The Myths of Poverty & the Role of Luck-MARK RANK-The Random Factor

Written on April 11th, 2024

Why does our society produce more poverty than other wealthy countries? Why don’t we or why can’t we change our incentives? I speak with MARK RANK, about his books, THE POVERTY PARADOX and POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty, and his latest, THE RANDOM FACTOR: How Chance & Luck Profoundly Shape Our Lives & the World Around Us. Learn more at

CHARLES EISENSTEIN (2019), Climate – A New Deeper, Fuller Story – People connect more with nature than policy

Written on April 5th, 2024

I describe the goal of my engagement with what we call the environment as “a healthy relationship with the rest of nature.” In this 2019 conversation, CHARLES EISENSTEIN asks: Have we become too focused on climate change? and reminds us that holding rivers, forests, and creatures as sacred and valuable in their own right, not simply as carbon credits, can engage emotional and psychological connections deeper than any policy prescription. I say we need both. We’re engaged in an existential improv and the first rule of improv is “Yes, and-“ 

Can we build immunity to mis- & dis-information? ANDY NORMAN & MELANIE TRECEK-KING of the MENTAL IMMUNITY PROJECT

Written on March 27th, 2024

With social media and AI, bad actors weaponize information, stressing democracy. We have two options: stop the lies or stop people from believing them. The former is near impossible in a free society, but there’s solid evidence the latter is achievable. I talk with two founders of the Mental Immunity Project, ANDY NORMAN, author of MENTAL IMMUNITY, and MELANIE TRECEK-KING, creator of THINKING IS POWER, an online resource that teaches critical thinking to the general public.

Two for the Campaign Ahead: 1) DREW WESTEN (2007), The Political Brain 2) BERNIE HORN (2009), Framing the Future

Written on March 20th, 2024

As we fasten our seatbelts and plunge into the 2024 campaign, here are two conversations worth a re-listen. From 2007, I talk with DREW WESTEN about the ideas and advice in his influential book, THE POLITICAL BRAIN: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Westen: Democrats almost always present the best arguments but lose elections to Republicans who have mastered the art of emotion and story-telling. In the second half, my 2009 conversation with BERNIE HORN of the Leadership Training Institute about FRAMING THE FUTURE: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People. Horn: Persuadable voters make choices depending on how political issues and questions are framed. Emotion, framing, narratives. Trump traffics in all three. 

ROB JOHNSON & I talk about the State of the Union – Biden’s speech plus our own take on things

Written on March 14th, 2024

ROB JOHNSON is a plain-speaking and passionate critic of an economic, financial, and political system that leaves too many behind. He and I do post-election shows – and we’ll do another this November, but this week we talk about the State of the Union as well as the state of the union. We talk about Biden’s speech and about how the two of us see things – the economy, the election, the two parties, the nation’s mood, how we got here, and how we might move forward. Rob is President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and host of the podcast Economics and Beyond. You can learn more about him and his work at