeing that another person is emoting. It's incredibly important, but there's also all this information that we shouldn't ignore that is really crucial and very helpful for understanding this. Show Links:Recommended Resources:VoltaireJean-Paul SartreRené DescartesGuest Profile:Heidi L. Maibom's WebsiteHeidi L. Maibom on TwitterHer Work:The Space Between: How Empathy Really WorksEmpathy (New Problems of Philosophy)The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy (Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy)
10/16/202351 minutes, 33 seconds
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343. Shaking Up Wall Street with Disruptive Financial Strategies feat. Scott Patterson

Does the financial world need a shake-up? By venturing into the minds of Nassim Taleb and Benoit Mandelbrot, two outliers who challenge the status quo of modern portfolio theory and efficient market hypothesis, we can find groundbreaking theories with implications for the financial sphere, especially in the face of unpredictable "Black Swan" events.Scott Patterson is a journalist with The Wall Street Journal and also the author of Chaos Kings: How Wall Street Traders Make Billions in the New Age of Crisis, Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market, and The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It, all of which factor into this episode.Scott and Greg discuss the financial ups and downs of the stock market and traders who tried to ride the wave or predict when bubbles were going to burst. Scott talks about covering climate change for the Journal and the way it complicates predicting what start-ups will end up on top. Dive into the subtle and sometimes blurry distinctions between investing and gambling and find out what can make a company shut off its computers on this episode of UnSILOed.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is climate change the big dog in the world of crises?42:12: Climate change is what I write about in the journal—that's my beat—so I wanted the book (Chaos Kings: How Wall Street Traders Make Billions in the New Age of Crisis) to be not just about buying out-of- the-money options to protect your portfolio. I wanted it to be broader in terms of thinking about the risks that we face. And that's in the subtitle of the book, The New Age of Crisis, which I try to make an argument that we're entering a world of crises that are manifesting and overlapping more and magnifying the nature of the crisis. Some people call it the polycrisis, and climate, I think, is the big dog in that crisis world.On the risk of high-speed contagion across markets36:00: The risk of a high-speed contagion across markets is something we should be concerned about...[36:33] With high-speed trading, I was on the front lines there reporting it. It wasn't a well-known phenomenon. And I found it very alarming that the financial markets evolved into this race to trade microseconds faster than the next guy.The inconvenient truth of ignoring fat tails06:55: Nassim [Taleb] one time showed me an email that he'd gotten from a very well-known, respected academic in finance, who conceded to Nassim that, yes, we know that these fat tails exist, but our models don't work if we incorporate them into the models. And that's the problem: if you recognize that there is potential for three, four, five sigma events, then you have to put a fat tail into the model. And that's fine. But as long as the people running trading desks and executives understand that if you have a value-at-risk model, it's not capturing the real risk that you're going to be facing because it carves out 5 percent of the volatility, of the extreme volatility over a year.Is high-speed computer trading a threat to financial markets?38:32: In 2020, there were some extremely insane things going on in the markets, and I think probably negative oil prices and bonds. You couldn't buy a Treasury bond or sell a Treasury bond for a while at one point. Not normal. But I think a lot of that was not just an exogenous event: COVID was causing the global economy to seize up, and that moved into financial markets. Central bankers came in and threw a bunch of money at it, and cleaned out the pipes. But this idea of a high-speed computer-driven contagion is something I've always been concerned about, but I don't think we've seen that yet.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Nassim Nicholas TalebBenoit MandelbrotMark SpitznagelCalPERSUniversaRecency BiasEmpirica CapitalBlack Swan TheoryRobert LittermanFischer BlackGuest Profile:Professional Profile on Wall Street JournalScott Patterson on LinkedInScott Patterson on XHis Work:Chaos Kings: How Wall Street Traders Make Billions in the New Age of CrisisDark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock MarketThe Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed ItWall Street Journal ArticlesMuck Rack Articles
10/13/202346 minutes, 4 seconds
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342. Suicide, Addiction, and the Power of Narrative feat. Clancy Martin

As we navigate life's challenges, it's crucial we confront the subjects that often remain unspoken out of fear or misunderstanding. Both modern and ancient philosophers have had the wisdom to lead about the tough topics of suicide and addiction, and the nature of their complexities can be informed by both philosophy and science.Clancy Martin, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri Kansas City and also the author of several books in both the categories of fiction and nonfiction. His latest nonfiction work is titled How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind, and Clancy talks with Greg about this book as well as his previous nonfiction work Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love, and several of his fiction titles.Clancy shares his personal experiences with the complexities of suicidal ideation and its relationship with addiction, illuminating the power of narrative in preventing suicide and fostering understanding. They also dive into the Christian and Buddhist perspectives on suicide and suffering to examine these concepts from the lens of religion, and Clancy shares personal stories of how his work has directly affected the lives of others.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Distraction as a lifesaving tool17:42: When a person is in a moment of real crisis, right on the brink, I think distraction and busyness can be very helpful. The reason I think it can be helpful is that when you're really in that moment of crisis, where you're thinking about taking your own life and maybe about to do it…[18:18]your thinking at that point is not clear at all. So, in advance of that moment, if you know you're predisposed to this, you should have some strategies in place to distract yourself. And distraction at that point, I think, is a fantastic tool. You should get up and take a walk. You should text a friend. You should consider calling a number like 988, a mental health line. You need to recognize and you need to open your blinders a little bit so you can see that there are other options. You need to lessen the pressure a little bit and ease the pain a little bit, because you're not thinking clearly.Do we take our senses for granted until we lose them?20:39: You can't really love other human beings until you start engaging with these meaning-of-life questions, which require tremendous courage and do require you to turn away from constantly distracting yourself.Is addiction a way to escape intimacy and vulnerability?35:17: An addiction is just this way of running away, of escaping from the terrible, scary vulnerability that comes with intimacy, and ultimately, from the fact that your life really does have meaning and is really important. But it's a frightening thought, actually. The more you think about that thought, that your life is really, really important as a function of its interaction with other people's lives, that is scary, and maybe ought to be a little bit scary, but being willing to embrace that scariness.The truth about addiction17:42: The more we think about all of these little addictions we have, the more we might have a tendency to recognize that they are ways of running away from ourselves rather than ways of accepting ourselves. And the person who attempts suicide is just kind of on the extreme end of that scale.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Albert CamusAugustine of HippoFriedrich NietzscheAlcoholics AnonymousEmil CioranFyodor DostoevskyDalitThe Papageno EffectGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UMKCProfessional PhilPeopleClancy Martin on LinkedInHis Work:How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal MindLove and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic LoveHow to Sell: A NovelBad SexIntroducing PhilosophyHonest Work: A Business Ethics ReaderLove in Central AmericaEthics Across the Professions: A Reader for Professional EthicsThe Philosophy of DeceptionMorality and the Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics Through Classical SourcesSince Socrates: A Concise Source Book of Classic ReadingsGoogle Scholar PageThe Great Courses
10/11/202356 minutes, 2 seconds
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341. How Art and Philosophy are Critically Intertwined feat. Alva Noë

Humans are creatures of habit. We have habits for talking, eating, walking, sleeping–we don’t question these habits; much of it happens on autopilot. But it’s through art and philosophy that allows us to take a step back from those habits and examine them in a meaningful way.This is the argument that Alva Noë, professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley, makes in his book The Entanglement: How Art and Philosophy Make Us What We Are. He’s also written a number of books that tackle philosophical questions surrounding how humans interact with the world, like Action in Perception and Learning to Look: Dispatches from the Art World. Alva and Greg discuss how art and philosophy help us break free from the habits we’re saddled with, what’s really happening in the brain when we deem something “aesthetic,” and what it means to truly see the world. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Philosophy and life are entangled19:49: I think philosophy happens throughout our lives. It happens not only in the law, it happens in the laboratory, and it probably happens in your discussions with your partner at the dinner table sometimes. Art [and] philosophy is a moment in our thought processes. So, in a way, I want to say that there is all the difference in the world between business as usual and the work of philosophy and art. But outside in the wild of our lives, whether our legal lives, our political lives, our social lives, our family lives, there’s lots of opportunities for art and philosophy.There is no STEM without art and philosophy06:23: Art and philosophy are really important, and they are important in ways that the popular ideas in our civilization at the moment about the preeminence of science, technology, engineering, and math, this kind of STEM worldview really misses the point. There is no STEM without art and philosophy.Language isn't an automatic thing that we do following the rules blindly38:39: To be a language user is to have resources for coping with problems that arise in the course of that activity: misunderstandings, needs for clarifications, demands for repetitions, or justifications. So, to be a speaker is not just to do this kind of automatic thing. It's to be able to reflect on what we're doing. So, the ability to reflect is presupposed at the ground level. See, this is why I want to resist the hierarchy idea because there are two levels. There's the use of language, and there's the reflection about language. But it turns out that the ability to be a user of language presupposes that you're also able to reflect on language.Great philosophers start debates13:36: What makes a philosopher a great philosopher? Not that they landed on the truth, and we all know it, but rather that they started a debate that we're still having. That's what greatness is. So, as a philosopher, I'm very interested in what is the value of these non-utilitarian things that are so important to us. Why are they so important to us? And, that's where I want to say, actually, they are opportunities for us to finally grow and change and not just be trapped by the habits of culture, by the ways of doing things.Show Links:Recommended Resources:James BaldwinSeeing Through Clothes by Anne HollanderJohn RuskinP.F. StrawsonRoy HarrisHubert DreyfusIan HackingGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UC Berkeley Alva Noë on WebsiteAlva Noë on LinkedInAlva Noë on TwitterAlva Noë on Talks at GoogleHis Work:The Entanglement: How Art and Philosophy Make Us What We AreStrange Tools: Art and Human Nature Action in PerceptionOut of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of ConsciousnessLearning to Look: Dispatches from the Art WorldInfinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark
10/9/202346 minutes, 50 seconds
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340. Discovering The True Potential of Human Senses feat. Jackie Higgins

What if we haven’t unlocked the true potential of our senses because we simply don't pay enough attention to them? Writer and filmmaker Jackie Higgins explores human senses by comparing them to their animal counterparts in her book Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses. Spoiler alert: Human senses are far more powerful than we give them credit for, and there’s a lot more than just five. Jackie and Greg discuss how culture impacts the way we perceive the world, examples of animals that have similar senses to ours, and certain case studies that show how humans could refine their senses to be much more powerful than previously thought.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the two types of touch19:34: I split touch into two types of touch, two big headings of touch. One of them is the discriminative touch. This idea that you take a walnut and roll it around in your hand. And you can feel its roughness, and you can feel the corrugations, and you can feel the size of it, and you can feel the curves. And if you perhaps put it in your pocket, you can feel your fingers being stretched, the skin being stretched by it. Different senses for discriminative touch will be involved in that. But, there is another sense of touch called affective or emotional touch. And I was expecting touch to be quite a pedestrian story. I thought I knew a lot about touch, and I was completely blown away by how little we know about touch.Culture's influence on perception04:02: If your language and culture imbue a certain way to perceive the world, that's as important as the senses in our bodies firing and sending information to our brain.Do we take our senses for granted until we lose them?40:54: Our brain is scooting off in other directions. We're rarely present in the sensory information that the world is giving us at that moment in time...And that was part of the message of the book, which is when you take time, time out. I think if we take time out and focus on these senses, they'll surprise you.The relationship between our brain and smell perception10:21: Neuroscientists looking at smell would say that the brain is the place where we may have far fewer receptors, a little bit like the shrimp tail; it's a kind of echo of that. But studies have been done on how good we are at fine-dividing sense, recognizing sense, and following sense. Some scientists at your university had some students stand on their knees following a string dipped in chocolate to see how good they were at being dogs, so they were remarkably good. And we have fewer senses, but yes, our brain—there are very many areas in our brain that are dedicated to figuring out and creating smell perceptions.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life by Johan EklöfSelig HechtHelen KellerEşref ArmağanJoseph KirschvinkWhat Is It Like to Be a BatGuest Profile:Author’s Profile on Pan MacmillianJackie Higgins WebsiteJackie Higgins on XHer Work:Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human SensesArticle on Interalia Magazine
10/6/202341 minutes, 40 seconds
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339. How the Brain Handles Balance and Misinformation feat. Paul Thagard

Can you imagine the brain's intricate dance that helps us maintain balance? How does this process connect with vertigo, cognitive decline, and even our emotions and decision-making?Paul Thagard is a professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo and the author of several books. His latest release is titled Balance: How It Works and What It Means, and next year his new book, Falsehoods Fly: Why Misinformation Spreads and How to Stop It, will be published.Paul and Greg discuss Paul’s research into the brain and the way it handles certain tasks. Paul sheds light on how balance and nausea are linked and also how misinformation commonly weaves its way into our knowledge base. Learn about the surprising links between vertigo and nausea as he explains how our brains influence our lives in nuanced ways.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Cognition and emotion are constantly integrated19:09: So, the idea that cognition and emotion are separate in the brain is all wrong. They're constantly integrated, and it's a really good thing because it means that the perceptions that we're doing, the predictions that we're making, the explanations we're coming up, are all tied with the explanations of current ways in which our situation is relevant to our goals. So emotion, instead of just being something that somehow gets in the way of cognition or is extraneous to it, is actually tightly integrated with it, and that's one of the great powers of the human brain.Is balance conscious?10:32: Balance is mostly unconscious because almost all the things you do, when you're walking down the street or even just sitting in front of a TV, doesn't involve thinking about it. But when consciousness becomes important, balance breaks.Misinformation is a major issue in everyday life58:19: In decision-making and ethics in general, empathy is really important—that is, you've got to be able to put yourself in somebody else's shoes and figure out why they're feeling the way they are. But the solution for this isn't just courses in critical thinking—I never thought of my book on misinformation as being a critical thinking textbook. It's not a textbook at all. But it's a book that I hope will make it clear to people that all these problems of information and misinformation are major issues in everyday life.Is there something wrong with the way that economists talk about goals?48:45: The economist's way of talking about goals is just ridiculous. But they think of values as preferences. Well, where do preferences come from? Preferences come from goals and emotions. And so the fundamental idea here is that goals and emotions and preferences are derivative.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Integrated information theoryBroadcasting TheoriesSemantic pointer competition vs. information integrationHow to Build a Brain: A Neural Architecture for Biological Cognition (Oxford Series on Cognitive Models and Architectures) Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of WaterlooPaul Thagard's WebsitePaul Thagard on LinkedInHis Work:Falsehoods Fly: Why Misinformation Spreads and How to Stop ItPaul Thagard Amazon Author PageBalance: How It Works and What It MeansBots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart?Mind-Society: From Brains to Social Sciences and ProfessionsNatural Philosophy: From Social Brains to Knowledge, Reality, Morality, and BeautyThe Brain and the Meaning of LifeHot Thought: Mechanisms And Applications of Emotional CognitionGoogle Scholar ArticlesPsychology Today Articles
10/4/202357 minutes, 52 seconds
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338. The Rules of Rules feat. Lorraine Daston

Where does the concept of rules originate from? And how does that history inform the rules we use to organize society today? Lorraine Daston is the director emerita at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and a professor at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought. Her book, Rules: A Short History of What We Live By, takes a wide-encompassing view of rules throughout history, going all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Lorraine and Greg discuss thick vs. thin rules, how recipes are some of the oldest forms of rules and the important and complicated role judgment and equity play in the system of rules and laws.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Do people perceive paradigms and rules as inconsistent?30:27: I think paradigms and models suffer from one problem, which is a political problem, which is the suspicion that discretion inevitably means either favoritism or corruption in the political domain. In the domain of knowledge, they suffer from being foggy. Nobody can explain how we think in terms of models and paradigms. We do it all the time. Our life would be impossible if we did not do it. So we know that we can do it, but we can't explain how we do it. And that makes the philosophically minded profoundly uncomfortable. Why are recipes an important genre in the history of knowledge?09:41: Recipes are amongst the oldest and most mobile of knowledge genres that we know. If you want a genre that travels across continents, centuries, and classes and breaks down the barriers between men and women, it's recipes.Thick vs. thin rules19:23: The thick rules are rules that anticipate a high degree of variability and unforeseen circumstances. So they come upholstered even in their articulation with caveats, examples, and exceptions. They warn you that you're going to have to use your judgment in applying these rules…[20:09] The thin rule, on the other hand, is short, usually short, peremptory, and imperative, and it does not anticipate exceptions. This is a rule which is made for a world which is predictable and uniform.Judgment straddles into two categories46:50: The problem is that we divide our world into the objective and the subjective, but judgment straddles those two categories. It's possible to give reasons—good reasons, bad reasons, and arguments—for why one judgment should prevail over another. And if we don't exercise that faculty, like any other faculty, atrophy. And my fear is that because judgment discretion is the faculty that dare not speak its name, we are in danger of becoming judgmentally flabby.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Nicolas Bourbaki Thomas KuhnThe Wealth of Nations by Adam SmithPascal’s Provincial LettersCritique of Judgment by Immanuel KantGuest Profile:Professional Profile at Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceProfessional Profile at University of Chicago’s Committee on Social ThoughtHer Work:Rules: A Short History of What We Live ByAgainst Nature (Untimely Meditations)
10/2/202353 minutes, 45 seconds
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337. Navigating the Waves of Technology and Prosperity feat. Simon Johnson

Technological progress drives productivity improvements and increases wealth, but the distribution of those gains depends on both technological and political factors. The debates we see now over the impact of AI on social welfare are not new: similar debates surrounded previous waves of innovation. One thing we have learned from those previous waves is that society and politics can dramatically impact the trajectory of technological change. Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is head of the Global Economics and Management group. He has also co-authored several books, his latest being Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity with Daron Acemoglu.Simon and Greg discuss how technological advances had disrupted industries in the past, ranging from the industrial revolution in the English midlands to the mass production of Henry Ford in America. They discuss how some innovations can bring about catastrophe, as in the 2008 financial crisis, and the current landscape of disruptive technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in particular. Simon talks about how it may be deployed in business but how, in education, there will be an adjustment period before being incorporated.Listen in for insights on the past, present, and anticipated future of technology and prosperity with Simon Johnson.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:When workers became a cost, not a resource37:55: Managerial thinking, including what was taught at business school, shifted in the 1970s and 1980s, and the concept of shareholder capitalism, which I would contend has been around for a long time. In the 1970s and 1980s, there's a different concept that comes to the fore, and it's one which treats the workers much more as a cost to be minimized rather than a resource to be developed. And I think that wasn't just business schools; business economics played a role in that broader social discussion. That corporate thinking and corporate logic are very powerful, and that is part of what's propelled us in this particular direction that's led to a lot of job market polarization.The future of tech is too important to leave to a few42:07: We should be very careful about placing our technological future in the hands of a few individuals, even if those individuals have previously had great success in something that seems like it might be quite relevant for what comes next.How prepared ideas shapes history55:43: I don't think that books, ideas, or, I'm afraid, podcasts, change history. I think what changes history is events, but when you have an event, when you have a scandal, when you have a big problem, when you have something that is really in people's faces, it matters whether or not you have prepared ideas, whether or not you understand what the problem could be, and whether or not you are ready with solutions, not just solutions as something that I wrote a paper about; you should do what I say, but solutions that have been kicked around, debated, and hammered out.What’s the key point of the industrial revolution?04:23: The key point from the Industrial Revolution is that it did increase productivity. It did increase the surplus. That could be shared in some fashion, but it also increased the power of a certain set of people—the people who owned the mills, the cotton mills in particular, in the north of England, for example. And that change in the balance of power is part of what, of course, encouraged them to invest, as part of what gave them a good return on investment. But it also meant they didn't really care that much about the workers.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Jeremy BenthamHenry FordFerdinand de LessepsEdwin ChandwickGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at MIT Sloan Management SchoolFaculty Profile at Peterson Institute for International EconomicsSimon Johnson on LinkedInSimon Johnson on XProfessional Profile at IMFHis Work:Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and ProsperityJump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American DreamWhite House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial MeltdownNBER PapersReuters ArticlesGoogle Scholar Page
9/29/20231 hour, 1 second
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336. An Intellectual History of Money feat. Felix Martin

The history of money isn’t just an Economics story, but it’s a cultural and philosophical one, too. Felix Martin, a columnist for Reuters, charts this history in his book, Money: The Unauthorized Biography – From Coinage to Cryptocurrencies, and argues that money as a social institution has always been wielded as a political instrument. Felix and Greg discuss the determining factors of money’s value, some of the key moments in the history of currency, and what could be done to improve modern financial banking systems.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Money as a credit relationship21:08: There is this great value in thinking about money as a credit relationship. And the real value is to think about two dimensions. One dimension is the creditworthiness of the issuer…[21:52] And another dimension I think conceptually, you can think of them as different. Some people like to think of them the same, but I think the difference is the liquidity question. Creditworthiness is about this bilateral relationship between you and the central bank. And then there's this question of how many other people in the network will accept this in payment of goods or services? And that's this sort of liquidity question. And, so these are two factors which are behind that. They're all subsumed under this (V) in the Fisher equation, but you can break them down a bit conceptually, I think, in terms of money as credit is useful to do that.Money is a social institution04:02: I believe that money is a social institution, a communal fiction, then a history of money is not a history of coins and notes and that kind of thing. It's an intellectual history. It's a history of these ideas and these institutions and where they come from.What is the whole point of banking?52:00: The whole point of banking and its historical origin is precisely the flexibility of the balance sheets of the banks. The whole way that the capitalist economy works, what is useful about banks and the reason they exist is precisely that they are able to expand and contract their balance sheets in line with the needs of trade.Theories around money are useful but contingent18:22: It's not that the Fisher equation or the quantity theory of money are not useful. All these theories of money are very useful for interpreting and predicting given points in time. But they are contingent.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah HarariJohn LockeThe Nature of Money by Geoffrey InghamWalter BagehotEcu de marcGuest Profile:Author Page at ReutersFelix Martin’s WebsiteFelix Martin on LinkedInFeliz Martin on XHis Work:Money: The Unauthorized Biography – From Coinage to CryptocurrenciesArticles on Financial TimesArticles on Muck Rack
9/25/202354 minutes, 16 seconds
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335. Traversing Environmental Politics feat. Jedediah Purdy

As more and more humans came up against the edges of wilderness in American history, new laws were needed to help guide and shape what the process would look like. As time changed, so did the laws dealing with preserving nature and society’s view on its importance. Jedediah Purdy is a professor of Law at Duke Law and the author of several books. His latest work is called Two Cheers for Politics: Why Democracy Is Flawed, Frightening―and Our Best Hope.Jedediah and Greg discuss the complex terrain of America's environmental laws, tracing the roots from the liberal tradition of conquering Fortuna to modern ecological movements. They also dissect the tension between preserving nature for human benefit and maintaining its mystical allure. They also talk about the often overlooked role of class in environmental politics, analyzing in-depth how this has influenced public debates over laws and public lands.Listen in and explore these intersections of politics, law, and nature with Jed Purdy.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the four different visions04:02: There are definitely, even more than four kinds of ways of experiencing and relating to the natural world that exist in the broad shape of American life. And then, especially if we were to take account of the variety of indigenous ways of relating that continue to have a life and have their own kinds of futures, these are four that are really embodied in legal regimes. So, they're a way of trying to understand how environmental imagination has been very practical in lending a shape to the law's world making activity.Viewing nature as a spiritual source12:00: There is this very different way of seeing nature, which is as a spiritual source, as a way of connecting us with a meaning that goes beyond and, in a way, above our practical and material projects. And has a religious significance, whether understood theologically or in a romantic register, that replaces religion traditionally understood with aesthetic experience and mystical intuition of a sort of world soul.The paradox of political energy and political aversion35:00: The book begins with the observation that our political moment feels paradoxical and that it's extremely politically energized, but the mobilization often feels connected much more with fear and despair around politics than any real sense that it's a constructive or hopeful activity. So we're very political, but we're very, obviously, big and crude, inviting people to recognize some part of their own experience and observation. But we are also very anxious about and averse to it.Climate crisis is an everything problem, not just an environmental one54:17: I don't think anyone would want to make averting the climate crisis hang on our ability or willingness to change all of those things at once. In some ways, the environmental question finally refuses to be siloed, and it may lose some of its distinctiveness. It may even be a residual habit—that sort of category error—to think of climate as an environmental problem rather than an everything problem.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Alexis de TocquevilleJohn LockeThe Homestead Act of 1862National Park Service Organic ActThe Wilderness ActHenry David ThoreauThe Frontier ThesisGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Duke LawHis Work:Two Cheers For PoliticsAfter Nature: A Politics for the AnthropoceneFor Common Things: Irony, Trust and Commitment in America TodayThe Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal ImaginationJedediah Purdy Amazon Author PageThis Land Is Our Land: The Struggle for a New CommonwealthA Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American FreedomBeing America: Liberty, Commerce, and Violence in an American WorldNew Yorker ArticlesThe Atlantic Articles
9/22/202358 minutes, 39 seconds
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334. The Animal with the Longest Childhood feat. Brenna Hassett

Humans, as a species, are unique among the animal kingdom in a number of ways, but several of those involve how we have and raise our children. In a class of our own, even compared to other primates, humans spend an extremely long time in childhood and even longer until all parts of us, including our bones, fully mature.Brenna Hassett is a biological anthropologist and archaeologist. She is also the author of two books, Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death and her latest book, Growing Up Human: The Evolution of Childhood.Brenna and Greg discuss the significant impact of cultural adaptations on reproduction, exploring the complexities of human birth and the uniqueness of human fertility. Brenna goes over the hurdles of breastfeeding in diverse societies, the sway of nutrition in modern societies and its tie to fertility cycles, and what unexpected correlation humans have to zebras.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The perfect parenting myth16:03: The idea that there is one true way to parent is insidious because it preys on every insecurity you have as a new parent, which is, "Oh my God, this machine that I have purchased from the store and brought home is glitching. I can't turn it off and on again; there is no helpline that is working. What on earth am I supposed to do?" And a lot of people look for answers in a sort of imagined past where, if the phone wasn't ringing off the hook, if the television wasn't on, if you didn't have to go back to work after three weeks or something, childrearing would be much easier. And a lot of that stuff is true.Are babies demanding?25:48: If you think about the signaling mechanism in a human pregnancy being much more baby-led than maternal-led, I think you start to see how our very demanding babies can take advantage of that.The challenges of balancing work and care34:44: The thing to remember with humans is that every single evolutionary adaptation that we've made, we have adjusted the levers of the adaptation with our culture. Our culture is essentially another mechanism by which we move our adaptations forward, backward, sideways, or whatever. So if you think about something that ought to be straightforward, like birth, and then you look at the actual mechanics of it for humans.The push for adulthood in our changing world47:47: We've set up a society that had some expectations and a culture that had some expectations, and then we changed them, and we are slowly allowing some people in our society to fit our changed expectations. We are pushing our expectations absolutely to their limit in some ways. And that's why fertility treatment and things like that are so important now, because people are waiting longer; it is harder to meet the sort of traditional adult milestones in the economy we have today.Show Links:Recommended Resources:r/K selection theoryCountess BáthoryThe Dutch Hunger WinterHolly DunsworthGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UCLANBrenna Hassett on XBrenna Hassett on Talks at GoogleHer Work:Growing Up Human: The Evolution of ChildhoodBuilt on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and ArticlesResearchGate PublicationsOther scholarly articles
9/20/202356 minutes, 40 seconds
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333. The Science of Reading feat. Adrian Johns

In the information economy, reading is an essential skill. How can competency in reading be measured, and how can it be improved? In the 19th century, there emerged a science of reading that led to the “reading wars” that are with us to this day.Adrian Johns is the Allan Grant Maclear Professor of History at the University of Chicago and also an author. His latest book is titled The Science of Reading: Information, Media, and Mind in Modern America.Adrian and Greg discuss both the problems of literacy levels in society and the problems with measuring it accurately. Adrian goes over the central target that past literacy texts tried to hit or sometimes ignore and the missteps they make when they get it wrong. They discuss what has caused literacy panics and what those have looked like throughout the years. From the staccato rhythm of reading to the unexpected way people view images, our understanding of reading behavior has been transformed by technologies like the eye movement camera and the Tachistoscope. Adrian shares the ripple effect these tools have had on fields like marketing and user interface work.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Jerome Bruner’s idea of a good reader43:39: The people who are the best readers are the people who have a hypothesis-testing model for how they read. So, as you imagine this, as your eyes are moving across the line, you are all the time predicting what the next word is going to be. And the people who are really good readers are better at predicting this. So they're making hypotheses, and then they're experimentally seeing whether the hypothesis is born out really fast. And if it's not, then they go back and come up with another hypothesis.Does being a good text message reader mean you're also a good book reader?53:34: Being a really good reader of text messages is not the same thing as being a really good reader of Moby Dick, but they're both good things. They're both worth having, and we want to train people to be masters of all of those things, which in a certain sense is what the people were aiming for in 1900, but we're in a different world now, so we have to adapt to that.On looking at experts insights more than credentials06:17: There's a notion that, in application, the science of reading can tell us how to make our schools create the next generation who will be more efficient and more adapted to the world in which they live.Reading is not just about decoding words52:32: Once you're beyond that very basic level of phonics character-by-character interpretation, it's not actually clear that the target that you are aiming at is one thing. So we think of reading singular as one or would be a gerund. One verb, but if you look around empirically at what happens in the professional social world, this thing, if it is one thing, is carried out in lots of different ways.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Explanation of TaylorismTachistoscopePaul FittsUSS VincennesJerome BrunerHorace Mann BondFlesch-Kincaid readabilityBook: why johnny cant readGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of ChicagoAdrian Johns on LinkedInHis Work:The Science of Reading: Information, Media, and Mind in Modern AmericaPiracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to GatesThe Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the MakingTime ArticleGoogle Scholar Page
9/18/202356 minutes, 28 seconds
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332. The Origins of Feminism feat. Erika Bachiochi

Even well before the suffragettes of the 19th century, women had been writing, thinking, and pushing for equal rights for almost a hundred years. How did those early feminist activists inform policy and the way we view household and family politics today? Erika Bachiochi is a fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute. Her new book, The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, provides an intellectual history of the women’s rights movement going all the way back to the 18th century. She and Greg discuss the influential work of Mary Wollstonecraft on the women’s rights movement, how industrialization and the rise of capitalism shifted priorities in the movement, and the history of the abortion debate. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The effect of technology in reproduction37:43: What answers asymmetry now, what answers the fact that men and women can engage in sex but women get pregnant and men don't, is technology. So, you have contraception and you have abortion, and when technology fills in the gaps, again, you have this shift, so that's when you see the sexual revolution come about: more sexual risk-taking, more sort of casual sex as a sexual ethos that kind of takes over because we're relying now on technology instead of our development of self-mastery in the sexual realm.The big shift in the women's right movement19:28: With industrialization and the rise of capitalism, women started to become far more dependent, where they used to work together on the agrarian homestead. That dependency puts them at great risk because they now depend on men for a paycheck. So it's not just women's ambition that sent them into the workplace; it's a real desire to have some insurance against male vice in a lot of ways, which is what you saw in that first wave of feminism.The challenges of balancing work and care52:32: We need to listen more to those who would prefer to be in the home and prefer to be caring for their children, who would prefer to see the work of the home that both mothers and fathers engage in as having great value, as getting back to the Wilson crafting insight as kind, kind of underlying every social, political, and economic good. And that we've forgotten about that. And thinking about what children really need to become independent and mature—not only workers, not only citizens, but also spouses and neighbors—is a really important shift that needs to happen.On Ginsburg's fight for women's equality14:43: By really fighting for women to be understood as equal citizens, Ginsburg is constitutionalizing Wilson's craft's principle. What Ginsburg is fighting against in the 1970s as an advocate for the ACLU is that we shouldn't have these laws that basically confine women to maternity and expect that just because a woman has the capacity for childbirth and motherhood, she should be kept out of professions. And that was a really important gain and a really important underlying political philosophy.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Mary WollstonecraftA Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary WollstonecraftEdmund BurkeJean-Jacques RousseauJohn LockeCommentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William BlackstoneAlice PaulLochner v. New YorkVictoria WoodhullThe National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of PurposeWhy Women Still Can’t Have It All by Anne-Marie SlaughterWomen and Economics by Charlotte Perkins GillmanMary Ann GlendonGuest Profile:Professional Profile at Ethics & Public Policy CenterContributor’s Profile on The Federalist Society Erika Bachiochi on LinkedInErika Bachiochi on XErika Bachiochi on TED TalkHer Work:The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost VisionThe Cost of Choice: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion
9/15/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 5 seconds
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331. Inflation Strikes Back feat. Stephen D. King

Even though central banks have become independent over the years, is it fair to say they still face political challenges? Could inflation be viewed as a political problem or a technical one?Stephen D. King is a senior economic adviser at HSBC and has been writing about global economics for years. His most recent book, We Need to Talk About Inflation: 14 Urgent Lessons from the Last 2,000 Years, examines the root causes of inflation through a historical lens. Stephen and Greg discuss whether inflation is inherently tied to politics, why deflation is not necessarily a scary thing, and the greatest challenge facing central bankers today. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Inflation tends to create a world for winners and losers07:00: So, inflation tends to create a world of both winners and losers. And it's a profoundly undemocratic process in that sense because that process of creating winners and losers is pretty arbitrary. But of course, the problem there is that if you happen to be a loser initially, you're going to want to push for your own wage increase or your price increase later on because your next-door neighbor has already had one of those, and you're waiting for your turn. So when you try to stop inflation, you are effectively trying to stop it when some people have already perhaps benefited from it. And other people feel quite rightly quite justifiably that they haven't; in fact, they're actually worse off in some sense. So stopping it once it's started becomes a lot more difficult.Have we forgotten the adverse consequences of inflation?05:47: With the advent of central banks becoming politically independent, I think there was a habit of thinking that inflation was a technical problem. It was a technical challenge for central banks, but not really a political challenge in any significant way. But actually, I think inflation is a huge political challenge.Does the central bank overestimate the degree of control they have over velocity?33:22: It's not just how much money you print; it's what the public thinks of what it is you're doing. Do they trust you? Do they think you're on the right track or the wrong track? In other words, the velocity partly depends on how the public rates you as a credible monetary institution. So, if you're doing stuff that seems to be overly experimental or peculiar, you may suddenly discover that what you thought was a relationship between money and the economy breaks down one way or the other.Will we be entering into a new era where the central banks reassert their independence and reestablish their credibility?57:27: I think that where inflation is relatively high and economic growth is relatively low, it's going to be a very interesting situation to monitor over the next three or four years to see whether central banks, first of all, are able to reassert their sort of independence. And secondly, whether, politically, they can get away with it and have the legitimacy to do so.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Hugo StinnesAdam SmithPaul VolckerArthur F. BurnsLawrence SummersJason FurmanMartin WolfGuest Profile:Professional Profile on BruegelSpeaker’s Profile on London Speaker Bureau AsiaStephen D. King on LinkedInStephen D. King on XHis Work:We Need to Talk About Inflation: 14 Urgent Lessons from the Last 2,000 YearsLosing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western ProsperityWhen the Money Runs Out: The End of Western AffluenceGrave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History
9/13/202359 minutes, 15 seconds
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330. Saving Lives With Outsider Ideas feat. Charles Barber

Sometimes, the ideas that end up being the most revolutionary come from outside the scientific mainstream. People who can approach the problem with different eyes and thoughts and see solutions from another angle. For medicine, the idea that revolutionized trauma wound care came from a complete outsider and accelerated when he joined forces with another outsider to promote a new way to clot blood.Charles Barber is a professor at Wesleyan University and the author of several books. His latest book, titled In the Blood: How Two Outsiders Solved a Centuries-Old Medical Mystery and Took On the US Army, recounts the story of the unlikely development of Quikclot and the hurdles that were along its path to adoption. Charles and Greg discuss what doctors had tried before Quikclot came along and then the story of how Frank Hursey and Brad Gullong turned heads and changed minds with the effectiveness of their new product to clot blood quickly and save the lives of those who had wounds that would previously have been fatal.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How two outsiders and three combat veterans revolutionized medicine25:39: One of the reasons they don't go in for the very expensive things that the army went in—these high-tech blood-clotting things that eventually failed—is they just didn't have the budget. They didn't have the money for it. And the Quikclot that was produced out of the Zeolite, which, by the way, was deployed very early in Iraq war and saved a lot of lives, was like $15 a packet. And so it was this kismet of two outsider inventors with no credentials doing things that would allow them to lose their medical license had they had a medical license, putting a rock in the bloodstream, and then meeting up over a number of years with these three outsider medical people. What they all shared was combat, raw combat experience, and an intolerance for the bureaucracy if it got in the way of the phrase that they all used independently, saving the kids in the ditch.Prioritizing insights over credentials17:32: We live in this age of experts, where you have to have PhDs, MDs, and everything at the same time. And we don't pay attention the way we did even a hundred years ago to people who don't necessarily have the credentials but have the insight.Does our approach to medicine create fertile ground for pharmaceutical company marketing?46:22: If you were to pick one thing that changed the commodification of psychiatric drugs, it was the television advertising of drugs. And New Zealand and the US, then and now, are still the only countries that do it. And so, it's not far afield from this sort of American Wild West of grabbing highly potent, sometimes effective, often not effective technological solutions without going to the undergirding issues.Mental illness is complicated48:45: Mental illness is nothing if not extraordinarily complicated, and we've grown up with even advanced psychiatry. It's all this: either medicines or therapy, genes or character, environment or hereditary. And for some reason, we can't seem to understand that it's not that complicated.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Faculty Profile for Demetrios DemetriadesFrank HurseyBart GullongZeoliteJohn W. HolcombQuikclot WebsiteWilliam JamesGuest Profile:Faculty Profile on Wesleyan UniversityAuthor’s Profile on Penguin Random HouseCharles Barber's WebsiteCharles Barber on LinkedInHis Work:In the Blood: How Two Outsiders Solved a Centuries-Old Medical Mystery and Took On the US ArmyPeace & Health: How a group of small-town activists and college students set out to change healthcareCitizen Outlaw: One Man's Journey from Gangleader to PeacekeeperComfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Medicated a NationSongs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors (American Lives)
9/11/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 37 seconds
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329. What Good is Pessimism? feat. David Benatar

Humans have a tendency to see the glass as half full. What arguments can be made on behalf of the half-empty perspective? Whether it's evaluating your life or making decisions about becoming a parent, viewing things through a pessimistic lens could ultimately help reduce suffering in the world.David Benatar is a professor of philosophy and director of the Bioethics Centre at the University of Cape Town. He is also the author of several books. His latest book, titled The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions, explores the meaningfulness of life. David and Greg discuss optimism versus pessimism and the positive and negative qualities that they both possess. David talks about suicide and the historic and where our views on it have evolved from. David and Greg talk about the ethics of having children, what true immortality would really mean, and how to get the most out of our time on the hedonic treadmill of life.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:General broad pessimism is a product of the clear-eyed view48:48: General broad pessimism is a product of the clear-eyed view. If you look at the human condition realistically, you're going to reach unhappy conclusions about all the things I've said that you should reach unhappy conclusions about. But now the question is, "Well, what do you do with that information?" Do you just become morose? Do you withdraw? What do you do with this information? And one mistake would be to become overly morose about it, to derive no joy, because then what happens is there's a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy there where you're making; there's another feedback loop. You're making it actually worse for yourself than it would be if you didn't have that kind of response to the pessimism. At the same time, I don't think you should fall into optimism because now you're going to lose the clear-eyed view. So, what I would say is preserve the clear-eyed pessimistic view but be pragmatic.Is there a feedback loop between the subjective and the objective?18:29: If you think your life is better than it is, it objectively becomes a bit better. That doesn't mean it reaches the level you think it's at. It doesn't completely eliminate the gap between the subjective and the objective, but the subjective view makes it a little better. And similarly, when we're speaking about negative evaluation. So, there is that feedback loop.Life’s meaning doesn’t have to be broad22:05: I don't think that we should conclude from the absence of that kind of meaning that our lives have no meaning. Because they do have meaning at more micro-levels, and we matter to other people. We can have a positive impact on people and beings around us. And I don't think we should pretend that isn't the case simply because our lives can't have a broader kind of meaning.On the relationship of quality and meaning of life13:29: There are different views about what the relationship is between quality and meaning. Some people want to treat meaning as part of the quality of life. Others want to separate it out. There is some value in separating them, but I don't want to be committed to that view. I don't think we need to be.Show Links:Recommended Resources:A. J. Ayer Wikipedia PageHedonic Treadmill Wikipedia PageGuest Profile:Faculty Profile from the University of Cape TownHis Work:The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest QuestionsBetter Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into ExistenceThe Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and BoysConversations about the Meaning of LifeThe Fall of the University of Cape Town: Africa’s leading university in declineDebating Procreation: Is It Wrong to Reproduce?New Yorker Article 
9/8/202359 minutes, 55 seconds
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328. How To Fail The Right Way feat. Amy Edmondson

As risk-averse individuals, we tend to try to avoid failure at all costs. But failing is an essential part of learning. So, how can we get better at it? And how can organizations create psychological safety so employees are more willing to take chances, even if it may lead to failure? Amy Edmondson is a professor at Harvard Business School and studies psychological safety, organizational learning, and teaming. In her new book, Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, she guides readers through the art of failing. Amy and Greg discuss her psychological safety origin story, the taxonomy of failure, and the importance of learning how to fail right. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What does psychological safety truly mean?19:55: My least favorite misconception of what psychological safety is that it means a lack of accountability or a lack of high standards. It means anything goes, and we're just going to be soft and, you know, wrap everybody in bubble wrap. And it's not what it means. It means permission for candor, right? It means permission to take risks, and hopefully, most of those risks will be smart risks.Errors and failures are rich territory for learning07:51: You've got to learn, and you have to learn fast, and you have to keep learning—and errors and failures, which I do not believe are synonymous, are really rich territory for learning. Unfortunately, we don't often do it very well. There's a whole lot of room for improvement there.Leadership doesn’t exist without fellowship27:19: Leadership doesn't even exist without followership. So we've got to be as interested in what everyone does to co-create value. And some people are at higher levels of leadership than others, but we're all trying to create value for the customers. And we have an overemphasis on sort of the role of those at the top.At what level can you safely try to change the culture?25:49: We have this very deep instinct to pay attention to what's happening above us. And oftentimes, because we're a little judgmental, we will decide that what's happening above us is suboptimal, and they don't get it. And they're not doing their part to create a psychological safety or learning environment. And I say that may very well be true, and your responsibility is simply to take a look at what you can do. Look down or across instead of up.Shifting the way you look at leadership28:11: We need to think less about organizations and more about teams because organizations are just made up of teams, and if every team does its part, whether it's developing the strategy, deciding on acquisition, building a product, or designing tomorrow's products. Every team does its job in the most learning-oriented, ambitious way possible. Some of those activities will be pretty powerful.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Carol DweckTeaching Smart People How to Learn by Chris Argyris Charles PerrowGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard UniversityProfessional Profile on Thinkers50Speaker Profile on Stern Strategy GroupAmy C. Edmondson's WebsiteAmy C. Edmondson on LinkedInAmy C. Edmondson on TwitterAmy C. Edmondson on TEDxHGSEHer Work:Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and GrowthWorkplace Conditions (Elements of Improving Quality and Safety in Healthcare) Extreme Teaming: Lessons in Complex, Cross-Sector LeadershipBuilding the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious InnovationTeaming to InnovateA Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R Buckminster FullerScholarly Articles Articles on Harvard Business Review
9/6/202359 minutes, 4 seconds
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327. What Actually Makes A College The Best? feat. Colin Diver

Does the way we rank colleges prioritize status over educational quality or the public good? Colin Diver is the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., Professor of Law and Economics, former dean at the University of Pennsylvania, and former president of Reed College. His book, Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do about It, explores the methodologies of U.S. News and others to evaluate higher education institutions.Colin and Greg discuss the pitfalls of college rankings, how they fail to measure important aspects of education,  how they distort the incentives of college administrators, and what a better system could look like. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why are the SATs becoming less popular?27:43: I realized that in this day and age, the SAT is becoming less and less popular, and I understand why—it does tend to favor privileged students that are economically and academically privileged students. But I still think that it is a force for democratizing higher education. It's a way of identifying talented students from out-of-the-way places, unfamiliar high schools, maybe even kids who didn't have a high GPA for whatever reason, but still have a lot of raw talent.Do we have the capacity to opt out of rankings?26:23: Yes, we dislike the rankings. We may even hate them, but we can't afford to fight them. And we can't afford to pull out. I understand that calculation. It's like we depend on the rankings to signal our value to our primary constituency, which is potential undergraduate students.How does early decision admission contribute to economic inequality?27:43: If you apply early, we'll give you an answer early, but if we admit you, you've got to accept our offer. And so, that way, you drove up your yield rate because everybody who applied that you admitted was going to come because they had agreed ahead of time that they would come. And, well, what was wrong with that? What was wrong with that was that it favored the rich because the poorer students can't afford to commit early. They need to see what the competitive financial aid awards are. And so, it was well demonstrated in the literature that early decisions tended to favor rich applicants and disfavor poor applicants.The value of Ivy League education is a function of its exclusivity55:23: The apparent value of an Ivy League education is a function of its exclusivity. We want to be a club that only a few people can join, is the sentiment. And that is unfortunate. It's a reflection of the competitive conditions in higher education.Show Links:Recommended Resources:U.S. News Best CollegesBuild Your Own College Rankings (New York Times)NichePresident John F. Kennedy’s Frost Speech Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of Pennsylvania President's Profile on Reed CollegeColin Diver on LinkedInColin Diver on XHis Work:Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do about ItArticle on The Chronicle of Higher EducationArticle on Los Angeles TimeArticle on The New York Times
9/4/202355 minutes, 39 seconds
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326. How Epigenetics Drive Your DNA feat. Nessa Carey

The double helix of DNA twists in the heart of every human cell, and it comes with some editing software known as epigenetics that power what parts turn on and off and when. Scientists are still still working to understand exactly how genetics and epigenetics work, but we are learning more every day.Nessa Carey is the former International Director at PraxisUnico and the author of several books on genetics. Her latest book is titled Hacking the Code of Life: How gene editing will rewrite our futures.Nessa and Greg discuss how genetics and epigenetics work and are related, with some concrete examples. Nessa discusses how genetics have been used to clone species and cells in laboratories and the differences between other animals and humans. Greg and Nessa talk about the uses and limitations of gene technology and the exciting possibilities of the gene editing technology CRISPR.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Not all scientists are the same01:00:39: We have to get better at recognizing that not all scientists are the same. Some are really good problem solvers, some are really good creative thinkers, and it's about finding the right ways to support those people to maximum effect. And we need both. We need the problem solvers as well as the genuinely, deeply creative people. And that is expensive, but on the other hand, you don't get the great breakthroughs. If we only had the problem solvers, all we would have now are better iron lungs for polio. We'd never have a vaccine. But sometimes you need those problem solvers to get other things done as well. So we need to be supporting all different types of research.On the complexity of biology17:27: The reality is biology is very, very complicated. All of those systems need to work. If any of them fall apart, the whole thing falls apart. But we're surprisingly tribal and surprisingly wedded to our own theories. I think in biology, we quite often don't realize we're constantly putting ourselves on Gartner's hype cycle, and everybody gets very invested in whichever bit they like and where it's in the cycle at the time.The beauty and cultural value of funding science01:01:52: It's a mistake to think we should fund science because, eventually, it'll fund us back. We should fund science because it's beautiful. We should fund it because it's a magnificent cultural activity that adds to the wealth of human gorgeousness in the same way that fine arts and great literature do. Stuff shouldn't just be funded because it has an economic imperative. Isn't it just beautiful to understand more about how the world works?Why is epigenetics a notable example of scientific paradigm shifts?14:49: Epigenetics has been a great example of how you get paradigm shifts in scientific fields. You get this situation where there's the prevailing theory, and it survives a lot of onslaughts. But then eventually, it crumbles, and the new theory emerges. So, it's been great both scientifically and in terms of the philosophy of science.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Waddington LandscapeThe Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of CancerGartner Hype CycleJohn Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka’s WorkAnne Ferguson-SmithGuest Profile:Profile on The Royal SocietyNessa Carey's WebsiteNessa Carey on LinkedInNessa Carey on XHer Work:Hacking the Code of Life: How gene editing will rewrite our futuresThe Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and InheritanceJunk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the GenomeHuffington Post Articles
9/1/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 59 seconds
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325. Privacy Meets Security: Keeping Our Data Safe feat. Daniel J. Solove

When it comes to data privacy laws these days, it’s still sort of like the Wild West out there. There’s no federal agency holding software makers responsible for security holes, consumers don’t understand how much risk there is, and the laws that are on the books are inadequate.Daniel J. Solove is a leading authority on privacy law and is a professor at the George Washington University Law School. He’s written numerous books and articles on data security and privacy laws, including his most recent book, Breached!: Why Data Security Law Fails and How to Improve it and his textbook, Information Privacy Law.Daniel and Greg discuss why current privacy laws are counterproductive, what a useful federal law regulating data security could look like, and why being forced to change your password regularly is actually bad advice. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The need for a human element when it comes to security38:32: Security does need to think about the human element. And that's a different kind of thinking than what might be best for security. And that's what makes security so tricky. There are good technologies and weaker technologies for security. I think two-factor authentication is good. There are a lot of things that people can do that will make very effective security. But there's also this human dimension, and that's a dimension that a lot of them are not trained on. It's just they're not experts in human psychology, human cognitive abilities, and what humans are likely or unlikely to do. But we need that expertise involved if we're going to create the right security framework for a company.Is the law focusing on data breaches so much that it's making them worse?13:25: The law, unfortunately, has focused way too obsessively on breach and failed to focus on things that could actually address this problem in a much more effective way. The role that companies play in data breaches32:51: If we had companies devise ways that they authenticated themselves to people, then we would be a lot safer, and fewer people would be falling for hacker tricks. And if the company is doing some practice that is miseducating, you should be penalized.Do we make exceptions for technology when it comes to security?17:40: There's a bit of exceptionalism when it comes to technology, where we accept the risks and dangers of technology and don't hold the makers of it accountable in ways we would never do with any other product. Show Links:Recommended Resources:TortBenjamin N. CardozoLouis BrandeisRalph NaderBruce SchneierKatz v. United StatesLoomis v. WisconsinOlmstead v. United StatesJohn Marshall HarlanGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at George Washington UniversityDaniel J. Solove's WebsiteDaniel J. Solove on LinkedInDaniel J. Solove on TwitterDaniel J. Solove on Talks at GoogleDaniel’s company: TeachPrivacyHis Work:Breached!: Why Data Security Law Fails and How to Improve itInformation Privacy LawUnderstanding PrivacyThe Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information AgeNothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and SecurityThe Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the InternetThe FTC and The New Common Law of PrivacyThe Limitations of Privacy RightsMore scholarly articles
8/30/202358 minutes, 54 seconds
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324. A History of Interest Rates feat. Edward Chancellor

Is finance really just the economics of time and risk? How do you price things like time and risk?Edward Chancellor is a columnist with Reuters and is the author of the book, The Price of Time: The Real Story of Interest, which delves into the history of lending and the interest rates that followed for the last five millennia. Edward and Greg discuss the history of interest and its connections to Greek philosophy, the potential problems with centralized banking, and financial repression in China and the US. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The overlooked aspects of monetary policy and central planning08:05: What I think happened is you have the support amongst some neoclassical economists for Hayek's ideas relating to the economy as spontaneous, complex, emergent order that is difficult to control centrally. And yet, at the same time, no one has any problem with taking the most important price in the system, the one that affects everything, namely the interest rate. And so it's somehow perfectly acceptable to tweak that for whatever your end.Insights from a finance journalist51:34: One of the things I've discovered about writing about finance for nearly 30 years is that it's hardly worth having new ideas, because the conservatism of the world is so great that it's very hard to get them taken up. So I prefer to describe, rather than create, solutions.Unraveling the complexity between the relationship between inflation and interest42:37: The relationship between inflation and interest is not as straightforward as people surmise. If a low-interest rate encourages leverage, then the more leverage you have, the greater the leverage tottering over an individual household or an economy as a whole, and the more potential deflation pressure there is.What’s an inevitable feature of a market-based system?13:23: The notion that a transitional rise in unemployment may actually be useful is complete heresy and is seen as being a sort of strange, perverted form of sadism. Which I didn't think it was. So it's an inevitable feature of a capitalist or market-based system that you'd have these periods of boom and bust.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Denationalisation of Money by Friedrich A. Von HayekMilton FriedmanJohn Maynard KeynesClément JuglarThe Nature and Necessity of Interest by Gustav CasselEugen von Böhm-BawerkIrving FisherGuest Profile:Author Page at ReutersSpeaker’s Profile on Chartwell SpeakersEdward Chancellor's Website Edward Chancellor on LinkedInEdward Chancellor on XHis Work:The Price of Time: The Real Story of InterestDevil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation
8/28/202352 minutes, 55 seconds
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323. Learning from the South Sea Bubble feat. Thomas Levenson

When the stock market emerged, everyone was foraging the path for the first time. The potential and problems engrossed the wisest minds in the world and the richest names in banking. Then came the 1720 South Sea Bubble, and people were met with a financial crisis.  Thomas Levenson is a Professor of Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an author, and his latest book is titled Money for Nothing: The Scientists, Fraudsters, and Corrupt Politicians Who Reinvented Money, Panicked a Nation, and Made.Thomas and Greg discuss the circumstances of the South Sea Bubble and how it connected to famous minds like Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. They relate the financial crisis to other bubbles, like the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Thomas draws out the fascinating parts of what happened with the South Sea Bubble and what lessons can be learned from it and applied to today’s financial markets.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Insights on the role of innovation and government purpose in bubbles33:51: The point of the bubble is that at the core of the bubble was a really good idea that actually served the government's purposes. In fact, served the government's purposes so well that one of the reasons you don't get joint stock companies going forward and in particular, you don't allow private companies to have access to the bond markets, the debt market, in the same way that the government has, is because the government wants to make sure it essentially has a monopoly on that form of finance so that it can continue executing its purposes. And you don't see a private bond market emerging, at least in Britain, until the second quarter of the 19th century.You can have truth in mathematics29:02: Mathematics is this sure and certain science. You can have truth in mathematics... The best that physics can be is demonstrated, and there's a difference. And so, if the mathematics work out, then, of course, this is a safe, sound, and perfectly acceptable way to spend your money until it isn't. So there's a rhetoric in the use of mathematical arguments that shouldn't be ignored. It was present in the 1720s bubble and in that era, and it was very much present recently.Humanities teach you to think about the future in ways that are simply useful01:01:24: If you try to train for the present, what you're doing is making sure that the future is going to catch you by surprise. And one of the things that the humanities do is teach you to think about the future in ways that are more flexible, more interesting, and, dare I say it, pragmatically, simply useful.A perspective on continuous evolution and profound shifts13:29: I see events as a continuous flow rather than as sudden, momentary revolutionary breakthroughs. But if ever there was a profoundly changing, rapidly changing sort of thing, you can experience it in your own lifetime. The late 17th century was remarkable.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Isaac NewtonEdmond HalleyCalculated Values by William DeringerThe South Sea Bubble of 1720The Financial Crisis of 2007-2008Tulip ManiaExchange AlleyHorace WalpoleGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyThomas Levenson WebsiteThomas Levenson on LinkedInThomas Levenson on XHis Work:Money for Nothing: The Scientists, Fraudsters, and Corrupt Politicians Who Reinvented Money, Panicked a Nation, and Made the World RichMoney For Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern CapitalismThe Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the UniverseNewton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest ScientistEinstein in BerlinArticles from The AtlanticArticles from Aeon
8/25/20231 hour, 1 minute, 40 seconds
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322. A Course in Wisdom feat. Thomas Gilovich

Is the smartest person in the room also the wisest? Not necessarily. So what does it mean to be wise, and how do you go about finding that wisdom in life? Thomas Gilovich is the Irene Blecker Rosenfeld Professor of Psychology at Cornell University. His work in social psychology includes the key textbook in the field, and has written books that touch on topics such as behavioral economics and the fallibility of human reason.Thomas and Greg discuss what it means to truly be wise, whether or not more wisdom leads to more happiness in life, and how to train ourselves to see beyond our subjective perception of the world. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Should we start with an understanding of the self in order to gain a better understanding of other people?54:05: We have this great capacity to zoom in, zoom out, look at things from a variety of different angles. And, if you do that well, that's going to give you a better understanding of other people and a better understanding of yourself. So, let's look at it from my perspective. Let's look at it from their perspective, and so on. That is part and parcel of what wisdom is—turning things around to look at a hard problem from a variety of different angles. And, if that's a big component of wisdom, it would be surprising if wisdom was located in one area rather than the other.Wisdom is where rational understanding meets human insights03:45: To be wise and effective in this world means that you need to understand all that we've learned about rational choice, logic, etc., and combine that with knowledge of people.Why construal principle is a big component of wisdom25:26: One of the biggest principles of social psychology is the so-called "construal principle," which is that there's a reality out there. But we don't respond to that reality. We respond to how we interpret that reality. And knowing that's what we're reacting to is a big component of wisdom; it allows us to understand where other people are coming from, especially when their behavior on the surface immediately may not make sense to us. So, what does it mean to them that they're reacting that way? It's a big part of wisdom.Considering happiness as a talent, not just a trait34:35: We think of happiness as a trait, which at some level of description it is, but maybe it's better to think of it as a talent: happy people have the talent to make all these mental moves and arrange their lives in such a way that they will be happier.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Solomon AschGeorge Carlin - Idiot and ManiacLeon FestingerThe Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan HaidtHappy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles MontgomeryKurt LewinDaniel KahnemanThe Replication CrisisGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Cornell UniversityAuthor’s Profile at SageThomas Gilovich on LinkedInHis Work:Social Psychology (6th Edition)Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive JudgmentHow We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday LifeWhy Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral EconomicsThe Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful InsightsMore scholarly articles 
8/23/202355 minutes, 13 seconds
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321. The Power of Creative Problem-Solving with Tina Seelig

From an early age, students are taught the major academic disciplines like math, science, history, and art. But one thing that often gets overlooked or not formally taught is creative problem-solving. Why? And what would those classes look like? Tina Seelig, the executive director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University, teaches creativity courses to students around the world and in corporate settings. She’s written numerous books on the subject, such as Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World and inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity. Tina and Greg discuss some of the ways she unlocks creativity in her students, why there should be more of an emphasis on creative problem-solving at educational institutions, and how to cultivate curiosity. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Insights from 'What I Wish I Knew When I Was 40'41:02: You can start anywhere. The lane lines of the pool might be on top, but you can swim under them. And it's really, really important that you don't get a job. You get the keys to the building. So find the building you want to be in, figure out where you're going to get your foot in the door, and then figure out how you're going to really make an impact and create new opportunities for yourself.Failure is data for growth15:14: I deeply believe that failure is actually data and that you need to understand that every time something doesn't work as you expected, you have some really interesting data that is going to help you get to the next stage.Do we need courses for creativity?06:08: We teach math, science, history, art, and music. Why do we not teach creative problem-solving? And there are a very clear set of tools, techniques, and mindsets that are required that allow you to come up with really interesting solutions to problems that we face every single day.From boredom to fascination in pursuit of passion25:11: I'm a huge believer that before something is your passion, it's something you know nothing about. And so, something might seem boring and uninteresting, but if you have the right mindset, it's going to be fascinating.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Right It: Why So Many Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Succeed by Alberto SavoiaAlberto Savoia Talks on eCorner319. The Future Repeats Itself feat. Tom StandageWhat I Wish I Knew When I Was 40Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford UniversityContributors Profile on Psychology TodayTina Seelig's WebsiteTina Seelig on LinkedInTina Seelig on XTina Seelig on TEDTalkLeap! With Tina Seelig PodcastStanford Innovation Lab PodcastHer Work:Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World (US)inGenius: A Crash Course on CreativityWhat I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the WorldInsight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World (UK)
8/21/202349 minutes, 19 seconds
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320. The Origins of Fitness Culture feat. Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Society’s view on fitness swings wildly from era to era throughout history. There were times when caring about your body was considered feminine, times when it was masculine, times when it was patriotic, and times when that was too close to how ideologies we don’t like behave - so not caring about your body was patriotic, but there have been many shifts in the last hundred years alone.Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture, an Associate Professor of History at The New School, and the author of two books, the latest of which is titled Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise Obsession. Natalia and Greg discuss how fitness has become part of a broader wellness movement. They discuss how access to fitness and attitudes around it has become reserved for the wealthy or privileged. Natalia details how PE offerings in schools have changed over the years to line up with different political attitudes and the fine line between professionalizing fitness instruction and limiting access to the profession.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The imperative of certification and licensing for health and fitness instructors56:57: One of the biggest impediments to protecting people, both instructors and students, would be certification, real professional guidelines, and licensing. Because right now, fitness instructors and trainers are assuming this outsized role in people's lives with basically no guardrails, no instruction, or no laws governing that. You can sue if you hurt your neck in class, etc. But it's a wild west. And there's a lot of incentives for fitness professionals to actually be really zany and cross boundaries, because that creates this rapport in this very intimate relationship. You want that role in people's lives, but that can go wrong. And so, licensing and professional standards would help with that.The fitness industry and the dimension of inclusivity21:33: The gym evolves in how intimidating it becomes over time, but that remains a hallmark of a lot of people's gym experiences. And I should point out that in some ways, that's what the fitness industry is selling—a dimension of exclusivity.The interplay between American lifestyle and exercise trends05:58: One of the things that has really happened, that's emerged, that's helped propel this industry and this pressure to exercise, is that so many aspects of American life have become more sedentary. One of the reasons that we do have this class divide and who's thought to participate in exercise regularly is that the big moments when you have the expansion of the fitness industry always have to do with the expansion of the white-collar workforce.Fitness and community should go hand in hand51:15: We both know, coming out of the pandemic, that exercise is really good for you, but we know it was a big help with comorbidities and it's so important. But on the other hand, unfortunately, I think we hastened some of this privatization because we shut down parks and recreation centers. And we were like, "Oh, go do Peloton in your home; good luck with that," and that really isolated us and got rid of the community aspect, which is never perfectly inclusive, but I think it's really important.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Katie SandwinaCharles AtlasRichard SimmonsMuscle BeachVic TannyJim FixxJane FondaGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at New SchoolNatalia Mehlman Petrzela's WebsiteNatalia Mehlman Petrzela on LinkedInNatalia Mehlman Petrzela on XHer Work:Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise ObsessionClassroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture NBC News Articles
8/18/202359 minutes, 22 seconds
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319. The Future Repeats Itself feat. Tom Standage

A new era of technology brings about advancements that both thrill and concern society. Some see the oncoming innovations as the solution to our problems, others as the harbinger of the end, but one thing is certain: this isn’t the first time. Whether it’s the criticisms of social media, new vehicles meant to make communing easier, or industries disrupted by new technology, the present can look to and learn from the examples of the past. Tom Standage is the Deputy Editor at The Economist and the author of several books. His latest book, A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next, explores how personal vehicles have changed and shaped societies for millennia and continue to do so now with the onset of self-driving technology. Tom and Greg discuss how the present tech concerns echo panics of the past and the ways in which the discussion of self-driving vehicles today is following the discourse of other major shifts in society, like that from horses to vehicles. Tom gives a different take on the prevalence of smartphones and why it’s wise to take with a grain of salt both the prophets and the doomsayers of new innovations.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Curating information for readers who want to save time22:02: The Economist has always got most of its revenue from subscriptions. We have quite a high subscription price. Because basically, we have people who don't have much time but have enough money. They pay us to save them time. And getting up to speed quickly on what's happening in the world is the service we provide to our readers. And they pay us money for that information directly. And there isn't an intermediary. There aren't tech platforms, advertisers, and clicks in the middle. But the other thing they're paying us to do is curate what's happened. Tell them what's important. And very often, that's something like, "Have you noticed what's happened to the economy of Venezuela?" That's not a very clickbaity subject, but you know, essentially, that responsibility we have to our readers, which is tell you what's important that you didn't know you needed to know about. You are never going to get that with a click-driven model.Can journalists see things that professional historians can't see?18:42: Journalism is structured very differently from history and from academia because it's not generally about learning more and more about a thing. It's generally being able to pick things up quickly. What’s the problem with the click-driven model?32:33: The problem with a click-driven model is, firstly, it distorts those sorts of journalistic incentives. But then the other problem with it is that even if you can make a click-driven model work, you are mortgaging your future to the platform that is sending you the clicks.Can we fix misinformation?41:02: I think getting information in that direct way, directly from someone who you pay and who you trust, is something that we are likely to see more of, and swimming in the seas of misinformation is something we'll go and do sometimes, but we'll do it very aware.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Dangling ModifierPaul KrugmanFernand BraudelWhy 10 Year Plans are Wrong by Reid HoffmanGuest Profile:Professional Profile at The EconomistTom Standage on LinkedInTom Standage on TwitterHis Work:A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes NextA History of the World in 6 GlassesAn Edible History of HumanityThe Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line PioneersThe Mechanical Turk: The True Story of the Chess-playing Machine That Fooled the World Amazon Author Page for› Tom StandageArticles for The Globalist
8/16/202357 minutes, 26 seconds
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318. Discovering the Artist’s Eye feat. Lincoln Perry

In order to fully appreciate art, does one have to have first-hand experience creating art oneself? How does experiencing art help artists with their own work? Artist Lincoln Perry is the author of the book, Seeing Like an Artist: What Artists Perceive in the Art of Others which aims to take the overwhelming and intimidating nature out of viewing and appreciating art. Lincoln and Greg discuss why experiencing art in person is paramount, the dangers of focusing too much on an artist’s biography, and the difference between a viewer of art and a participant. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What differentiates a participant from a viewer when encountering art?22:02: Viewing is a distancing implication. I enjoy implicating or trying to implicate the viewer. There are many numbers of ways you can do that. You can pull them in, say you have a tiny etching. Say you're Goya, and you have a tiny etching of the disasters of war, and you're holding it in your hand, and you're all of a sudden pulled into these horrors that are going on again. It's in the present. It's in your present, and you are participating, implicated. You have to wonder, Would I have been capable of this behavior? A viewer, somehow or other, does potentially walk through a space and not have an emotional reaction, but somehow or other, a participant will be answerable and also find enjoyment.Painting beyond accessibility16:37: I don't paint the way I paint to make it more accessible. I paint the way I paint because I can't do anything else.Paintings are more like music03:14: Paintings are more like music. They should wash over you, and if they pull you in and seduce you, you're motivated to read them at that point to figure out their content, their narrative, who's who, the iconography. But if you start with that, it's usually fairly intimidating and somehow off-putting to think that it's a quiz.Looking beneath art48:05: So what I'm advocating for in this book is looking beneath the surface of even touch. I don't talk about factors, but try to stress how you read art, how a sculpture carries your eye around, and how a painting guides your eye through depth and then back out again.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Delacroix at the LouvreJulian Barnes on the “Raft of the Medusa”The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space by John WhiteBarnes FoundationWhy Are Our Pictures Puzzles? by James Elkins Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings by James ElkinsGuest Profile:Professional Profile on The American ScholarLincoln Perry's WebsiteHis Work:Seeing Like an Artist: What Artists Perceive in the Art of OthersMore scholarly articles
8/14/202347 minutes, 53 seconds
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317. Cultivating Humanity in a More Natural Way feat. Charles Foster

The prevalence of spending ample time indoors, engaging in screen-based activities, is narrowing our experiential landscape.As we constantly underutilize our sensory capabilities, we are missing out on the rich and vibrant information available from the colorful world around us.To thrive in a multi-dimensional world, reawakening our senses, enhancing our awareness of diverse experiences, and cultivating stronger connections with other species and nature are key.Charles Foster is an English writer, traveler, veterinarian, taxidermist, barrister, and philosopher. He is known for his books and articles on Natural History, travel, theology, law, and medical ethics. His latest publication, Cry of the Wild: Eight Animals Under Siege, explores the complexity, beauty, and fragility of wild lives living alongside humans.Charles and Greg talk about our potential to unlock additional sensory experiences, how to increase our “empathy muscles” by studying other species, nurturing our ability to see otherness, and the need for cultivating humanity in education.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How should we think about reconstructing education to cultivate humanity in a more authentic way?42:47: We need to teach the principle that relationships are everything, not just human relationships, but relationships with the non-human world. We need to say that the relationship between things is the web and weave of the cosmos and that anything which defeats that insight—whether it's the atomism of modern sociology which asserts that everyone is an island unto himself or whether it's things which lock us up physically in our rooms or on our screens—we've got to say that those things strike at the very heart of the way the universe is meant to be and that radical measures are therefore needed to restore relationship to its central place, not only in our philosophical understanding of the world but also in relation to our personal lives.On the theory of mind11:53: Direct experience is what we should be after, rather than a cognitive set of conclusions about what another person is thinking. So the theory of mind is a specifically adult human way of appreciating what, if we were non-adult humans, we would be able to have naturally.Is there a way we could foster a better relationship with the non-human world and instill this connection in our children?43:59: Relationship breeds an appetite for relationship, and if we go out into green, we will learn to love green, and that green is better than the gray of the breeze blocks from which our houses are made. There also needs to be a part of the compulsory curriculum in which people just go out and lie in a field or climb a tree. If you have had a childhood marinated in greenness, not only are you far less likely to suffer from ADHD or depression, but you're also far less likely to become, when you are an adult, a major trasher of the natural law.The business of observing is a two-way conversation.11:53: The whole business of observing is necessarily a two-way conversation; that's what relativity is all about, and it seems to me that exactly that principle applies at the level of a human looking at the bird that he's studying or the human looking at the rock that he's studying as well. Unless we enter into a conversation which allows both the observer and the observed to be changed, our perspective is going to be distorted by the fact that we have fallen prey to the delusion that we can be objective.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Peregrine by J.A. BakerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of OxfordCharles Foster's WebsiteCharles Foster on TwitterHis Work:Cry of the Wild: Eight animals under siegeBeing a Beast: Adventures Across the Species DivideBeing a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of ConsciousnessThe Screaming SkyIn The Hot Unconscious: An Indian JourneyChoosing Life, Choosing Death: The Tyranny of Autonomy in Medical Ethics and LawA little brown seaMedical Law: A Very Short Introduction
8/11/202344 minutes, 31 seconds
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316. The Future is Sustainable feat. Andrew S. Winston

Is the practice of making a company sustainable a performative act, one motivated by a company's true values, or a move made for profit? And furthermore, does it matter if the effects are all the same? Companies all over the world are starting to align with newer, greener trajectories, and they do it for a myriad of reasons.Andrew S. Winston is the founder of Winston EcoStrategies, and an author whose latest book, co-authored with Paul Polman, Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take, examines precisely these questions. Greg and Andrew discuss what sustainability really means and how it differs and overlaps with ESG. Andrew recounts how the company Unilever has solved problems of sustainability and implemented them on a multinational scale. Greg and Andrew talk about the problem of the terms ballooning to include things originally outside the original definitions, what the future looks like on the sustainability landscape for corporations, and why Andrew is so optimistic about it.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The impact of individual actions on the environmental footprints24:22: The reason an individual can only do so much on their footprint is because they can't control that the grid is 80% coal in their area or whatever. Like the way that they can impact that is how they vote, right? How they support companies that are promoting the right things are not like it's much bigger elements of their lives than just literally what are they buying day to day. They can vote with their feet, and they should, and there's a few things people can do that move their footprint noticeably like eating less meat is the most immediate thing you can do, starting right now. But there's actually not a thousand things that really have any impact. There's a few, there's a handful. What you eat, what you drive, how close to work you live, and a bunch of these decisions don't come every day. Does sustainability make a company outperform? 12:12: There's been a long correlation between doing well on sustainability and doing well as a business, and the correlation causation there is difficult and impossible to parse. And it's because companies that are good at most things are good at most things. Climate change and the inequality issue46:33: The poorest people on the planet are the least responsible for climate and are basically the ones getting hit the hardest. And the people producing all of the emissions over the last 50 to 100 years are the richest; the richest billion or so of us have created the entire problem.Is the CEO job harder today than it was before?48:45: I was speaking with a CEO group recently, and they said the CEO job is much harder than it ever was before. Well, clearly, look at what's going on, right? You have to chime in on an LGBTQ law if you're Disney. These are hard things. I can't say I feel too bad for CEOs. The average Fortune 500 CEO makes what, $10–15 million a year? Like they're getting paid a lot. Like they're supposed to deal with the hard problems, and they're now being put to the test. And I'm not saying these things are easy, but I have these debates all the time. People say, 'Well, how come my company doesn't respond to everything? ' They don't have to. But the hard reality is that if you don't say something about an issue, you're still saying something.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Paul PolmanESGGeorge Serafeim Faculty Profile at HarvardGuest Profile:Andrew S. Winston’s WebsiteAndrew S. Winston on LinkedInAndrew S. Winston on TwitterAndrew S. Winston on TEDTalkHis Work:Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They TakeGreen to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive AdvantageThe Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open WorldGreen Recovery: Get Lean, Get Smart, and Emerge from the Downturn on Top
8/9/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 47 seconds
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315. Science Writing as a Discipline feat. Philip Ball

It’s one thing to talk about the science and physics behind the notion of invisibility, it’s another thing to examine the cultural place that idea occupies in media and philosophy. Science writer Philip Ball wants to do both, and not just with things unseen. He’s written numerous books spanning a multitude of topics like the invention of color, how music works in the brain, and scientific rules of society. His latest book is The Book of Minds: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings, from Animals to AI to Aliens. Philip and Greg discuss the perks and pitfalls of interdisciplinary work, whether curiosity is a virtue or a vice, and different perspectives on the mind and consciousness. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Embodiment is a crucial aspect of the mind45:15: You can't expect a mind that is just computing in some abstract space to develop the kinds of resources and capabilities that the human mind has. The human mind is part of us as an evolved being. And the mind didn't evolve by itself. It involved in the body, for the body as part of the body. In fact, it's an organ. The brain is an organ. And so, we understand the world as embodied beings. And partly what I mean by that is that we have a sense of things that we can do and things that we can't do that are predicated on the kinds of bodies we have.Having a computer isn't enough to understand the nature of human minds47:07: The idea of the brain as a computer, sitting in a room somewhere doing computation, is not enough to understand the nature of our minds, let alone others.The importance of fluency in scientific Research33:18: That fluency, that ability to put on different lenses and to remain open to different ways of thinking about a problem, is not just a great thing to have in life in general, but it's a really valuable thing to be able to do in scientific research.Bridging Physics and Social Science through Critical Mass18:26: Critical Mass was a book that was looking at how ideas that were developed in physics, condensed metaphysics, in statistical physics for understanding things like gasses and liquids and how they switch between the two forms, the things called phase transitions, how those ideas are now proving useful for social scientists because we can find some situations where people en masse, taken in large enough body and large enough numbers, show the same kinds of behaviorsShow Links:Recommended Resources:Ring of GygesThe Invisible Man by H.G. Wells Thomas Hobbes Richard Feynman clipDan Wagner Christof KochMurray Shanahan The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience by Matthew CobbEpisode 283: Matthew CobbGuest Profile:Philip Ball's WebsiteHis Work:The Book of Minds: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings, from Animals to AI to AliensShapes: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three PartsInvisible: The Dangerous Allure of the UnseenThe Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without ItCuriosity: How Science Became Interested in EverythingBright Earth: Art and the Invention of ColorCritical Mass: How One Thing Leads to AnotherBeyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is DifferentThe Water Kingdom: A Secret History of ChinaHow Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology
8/7/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 2 seconds
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314. The Risks and Rewards of Data in Real Time feat. Mohan Subramaniam

The future has a landscape that is navigated as it comes, but across industries, legacy firms, and newly formed start-ups will do that very differently. All companies will be used to having sound strategies in the product world but may miss ways to capitalize on their data streams and what opportunities they open up. Mohan Subramaniam is a professor of Strategy at IMD in Lausanne, and he is also the author of the book The Future of Competitive Strategy: Unleashing the Power of Data and Digital Ecosystems.Mohan and Greg discuss the operational and strategic differences between digital firms and legacy firms in business with Mohan’s research into how companies like Ford compare to a company like Tesla. Mohan talks about the value chains created by the utilization of data but also the real-time access to it for use by third parties that you may not have initially planned for, having its own set of risks and rewards.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How can legacy firms navigate digital ecosystems?04:38: My hypothesis is that increasingly legacy firms will have to find ways of expanding their revenue base beyond their product and service worlds into the data world. And if you want to compete with data, it requires different principles. You have to figure out what digital ecosystems mean for you. They're not the same as Uber's or Amazon's digital ecosystems. They're different, and you have to understand what those digital ecosystems are. And figure out how to expand your business scope beyond what is defined by value chains through digital platforms.What is the incumbency advantage in the digital world?12:25: The bigger your value chain infrastructure and the greater your product footprint, the more powerful your digital ecosystems can become. But, of course, it requires a different way of framing and thinking about competitive strategy.How do you look at your buyers in the digital world?10:58: How do you look at your buyers in the industrial world? Buyers are those who basically buy your products. But in this digital world, your customers, or buyers, are those who give you data. Now, that's a very different ballgame. Selling a product and getting data from customers. It's a very different proposition. I call them digital customers. These are customers who give you sensor data.Adapting to the new frameworks51:34: If you want to impact practice, you have to give frameworks that tell you that in your business what makes sense. What is the new value that data can give you? What's the nature of the digital ecosystems you can build? How does it influence your competitive advantage? Now, it may fit in with the theory of the firm. I'm not denying that. But we need to now move forward with more specific frameworks for the new world that we are in.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Michael PorterJeff ImmeltEric SchmidtGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at IMDMohan Subramaniam’s WebsiteMohan Subramaniam on LinkedInMohan Subramaniam on TwitterHis Work:The Future of Competitive Strategy: Unleashing the Power of Data and Digital EcosystemsGoogle Scholar Page
8/4/20231 hour, 6 seconds
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313. Closing Opportunity Gaps Through Early Childhood Skill Development feat. Nate G. Hilger

The significance of early childhood skill development and its influence on long-term income and success differentials is widely recognized today. However, there exists a reluctance within society to allocate substantial resources toward extensive research and development endeavors aimed at innovating and enhancing the effectiveness of this pivotal learning process.While discussions about educational inequality receive significant attention, it is important to note that formal education constitutes only a small portion of a child's overall time. This places the primary responsibility for child skill development on parents as a private obligation, without providing them adequate training or addressing unrealistic expectations.Nate G. Hilger is a researcher and writer with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He has worked as a professor of economics at Brown University and as an economist and data scientist in Silicon Valley. His book The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis exposes the true costs of our society’s unrealistic expectations around parenting and lays out a profoundly hopeful blueprint for reform.Greg and Nate discuss how the limited political influence of parents leads to the lack of funding for child skill development research and how cultural discussion about gender and race in the curriculum distracts from more valuable and universally supported concerns such as financing childcare and extracurricular activities, as well as ensuring access to comprehensive health and mental healthcare for children.They also talk about how to close the gap between kids of lower and higher-income families by providing access to high-quality early learning environments before kindergarten for everyone.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Should we start investing in parenting?20:40: I think the reason why we don't have hundreds of large-scale clinical trials, testing what works and what doesn't work in parenting and, more specifically, child development every year is just because we're not choosing to invest in the development of this knowledge. And I think it's a huge mistake we're making as a society. Shifting perspective on childhood development02:39: Once we reframe how we see child development, it starts to become clear that asking parents to organize 90% of this complicated activity on their own, in their spare time, on their dollar, is not a realistic expectation.A promising direction for progressives to push on49:31: If we could all come together and agree that kids need more universal support from professionals, like tutors, teachers, counselors, and nurses in their local communities, that would help people reach adulthood ready to stand independently and not rely as much on government programs.A big shift into the broader portfolio of skills that feed into lifelong success09:52: Economists tend to fixate on what they can measure and do statistics with. So now economists are coming on board as well to realize the extreme importance of things like social skills, empathy, your ability to speak clearly and persuasively, communication skills, your ability to persevere when you suffer a setback or a rejection, and your ability to control your emotions and your impulses in hot situations. So it's this broader range of skills that we're talking about here in terms of the burden we place on parents and what schools can achieve given that they have such a small share of children's time.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life by Annette LareauRecoding America by Jennifer Pahlka Tiebout modelGuest Profile:Nate G. Hilger's WebsiteNate G. Hilger on LinkedInNate G. Hilger on TwitterHis Work:The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality CrisisArticles on Medium
8/2/202357 minutes, 10 seconds
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312. The Origins of Human Rights feat. Samuel Moyn

The concern for human rights seems to be deeply rooted in history and based on longstanding moral concerns, but the modern human rights movement has very different motivations and concerns than previous rights-based movements. Samuel Moyn is a Professor of History and Law at Yale University and Yale Law School. He is also the author of several books, the most recent of which being Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.Samuel and Greg discuss common perceptions and misconceptions about the growth of human rights doctrine, how the modern human rights movement is anti-utopian, and the role of Christianity in human rights movements. Samuel points out that governments throughout America’s history and also that of the West have used Human Rights as a rallying cry from both the left and the right to justify invasion, destruction, and violence. Samuel zooms out to talk with Greg about what morality these rights have been latched onto and where that morality has derived its authority at different times, and they talk about the current state of politics and the use of human rights as a chess piece in a very divided political landscape.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Historians’ role in imparting knowledge for progress or correcting past misunderstandings52:48: Historians can play a powerful and useful role in challenging dominant narratives, especially when they leave a lot out. And I've tried to do that in my work—not because I know what we should do, but because I wanted to disrupt a consensus that has been earned through historical myth. And once that myth is cleared away or less distortion, to rarely lie, it would be a lot easier if we could just say, "Our enemies are lying." But it's clear that history is a war in politics, and there's no way to free history from politics, although hopefully, we can have some conventions that keep our stories, at least from outright propaganda.Christianity and its connection to the human rights movement21:26: We can't say that Christianity always leads to human rights; often it leads to opposing human rights, but at various pivotal moments, there's a connection that we have to recognize.Human rights can mean a lot of things to different people48:53: Human rights can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so I wouldn't rule out that there could be some movement that says it's a human rights movement that sets the world on fire. And after all, I'm claiming that human rights 1.0 - revolutionary human rights - did so. But if we take that for granted, then we have to ask: is the current version of the idea of human rights and the movement associated with it going to have that same effect without being radically reimagined? And I think the answer is no, especially if we care more than ever about the distribution of the good things in life.Is utopia a recipe for terror?38:03: Before the human rights movement, these Cold War liberals think utopia is a recipe for terror, and it's just people didn't get the memo for a while, but in our time, I think we've kind of embedded Cold War liberalism as our kind of second nature.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Universal Declaration of Human RightsPeter Benenson Amnesty International BiographyHuman Rights Watch WebsiteThe Church of The Left by Adam MichnikWikipedia for Jeane KirkpatrickWikipedia for Daniel RocheWikipedia for Invented TraditionGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Yale UniversityFaculty Profile at Yale Law SchoolSamuel Moyn’s WebsiteSamuel Moyn on TwitterHis Work:Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented WarThe Last Utopia: Human Rights in HistoryChristian Human Rights (Intellectual History of the Modern Age)Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times (Available on August 29, 2023)The Right to Have Rights Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal WorldHuman Rights and the Uses of History: Expanded Second EditionOrigins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics A Holocaust Controversy: The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France (The Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry) Google Scholar Page
7/31/202353 minutes, 2 seconds
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311. What Exactly is Violence? feat. David Alan Sklansky

The importance of the division between violent and non-violent crimes seems to have existed for as long as we’ve had laws, but in reality, its legal salience is much more recent. So what happened in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s that led to the increase in punishment for crimes designated as violent? And what effects has it had?David Alan Sklansky is a professor at Stanford Law School and also an author. His latest book, from earlier this year, is titled A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice.David and Greg discuss what changes the division of punishments of crimes has gone through over the years, what makes a crime violent or non-violent, and how those labels can be misleading or have shifted over time. They talk about how the stand-your-ground laws have grown in popularity, taking over from the former philosophy of duty to retreat. David discusses how violent acts are looked at differently, whether they are committed by citizens vs. officers of the law, and what that can say about a society.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The perils of distinguishing serious violence54:37: It may seem like that's not a big deal to talk about serious violence rather than violence. But I think it is because the thing about the language of serious violence is it wears its ambiguity, its subjectivity, or its vagueness on its sleeve. Nobody imagines that the line between serious and non-serious violence is clear and sharp. The very language makes it obvious that we're going to have to draw a distinction. We don't know exactly where the line is, but when we talk about violent versus nonviolent offenses, it's easy, it's natural, and it's common to think that there's a sharp line here and that anybody who's convicted of a violent offense is obviously and categorically worse, and that has huge consequence.The law draws on popular ideas about violence12:34: The law draws on popular ideas about violence, but the law also clearly reinforces those ideas by treating violence as a formal category and a category that has clear boundaries.Recognizing the gravity of violent policing04:18: There are other areas where we don't pay enough attention to the distinction between violence and nonviolent conduct, and the most important of those has to do with policing, where the law and rules that have developed for police misconduct don't treat violent police misconduct as categorically worse or really as even different than nonviolent police misconduct. And I think that's a mistake.Is violence a result of someone’s deep-seated character?17:49: Violence was thought to be the kind of thing that often happened explosively. I think over the last several decades, the way in which the law has thought about violence has shifted, and it's become much more common in many, but not all contexts to think about violence as something that is the result of somebody's deep-seated character and not the result of the circumstances in which they find themselves.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Jeremy BenthamGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford Law SchoolProfessional Profile on American Law InstituteContributor’s Profile on InquestDavid Alan Sklansky on TwitterHis Work:A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for JusticeEvidence: Cases, Commentary, and Problems (Aspen Casebook) Google Scholar Page
7/28/202357 minutes, 53 seconds
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310. Understanding the Gender Wage Gap feat. Claudia Goldin

It’s 2023, and women still only make 83 cents for every dollar a man makes in the U.S. While that gender wage gap has shrunk over time, why does it still persist? And what would it take to close it?Claudia Goldin is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University. She’s written numerous books on women in the workforce and the history of labor. Her most recent book is called Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity. Claudia and Greg discuss the history of the gender wage gap, how women’s place in the workforce has shifted over time, and what steps employers can take toward true pay and gender equity. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What is a greedy job?24:43: The greedy jobs are the ones that pay the most for additional hours, maybe not even additional hours, but your weekends, your vacations, that demand that you be on the road, that you be up in the air. And so those are the ones that women, disproportionately and for reasons that have to do with social norms, can't take. And so, therefore, in different-sex couples, there is a decision that we're not going to have couple equity. I'm going to take the flexible job, and you're going to take the greedy job. And so, by removing the fact that we no longer have couple equity, we throw gender equity under the bus.Are people constrained by norms?56:12: Norms arise because they have a function and are often kept in place and enforced by generations of people, whom we often call our parents and grandparents. And it would be very, very good if these norms changed as fast as society is changing.The difference between norms and beliefs32:26: It's required for a norm that there be a set of arbiters outside that care about the norms and go like this when you're not following the norms. And when those people go away, then you can do whatever you want. Norms require that there be an enforcer. An arbiter, okay? Beliefs are different. Beliefs are things like religion. No one isn't necessarily enforcing that. It's something that you believe in and preferences. If we have a mental accounting of this, preferences as well do not require that there be orbiters, but norms require that there be orbiters.Reframing the way we think about leaky pipeline50:17: A better way of thinking about the pipeline is that it's not leaking. It's that it's been made so convoluted. It has twists and turns that it's impeding. It's not as if women are leaking out. They're just being impeded from going forward.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Simon Kuznets Pew Research: "Most dads say they spend too little time with their children; about a quarter live apart from them"The Rug Rat Race by Garey Ramey and Valerie Ramey Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard UniversityProfessional Profile on National Bureau of Economic ResearchClaudia Goldin on TwitterHer Work:Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward EquityWomen Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages The Race between Education and TechnologyThe Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth CenturyUnderstanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women
7/26/202357 minutes, 9 seconds
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309. The Roots of Our Desires feat. Luke Burgis

Where do our desires come from? Babies don’t come into this world with an inherent drive to found tech companies. How much do our environment and the people around us shape those wants? Luke Burgis is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Catholic University of America and is the author of Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life, which expands on the mimetic theory of René Girard's. He also co-authored the book, Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person, which explores how to find one’s true vocation in life. Luke and Greg discuss why so many of our desires come from imitating those around us, the difference between thick vs. thin desires, and how true vocations in life should transcend just a job. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The importance of developing the habit of being present 47:41: We need to learn that skill of being present because we're always on all the time, social media phones. And when I say on, I mean we live in a world where everything is recorded. Everything is on stage; all the world's a stage, as Shakespeare said. So stepping off that stage from time to time doesn't necessarily mean going on a silent retreat, as I have. I've been very lucky to have had the opportunity to go on those. Sometimes it just means stepping off that stage and just being alone with ourselves and the people that are close to us.The moving goalpost is a real problem for mimesis33:23: The moving goalpost problem is a real problem when it comes to mimesis, especially when we're not clear about what the objectives are.Social media and how it made all of us into internal mediators for one another26:43: Social media, it's called the town square. But in a sense, it's made all of us into internal mediators for one another. We can all interact. It's narrowed the space—the existential space—between us and just made it a lot easier to assimilate ideas. It seems like we're all kind of living in each other's heads.What does it mean to have a personal vocation that is unrepeatable?53:22: ​​A vocation is something intensely personal. And that, you know, is mine because of my unique, created nature because of my time and unique circumstances that I've been born into. My unique family, the people that I encounter on a daily basis, and my personal vocation will be different than anybody else's who's ever lived.Show Links:Recommended Resources:René GirardIgnatius of LoyolaChef Sebastien BrasI See Satan Fall Like Lightning by René GirardGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at The Catholic University of AmericaLuke Burgis' WebsiteLuke Burgis on LinkedInLuke Burgis on TwitterHis Work:Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday LifeUnrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person
7/24/202357 minutes, 59 seconds
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Understand Others / Understand Yourself feat. Thomas Erikson

What if the key to understanding the way other people behave is understanding your own behavior first? Author Thomas Erikson has spent decades studying how people communicate and function. Through his work, he outlines four basic behavioral types to help people understand each other better in the workplace and in life. His books include, Surrounded by Idiots, Surrounded by Psychopaths, and Surrounded by Bad Bosses. Thomas and Greg discuss the red, yellow, green, and blue archetypes of behavior, why this framework will help you understand yourself better, and the benefits and limitations of personality tests. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On why you shouldn't forget about your soft skills01:05:09: If you forget about the soft skills, you're going to get yourself in trouble because you will need other people throughout your life to cooperate with. But to anybody who's listening, you will never make it on your own. I'm a self-made man. No, you’re not. You didn't do it completely on your own. Maybe you're the strongest driver in your life. Sure. But you didn't make it on your own. That is actually not true. You use a lot of other people. And if you know the best possible way to motivate them and bring them on board, that is what you're going to need. People skills—that’s the magic.Knowing how to keep your word is crucial to any process47:26: The difference between what you say and what you do for me is the most crucial point in any process, really, when it comes to recruiting new staff members, finding business partners, or finding investors.Motivators vs. behaviors23:14: Motivators are even more important than behaviors. Cause behaviors are what's on the surface. You can see the behavior, you can see how he talks, how he walks, what he says, what he doesn't say. You can't see the motivators. I call them even drivers. Because motivational factors drive your actions, it drives your behaviors. And deeper down that, you have the personality which is somewhere beneath the surface.How do you recognize a psychopath?59:00: If it feels bad, then it is bad because your emotions don't lie. Maybe you don't know why you feel bad when you're around this person or that person, but if it feels bad, it's bad, and then you should listen to that. Try to observe why I feel bad when I'm working with him. What is it that he's doing that makes me feel like this? That could be the only answer you need for now, and maybe then you should Show Links:Recommended Resources:Myers-Briggs TestDiSC TestBig Five Personality TraitsWilliam Moulton MarstonGuest Profile:Thomas Erikson's WebsiteThomas Erikson on LinkedInThomas Erikson on YouTubeHis Work:Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life)Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business (and in Life)Surrounded by Narcissists: How to Effectively Recognize, Avoid, and Defend Yourself Against Toxic People (and Not Lose Your Mind)Surrounded by Bad Bosses (And Lazy Employees): How to Stop Struggling, Start Succeeding, and Deal with Idiots at Work
7/21/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 27 seconds
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307. The Socioeconomic Diversity Problem at Elite Colleges feat. Evan Mandery

Colleges and universities, especially ivy league ones, make a point of accepting the “best and brightest” students. But what if they’re missing a whole slew of the best and brightest because of socioeconomic barriers? Evan Mandery is a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. He’s a leading expert on the death penalty but has also been an outspoken critic of elite college admission practices. His most recent book, Poison Ivy: How Elite Colleges Divide Us, looks at the social inequity created by some of these practices, like legacy admissions. Evan and Greg discuss the steps colleges could take to socioeconomically diversify their classes, why these inequities exist in the first place, and how public universities compare to their Ivy peers when it comes to admission practices. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The different buckets of college admissions27:44: The way I conceptualize college admissions is there are like these different buckets that are being filled. You have the athletics bucket, which I don't think people get this. It's huge. And you have the legacy bucket. You have the donor bucket and the children bucket, you know, children of staff and faculty. And so, what you're having is like a "fair competition" for like a third of the slots. And, that's why it's restricted. So the only way this is going to change is either they expand capacity without adding another alpine skiing team or something like that. Or they're going to have to diminish their commitment to those, to reduce the size of some of those inequitable buckets.The trade-off of increasing spending per student51:34: As we increase spending per student, we make it more expensive to let in socioeconomically disadvantaged students. This disparity is staggering.How elite colleges are selling the perception that they have the best and the brightest10:54: Elite colleges have done a great job of selling the perception that they've identified the best and the brightest. And that is a lot of what the brand is. It's very damaging because I always hasten to say that meritocracy is a double-edged sword. If you say Harvard, Yale, and Princeton students are the best and brightest, you mean everybody else is the worst and dumbest.What’s wrong about ranking?19:38: I don't think there's anything inherently wrong about rankings, but they make no effort whatsoever to measure what's actually going on in the classroom. Everything that they're measuring is a proxy for wealth.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Jonas SalkAntonin ScaliaThe Tortoise and the Hare with Malcolm GladwellCatharine Bond HillAcceptance: A Memoir by Emi NietfeldMilliken v. BradleyGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at John Jay College, City University of New YorkEvan Mandery's WebsiteEvan Mandery on LinkedInEvan Mandery on TwitterHis Work:Poison Ivy: How Elite Colleges Divide UsA Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America Eyes On City Hall: A Young Man's Education In New York City Political WarfareCapital Punishment: A Balanced ExaminationThe ProfessionalThe Revised Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Stories of Neurotic ObsessionQFirst Contact: Or, It’s Later Than You Think (Parrot Sketch Excluded)More scholarly articles
7/19/202358 minutes, 35 seconds
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306. The Permanently Inadequate Human Body feat. Clare Chambers

In a society where our bodies are constantly scrutinized and judged, surrounded by filtered images and surgically-enhanced features, we face overwhelming commercial and social pressure to contort ourselves to fit into predefined notions of acceptability.But is body positivity alone sufficient to resist those societal expectations, or is there a need perhaps for a deeper cultural shift in our relationship with our bodies?Clare Chambers is a British political philosopher at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, a political philosopher specializing in feminist theory, contemporary liberal theory, theories of social justice, theories of social construction, and bioethics, In her most recent publication, Intact: A Case for the Unaltered Body, Clare explores the unmodified body as a fundamental element of equality.Clare and Greg explore the detrimental impact of cultural and commercial pressures that perpetually reinforce body dissatisfaction, resulting in notable mental health challenges, while also investigating our inclination to focus on altering the physical form rather than shifting the societal viewpoint on diverse bodies and offering strategies to liberate ourselves from oppressive forces that impose body modifications.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are we all anxious about our bodies?17:15: The message that your body is not good enough is absolutely ubiquitous. We receive that on every level about almost every body part. So each of us has a different personal history with our bodies. Each of us has a different understanding of how our bodies fit into our culture. But in talking to people about the arguments for Intact, what I have clearly seen is that everybody has a part of their body or an aspect of their embodied experience that they feel anxious about and often ashamed of. That shame is about the body is a deep and ubiquitous phenomenon, and it's actually so deep that I think if we feel we don't have that shame, we feel shame as well. There's a sense we expect people to have shame about their bodies.Is feeling bad about your body part of life?56:52: Our society, our economics, and our culture are set up in such a way as to try to make us feel bad about our bodies all the time. And so if you are feeling bad about your body as a kid, that is part of life. That doesn't mean that your body is wrong; it's something to recognize and notice but try to move past.On accepting our bodies and their limitations 38:49: The body is its limitation for all of us. There are things that our bodies will never be like and can never do. And so the language of kind of cure suggests we need to somehow get rid of this problematic body, and then we'll have fixed the problem. Whereas actually, what we need to do is deal with the social context.Trying to allow our bodies to be normal is not an easy thing to do34:53: So trying to allow our bodies to be normal is not an easy thing to do. Our bodies change, and we have to come to terms with them and re-inhabit them. And each time we are faced with this disruption. But it's that allowing our bodies to be normal that I think is and can be compatible with equality, rather than thinking that they must be normal in the sense of being like other bodies.Show Links:Recommended Resources: Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal by Heather WiddowsGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of CambridgeClare Chambers' WebsiteClare Chambers on TwitterHer Work:Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified BodyAgainst Marriage: An Egalitarian Defense of the Marriage-Free State (Oxford Political Theory) Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of ChoiceMore scholarly articles
7/17/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 27 seconds
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305. Navigating a World of Deception feat. Daniel Simons

From social media disinformation and phishing emails to grand-scale scams such as multimillion-dollar counterfeit art, Ponzi schemes or scientific fraud, our world is full of deceptions.Surprisingly, it is our own intuition that can be our worst enemy. The tendency to blindly accept what we already believe in or trust what sounds too good to be true leaves us vulnerable to deception. So how do we find the right balance between blind trust and constant skepticism?Daniel Simons is an experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, and the co-author of several books. His latest book, Nobody's Fool: Why We Get Taken In and What We Can Do About It, explores how our instincts lead us to fall prey to scams and how to spot deceptions. Daniel and Greg discuss how our limited attention resources result in a focus on specific tasks and potential neglect of other crucial elements, and how personally appealing information can easily lead us down the wrong path. They also talk about the need to parse the world more finely without succumbing to wholesale distrust by evaluating our assumptions and posing challenging questions.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The problem with attention09:52: This is the general problem with attention. We tend to focus on one thing well and need to do that. We need to be able to filter out those distractions. So you want people looking for the thing that they’re supposed to find, because most of the time, that's what you want them doing, right? You want them devoting their resources to the diagnosis that's most likely. It's just that every now and then, you're going to miss something that's sometimes rare and sometimes not what you're looking for.Looking at consistency in a different way23:48: We often take consistency as a sign of deep understanding and credibility when we really should be looking for noise and should take it as a red flag.How do you know what the optimal allocation of trust resources is?10:04: We have to trust, and we have to accept that what other people are telling us is true much of the time. Otherwise, you really couldn't function if you were perpetual, cynic and skeptic about everything. You couldn't get anywhere. You'd be checking the ingredients on every box of food you buy to make sure it truly is what it says it is. You couldn't function in society and be a perpetual skeptic. And there's going to be a spectrum of people who are going to be much more trusting and much less critical and skeptical, and others who are much more skeptical. But you have to find this happy medium.Considering how we can be deceived02:26: This book is more about how our patterns of thought and the information that we find appealing and attractive can lead us down the wrong path. (02:51) The problem for most of us is that we don't typically think about how we can be deceived. So in that sense, it's probably less likely to become a tool for scammers than for users and consumers. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. CialdiniThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanSelective Attention TestMax BazermanDon A. MooreDaniel KahnemanUri SimonsohnLeif NelsonDiederik StapelGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignProfessional Profile on Psychology TodayDaniel Simons' WebsiteDaniel Simons on LinkedInDaniel Simons on TwitterDaniel Simons on YouTubeDaniel Simons on TEDxUIUCHis Work:Daniel Simons on Google ScholarNobody's Fool: Why We Get Taken In and What We Can Do about It The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us
7/14/202352 minutes, 5 seconds
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304. What Happened To University Teaching? feat. William Deresiewicz

There has been an undeniable shift in priorities throughout Higher Education during the 21st century. As schooling gets more and more expensive, the pathways to making a good return on that investment grow increasingly steeper so students prioritize prestige and certification over education. At the same time, the competition among universities to recruit the best researchers and achieve the highest rankings marginalizes the importance of teaching.William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist, critic, speaker, and the author of several books, including Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech, and his newest work, The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and Society.William and Greg discuss Williams’s background, the heavy emphasis on research over teaching in Higher Education, and how one can get cut off from academia. They talk about the ways in which educational institutions are lacking and why receiving good instruction may not be a top priority for students anymore. William reveals what he thinks is at the root of the main problems in higher education and also how the invention of the smartphone has exacerbated the situation.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Is inequality the fundamental problem in everything?45:27: The more we sort society into a few big, big, big winners, and a lot of losers, the more parents are understandably going to want to get their kids into the few schools that seem to guarantee theirs are going to be one of the winners. If we had a robust middle class, if you could support a family and send your own kids to college with one middle-class salary, I think there would be much less of this mania. So that's obviously a very big thing to do, but it would also make everything else better. To me, this inequality is the besetting sin. It is the fundamental problem of just about everything in American life, including all of our political pathologies. That's what I believe.Students aren't choosing a school based on how good they think the teachers are13:25: Students are not picking their university or college based on how good the teaching is or how good they think the teaching is. They're picking it mainly—if we're talking about selective colleges and universities—they're picking it based on the name.Can you still thrive in today’s academic world?40:02: If a student is really a seeker, cares about learning, and is less worried about accumulating credentials, they can do it. But it's harder because college costs more because everything costs more. Some people still make that choice. And are happy having made the choice, even though it's a struggle, but it's a struggle that they're willing to put up with because they can stand their lives.People are looking for humanistic education55:02: There is a tremendous hunger among young people for guidance and among adults for this kind of humanistic education. This kind of wisdom, but not wisdom where someone's imparting it to you. Wisdom in the sense of, let's open this text together and see what it has to say to us. People want that.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Jonathan Zimmerman book The Amateur HourSpecialization from Adam SmithGuest Profile:Speaker’s Profile on ABP SpeakersWilliam Deresiewicz’s WebsiteWilliam Deresiewicz on LinkedInWilliam Deresiewicz on TwitterWilliam Deresiewicz on TEDxMtHoodHis Work:The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and SocietyExcellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful LifeThe Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big TechEssays in The AtlanticArticles on The American Scholar
7/12/202353 minutes, 17 seconds
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303. The Selection Markets, Corruption, and Toy Models feat. Raymond Fisman

How do economists understand complex phenomena like selection markets and corruption? With frameworks often called toy models. These models often point toward unexpected consequences and help us to design better markets and incentives. Raymond Fisman is the Slater Family Professor in Behavioral Economics at Boston University and the co-author of many books, including Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations, The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, and his new book Risky Business: Why Insurance Markets Fail and What to Do About It.Raymond and Greg discuss Raymond’s work and how it relates to industries trying to deal with the problem of selection through examples in the airline, film, and sports markets. Raymond also shares what he’s learned about corruption, as well as the perception of corruption and how little the difference between those may matter. They discuss the issue as it relates with examples in China, Indonesia, India, as well as the United States Congress and Supreme Court. Greg also gets Raymond’s opinion on whether there is such a thing as ‘good corruption.’ *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:A barrier to finding a solution to a democratic political system39:52: One real barrier to finding our way to a solution in the context of a democratic political system is that people see corruption; they just think, ugh, the whole system's rotten. They're all the same. And it’s made even harder by the fact that we have seen, in many instances, politicians run on anti-corruption platforms only to find out they're just as corrupt as the people they replaced. So it was very undermining to citizens' faith that they can be part of the solution.The government isn't a business48:48: The government isn't a business, and you wouldn't want to run it like a business because there are features of the government's job that are very, very different from the job of a business.What is a selection market?06:18: A market that suffers from a selection problem is one in which businesses don't just care how much they sell, but they care whom they are selling to.Do we need to spend more time convincing economists to take culture seriously?51:22: What economists push back against is not that culture matters but just using culture as a residual explanation. Once you've tried everything else and nothing else quite worked, you say, "Oh, that's just culture." That's why we get these differences across groups. As is surely almost always the case, the truth lies somewhere in the gray between the black and the white.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Explanation of Organizational EconomicsWikipedia Page for Edward LazearUnderstanding the Lemons ProblemAmerican Airlines AAirPass ProblemWikipedia Page for Jeffrey SkollWikipedia Page for SuhartoPaper on Growth Under DictatorsMonitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in IndonesiaStanford Profile of Mark GranovetterGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Boston UniversityFaculty Profile at NYUProfessional Profile on National Bureau of Economic ResearchRaymond Fisman on LinkedInRaymond Fisman on TwitterHis Work:Risky Business: Why Insurance Markets Fail and What to Do About ItThe Org: The Underlying Logic of the OfficeThe Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them-And They Shape UsCorruption: What Everyone Needs to Know®Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of NationsRaymond Fisman on Google ScholarCEPR Page of Publications
7/10/202351 minutes, 35 seconds
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302. Sentient Creatures & Phenomenal Consciousness feat. Nicholas Humphrey

Sentience lies at the core of the human experience, allowing us to experience conscious awareness, subjective experiences, and a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. But are these capacities exclusive to humans? And are future machines likely to develop these abilities as well?Nicholas Humphrey is a theoretical psychologist based in Cambridge who is known for his work on the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness. He has been a lecturer in psychology at Oxford, assistant director of the Subdepartment of Animal Behaviour at Cambridge, senior research fellow at Cambridge, professor of psychology at the New School for Social Research, New York, and school professor at the London School of Economics. His latest book, Sentience: The Invention of Consciousness, uncovers the evolutionary history of consciousness and the nature of sentient experience in various species.Nicholas and Greg talk about some examples of animals that are believed to possess sentience, how high levels of consciousness can exist in animals without the extra dimension of sentience being present, how phenomenal consciousness came into being, and why it's very restricted in the animal kingdom and why being sentient should not be the only criterion for protecting certain animals and plants.They also explore that while sentience is not expected to emerge in machines naturally, there are potential benefits in our future endeavors to develop sentient artificial intelligence.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:A theory on how phenomenal consciousness came to being19:28: Psychology is a very difficult thing to do—to understand another person with a brain-like mine. The brain is the most complicated mechanism in the universe, as has often been pointed out. Yet you and I can read other people's minds with relative ease. How do we do it? We don't do it by virtue simply of intelligence or being clever. We do it by using our own presence, our own sense of ourself as a model for what it's like to be the other person. We are introspective psychologists, and you can only understand what it's like to be someone else by putting yourself in that place if you first know what it's like to be you. So you have to have a sense of your own self in order to model the selves of other individuals. The essential ingredient in our psychological life 17:50: For creatures like ourselves who value our individuality and count on it in our interactions with other creatures like ourselves, whom we assume to be phenomenally conscious in the same way and to have the same sense of self, this presence, this groundedness of our psychic life, is crucial to the way in which we develop our notion of what it is to be ourselves and our role in the world.The distinction between perception and sensation34:58: Perception is how we represent facts about the world. You know, the apple is round, the chair is heavy, or whatever it may be, the weight is heavy. The sound is the middle sea; facts about the world out there; and sensation is how we represent our interaction with the sensory stimuli in our body and how we feel about those.Soul niche26:41: This phenomenal consciousness and sense of self opened up a new ecological niche for human beings. I've called it the soul niche, which is that humans live in the soul niche, which is, I think, a niche centered on the idea of our individuality based on our self-consciousness. We live in that niche in just the same way that trout live in rivers or bed bugs live in beds.Show Links:Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at CambridgeNicholas Humphrey WebsiteNicholas Humphrey on LinkedInNicholas Humphrey on TwitterHis Work:Sentience: The Invention of ConsciousnessA history of the mindSeeing Red: A Study in ConsciousnessSoul Dust: The Magic of ConsciousnessThe Inner Eye: Social Intelligence in EvolutionSoul searching: Human nature and supernatural beliefArticles on AeonMore scholarly articles 
7/7/20231 hour, 11 seconds
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301. What Neuroscience Has to Do With Company Culture feat. Paul J. Zak

What if brain chemicals like oxytocin and cortisol could predict how people will behave in social situations and the workplace? Does more testosterone lead to aggressive leadership? Paul J. Zak is the head of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies at Claremont Graduate University. His books, including Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies and The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works, examine the connection between brain functions and building trust and cooperation in social groups. Paul and Greg discuss why, 99% of the time, humans default to cooperation, how leadership roles can lead to more circulating testosterone, and a tool that determines exactly what we love based on our brain functions.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How do you sustain long-term profit growth?25:15: Right now, we are dying for good people. So, the number of high performers is scarce, and the number of overall performers is scarce. So let's create an environment where they can flourish and perform at their best. They have the freedom and accountability to do what they love once they're trained. Give them some discretion; let them make mistakes; let them learn. Let them innovate. And that's the way to sustain long-term profit growth.An amazing customer experience starts with a great employee experience28:32: It's a sacred duty to create an amazing customer experience. But that starts with creating a great employee experience.Effective work cultures have low turnover34:55: One of the best predictors we found for effective cultures is low turnover. So, it's well known that most people do not leave jobs for more money. They leave because they just can't stand where they're working. And can't stand means the culture, the humans, and the way humans interact. That's what culture is.On trust and human performance24:31: What I think about trust, about human performance is that employees want it, and organizations benefit from it. So it's a really nice win-win space. On the data, you know, people who work in high-trust organizations get sick less, they retain their jobs more. They enjoy their jobs more. They recommend their place of business to friends and family to work there. So all these good things.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Vernon L. SmithJack WelchPeter DruckerGood for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back AmericaunSILOed episode feat. Ben WaberGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Claremont Graduate UniversityPaul J. Zak’s WebsitePaul J. Zak on LinkedInPaul J. Zak on TwitterPau J. Zak on TEDTalkHis Work:Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance CompaniesThe Moral Molecule: How Trust WorksImmersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of HappinessImmersion Neuroscience (Website)Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the EconomyMore scholarly articles
7/5/20231 hour, 1 minute, 33 seconds
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300. Leadership Through Culture at SVB feat. Ken Wilcox

There are levels to leadership, and at the CEO level, the leadership needs are many, but it’s important to strike the right balance. CEOs must think about strategy in both the short and long term but also must not lose sight of the culture they create. ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ as Peter Drucker famously said, and a wise leader pays close attention to the culture in their organization. Ken Wilcox is the and previously served as its CEO. Ken is also an author, and his latest book, Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures That Motivate People to Achieve Great Things, is a guidebook for leaders of all kinds on how to create culture and, more importantly, why it is so important. Ken and Greg discuss Ken’s history with Silicon Valley Bank, but also why he was so successful there because of his emphasis and attention to creating the right culture. Ken goes over some key parts of being a good leader and the characteristics of different types of people in the organization. Ken and Greg also discuss the current state of SVB and what happened, as well as the interesting history of SVB starting a joint venture with China. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:You cannot hire good people to help you build the culture04:35: You can hire good people to help you build the strategy. You cannot hire good people to help you build the culture. That's something that has to emanate from the CEO, I believe. And the other thing about that is that if you have a good strategy but a poor culture, you're not going to do well. If you have a great culture and maybe a poor strategy, you can always bring some strategic thinkers on board, either in the form of employees or consultants, and they can help you create a much better strategy.Great leaders have a vision09:30: Great leaders have a vision. They're not focused on the present. They delegate most of the responsibility for what happens today and tomorrow to their management team. But most of them are looking into the future and saying, "Where is it I would like us to go, and how will we get there?" and sharing that over and over again with the management team and with the entire corporation.What makes a great CEO?10:01: Great leaders realize they can't do it all by themselves. They build themselves a management team, and then they use that management team to inform them before they make a decision. And one thing that's key here is who makes the decisions. I think good CEOs delegate most decisions downward and focus on only the really big decisions that have to do with long-term direction.Choosing the right adults for your team13:38: The people on your team are adults who understand that adults have different opinions, that all opinions may be valuable to one degree or another, and that the way to solve problems with other adults is to have good discussions where people are being honest without being bossy. There are two kinds of people, or three kinds of people, that you could bring onto a management team that are adults, and those are the people you should seek.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Forbes article on ‘Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast’LinkedIn article on Leadership ShadowWikipedia article on Cyrus the GreatWikipedia article on Charles M. WilliamsGuest Profile:Professional Profile on LeadingThroughCulture.orgProfessional Profile on WildChina.comContributor’s Profile at Stanford UniversityKen Wilcox on LinkedInHis Work:Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures That Motivate People to Achieve Great ThingsAmazon Author Page for Ken WilcoxStanford Lectures by Ken Wilcox
7/3/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 38 seconds
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299. What’s The Right Amount of Democracy feat. Garett Jones

Has the word “democracy” become a catch-all for good government? At this point, the idea is so romanticized that it may go unnoticed that the way America is run today is somewhere between a democracy and an oligarchy.Garett Jones, associate professor of Economics at George Mason University, delves into those questions in his book 10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less. He also studies the factors and foundations of economic growth in his book The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move To a Lot Like The Ones They Left. Garett and Greg discuss the true meaning of the word “democracy,” whether it’s better to have a well-educated elite calling the shots, and how migration can actually determine how prosperous a country will be. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What we love about our so-called ‘democratic system” are its most undemocratic parts03:18: When people use the phrase "we're a nation of laws, not of men," that's a way of saying in the short run, democracy doesn't decide how this trial turns out; the voters don't get to rule on this. We have some rules we set a long time ago. We have some nerdy judges who oversee the system, and they're making the decisions. So a lot of what we love about our so-called “democratic system" are its most undemocratic parts.08:54: The closer a politician is to voters, the further the politician is from wisdom.How do we measure democracy?06:09: The modern methods of measuring democracy often make this mistake of blurring together, like actual voter participation in government with neutral rules that can't be manipulated in the short run. So the first part, to me, is truly democratic. The second part is pretty much judicial independence, which is not democratic.Can migration determine how prosperous a country will be?43:04: The most important channel through which immigration of people from places like China and Western Europe the way that ends up shaping broadly shared prosperity is through our old cliche in economics, which is institutions. So for reasons that are somewhat poorly understood, countries that wind up with a lot of migrants from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, or Eastern Asia tend to wind up with better institutions, better rules of the game. Better rule of law, lower corruption, and that by itself creates a better set of rules that help create broadly shared prosperity for everyone.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan CaplanPolitical Realism by Jonathan RauchIron law of oligarchyPolitical Parties by Robert MichelsTammany HallGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at George Mason UniversityGarett Jones WebsiteGarrett Jones on LinkedInGarett Jones on TwitterHis Work:10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little LessThe Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move To a Lot Like The Ones They LeftHive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your OwnBanking Crises: Perspectives from the New Palgrave Dictionary of EconomicArticles on EconlibMore scholarly articles
6/30/202352 minutes, 50 seconds
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298. The Libertarian Roots of Cryptocurrency feat. Finn Brunton

If you start to dig into the origin story of cryptocurrency, don’t be surprised if you find the ideas and values of the American Libertarian movement all over it. Finn Brunton teaches science and technology studies at UC Davis and is fascinated by the historical narratives and subcultures behind modern technology. His books include Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency and Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures). Finn and Greg discuss how spammers and scammers were actually some of the earliest adopters of cryptocurrency, the American Libertarian roots in the movement, and the dark future cryptocurrency pioneers worried about.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Cryptographic algorithms as a weapons of war39:50: Cryptographic algorithms were classified as munitions, as weapons of war. Like you needed a foreign export license for them in the same way you would if you were selling tanks or something. So, as people were figuring out these sort of cryptographic primitives and fundamental algorithms and things like that, they started doing stuff like getting them printed on t-shirts because then you could be like, if I wear this t-shirt on an overseas flight, I am doing the equivalent of selling crates of AK-47s. And most famously, people got this extremely laconic version of this algorithm in a programming language called “perl” tattooed on themselves. And then you could say, my body is classified as a deadly weapon. You know, it's like this military device. So that tension, I think, is a really good tension for us to bear in mind as we look at how cryptocurrencies developed because part of their heritage was this awareness that strong civilian cryptography was seen as posing a genuine threat to the safety and security of the state.American libertarianism as an ideological strain of the history of cryptocurrency09:08: All of these different agendas for what technology should do represent different threads in libertarian, ideological ideas about what money should be and how society should operate. So that's part of what makes it so fascinating—that it's this new technology.What crypto as a whole shows10:01: To get certain kinds of technologies off the ground ,you can't just build the tech. You have to tell people about the future in which the tech is going to do something of value for them. And that kind of storytelling that media work is for me, where the rubber meets the road of these new technological ideas. And I saw both of them in crypto.On the value of science and technology studies01:01:05: What STS (Science and Technology Studies) provided was a space where all of these different areas, which are all adjacent, could have like a common center in the Venn diagram to meet up and hang out there, and part of what I love is that it gives you a passport to go and meet and learn from really interesting people in all kinds of different zones.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Gadsden FlagBitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi NakamotoThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodThis Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information by Andy GreenbergEnigma MachineExtropianismGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at UC DavisHis Work:Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures)Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency
6/28/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds
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297. Balancing a Digital Future With Human Connections and Experiences feat. David Sax

The future is (not entirely) digital - The notion that digital technology will overtake every existing aspect of our lives is an oversimplified assumption.The pandemic-induced revelations, alongside the growing affinity of a younger generation raised in a digital era towards analog media like vinyl records or books, provide compelling evidence to the intrinsic human longing for experiences that transcend the purely digital domain.David Sax is a Canadian journalist, award-winning writer for publications such as New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Bloomberg Business Week, and The New York Times, a keynote speaker, and the author of several books. His latest work, The Future Is Analog: How to Create a More Human World, examines why our future is not inevitably digital and how to reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change.David and Greg talk about the need in a tech-obsessed society to find the right balance between embracing digital advancements that can genuinely enhance certain parts of our lives and the grand human experiences like everyday social interactions, building authentic connections, and experiential education that cannot be replicated by digital technology.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The value of the analog experience isn't diminished41:55: The world is everything. And I think we're sort of losing sight of that, and I think we still continually have the risk of losing sight of it because we can get everything in one place, because the information's so much easier and requires so much less effort in this way. But the value of that greater experience—the analog experience, this more human experience—isn't diminished simply because you don't have to step outside. What is the core of analog?16:19: We lose sight of the fact that the world is analog. The world is not digital. The planet that we're currently on, depending on where you are, is this physical, tactile thing that's the core of what analog is. And the computers, the ones and zeros, play a big role in certain parts of it.Who's driving the growth and interest in all things analog?18:12: I think generational generalization is this great lazy misstep that we always make around technology. [18:34] You know who's driving the growth and interest in all things analog. It's younger people—people who've grown up with this technology, right? Whether you look at the sales and vinyl records, whether you look at the pinball resurgence, whether you look at whatever it is, book sales, you know, all this sort of stuff, it's not people of my generation or your generation. It's those younger than us.On consuming technology wisely25:41: Plunging forward into the newest technology because it's possible and reorienting our lives around it because that's something that seems attractive or maybe there's an economic advantage or something that someone can sell is not something that we should do lightly.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Inevitable by Kevin KellyGuest Profile:Speaker Profile on The Lavin AgencyDavid Sax WebsiteDavid Sax on TwitterDavid Sax on LinkedInHis Work:The Future Is Analog: How to Create a More Human WorldThe Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They MatterSave the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish DelicatessenThe Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with FondueThe Soul of an Entrepreneur: Work and Life Beyond the Startup MythArticles on The New Yorker
6/26/202358 minutes, 41 seconds
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296. The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence feat. Peter Norvig

Questions around the possibilities and potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence cover the headlines these days, but are these actually new questions?Computer scientist Peter Norvig has been writing about AI and the ethics of data science for years. Before he was a professor at Stanford University’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute, he worked for NASA and held a major consulting role at Google. His books, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4th Edition) and Data Science in Context: Foundations, Challenges, Opportunities, explore the theory and practice of AI and data science.Peter and Greg discuss the cyclical nature of new technology mania, the misconceptions of modern AI,  and the different ways companies could monetize these systems in the future. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Open source and AI Systems27:56: One reason to open source is if you have a vibrant open-source community, it's hard for one individual company to compete against that. One of the places I worked was Sun Microsystems. They had their own version of Unix. But that wasn't sustainable. You know, one company couldn't compete against the entire open-source Linux community. And I think companies see that. That'll be the same kind of thing with AI systems; if you try to be proprietary and go it alone, you'll fall behind the rest of the open source. And so, it's much better to participate with the open source than try to compete against it.The difference between AI and machine learning02:25: AI is trying to write programs that do intelligent things. Machine learning is doing that by showing examples. And the alternative to that is an older technology we call "expert systems", which means you use the blood, sweat, and tears of graduate students to write down pieces of knowledge by hand rather than trying to learn them.Data science is the intersection of statistics, machine learning and programming03:00: I think of data science as a combination of statistics or machine learning, the ability to do some programming, but not necessarily be a professional-level programmer. And then expertise in the particular type of data you have, whether that's biology, economics, or whatever the data is. And so, data science is the combination or intersection of those three aspects.Is there a possibility of generating revenue through subscriptions for big social media companies?35:39: As a society, we still haven't really understood or adapted to how digital works. And people are super willing to say, “I'm going to spend $50 or even a hundred dollars per month for some kind of physical good that I pay to my phone or cable provider.” But when it comes to paying a few pennies to read something on the internet, it's, “oh, no. Information wants to be free.” And I think we might be better off in a world where these assets were all aggregated, and you just paid for a subscription.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Billy BeaneBusiness Insider: The lawyer who used ChatGPT's fake legal cases in court said he was 'duped' by the AI, but a judge questioned how he didn't spot the 'legal gibberish'The New York Times: Google’s Photo App Still Can’t Find Gorillas. And Neither Can Apple’s The New York Times: A Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettledrobots.txtMassive open online course (MOOC)Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford UniversityPeter Norvig's WebsitePeter Norvig on LinkedIn​​Peter Norvig on TEDTalkHis Work:Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4th Edition)Data Science in Context: Foundations, Challenges, OpportunitiesMore scholarly articles
6/23/202353 minutes, 39 seconds
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295. Keeping the Conversation Going feat. Paula Marantz Cohen

Conversation and communication with others is a natural human urge, as well as a skill that can be developed and honed like any other. The power of conversation has been long known in society, and still, there are regular efforts to preserve and maintain the spaces and opportunities for genuine conversation in today’s world of screens and distractions.Paula Marantz Cohen is the Dean of the Pennoni Honors College and a Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University. She is also the author of several books. Her latest, which is titled Talking Cure: An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation, is all about the art of good conversation and examining how it connects us all. Paula and Greg discuss the connection with Sigmund Freud and her own book’s title, as well as the connections and differences between conversation and therapy. Paula sheds some light on good practices in conversation and how to carry on civilly on issues that parties disagree with or are controversial. Greg and Paula discuss dinner parties and the false idea that all professors were constantly having them. They discuss the differences between French and American culture and also the idea that there must be a conventional hero and villain in circumstances that may be more nuanced than that.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Are we professionalizing conversation by hiring people to have conversations with us?35:15: We're outsourcing conversation to our therapist. Yeah, that's a sad thing to think of because it also reflects the isolation of the individual. We're alone in ultimately anyway. And this seems to reinforce it further and make it less and less necessary to reach out to other people if we have that weekly appointment with the therapist whom we pay to listen to us and not agree with us but make us the center of focus. So that reinforces the fact that we don't really need anybody else to help us.Conversation is about the exercise of the mind47:34: I think we could sell conversation if we said it was about exercise for the mind, but then we might defeat the purpose.On forging bonds with people through conversation35:15: Finding points of divergence is a lot of fun. As long as goodwill is involved, as soon as there's animus involved, it's not fun anymore, and as soon as it becomes a matter of winning or losing, which is detrimental to conversation, I know people who can only converse or only discuss things they disagree with if they can win. And I didn't realize until recently that I just don't want to do that anymore.Why is dynamic so inherent in our nature?28:59: Many young people are trying desperately to get out of that dynamic of othering because they find it not virtuous. On the other hand, for the sake of intimacy, there has to be a little bit of that we versus they.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Talking Cure by Sigmund FreudDale CarnegieThe Teagle FoundationSt. Johns Mathematics MethodGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Drexel UniversityProfessional Profile on Macmillan PublishersPaula Marantz Cohen's WebsitePaula Marantz Cohen on LinkedInHer Work:Talking Cure: An Essay on the Civilizing Power of ConversationOf Human Kindness: What Shakespeare Teaches Us About EmpathAlfred Hitchcock: The Legacy of VictorianismBeatrice Bunson's Guide to Romeo and Juliet: a novelSuzanne Davis Gets a LifeGetting Dressed: Confession, Criticism, Cultural HistoryWhat Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATsJane Austen in Boca: A NovelSilent Film and the Triumph of the American MythBlogs for The American Scholar
6/21/202355 minutes, 4 seconds
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294. The Habit of Courage feat. Jim Detert

Courage is not a character trait that is limited to a select few but rather a skill that can be cultivated through deliberate practice.Unless we repetitively practice the high-stress, emotion-laden situations in which we aspire to be courageous, we will never magically become skillful in those moments.Jim Detert is a Professor in the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and a Professor of Public Policy at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. In his book “Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work” he explores how to be 'competently courageous' so that our courage pays off for us and for our organizations.Jim and Greg talk about how to instill a habit of courage, how to overcome the fear of potential negative consequences work-wise or socially, and how to create accurate risk assessments when it comes to choosing the right battles. They also discuss the prevalent inconsistency within organizations that profess to value individuals with courage while, in actuality, demonstrating a reluctance to embrace them and how to change the structural policy and behavioral conditions to truly facilitate courage in the workplace.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How do you power-through emotion-laden situations?35:25: If you're going to act skillfully in high-stress, emotion-laden situations, you have to practice in high-stress, emotion-laden situations. Practicing in a cognitively cool manner is what a lot of us do, and it's why most of us walk out of a room after and go 30 seconds later. Oh sh*t, I should have said this during the because what happens is your amygdala hijacks your executive functioning, and unless we practice repetitively trying to stay in the moment during that hijacking and tamp it down and act, we'll never just magically be skillful in those moments.In a true learning culture, nobody has to pretend they’re perfect19:27: In a true learning culture, nobody has to pretend they're perfect, and nobody has to pretend that they can't be corrected in public.The key to sorting out a troublemaker  23:42: If you were going to help a recruiter sort out the difference between a chronic troublemaker versus a legitimate truth-teller who simply wanted to draw its right and improve the organization, I think to me it's a matter of patterning. So if a person has had a pattern of successful jobs they've been in for some time and then has a single situation where they are able to explain why it didn't work out, that to me is different than a person who's had seven jobs in the last six years. And for whom every single organization has somehow been toxic and had a terrible boss. At some point, when you are the only consistent thing in a pattern of different situations, you're the problem.The role of leaders30:02: The role of leaders, particularly senior leaders, is to change the structural policy and behavioral conditions so that they get the learning behaviors they need without people thinking it's courageous.Show Links:Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of Virginia, Darden School of Business Professional Profile on Psychology TodayJim Detert's WebsiteJim Detert on LinkedInHis Work:Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at WorkJim Detert on Google Scholar
6/19/202354 minutes, 11 seconds
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293. Stop Torturing Data feat. Gary Smith

When scientists game the system to get publishable results, it undermines the legitimacy of science.. Data can be interpreted many different ways and sliced into an infinite number of shapes, but specifically shaping your results to make them fit restrictions leads everyone down the wrong path. This is called torturing data, and it can look like cherry-picking participants or results for a study or getting your results first and then reverse engineering your hypothesis after the fact.Gary Smith is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College. He is also the author of several books on data and economics. His latest work, Distrust: Big Data, Data-Torturing, and the Assault on Science, explores society’s general and specific instances of distrusting science in different ways.Greg and Gary discuss what nefarious things go on when scientists focus on keeping low P Values. They discuss the distinctions between correlation and causation that an AI might not be able to distinguish and the work in that area of Diedrik Stapel. Gary discusses data mining and HARKing. Gary and Greg discuss the difference in importance and feasibility of both backcasting and forecasting with markets, what makes ChatGPT work under the hood, and the real advantage that Warren Buffet has in investing.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The future of education with large language models50:22: We may be going to a world where my ChatGPT talks to your ChatGPT, but I hope not. And in most jobs, you have to communicate, you have to write reports that are persuasive, coherent, and factually correct. And sometimes you have to get up, speak and talk. And in some of my classes, a lot of the things I do are group projects where they work on things outside of class, then they come into class, stand up, and present the results, kind of like a real-world business situation. And the large language models are not going to take that over. And I think if education switches more to that model, teaching critical thinking, working on projects, communicating results, education's going to actually get better. It's not going to destroy education.Underestimating our capacity as human beings29:27: The problem today is not that computers are smarter than us. But we think they're smarter than us, and we trust them to make decisions they shouldn't be trusted to make. Data mining is a vice23:02: The problem is these computer algorithms they're good at finding patterns—statistical patterns—but they have no way of judging, assessing whether it makes any sense or not. They have no way of assessing whether that is likely to be a meaningful or meaningless thing. And too many people think that data mining is a virtue. And I continue to consider it a vice.The danger of large language models46:53: The real danger of large language models is not that they're going to take over the world but that we're going to trust them too much and start making decisions they shouldn't be making.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Ronald FisherAndrew GelmanNYT article about Diedrik StapelP-Value HackingHARKing Wikipedia PageDaryl Bem Wikipedia PageChatGPTGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Pomona CollegeGary Smith's WebsiteGary Smith on LinkedInGary Smith on TwitterHis Work:Distrust: Big Data, Data-Torturing, and the Assault on ScienceStandard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with StatisticsThe Phantom Pattern Problem: The Mirage of Big DataWhat the Luck?: The Surprising Role of Chance in Our Everyday LivesThe 9 Pitfalls of Data ScienceThe AI DelusionMoney Machine: The Surprisingly Simple Power of Value InvestingYour Home Dividend: Why Buying A Home May Be the Best Investment You'll Ever MakeThe Art and Science of InvestingGary Smith on Google ScholarArticles on Discovery Institute Articles on Salon
6/16/202353 minutes, 10 seconds
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292. Re-examining Human Exceptionalism feat. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

While it is commonly assumed that prevalent health issues like heart disease, obesity, and depression are uniquely human experiences, they exist across multiple species.Despite the undeniable connection rooted in our shared animal nature, a perceptible barrier remains between human and veterinary medicine and psychology, often driven by the notion of human exceptionalism.Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is a cardiologist, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA, a visiting professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, as well as a New York Times bestselling author. Her latest book “Wildhood” examines the surprising parallels of adolescent humans and animals in navigating risk and social hierarchies, how to connect romantically, and how to live independently.Barbara and Greg talk about the importance of removing the blindfold of human exceptionalism and a cross-species approach to medicine and psychology, which includes veterinary and evolutionary perspectives, to gain valuable insights from other species.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What are the core competencies of being an adult?54:24: Adolescence occurs across vertebrates, and even—we studied lobsters, crayfish, and so on—invertebrates. And that we decided to make the definition our own, and this was based on a number of studies that we did to figure out what are the core competencies of being an adult. And we said, "Okay, it starts with puberty. And it ends when an animal has mastered four core competencies, which are staying safe, learning to navigate social structures and hierarchies, learning to communicate sexually, not have sex because, as we say, copulation is easy, courtship is hard, and then finally learning to feed yourself and be independent.The connection between human and animal medicine57:47: If you ask physicians today what is the connection between human and animal medicine, they'll say infection; they'll say what is called zoonosis; and what they'll leave out are the connections around heart disease and psychiatry, which is mental health.What is most likely to kill wild animals?23:15: The risk of starvation is a clear and present danger when you look at what is most likely to kill wild animals. And there is some debate about what is the greatest danger. And it probably varies, but starvation, predation, and infection are definitely high up there. And the three interact. So starvation is a clear and present danger to survival.Recognizing biodiversity21:02: Part of biodiversity is physiologic diversity, and part of physiologic diversity is neurophysiologic diversity, and neurophysiologic diversity shapes behavior. So there's this continuity that I don't think most psychotherapists and psychiatrists are sufficiently aware of.Show Links:Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at UCLABarbara Natterson-Horowitz's WebsiteBarbara Natterson-Horowitz on LinkedInBarbara Natterson-Horowitz on TwitterBarbara Natterson-Horowitz on TEDMEDHer Work:Wildhood: The Astounding Connections between Human and Animal AdolescentsZoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz & Kathryn BowersBarbara Natterson-Horowitz on Google Scholar
6/14/202359 minutes, 8 seconds
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291. Embracing the Problems in Your Life feat. Bernard Roth

Life is all about solving problems—whether it’s what shirt to put on in the morning or how to solve a complex engineering question. And without problems, life wouldn’t have much meaning. But how do you master effective problem-solving skills? Bernard Roth is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and is one of the founders of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (also known as the It was at Stanford that he first noticed a correlation between problem-solving in engineering and problem-solving in life. So he integrated those ideas into his teaching and wrote, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. Bernie and Greg discuss the importance of embracing the problems in your life, how to become a more effective problem solver, and why reasons are bullshit. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Seeing problem as an opportunity14:54: I live with people who believe problems are opportunities. So the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. And if you think about it, that's what life is about. Life is about problem-solving. Problem-solving is a great activity, and it's not necessarily frustrating. It's not like a disease, you know; it's actually an exercise.Redefining achievement17:30: To me, achievement is when you die, your friends don't have to lie about you. And you enjoyed life in a way that you found it to be a life forceUsing reasons as an excuse26:39: The big thing is reasons are often used as excuses. And that's for me the big “so what?” So “reasons are bullshit” is the truth, that they're not the truth of anything because there is no reason for one thing, and who cares? But the point is that if you use a reason, it's an excuse often and doesn't let you move forward.The idea of failing forward13:47: You have to do something. You have to take a step. You don't sit there and think and think and think about it; you're taking the step. You get valuable feedback, which you can then use to improve things. So that's our philosophy of this bias towards action and the idea of failing forward. And it seems to work.Show Links:Recommended Resources:John E. ArnoldWright BrothersGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Stanford UniversityBernard Roth on LinkedInBernard Roth on TwitterBernard Roth on Talks at GoogleHis Work:The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your LifeMore publications by Bernard Roth
6/12/202348 minutes, 1 second
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290. Evolution as the Tinkerer Not the Engineer feat. Marlene Zuk

Here’s the thing about evolution: It’s really complicated. And there’s so much about how humans have evolved and what causes certain behaviors that scientists are still figuring out. It’s those unknowns that fascinate Marlene Zuk, a professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. She’s written numerous books on animal behavior and evolution, with her most recent publication being Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test: How Behavior Evolves and Why It Matters. Marlene and Greg discuss common misconceptions about genes and heredity, how to even define “behavior,” and why humans have not evolved to be perfectly suited for our environment. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:On the complexity of science04:14: Newsflash: Science is complicated. But I feel like if you can internalize that complication, it's really liberating because you realize that you do not have to come up with the sound bite, the click bait, or whatever you want to call it.Underestimating our capacity as human beings29:44: Mismatch is real, but what it illustrates is how evolution works, which is full of trade-offs and things that are just okay but functional. And evolution doesn't produce organisms that are perfect for their environment because it can't. Evolution can only produce something based on what's already there.Evolution shows your connectedness among living things20:44: One of the things that I think is super cool about evolution is that it shows you the connectedness among living things. How awesome is that? But to go from there to creating this scale of nature, this chain of being, and saying, "Okay, well, this one is next to me because it's better than the one that's behind it, and the ones that are next to me are better than the ones that aren't next to me," That just seems feudal.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Hamish SpencerWatson and Crick She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of HereditaryunSILOed episode featuring Daniel LiebermanGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of Minnesota Professional Profile on Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalHer Work:Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test: How Behavior Evolves and Why It MattersPaleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We LiveSex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect WorldRiddled With Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites That Make Us Who We AreSexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex from AnimalsScholarly Articles
6/9/202355 minutes, 51 seconds
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289. The Religious Roots of Economics feat. Benjamin M. Friedman

How much did the religious beliefs of the Enlightenment Age influence the evolution of modern economic theory? Can widespread economic growth lead to an improvement in moral character across a vast population? Benjamin M. Friedman is a professor and former Chair of Economics at Harvard University. In his books Religion and the Rise of Capitalism and The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, he explores the relationship between economic theory, religious thought, and views of moral progress.Benjamin chats with Greg about how the Scottish Enlightenment, in particular, became a hub for social scientific thought, what the belief in Calvinism had to do with the rise of capitalism and the correlation between economic growth and positive moral changes in society.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Predictable pathologies01:01:20: The fact that there's a lot of ungenerosity in our society, the fact that we have renewed racial tensions, the fact that there's a lot of antipathy toward immigrants, the fact that large numbers of people in our country are not particularly committed to the fundamentals of American democracy that we've had for a very long time—all these are not just pathologies. They are predictable pathologies. They are the symptoms that emerge whenever we go through a lengthy period, like 18 years, in which the broad bulk of society doesn't have any improvement in its living standard.The cause and effect of our acts and works34:26: The fact that people can and sometimes do make other people better off through actions, which are not self-interested behavior doesn't preclude the fact that people also can make others better off under the right conditions by acting in a way that's self-interested.Is economic growth consistent with the improvement of human moral character?58:33: I believe that economic growth, by which I mean rises sustained, increases improvements in living standards, broadly distributed among the population. That is the condition under which society is able to move forward in a variety of non-material dimensions that, ever since the Enlightenment, we've taken to be morally positive.Economics is a product of the Enlightenment06:09: Economics is a part of the Enlightenment, and we do normally think of the Enlightenment as a movement away from conceptions of a God-centered universe toward what we, in our modern vocabulary, would call secular humanism. And so I don't think people who have the conventional view are being stupid, obtuse, or ignorant, but I do think it is wrong. And that's what the book was about: showing that the conventional view, which excludes any role for religious thinking in the origins of modern Western economics, is seriously incomplete.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Adam SmithDavid Hume Newton’s Principia MathematicaDeism and Benjamin Franklin Charles DarwinThomas Robert MalthusAlbert EinsteinThe Fable of the Bees by Bernard MandevilleMax WeberFrancis WaylandJohn McVickarFrancis BowenGreg’s conversation with William BernsteinRichard ElyHenry Ward BeecherGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Harvard UniversityProfessional Profile on National Bureau of Economic ResearchProfessional Profile on American Academy of Arts and SciencesHis Work:Religion and the Rise of Capitalism The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth More publications
6/5/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 36 seconds
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288. Politics, Economics, and Irrationality feat. Bryan Caplan

It may be rational to be ignorant, and it might even be rational to be irrational! This is quite prevalent in our highly polarized and tribalized current political landscape. In fact, it is what gives politics its newfound religious flavor. In education it exists where we move everyone forward the same amount, no one has moved relative to each other, and it is considered progress. Bryan Caplan is an economist and a Professor of Economics at George Mason University. He is also an author whose latest book is titled Voters as Mad Scientists: Essays on Political Irrationality, and it is a collection of his very best essays published originally over the years on EconLog.Bryan and Greg discuss politics and voting. They discuss the value of voting in this democracy. They also talk about Bryan’s book and get into different instances of voter irrationality. Bryan discusses his political views, and they both ponder the question of how much educational investment is socially wasteful. Finally, they talk about parenting and schools and how to an economist, everything has an associated price.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.Episode Quotes:On deciding your family size52:03: I think that most people decide their family size based upon current exhaustion rather than weighing, "How many kids do I want now? How many kids do I want in 40 years?" But the main thing I tell people is that first, fix your parenting style to get in line with the facts, because it's just not true that your kid's future is in your hands. And then, secondly, once you do that, once you have relaxed to this level, that is when it makes sense to rethink the number of kids you want to have.Rational rationality gives politics its religious flavor11:21: The same incentives that give you very little reason to acquire information also give you very little reason to be intellectually honest and exert normal intellectual self-discipline. And those latter things are what I call rational irrationality. And this is really what gives politics its religious flavor.How do you know if you’re making rationally ignorant decisions?10:04: Rationally ignorance is something that has been talked about in social science for a long time. It's just the idea that when time is money, it is often not worthwhile to get information. And so you can rationally make a decision to be ignorant.Thinking beyond normal data sets can change your kids' outcomes49:59: If you want to change your kids' long-run outcomes, you have to do something weird. You have to do something that is literally off the chart, something that is rare enough that we don't see it happening in normal data sets.Show Links:Recommended Resources:10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little LessImmigration vs. Social Desirability BiasThe Case Against the Sexual RevolutionGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at George Mason UniversityProfessional Profile on Cato InstituteBryan Caplan’s WebsiteBryan Caplan on TwitterBryan Caplan on SubstackHis Work:Bryan Caplan on Google ScholarArticles on The Library of Economics and LibertyThe Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad PoliciesVoters as Mad Scientists: Essays on Political IrrationalityOpen Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You ThinkDon't Be a Feminist: Essays on Genuine JusticeHow Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on DemagogueryLabor Econ Versus the World: Essays on the World's Greatest Market
6/2/20231 hour, 1 minute, 31 seconds
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287. Generational Differences and the Influence of Technology feat. Jean M. Twenge

From the Silent Generation to Gen Z, different generations have distinct behaviors, values, and attitudes that were shaped by the events during their formative years.However, the most significant factor influencing generational differences is technology.While technological progress has led to more individualism, it also can have negative impacts on mental health, leading to depression and suicide.Jean M. Twenge is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, consultant, public speaker, and author of a number of books. Her most recent book “Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America's Future” explores how different generations connect, conflict, and compete with one another.Jean and Greg discuss the most critical influences on different generations' experiences, such as parenting styles and technology, and the importance of understanding and respecting other generations' viewpoints.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The negative impact of social media on mental health19:35: Right around that time, 2012, teens also started to spend a lot less time with their friends in person. So that had been on a slow decline since about 2000, but it fell off a cliff in the age of the smartphone. Teens also started spending less time sleeping right around that time. So, basically, the way they spent their time outside of school fundamentally changed. They started spending a lot more time online. A lot less time with their friends in person and less time sleeping. And that's not a good formula for mental health. So that's one of the mechanisms. And there's all of the others—all of the negative content that people come across on social media. Cyberbullying, the social comparison because everybody else's life is more glamorous. Body image issues, which have been well documented, including by the company Facebook themselves, who owns Instagram, found that Instagram led to body image issues among teen girls and young women. So, it's all of these mechanisms that the end result is more depression.Depression isn't just about emotions; it's about cognition.30:15: Depression isn't just about emotions; it's about cognition. It's about how you see the world, and so when more people are depressed, then you'll get that, as we do between millennials and Gen Z, that shift from optimism to pessimism, and pessimism and negativity are not all bad. If they're channeled into action, they can be a good thing.One dilemma of individualism40:01: That's one of the dilemmas of individualism, particularly for young adults: There's a lot more freedom, not as much restriction, on what I mean, it's just one example, like what you're going to do for your career. It used to be that was, not exclusively, but certainly heavily influenced by your race and your gender, and that's not true as much anymore. So it opens up many more possibilities. It also means, though, that there's a lot of choices, and that can sometimes be overwhelming.To what extent are the rise in depression and the data simply an acknowledgment that it's okay to have mental health issues?41:49: We know for sure that just more willingness to admit symptoms or problems doesn't explain the rise in mental health issues. Because if it was just that, you wouldn't see the rise in emergency room visits for self-harm, suicide attempts, or completed suicides, and not only is there that rise, but the pattern is about the same as the reports of symptoms.Show Links:Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at San Diego State UniversityJean M. Twenge's WebsiteJean M. Twenge on TwitterJean M. Twenge on LinkedInJean M. Twenge on TEDxLagunaBlancaSchoolHer Work:Jean M. Twenge on Google ScholarGenerations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America's FutureiGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for AdulthoodGeneration Me - Revised and Updated: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before
5/31/202352 minutes, 28 seconds
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286. The Market as Miracle feat. Matthew Hennessey

The science of economics can be an intimidating topic to understand, but it can be broken down into basic motivations and forces that are understandable to anyone. Supply, demand, and trade-offs are a part of everyone’s daily life and should be identifiable in any industry or market. Matthew Hennessey is a journalist who is the Deputy Op-Ed Editor for the Wall Street Journal. He is also an author, and his latest book is titled Visible Hand: A Wealth of Notions on the Miracle of the Market, which is an accessible primer on economics for newcomers of all ages and explains the concepts of the market in plain and understandable terms.Matthew and Greg discuss how Matthew’s book works to support and inform all ages of readers. Matthew recounts a motto from a high school teacher that on a wall stuck with him and changed his life. They talk about the differences in the ways different generations act with respect to the market, and they discuss how a newsroom goes about keeping the news and opinion departments separate. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Bad ideas never really die20:54: Bad ideas never really die. They go to sleep for a while, and then they come, wake up, and come back to life to haunt us all. And people our age are living through something that we never thought could happen, which is a revival of a bunch of really bad ideas that everyone thought had been laid to rest long ago.14:29: The world is more filled with mystery than any one person can ever understand, and there's no reason why markets should be any different.The market is like gravity16:58: The market is like that. It's like gravity. You can't see it, but you know what it does, and don't mess with it. I don't mean that as a threat. Like, don't mess with the market. You can't take the screws out of the tires and expect it to do what it's meant to do. Show Links:Recommended Resources:Generations and years of themEconomics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic EconomicsRequiem for the Newsroom by Maureen Dowd James TarantoGuest Profile:Professional Profile on Much RackProfessional Profile on Manhattan InstituteMatthew Hennessey on LinkedInMatthew Hennessey on TwitterMatthew Hennessey on InstagramHis Work:Articles at New York PostVisible Hand: A Wealth of Notions on the Miracle of the MarketZero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials
5/29/202351 minutes, 8 seconds
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285. How the Buildings We Shape Shape Us feat. Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Is it a bad day that puts someone in a bad mood, or could it be the room they’re sitting in? The environments we place ourselves in function as much more than just mere backdrops, and the way spaces are designed can greatly influence how the people in them feel and react. A simple window can mean the difference between health and sickness, and the height of a ceiling may unlock creativity.Sarah Williams Goldhagen is an architecture critic and an author. Her latest book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, is about how the environments we are in shape us in some ways we realize and in many ways that we don’t.Sarah and Greg discuss Sarah’s background and how she forged her own path to the field of environmental psychology. They talk about different known features of built architecture that affect humans in non-conscious ways, like higher ceilings, sharp angles, and the presence of windows. Sarah also introduces and explains how we experience a sort of ‘blindsight’ everyday.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The importance of attention management for designers13:54: I often say to architects part of your job is attention management. Don't make people pay attention when they're just trying to find their way. They've got better things to do. They're stressed anyway, unless they're going into a hospital, a classroom, or whatever. They want to get there. That's not where you want them to pay attention, but you do want them to pay attention in, for example, so-called “restorative spaces,” which are spaces that people can deliberately design in order to slow people down, let them notice, in a fascinated and intriguing way, what's around them, which is shown to lower cortisol levels, relax people, and make them less stressed. Neutral buildings don’t exist19:43: There is no such thing as a neutral building. If a building is not helping the people who are using it, it's probably hurting them. And you can do a bad building or a good building at any level of investment for the same amount of money.Do we have blindsight in our environments?28:15: Most of the time, people don't pay a whole lot of attention to their environments. They're busy. We're all busy. You're not thinking about your environment, but that doesn't mean the environment isn't affecting you. So in this sense, we're all blindsighted.Something to look forward to in the built environment42:53: The most interesting thing that is happening in the built environment right now is probably related to the workplace because nobody can figure out what the workplace is for, how to use it, what it should be for, how to reconfigure these monoliths that we have that were meant for a kind of work that most people don't want to do anymore. And I think that there is more data. Around the workplace and around healthcare than there is around anything else. Because, of course, those are two big money drivers in the economy, and it will be very interesting to see. And some organizations involved in this space are already beginning to incorporate insights from environmental psychology and other research?Show Links:Recommended Resources:Metaphors We Live By by Lakoff and JohnsonThe Mirror Neuron SystemBlindsight BBC ArticlePeter Barrett’s Classroom ResearchAcademy of Neuroscience for ArchitectureGuest Profile:Professional Profile on Van Alen InstituteSarah Williams Goldhagen's WebsiteSarah Williams Goldhagen on LinkedInSarah Williams Goldhagen on TwitterSarah Williams Goldhagen on InstagramSarah Williams Goldhagen on Talks at GoogleHer Work:Sarah Williams Goldhagen on Google ScholarWelcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our LivesLouis Kahn's Situated Modernism 
5/26/202352 minutes, 40 seconds
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284. What Racial Categories Say About Discrimination in America feat. David E. Bernstein

Most Americans have had to do it at some point: check the box that most closely describes how you identify your race or ethnicity. But those categories can be limiting. How did America settle on the specific categories that are in use? And what does it mean for how the country works on a sociological level and a legal one? David E. Bernstein is a law professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. He’s written several books and scholarly articles dealing with legal history and legal interpretation, such as Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America and Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform. David and Greg discuss both of those books in a sweeping conversation about the history of race in America, why certain categories or groups were established, and how the idea of progressivism can look starkly different depending on the time period.  *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Why are educated people so comfortable with simplistic narratives?01:04:15: For academics, I think that once a narrative becomes established, it's really hard to fight against it. You're a young academic writing your Ph.D. thesis, you're writing your initial articles. Yes, you might want to be the Dragon Slayer who proves the new thesis and everyone else was wrong. But you better do that really well. So if you do a half-baked job, don't persuade people that much. People can say, "Oh, you're just a nut; you're just someone on the fringe, and you don't know what you're talking about." It's a lot easier to go along with the accepted narrative, add your little piece to it, add your little extra research, get tenure, and live your happy life. So I think most people are go along to get along people, they're not especially independent-minded or interested in upsetting the apple cart.On the identity entrepreneur issue12:05: The identity entrepreneur issue—there are several layers to it. There are people who could choose one of many identities and choose whatever happens to be the most convenient for their particular purposes.Why are classifications so influential?16:13: One reason these classifications are so influential is that the census uses them. And it's not just that the census uses them. The census is the font of all data for researchers.Are Americans becoming less prejudiced?39:59: I think what we have in the long run is a cultural battle that's sort of beneath the surface that no one talks about between what's going on at the grassroots, where Americans are less prejudiced than they've ever been. 95% of Americans have no objection to interracial marriage, compared to 4% in 1958. That's quite a difference.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Rise of the Unmeltable EthnicsLochner v. New YorkBuchanan v. WarleyAffirmative ActionWhat Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America Rachel DolezalDesi ArnazTed WilliamsLefty GomezHank GreenbergJackie RobinsonDred Scott v. SandfordMichael Shermer and Skeptic Magazine Guest Profile:Faculty Profile at George Mason UniversityContributor’s Profile on The Federalist SocietyDavid E. Bernstein on TwitterHis Work:David E. Bernstein on Google ScholarScholarly Papers Article on Tablet MagazineClassified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in AmericaLawless: The Obama Administration's Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care CaseRehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination LawsOnly One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal (Constitutional Conflicts)
5/24/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 8 seconds
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283. Balancing Scientific Progress with Scientific Responsibility feat. Matthew Cobb

Throughout history, new advances in science, such as the advent of electricity, nuclear power, genetic engineering, or artificial intelligence, have often been met with fear and uncertainty. While novel scientific developments offer countless possibilities for improving our lives, they also come with ethical considerations and sometimes unintended consequences that must be carefully navigated.Matthew Cobb is a professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, where his research focuses on the sense of smell, insect behavior, and the history of science. He is also the author of a number of books, including As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age and The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience.Matthew and Greg discuss how even well-intended use of novel technology can lead to unforeseen repercussions, why certain research, such as the gain-of-function studies, might not be worth the risk, and how good international regulation can ensure the safe use of potentially hazardous technologies such as atomic energy.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Overcoming fears and diving deep into genetic engineering09:08: Partly, why I want to write the book because there are three things that do worry me, very much. At least maybe two of which people are aware, and the third one they're not. And I wanted to alert people, but also, I recognize that my fears are very similar to those that occurred in the mid-1970s, for example, when genetic engineering was first developed. And it turns out that those fears were, well, unnecessary or not. But certainly, they have not caused the catastrophe that some people feared. So I wanted to test my anxieties against the past and try and work out whether I'm making a fuss about nothing or whether I'm to be alarmed.On crispr33:30: There's a series of quantitative steps toward genetic engineering. But there's a qualitative difference when you know what you're going to do and what you're putting in. This gene does this, we're going to put it in to do that. And that's an element of precision and intentionality, which makes it different.New technology disturbs us06:49: New technology generally does disturb us. If it's very widespread. Look at all the fuss about screen time and our dopamine systems being hacked by our phones. And so, no, they're not. But that's what it feels like, because you can get addicted to this endless scrolling. So, technology always has this very dangerous aspect when it's introduced, and then gradually, it becomes slightly less alarming. And that's happened with nuclear power.Why do we have different views genetically modified food24:37: Food is not simply stuff you put in your mouth. It's actually cultural. It's part of you, it's part of your way of looking at the world. And that's one of the explanations why.Show Links:Recommended Resources:"Steve Jobs" by Walter IsaacsonPaul BergDavid LiuunSILOed episode feat. Beth ShapirounSILOed episode feat. Steffanie StrathdeeGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at The University of ManchesterMatthew Cobb on TwitterHis Work:Matthew Cobb on Google ScholarArticles on The GuardianGenetic Dreams, Genetic Nightmares (BBC Podcast Series where Matthew Cobb looks at the 50-year history of genetic engineering)As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic AgeThe Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of NeuroscienceLife's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic CodeSmell: A Very Short IntroductionLife's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic CodeThe Egg And The Sperm RaceThe Resistance: The French Fight Against the NazisEleven Days in August: The Liberation of ParisThe Genetic Age: Our Perilous Quest to Edit Life
5/22/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 42 seconds
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282. Fostering Corporate Innovation feat. Andrew Binns

Innovation is both extremely important to the life of a corporation and also extremely tricky to regularly achieve and maintain. There are certain strategies that tend to yield higher innovation, but at its heart are the people, the corporate explorers that drive things forward.Andrew Binns is the co-founder and manager of Change Logic, an advisory firm, and the author of several articles and books. His latest book, Corporate Explorer: How Corporations Beat Startups at the Innovation Game, co-written with Charles O’Reilly and Michael Tushman, is about the differences in how corporations and startups approach encouraging innovation, and analyzes those efforts for how effective they are.Andrew and Greg discuss the innovation industry and the three stages of innovation. They talk about the differences between product-centric and customer-centric thinking, the paradox of limiting uncertainty and innovation, corporate explorers, and which ones end up succeeding. They discuss the concepts of feedback and it’s counterpart, ‘feedforward,’ and some examples of successful corporate innovation cultures. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:It’s all about passion, not process45:45: Corporations get wrapped up in thinking that the answer is about process, right? I can't tell you how many people ask me, "How do you make a repeatable process of this?" when they haven't even done it once. Have something to repeat, please. And then structure—how do we get the right organization structure around this? And we miss the importance of the individual with passion to solve a customer problem who is going to find that strong personal motivation. Because whether you're a corporate explorer or an entrepreneur, you are signing up for a really hard life. (46:37) And if you're going to live through that, you need passion. You need to be committed to solving the problem that you face. And that's what all of these examples in Corporate Explorer tell you about.18:32: The thing that we know about innovation is that you need to hold open your ability to learn and see multiple possibilities.How business logic kills the explorer in corporate innovation21:32: You've got to pursue your innovation to the scale of the opportunity, the scale of the market, not the scale of what you think can get past your manager or what you can squeeze through the stage gate process. That is exactly how exploit or core business logic kills the explorer in corporate innovation.Re-orienting ourselves when we talk about risks 25:23: This is a fundamentally important thing to re-reorient ourselves in terms of how we engage in talking about the topic of risk. Because one thing is for sure: in a traditional corporate career, you do not get rewarded by saying, "I don't know," right? That is counter-cultural. So unless you take it head-on, it's going to be hard to make progress.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational LearningFrancesco Starace Professional ProfileFrancesco StaraceCharles O’ReillyMichael TushmanunSILOed episode feat. Michael ArenaGuest Profile:Professional Profile on Change LogicAuthor’s Profile on the Corporate ExplorerAndrew Binns on TwitterAndrew Binns on LinkedInHis Work:Andrew Binns on Google ScholarWork in California Management ReviewWork in Harvard Business ReviewCorporate Explorer: How Corporations Beat Startups at the Innovation GameThe Missing Discipline Behind Failure to Scale
5/19/202354 minutes, 50 seconds
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281. The Plague Paradox feat. Kyle Harper

Over the course of history, as human civilization has developed and advanced, so have our microbial enemies. This has led to a vast and diverse disease pool dating all the way back to the last Ice Age. Kyle Harper is a professor of Classics and Letters at the University of Oklahoma. In his books, Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History and The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire, he examines the history of disease and its impact on the human race. Kyle and Greg discuss how Rome was both a rich and sick society, the common misconceptions about disease, and what history should have taught us about COVID-19. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The two basic problems of parasites16:05: Every microparasite has a couple of really basic problems. The two most basic problems are: how do I survive the immune system of a host? Because our immune system is absolutely amazing. I mean, it wins 99.99999% of the time. They're incredible at picking out foreign cells or particles and getting rid of them. And so that's a really hard problem. The other really hard problem that every germ has is: how do I get from one host to the next? Because if I want to pass on my genes to future generations, I can get a few generations inside a host, but I've ultimately got to keep going to the next host, or my children's, children's children have to go to the next host.The human body is responsive to things around it06:06: The human body is responsive to things around it, things we put into it. And so, the human body changes over time, and it can be a crude yet really, really powerful way of thinking about changes in human health.How can human societies bring infectious disease under control49:37: Human societies are able to bring infectious diseases under control through the deployment of a number of always-overlapping mechanisms. And so you need all of it. You need good nutrition; you need economic growth and development that give particularly children high levels of nutrition to survive infection. You also need good policy. This would include number one, clean water, and number two, mandatory vaccination.Infections hinder growth development07:58: If your whole childhood is fighting off nasty infections, your body doesn't have the energy budget to invest in growth. So it's not just what you eat—protein is one thing. It's also eating away your energy, like little microparasites that you're fighting off constantly. And then other things—social stress, the kind of work environment— So bones. Tell a big story.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Edward GibbonPlagues and Peoples Edward JennerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of OklahomaFaculty Profile at Sante Fe InstituteProfessional Profile on AcademiaKyle Harper's WebsiteKyle Harper on TwitterHis Work:Article on AeonKyle Harper on Google ScholarPlagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human HistoryThe Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an EmpireFrom Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late AntiquitySlavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275–425 
5/17/20231 hour, 1 minute, 6 seconds
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280. The Story of Money feat. Frederick Kaufman

Money is a mirage, and the harder and deeper you look into it, the hazier it can become. It is a human construct, a tool that we have all agreed to hold value in so that we can exchange it with each other for goods and services, but what is it really? How did we all come to agree on this abstract thing together, and where does it go from here?Frederick Kaufman is a journalist, professor of English and Journalism at the City University of New York, and an author. His latest book is called The Money Plot, and explores the story of how money has been developed and used in human cultures as a narrative, and uses that narrative to reveal a deeper understanding of this human construct we all use.Frederick and Greg discuss Frederick's connections and history coming through journalism to the areas of both food and money, as well as their surprising connections to each other. Frederick addresses some of the longstanding myths of the history of money and reveals some of the falsehoods and what the realities are instead. They talk about how looking at finance through the eyes of an English professor can show things that the typical finance-minded person would miss.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:How is establishing a narrative the same as establishing a currency?31:41: Once you can establish the context for trading and establishing, this is our currency. That's where the money is. And that's precisely similar to establishing any narrative. Once we establish the grounds of a narrative, a Christian narrative, for instance, then we understand our basis for meaning. The same thing here. Once we understand that commodity narrative, that's where we make money. The problem is to make other people believe it.How Wall Street makes its living18:59: This is how Wall Street makes its living: through derivative trades and through understanding metaphors upon metaphors, upon metaphors. And they are, in my estimation, better poets than anybody out there today. I say the guy who's trading in derivatives, the guy who's an options trader, the guy who's using the Black-Scholes theorem to price options, really understands the ethereal realm of the sublime better than any other poet out there.What lies underneath the narrative of money02:17: I think, ultimately, the point of the book is that we have to remember that stories do define us, and we have to remember that it's about us. It's about humans, about human bodies, about human shelter, and about human need. All those things have to come first. We cannot be the victims of the stories that we tell.Public vs. private realm53:18: When everything that was in the private realm is now in the public realm, what the hell is it that we got? What do we have anymore that defines me? And the answer is increasingly, nothing.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Adam SmithAlfred KroeberRai StonesGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at CUNYFrederick Kaufman’s WebsiteFrederick Kaufman on TwitterHis Work:Articles on Men’s HealthThe Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and ManipulateBet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being FoodA Short History of the American Stomach
5/15/202357 minutes, 1 second
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279. An Anthropological Look at Legal Systems feat. Fernanda Pirie

Is law an instrument of the state? Or is it broader than that? Fernanda Pirie is a professor of law and anthropology at the University of Oxford. Through her books like, The Anthropology of Law and The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World, she makes the distinction that law is a particular type of custom that doesn’t necessarily need a governmental system to exist. In this episode, Fernanda and Greg discuss the earliest iterations of legal systems in history, Fernanda’s view on what makes something a real law, and is the modern Western way of doing things really the best way. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:Do we underappreciate and undervalue other non-state institutions and their role in resolving disputes?48:37: I think we underestimate how difficult it is to develop those institutions from scratch. We can't just take a model that's worked somewhere else and assume it's going to work in a different context. You know, it's all about understanding the local dynamics, which are different. Who are the powerholders? Who do people listen to? Who has respect? What are the tensions in the community? What are the prejudices? And all of that comes into the effectiveness of any local systems.Do we have a vague concept of the law?04:00: Our concept of law is very vague; the way we use it in everyday language, it covers all sorts of things. It covers the process of you going to the law to resolve our disputes. We talk about law in general ways: "Oh, the laws of these people." Meaning the customs we think about as law in the books. It's one of those words. It's slippery.A particular area where people approach disputes and the law is important53:18: When dealing with transnational aspects, the factor that a lot of international lawyers worry about is their enforcement. Are things democratic? They apply the ideals and ideologies of the modern nation-state to the legal processes that develop transnationally because they have to because they're transnational problems. And I think it's important not to assume that everything has to work. Like how state law works, it's important to allow that there can be effective ways of approaching disputes and making laws that might work in different ways.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Clifford GeertzAlexis de TocquevilleCourt of piepowders The StanneriesThe History of English LawCode of HammurabiJames WhitmanPersian LettersGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of OxfordProfessional Profile on Maitland ChambersFernanda Pirie on TwitterHer Work:Article on TIme MagazineThe Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the WorldThe Anthropology of Law Legalism: Community and JusticePeace and Conflict in LadakhLaw before Government: Ideology and Aspiration
5/12/202349 minutes, 26 seconds
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278. The Real Value of Museums feat. Daniel H. Weiss

Museums are centers for culture, for art, and for conversation. They are places where the far ends of the earth come together in the same place and expose people of all ages to things from across space and time. They also draw the past into the present and become centers for experiencing and understanding humans and humanity.Daniel H. Weiss is an art historian and president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City. He is also an author, and his latest book is called Why the Museum Matters. It examines the roles museums have played in our culture, what their purpose is in the present, and their uncertain future. Daniel and Greg discuss Daniel’s experience with the Met and other museums, as well as the history of the Met and how it was created, what separates museums from universities, how to engage visitors and convert them into lifelong museum-goers, as well as Daniel’s take on protests in art museums and the economics behind the Met’s ‘pay what you wish’ policy.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The role of museums in creating meaningful experiences17:16: I think the role of museums is to present material, ideas, content in ways that engage people in meaningful learning experiences that sometimes might offend them, and there's nothing wrong with that. If our objective is to present programs that everybody likes and nobody ever finds challenging, we're not likely to teach them very much—we're not likely to go very far. So we need to be thoughtful about how we make clear the agreement we hope to have with our visitors.The art of doing museum work15:41: The art of doing museum work thoughtfully is reaching out to people in ways that invite them in that are not threatening or intimidating to them but also allow them to learn new things.How do museums make the world a better place?29:04: If you were to ask me how the museum makes the world a better place, I would say, ideally, it creates better global citizens because the more people learn about other cultures, the more respectful they are, and maybe they'll be less inclined to go to war with them, or they might be more inclined to try to learn more about why a point of view that they hear is different from their own because they're seeing something about this other culture. That might give them pause, and that might give them the opportunity for reflection and respect, so it makes for better global citizens.How museums differ from educational institutions02:33: Museums are places where materials—I'd say cultural materials—can be broadly real. It can be scientific materials or sports objects where we use objects to help us understand our own history, our own experience, and to connect us to ideas. And that can be in any number of ways.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Met Museum of ArtThe Louvre MuseumJohn JayThe Met removing Pay-As-You Wish ProgramProtestors Put Soup on Van GoghThe Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of TruthGuest Profile:Alumni Profile at GWUProfessional Profile on Wallace FoundationHis Work:Article about Daniel’s Tenure as Met DirectorWhy The Museum MattersArt and Crusade in the Age of St. Louis
5/10/202353 minutes, 32 seconds
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277. Resilience Begins at Birth feat. Erica Komisar

Mental health disorders have become an epidemic in today's society. Yet, we often fail to recognize the critical impact of early childhood adversity and our relationships with our parents, especially our mothers, on the mental and physical health of adolescents.Erica Komisar is a psychoanalyst and also a contributor, contributing editor at the Institute for Family Studies, journalist, and author. Her recent book “Chicken Little the Sky Isn't Falling: Raising Resilient Adolescents in the New Age of Anxiety” explores how to raise emotionally healthy, resilient adolescents in a time of great stress.Erica and Greg discuss how the cultural emphasis, especially in the West, on individual success outside of the home often results in a reluctance to make necessary sacrifices in raising children and why dedicating time to establish a strong emotional foundation for the future generation is a significant and fulfilling responsibility for every parent.*unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:What is attachment theory?14:52: Emotional security, meaning trusting that your primary attachment object is there for you from moment to moment to help you with what we call "regulate" your emotions, keeping them from going too high or too low and helping you through distress, provides you with the kind of security that says, "The world is a safe place. I can deal with the adversity that comes my way." That is attachment theory.Raising a child requires sacrifice08:19: Having children is the easy part; caring for them requires sacrifice. And we cannot raise healthy children if we're not willing to sacrifice.Humans and denial02:17: As human beings, we have a great deal of denial. It helps us get along, function, forget, avoid painful feelings, and avoid responsibility. So, denial is one of the most powerful human defenses. And that's not an accusation. That's just as a psychoanalyst. That is just a fact.Self-awareness is the cornerstone of mental health03:38: Self-awareness is the cornerstone of mental and physical health. If we're not aware that we're doing harm to ourselves, we end up sick. If we're not aware we're doing harm to our children, they end up sick.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy by Allan N. SchorePenelope LeachJudi MesmanBig Ocean WomenGuest Profile:Publisher Profile on Simon & SchusterErica Komisar’s WebsiteErica Komisar on LinkedInErica Komisar on TwitterErica Komisar on YouTubeHer Work:Erica Komisar’s ArticlesChicken Little the Sky Isn't Falling: Raising Resilient Adolescents in the New Age of AnxietyBeing There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters
5/8/202348 minutes, 56 seconds
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276. The Bubble Triangle feat. William Quinn

There are three necessary conditions for a fire to start – oxygen, heat, and fuel. The same can be said for financial bubbles. In order for them to happen, three conditions must be in place.In his book, Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, economic and financial historian William Quinn lays out what those conditions are in what he calls, “the bubble triangle.” At Queen’s University Belfast, he’s a senior lecturer in finance and researches historical stock markets, stock market bubbles, and market corners. William and Greg discuss the three sides of the bubble triangle, how narratives in the media shape bubbles, and historical bubbles that have gone overlooked. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The bubble triangle04:43: ​​We came up with this model, which we called the bubble triangle. And this is similar to the fire triangle in chemistry. (05:20) So it's also got three sides. The first side is now what we call marketability, which is similar to liquidity. So, how easy are assets to buy and sell? This is multi-dimensional. So, what are the laws surrounding how easy it is to buy and sell this asset? How divisible is it? Can you package it up and sell it in small quantities? What are the transaction costs involved? What are the legal costs involved? Does anything have to physically change hands to buy it? And what we find is that the more marketable an asset is, the less work you have to do to buy and sell an asset, and the more likely it is to experience a bubble.The two things you can take away from economics29:35: I love historians. I love history, and I love history books. What I think they could take from economics is rigor and formal reasoning. So, for an economist to say that one thing caused something else, they will need to set out a counterfactual.All markets are political31:43: All markets are political to some extent, and it's not enough to say, "Look, these prices are being propped up by the government; therefore, there's going to be a crash." You need to make the argument that that can't go on, that this political interference isn't sustainable. And that's why prices are going to fall, but it's very difficult.Looking at three sides of the bubble triangle22:40: We look at the three sides of the bubble triangle. So is there a lot of money? And right now, there is a lot of marketability. Is marketability increasing? There is a lot of speculation, and right now, these conditions are in place, so we're going to get a lot of bubbles in the near future.Show Links:Recommended Resources:Dot-com BubbleJapan’s Bubble EconomyRobinhoodThe Great British Bicycle BubbleTulip ManiaCharles Ponzi2008 Housing Market CrashCryptocurrency BubbleWall Street Crash of 1929Robert ShillerGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at Queen’s University BelfastAuthor’s Profile on Social Science Research NetworkWilliam Quinn on LinkedInWilliam Quinn on TwitterHis Work:Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles
5/3/202331 minutes, 54 seconds
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275. The Madness of Crowds feat. William Bernstein

What do financial bubbles and religious millenarianism have in common? They both involve collective delusion. When Charles Mackey wrote a book on the Madness of Crowds in the 19th century, he could not have imagined that religious and financial bubbles will continue to reappear, but as Willam Bernstein points out, the world has not gotten any saner. William Bernstein is an investment manager and the author of a number of books including, The Delusions Of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups and The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created. And before his work in finance, he spent more than 30 years practicing medicine. William and Greg discuss the difference between intelligence and rationality, how human nature is rooted in imitation and mimicry, and the end of the world. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:When it comes to pattern recognition, who are the right people to listen to?47:23: ​​When I'm listening to an analyst or a commentator, what I'm listening for is not how eloquent they are or how smart they sound, because it turns out that the most eloquent people tend to be people who can get away with a lot of analytical sloppiness. What I'm looking for is nuance. I'm looking for someone who can see both sides of an argument and argue something from both sides.Who are the people you want to make decisions for you?06:37: Rationality and intelligence are entirely orthogonal. There are people who really aren't all that brilliant but are eminently rational. Those are the kinds of people you want making decisions for you.Are you a seller or consumer opinions?31:43: If you are a seller of opinions and want to sell opinions, then you tell stories. But if you are a consumer of opinions, you want to ignore the stories and focus on the data.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Late Great Planet EarthWilliam MillerDual Process Theory Daniel KahnemanAlex JonesExtraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Premillennialism David KoreshShiva Dome of the RockDr. StrangeloveGuest Profile:William J. BernsteinProfessional Profile on Literary HubProfessional Profile on CFA InstituteHis Work:Articles on Financial TimesThe Delusions Of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in GroupsThe Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk The Investor's Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in BetweenThe Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio Rational Expectations: Asset Allocation for Investing Adults (Investing for Adults) The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World
4/28/202351 minutes, 26 seconds
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274. The New Science of Political Economy featuring James A. Robinson

Does a strong state mean a weak market? This is a common misconception amongst economists. Many view the state as either taxing and regulating the market too much or too little. However, the truth is that state capacity is just not well conceptualized in economic theory.James A. Robinson is a political scientist, economist, and professor at the University of Chicago. His recent book, co-authored with Daron Acemoglu, “The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty,” explores the critical balance needed between state and society and how liberty can continue to thrive despite threats from both sides.James and Greg explore the correlation between inclusive political institutions and economic growth and prosperity and why the absence of state capacity in developing nations is a major contributing factor to their economic struggles. This highlights the necessity for a genuine debate on whether strong governments and effective state institutions facilitate or stifle independence and innovation. *unSILOed Podcast is produced by University FM.*Episode Quotes:The two dimensions to political institutions 27:45: ​​There's two dimensions to political institutions. There's this issue of the breadth of political power in society, and there's also the capacity of the state. So we say why nations fail. Well, you can have extractive political institutions if either or both of those things fail. Either if the state lacks capacity or you have narrow distribution of political power.19:25: You can't have inclusive economic institutions on the whim of some autocrat or dictator. It's who benefits from inclusive institutions. They have to be empowered politically to demand them.Building institutions is not an engineering problem31:43: Building institutions is not an engineering problem. It's an equilibrium between these different forces. And so the state is always trying to get out of control, and you can hem it in a bit with institutions and stuff, but it also needs society to do that.When it comes to giving helpful policy advice, the devil is in the details40:18: In order to give useful policy advice, you have to get into all the details of different cases, and at some point, these big social science generalizations don't help you much to know what to do. Maybe the idea of getting into the corridor is useful and institutionalizing the power of civil society and how you deal with all the problems that are different. (40:48) All those details are going to be very important in figuring out what to do.Show Links:Recommended Resources:The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History by Douglass C. North and Robert Paul ThomasMaster of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III by Robert A. CaroThe Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. CaroThe Confounding Island by Orlando PattersonGuest Profile:Faculty Profile at University of ChicagoProfessional Profile on IGCProfessional Profile on National Bureau of Economic ResearchHis Work:James A. Robinson on Google ScholarArticles on Project SyndicateThe Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of LibertyWhy Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and PovertyEconomic Origins of Dictatorship and DemocracyNatural Experiments of History