How different are the sexes? Is gender uniquely human? Where does gender identity originate?
Frans de Waal is a distinguished primatologist. He has spent nearly half a century working with and studying primates. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on primate behaviour, and the links between human and primate society. In this interview, I speak to Frans de Waal about what his near half a century of studying primate species can teach us about gender, identity, power, and ourselves. We discuss the astonishing closeness between us and our primate ancestors, and what observing primates can teach us about humanity.

Thought Economics

Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Prior, he was the president of the American Enterprise Institute for ten years, where he held the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Free Enterprise. He has authored eleven books, including the bestsellers Love Your Enemies and The Conservative Heart, and writes the popular How to Build a Life column at The Atlantic. He is also the host of the podcasts How to Build a Happy Life and The Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on happiness. His new book, from Strength to Strength, was described by The Dalai Lama as a book that ‘…helps people find greater happiness as they age and change.’ In this interview, I speak to Professor Arthur C. Brooks on how we can find purpose, meaning and success as we age. We talk about how to understand and fight our demons, and how to overcome the sense of professional and social irrelevance that often accompanies ageing. In our conversation, he helps unlock happiness in a meaningful, and beautiful way.

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

The information you receive from your senses makes up your world. But that world does not exist. What we perceive to be the absolute truth of the world around us is a complex reconstruction, a virtual reality created by the complex machinations of our minds in tandem with the wiring of our nervous systems. But what happens if that wiring goes awry? What happens if connections falter, or new and unexpected connections are made? Tiny shifts in the microbiology of our nervous systems can cause the world around us to shift and mutate, to become alien and unfamiliar. Professor Guy Leschziner is one of the world’s foremost clinical neurologists, and in his new book The Man Who Tasted Words, he explores the secrets of our senses, and how people with extraordinary sensory disturbances can teach us more about our own sensory experience. In this interview, I speak to Prof. Guy Leschziner about how our senses work, what we need to know about our senses, and how the science of sense is opening questions of philosophy, and about who we are.

Thought Economics

Doctor Robert ‘Bob’ Lahita is Clinical Professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a Professor at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the Director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Disease St. Joseph’s Healthcare System. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Master of the American College of Rheumatology, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Lahita is the author of more than 16 books and 150 scientific publications in the field of autoimmunity. He is the editor of the standard textbook called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (about to be in its 6th edition) and the Senior Editor of the Textbook of Autoimmunity, published in 2002. Dr. Lahita is also the Associate Editor of the Journal Lupus and co-editor of the Yearbook of Rheumatology. Dr. Lahita is a reviewer for some 15 medical journals and on the editorial boards of three. In his new book Immunity Strong, Dr. Lahita unpacks one of the most deeply complex and important parts of our body, the immune system. He looks at the factors that improve, and reduce our immunity, what we can do to live longer, healthier lives, and how immunity is linked to some of our most common serious illnesses from cancer to heart disease, chronic fatigue and autoimmune disorders. Dr. Bob Lahita is one of the world’s foremost physicians and researchers, with a deep specialism in immunity, and in this interview, we discuss how our immune system works, what can help it, hinder it, and how we can live longer, healthier lives.

Thought Economics

In The Sweet Spot, pre-eminent psychologist Paul Bloom explores the pleasures of suffering and explains why the activities that provide most satisfaction are often the ones that involve greatest sacrifice. He argues that embracing this truth is the key to a life well lived. Drawing on ground-breaking findings from psychology and brain science, he shows how the right kind of suffering sets the stage for enhanced pleasure, and how pain itself can serve a variety of valuable functions: to distract us from our anxieties or even express them, to help us transcend the self or project our identity, or as a gateway to the joys of mastery and flow. In this interview, I speak to Paul Bloom on the role of suffering in our lives. Paul argues that, deep down we all aspire to lives of meaning and significance, and that means some amount of struggle, anxiety, and loss. After all, if the things that mean most to us were easy, what would be the point? Paul’s conversation gives an unexpected insight into the human condition.

Thought Economics

Mr Noor ul Owase Jeelani is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. With a surgical career spanning 20 years, he is currently Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), world leader in craniopagus twin separation, and Founder of Gemini Untwined. In this interview, I speak to Owase Jeelani about what we can learn from the mindset of surgery, how to make decisions in life and death situations, and how to overcome our biases to enable better strategic thinking.

Thought Economics

Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers; Outer Order, Inner Calm; The Four Tendencies; Better Than Before; and The Happiness Project. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. On her top-ranking, award-winning podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she explores happiness and good habits. She is also a CBS News contributor, providing weekly solutions for living a happier life. In this interview, I speak to Gretchen Rubin about how we can get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

Thought Economics

Anil Seth’s quest to understand the biological basis of conscious experience is one of the most exciting contributions to twenty-first-century science. What does it mean to “be you”—that is, to have a specific, conscious experience of the world around you and yourself within it? There may be no more elusive or fascinating question. Historically, humanity has considered the nature of consciousness to be a primarily spiritual or philosophical inquiry, but scientific research is now mapping out compelling biological theories and explanations for consciousness and selfhood. Anil Seth is Professor of cognitive and computational neuroscience at the University of Sussex, co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science and in his new book, BEING YOU: A New Science of Consciousness, he argues that we do not perceive the world as it objectively is, but rather that we are prediction machines, constantly inventing our world and correcting our mistakes by the microsecond, and that we can now observe the biological mechanisms in the brain that accomplish this process of consciousness. In this interview, I speak to Anil Seth about the fundamental nature of consciousness, how we perceive the world around us, our selves, and how the science of consciousness is helping to unlock who we are.

Thought Economics

It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that ageing is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about ageing is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan? David Sinclair, PhD, AO, is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. One of the leading innovators of his generation, he has been named by Time as “one of the 100 most influential people in the world” and top fifty most influential people in healthcare. David’s eye-opening and provocative work takes us to the frontlines of research that is pushing the boundaries on our perceived scientific limitations, revealing incredible breakthroughs—many from Sinclair’s own lab at Harvard—that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, ageing. The key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, the descendants of an ancient genetic survival circuit that is both the cause of ageing and the key to reversing it. Recent experiments in genetic reprogramming suggest that soon we may not just be able to feel younger but become younger. In this interview, I speak to Dr. David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, and author of Lifespan about why we age, why we don’t have to. We explore the technologies and simple lifestyle changes that can help us live younger and healthier for longer, and discuss David’s bold new vision for the future of humankind where we could live healthy lives over many centuries.

Thought Economics

Stay up to date. Signup to my newsletter.

We use cookies on our website to give you the best possible experience. By continuing to use our site, we assume you are OK with that.
Accept Privacy Policy