Vikas Shah MBE DL Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

Bethenny Frankel is a self-made businesswoman, TV producer, podcaster, multiple New York Times bestselling author, and mother. She is the Founder & CEO of Skinnygirl, a global lifestyle empire, featuring products for women that offer practical and stylish solutions to everyday problems.  Bethenny was an instant fan favourite as a guest shark on ABC’s critically acclaimed series Shark Tank, showcasing her entrepreneurial prowess and gut instincts alongside the panel of investors. In this interview, I speak to Bethenny Frankel about her book, Business is Personal. I ask Bethenny about the most important tips and tricks she used to build a business, become a media personality, and maintain balance as a mogul, and a mother. We talk about success, failure, entrepreneurship culture, when to quit, and what legacy really means.

Thought Economics

Fearne Cotton is one of the best known and most popular broadcasters in the UK and is most recently known as the Founder of the wellbeing brand, Happy Place. Fearne’s podcast, Happy Place, has featured guests including Ellie Goulding, Hilary Rodman Clinton, Java Pickett Smith, Russell Brand, Gary Barlow, Alicia Keys and Elizabeth Gilbert and has over 53 million downloads, continuing to top the charts. Fearne has spent much of the last decade seeking the insight and advice of wise minds to explore what they can teach us about achieving happiness, connection, and hope. She talks about this journey in her book Bigger Than Us where she explores everything from intuition and energy to manifesting, ritual, prayer and signs. Fearne’s hope is that by following her journey of peeling back layers of her own anxiety and self-limiting beliefs, that we can all find contentment and deeper meaning. In this interview, I speak to Fearne Cotton about why our world feels so messy, the power of love, compassion and acceptance, the importance of ritual, why we need to confront the darker aspects of ourselves and what it truly takes to be happy.

Thought Economics

“No regrets.” You’ve heard people proclaim it as a philosophy of life. That’s nonsense, even dangerous, says New York Times Best Selling Author, Daniel H. Pink, in his latest bold and inspiring work, The Power of Regret. Everybody has regrets. They’re a fundamental part of our lives. And if we reckon with them in fresh and imaginative ways, we can enlist our regrets to make smarter decisions, perform better at work and school, and deepen our sense of meaning and purpose. Pink argues, operate as a “photographic negative” of the good life. By understanding what people regret the most, we can understand what they value the most. And by following the simple, science-based, three-step process that he sets out, we can transform our regrets in a positive force for working smarter and living better. In this interview, I speak to Daniel H. Pink on The Power of Regret and why regret, our most misunderstood emotion, can be the pathway to our best life. We talk about the types of regrets we have as individuals and societies, how we can best use regret to our advantage, and the extreme danger of no regrets culture.

Thought Economics

Our attention is collapsing. In the US, college students are only able to focus on a task for 65 seconds…. And office workers can manage just 3 minutes. Our inability to focus isn’t a personal failing… nor is it a flaw… our focus has been stolen by powerful, external forces. Johann Hari is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, and the Executive Producer of an Oscar-nominated movie and an eight-part TV series starring Samuel L. Jackson. His books have been translated into 38 languages, and been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah to Noam Chomsky, from Elton John to Naomi Klein. Johann’s TED talks have been viewed more than 80 million times. In His latest book, ‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’, Johann Hari talks about his three-year journey, interviewing more than 200 of the world’s foremost experts on why our attention spans have shortened, and who stole our focus. Hillary Clinton (former US Secretary of State) says, “In his unique voice, Johann Hari tackles the profound dangers facing humanity from information technology and rings the alarm bell for what all of us must do to protect ourselves, our children, and our democracies…” In this interview, I speak to Johann Hari about how our focus has been stolen, the devastating consequences to each of us, our society, and what we can do to reclaim our attention.

Thought Economics

Katie Melua is one of Britain’s most successful musical artists, having sold more than 11 million albums and received over 56 platinum awards. She is originally from Tbilisi, Georgia and moved to the UK at a young age where she studied at the acclaimed Brit School of Performing Arts. It is her extraordinary voice, and the ability to truly inhabit a song, that has been her trademark since the young 19-year-old school graduate first appeared in 2003 performing The Closest Thing To Crazy. One of the UK’s highest-selling female recording artists of all time, Katie has released 8 top 10 studio albums – ‘Call Off The Search’, ‘Piece By Piece’, ‘Pictures’, ‘The House’, ‘Secret Symphony’, ‘Ketevan’, 2016’s self-produced, critically acclaimed ‘In Winter’ and most recently ‘Album No. 8’ in 2020, which debuted at #7 in the UK’s Official Album Charts. In this interview I speak to Katie Melua about the fundamental roles of music and songs in society. We talk about the beauty and tradition of music, what it does for us, our society, and her creative process. We also talk about the importance of expression, and the beauty of art.

Thought Economics

Judge Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy) is a trailblazing pioneer in the justice system and in the history of television. Judge Judy, which premiered in 1996. For over 25 years, Judge Judy has been watched by more than 1 in 3 Americans every year, and licensed in over 100 international territories. Beyond her own show, Judge Sheindlin, and her Queen Bee Productions company have created new television franchises including Hot Bench (one of the highest rated programs in daytime television). For her TV career she has won several Daytime Emmy® Awards, been Honoured with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and been inducted into the prestigious Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. She has also been feted with an Emmy® Award for Lifetime Achievement. Judge Sheindlin is a prominent philanthropist, having given significant gifts to the University of Southern California, and most recently, to her alma mater, New York Law School. Currently, she is the presiding judge on Judy Justice, on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service, available both in the United States and the UK. New episodes are seen weekdays. In this interview, I speak to Judge Sheindlin on the concept of justice, on humanity, conflict, success and legacy.

Thought Economics

Roger L. MartinRoger L. Martin about why we need to rethink management completely. We discuss competition, data, culture, knowledge work, talent, M&A and the fundamentals of how strategy is originated and executed

Thought Economics

OpenSea is the largest marketplace for NFTs and user-owned digital items. The platform’s more than 600,000 users collectively have 2 million collections containing over 80 million NFTs. The platform is now valued at over $13.3billion and has attracted many of the world’s most prominent investors including: Mark Cuban, Tim Ferris, Ben Silberman, Alexis Ohanian, Balaji Srinivasan, Naval Ravikant, Justin Kan and Ashton Kutcher alongside funds including Andreesen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Founders Fund. In this interview, I speak to Devin Finzer, Co-Founder & CEO of OpenSea. We talk about the potential of blockchain, crypto technologies and NFTs. We discuss the NFT revolution, the potential use cases of NFTs, how they’re transforming the creator economy and creating opportunities for collectors and makers. We also talk about the technology behind NFTs, and Devin’s life as one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in the world.

Thought Economics

In country after country, conspiracy theories and religious dogmas that once seemed to have been overtaken by enlightened thought are helping to loft authoritarian leaders into power. The effects are being felt by women, ethnic minorities, teachers, scientists, and students – and by the environment, the ultimate victim of climate change denial. We need clear thinking now more than ever. Christer Sturmark is a crusading secular humanist as well as a Swedish publisher and entrepreneur, and The Flame of Reason is his manifesto for a better world. It provides a set of simple tools for clear thinking in the face of populist dogmas, anti-science attitudes and pseudo-philosophy, and suggestions for how we can move towards a new enlightenment. In this interview, I speak to Christer Sturmark about the characteristics of knowledge and truth, why we are facing a crisis of reason, and the mental tools we all need to navigate our world.

Thought Economics

What trapped humanity in poverty for most of our existence? What sparked the massive metamorphosis in living standards over the past two centuries? And what led to the emergence of vast inequality across the globe? The answers to these questions have the power to transform how we view our past and how we shape our futures. Professor Oded Galor (Herbert Goldberger Professor of Economics, Brown University) is an intellectual detective who has spent his entire career investigating the deep determinants of humanity’s development process. He is the founder of “unified growth theory,” which revolutionized our understanding of the forces that have governed the journey of humanity, and the impact that adaptation, diversity, and inequality have had on human development throughout the entire course of human existence. In this interview I speak to Professor Oded Galor about his book The Journey of Humanity; The Origins of Wealth and Inequality. We discuss why humans are the only species to have escaped the subsistence trap. We discuss the reasons for the astonishing progress of human civilisation, why wealth and inequality came to be, and how understanding our past could give us a better future.

Thought Economics

In late 2022 or 2023, the 8th billionth person will be born on Earth. Yet as history has shown, the thinning of valuable resources necessary for sustaining not only life, but a good life, continues to drive wars, disease, and poverty. How can we use the 8 billion people we have on the planet today to shape the world we want tomorrow? In her provocative and penetrating new book 8 BILLION AND COUNTING, political demographer Dr. Jennifer Sciubba mines a long academic career, including a stint as a Department of Defense demographer, to show how a deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration trends point us toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow. The challenges that besiege our interdependent, interconnected world easily touch us all: disease, climate change, economic crisis—but so do the good fortunes for all 8 billion of us. In this interview, I speak to Dr. Jennifer Sciubba about how demographic trends (age, structure and ethnic composition) can signal crucial signposts for future violence and peace, repression and democracy, poverty and prosperity.

Thought Economics

Ever wonder how the biggest brands in the world make it to the top? Here’s a hint: it’s more than just a well-placed billboard or a TV ad. According to Erik Huberman, the Founder and CEO of Hawke Media, there’s a common framework behind every successful marketing strategy. After helping over 3,000 brands find success through his holistic approach, Erik has distilled the art of marketing into three core elements: awareness, nurturing, and trust. Without all three, the system fails. Erik details this method in his new book, The Hawke Method. Erik Huberman launched Hawke Media in 2014. Now valued at over $100 million, Hawke Media is the fastest growing marketing consultancy agency in the United States. Prior to its launch, Erik successfully founded, grew, and sold two eCommerce companies by the age of 26.   In this interview, I speak to Erik Huberman about The Hawke Method, and how awareness, nurturing and trust come together to become the most powerful marketing tools you will ever use.

Thought Economics

Have you ever dreamt you could fly? Or imagined what it would be like to glide and swoop through the sky like a bird? Do you let your mind soar to unknown, magical spaces? Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s most eminent writers and thinkers. He has made a major contribution to public understanding of the science of evolution. He is the award-winning author of the Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion and a string of other bestselling science books, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature. In his latest book Flights of Fancy, Richard Dawkins explains how nature and humans have learned to overcome the pull of gravity and take to the skies. From the mythical Icarus, to the sadly extinct but spectacular bird Argentavis magnificens, from the Wright flyer and the 747, to the Tinkerbella fairyfly and the Peregrine falcon. But it is also about flights of the mind, about escaping the everyday – through science, ideas, and imagination. In this interview, I speak to Richard Dawkins about beauty, mythology, science, and culture of flight. We discuss the fundamentals of how nature took to the skies, and the extraordinary abilities (and mysteries) of flying species who navigate the world. We talk about human fascination with flight, and why the understanding of flight can help us open our own imaginations.

Thought Economics

It’s time to start asking the right questions about happiness. The West is facing a happiness crisis. Today, less than a quarter of adults (in the west) rate themselves as very happy—a record low.  False views of happiness abound, and the explosion in “happiness studies” has done little to dispel them. Why is true happiness so elusive, and why is it so hard to define? In this interview, I speak to philosopher, Professor J Budziszewski, one of the world’s foremost experts on human happiness and fulfilment, on what it means to be happy, what we misunderstand about happiness, whether wealth and fame can ever make us happy, and how we best need to understand the differences between pleasure, fulfilment, and happiness.

Thought Economics

We are all experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. Exhaustion is at an all-time high. Leaders are depleted, employees are burning out at an alarming rate, and parents met their breaking point long ago. We are struggling and in desperate need of a new path forward. In this interview, I spoke to Nataly Kogan, author of The Awesome Human Project, about burnout, stress, and balance. We discuss how to strengthen our emotional fitness, create a more supportive relationship with ourselves, reduce self-doubt and become the boss of our brains! As Nataly says, “There is an Awesome Human within every single one of us.”

Thought Economics

Have you asked yourself how some young companies have become so successful in so little time? And why so many once big players like Nokia and Kodak seem to have vanished into nothing suddenly? What did they do wrong? And more importantly: what can you do to keep your business from failing like they did? Pepyn Dinandt has spent 30 years being parachuted into organisations in trouble. His job was to assess and understand the situation facing the business and devising effective ways forward towards recovery and success. In his new book, Business Leadership Under Fire, Dinandt draws on his own extensive business experience and, with the help of decorated army officer Colonel Richard Westley, marries this proven expertise with the leadership insights of military thinkers to develop an imaginative and practical nine-step plan for any leader who wishes not simply to survive but to inspire and thrive “under fire”. In this interview, I speak to Pepyn Dinandt about his learnings from dealing with businesses in crisis, and how great leaders and entrepreneurs build resilient businesses that are able to survive, and thrive through turbulent times.

Thought Economics

Bonnie Comley is a creative visionary. She is a three-time Tony award winning producer, has won an Olivier Award and two Drama Desk Awards for her stage productions. If that wasn’t enough, she is also the co-founder of BroadwayHD which is the only streaming platform in the world which offers premium full-length stage plays and musicals captured specifically for multi-platform viewing to theatre fans across the globe. The platform currently delivers over 300 premium live productions from the West End and Beyond. In this interview, I speak to Bonnie Comley about the magic of theatre, how technology is transforming this artform, and how to lead a successful business in the creative industries.

Thought Economics

Negotiation is stressful. It can bring out the worst in people. Wouldn’t it be better if there were a principled way to negotiate? Wouldn’t it be even better if there were a way to treat people fairly and get treated fairly in a negotiation? Barry Nalebuff is the Milton Steinbach Professor at the Yale School of Management. Nalebuff applies game theory to business strategy and is the co-founder of one of America’s fastest-growing companies, Honest Tea. In his new book, SPLIT THE PIE: A Radical New Way to Negotiate he outlines his tried and tested practical negotiation methods that reveal the true power of the players and what they bring to the table. From years of real-world negotiation, and deep research on game theory, Nalebuff identifies what’s really at stake in a negotiation: the “pie.” In his model, the negotiation pie is the additional value created through an agreement to work together. Seeing the relevant pie will change how you think about fairness and power in negotiation. You’ll learn how to get half the value you create, no matter your size.  In this interview I speak to Professor Barry Nalebuff about how we can apply his negotiation model to understand and reframe everything from every-day to high-stakes negotiations. We delve into the psychology of the negotiation and how deploying empathy can help reach great solutions.

Thought Economics

The average human lifespan is absurdly, outrageously, insultingly brief: if you live to 80, you have about four thousand weeks on earth. How should we use them best? Oliver Burkeman is author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, and a columnist. In his new book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, Oliver undertakes an uplifting, engrossing, and deeply realistic exploration of our battles with time. Adam Grant has described Oliver’s new book as being, “The most important book ever written about time management.” In this interview, I speak to Oliver Burkeman about our relationship with time, and how best we use the astonishingly brief moment we are on this earth. Oliver draws on philosophy and psychology together with his own deep research to help realign our relationship with time, liberating us from the tyranny we face.

Thought Economics

Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to over 180 million spectators with productions presented in 450 cities in 60 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group currently employs 4,000 people, including 1,300 artists, who originate from nearly 80 countries. In this interview, I spoke to Daniel Lamarre, Cirque du Soleil’s Executive Vice Chairman on creative leadership, how creativity can transform business, and his learnings on entrepreneurship from leading one of the world’s most creative businesses.

Thought Economics

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