Episodes
Neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist Dr. Daniel Levitin reveals that growing old is a lot more than just a gradual period of decline and indeed we get better at many aspects of life as we age.  He explains how memory really works, why online brain games probably don’t do all that they promise, and how taking up a new hobby or starting a second career could be the best thing for keeping the mind sharp.  Dan debunks most longevity diets and supplements as well as a whole bunch of common...
Published 01/23/20
Director/writer Greta Gerwig discusses her Oscar nominated film adaptation of the beloved classic Little Women, how she imbued her movie with even more of author Louisa May Alcott's own personality, and why it was important for her to give a nod to the author's original intended ending.  She talks about the status of female directors and writers in Hollywood, recalls a conversation she once had with a studio executive about how women talk, and how Meryll Streep inspired some of the film's...
Published 01/16/20
Drs. Daniel J. Siegel and TIna Payne Bryson, the bestselling authors of The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline discuss their new book The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired.  They explain what it means to really show up for your children and how your interactions with your kids shape the course of their lives and literally altering their physical brain.  They discuss the latest discoveries in attachment science, some...
Published 01/13/20
Seven Worlds, One Planet is a seven part television event that marks the first time that BBC Studio’s Emmy-winning Natural History Unit has explored all the planet’s continents in a single series. Executive producer Jonny Keeling, and producers Emma Napper and Chadden Hunter discuss how BBC documentaries have turned nature programming into global television events, the logistics of filming on seven continents at once, and how their first episode is hoping raise awareness and support for fire...
Published 01/13/20
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power recalls her early years as a freelance journalist covering the Siege of Sarajevo, how her Pulitzer-winning book about genocide got the attention of a young Senator Barack Obama, and what it was like for her to go from being an idealistic human rights advocate on the outside of government to working for change in the White House and at the U.N.  She gives an inside account of the discussions in the Oval Office over how to handle the...
Published 01/09/20
Dan Buettner has become an expert on longevity ever since he wrote his groundbreaking National Geographic article on the Blue Zones, the five places in the world where the most people live to 100 or older.  One of the key factors is diet, and Dan has been studying what the oldest people in the world eat for more than 15 years.  He reveals the health benefits of dietary monotony and periodic fasting, why HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat, and why you want to load up on beans and...
Published 01/06/20
Dr. Phil McGraw says that some of his guests still surprise him even after 2000+ episodes of his #1 daytime talk show The Dr. Phil Show.  He recalls how losing a football game in junior high school inspired him to go into psychology, what it was like to go into practice with his father, and why he eventually decided to go from getting into the minds of his patients to getting into the minds of juries as a trial consultant.  He explains how that put him into contact with Oprah Winfrey, how he...
Published 12/30/19
Actor/director Tim Robbins discusses why his classic political mockumentary BOB ROBERTS is more relevant now than ever.  He says Harvey Weinstein reminds him of the shady operators he knew growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village, he recalls studying real studio execs for his role in Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER, and he remembers Altman's mentoring Tim's leap from actor to director.  He discusses how he funded his first play while he was still a struggling actor, how his play THE NEW...
Published 12/26/19
For three days in November, 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met in Tehran, Iran and made decisions that would change the course of World War II.  It's the subject of a new book by Fox News' Bret Baier titled Three Days at the Brink: FDR's Daring Gamble to Win World War II, and today Bret Baier shares how his latest book fits into his Three Days in History trilogy, why the Tehran Conference was so crucial to Allied victory, and how it also set the stage for the Cold War.  He reveals...
Published 12/23/19
Ash Carter and Sam Kashner discuss their new book about the EGOT-winning director Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff, The Birdcage).   They talk about his early years as one of the founders of the improv group that would become Second City, the story of how Nichols joined up with Elaine May to make comedy history, and how the creative differences that broke up Nichols and May opened the door for Mike Nichols to direct for Broadway and Hollywood.  They reveal how the...
Published 12/19/19
Craig Ferguson talks about his new limited series Hobo Fabulous, why he wanted to do a rockumentary-style show about his US comedy tour, and how he's ready to take a long break from the road after a 2 month American bus tour. Craig recalls that he never watched a late night television show in his life before taking over The Late Late Show on CBS, what it was like working with David Letterman as a producer, and how doing the show 5 nights a week for 10 years made him fall out of love with...
Published 12/16/19
Abby McEnany discusses her start in Chicago’s improv scene and how her one woman show turned into her new Showtime series Work in Progress.  She reveals how Julia Sweeney’s Saturday Night Live character “Pat” made her life a living hell for a while and how she convinced Julia to join the cast of her new show.  Abby talks about her perennial problem of getting misgendered in the women’s restroom, why the 51 year old sometimes feels like a "square" in the younger gay and transgender...
Published 12/12/19
Andrew Marantz, a staff writer for the New Yorker, talks about his experience embedding with the so called "Deplorables," and how he got a rare insider's glimpse into the pundits, trolls, and provocateurs who drive the conversation on the alt-right.  He recalls his strange relationship with a right wing media influencer who is able to manipulate America’s political conversation, spread conspiracy theories, and even put words in the mouth of President Trump.  He also discusses how Silicon...
Published 12/09/19
Master of suspense Dean Koontz recalls the literary agent who said he'd never be a bestselling author and how he defied expectations with fourteen #1 New York Times Bestsellers.  He discusses his new collection of six short suspense stories for Amazon, why creating an antihero with no memory and no identity appealed to him, and those stories have to say about the blessing and the curse of technology in our lives.  Dean reveals the meticulous research that goes into his writing, how much of...
Published 12/05/19
CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries but he says that not every notable life has gotten the send-off it deserves.  He's attempting to right those wrongs with his Mobituaries podcast and his new book Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving.  We discuss celebrities who died on the same day,  historical figures who were eclipsed by the actors who played them in the movies,  and the old debate over whether famous people die in pairs or threes.  Mo...
Published 12/02/19
Oscar and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney discusses his new film Citizen K and what it was like to profile Russia's billionaire oil oligarch turned political activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  He talks about the parallel rise of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin amid the chaos of post-Soviet Russia and the public showdown between the two men that put Khodorkovsky on Putin’s enemies list and eventually landed him in prison.  Alex reveals why Khodorkovsky refused to flee...
Published 11/28/19
Senator Sherrod Brown reveals how he first learned about the rich history of his desk in the U.S. Senate and how he grappled with some of the contradictions and controversies of the men who sat there before him.  We discuss the singing cowboy turned one term Senator from Idaho who once spent a night in Bull Conner’s jail in Alabama and the Senator from Wisconsin who was a legendary penny pincher and never missed a vote.  He talks about getting back to a more movement-oriented definition of...
Published 11/25/19
As the Ukraine scandal continues to heat up, MSNBC intelligence expert Malcolm Nance explains why US support for Ukraine is in our own national interest, what Rudy Giuliani is getting from being the President’s bag man to Ukraine, and how Paul Manafort started the conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election.  He also shares that Russia has been keeping tabs on Donald Trump since as early as 1977, how Trump went from an unwitting asset of Russia to a willing asset, and...
Published 11/21/19
Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig discusses the fundamental issue that he says underlies many of our current political problems - "unrepresentativeness."  He offers some creative prescriptions for how to cure America’s unrepresentativeness problem such as public funding of election campaigns (including campaigns for Congress), a radical restructuring of the United States Senate, and some ways to reform the Electoral College without having to change the Constitution.  He also says we the...
Published 11/18/19
Bestselling author Mitch Albom returns to the podcast to talk about how he came to run an orphanage in earthquake ravaged Haiti, how recent political instability in Haiti has led to some frightening encounters for the kids, and the hardest part about running an orphanage.  He shares how he became a surrogate father to a young girl with a terminal illness, how he learned what it means to be "kid tough," and how a girl named Chika taught him some valuable lessons about the important things in...
Published 11/14/19
Actor/comedian Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs, Curb Your Enthusiasm) reveals how Jimmy Durante inspired him to get into comedy as a boy, what it was like rooming with a young Conan O'Brien when he started at Chicago’s legendary improv group Second City, and the time he witnessed one of Larry David’s famous fights with his audience at a comedy club.  He talks about his worst gig as a comedian, why he always goes on stage to a different song, and why not everyone should follow their dream to...
Published 11/11/19
Bestselling sports writer Joe Posnanski recalls delving into the rabbit hole of magician Harry Houdini’s legendary life and separating fact from the fiction invented by Houdini and his followers.  Joe discusses the handcuffs that Houdini almost couldn’t get out of, some of the more bizarre things people challenged him to escape, and how Houdini upped the ante with increasingly more dangerous escapes to keep audiences interested.  He explains why many people falsely believe that the magician...
Published 11/07/19
Golden Globe-winner Edward Norton talks about his film Motherless Brooklyn's 20 year journey to the big screen and what it was like to write, direct, and star in this neo-noir masterpiece.  He shares some of the things he’s learned from working with directors like Milos Forman and Woody Allen.  Edward talks about the real life New York powerbroker who inspired his film’s antagonist, his own grandfather’s crusade for low income housing, and the things that get lost in the service of progress....
Published 11/04/19
Artificial Intelligence researcher Stuart Russell says that machines are probably a long way from achieving the kind of self-awareness portrayed in films like 2001 and The Predator, but he warns the greater danger is that they might obey our instructions too well.  We get into the myriad unintended consequences of AI from the social media algorithms that are actually rewiring our political preferences to how AI that is intended to solve global climate change could go horribly wrong....
Published 10/31/19
Actor, comedian, and humorist John Hodgman talks about the strange sense of validation he gets from his airline loyalty program, the perks and perils of hotel living, and the best way to get thrown into Disneyland Jail.  We discuss his memorable appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, how his Daily Show colleague Al Madrigal got him into standup, and his podcast where he mediates minor disputes between squabbling couples.  He recalls his early days as a fancy New York literary...
Published 10/29/19