Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s bestselling living philosophers. His books & courses like The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Stillness Is the Key appear in more than 40 languages and have sold more than 4 million copies. In his latest book, Courage Is Calling, Ryan breaks down the elements of fear, an expression of cowardice, the elements of courage, an expression of bravery, and lastly, the elements of heroism, an expression of valour. In a world in which fear runs rampant—when people would rather stand on the sidelines than speak out against injustice, go along with convention than bet on themselves, and turn a blind eye to the ugly realities of modern life—we need courage more than ever. We need the courage of whistle-blowers and risk takers. We need the courage of activists and adventurers. We need the courage of writers who speak the truth—and the courage of leaders to listen. In this interview, I speak to Ryan Holiday on how to conquer fear, resolve moral dilemmas, and practice courage in our daily lives.

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

In her new book THE LONELY CENTURY: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart, renowned thinker and economist Noreena Hertz investigates how radical changes to the workplace, mass migration to cities, technology’s ever greater dominance of our lives, and decades of neoliberal policies that placed self-interest above the collective good have coalesced to  create a society in which loneliness, atomisation and isolation prevail – which COVID has only amplified. Hertz provides an empowering and inspiring vision for how to mitigate this, reconnect with each other and come together again. Hertz combines a decade of research with first-hand reporting that takes her from ‘renting a friend’ in New York to family-friendly Belgian far-right festivals, from elderly women knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan to Ivy League colleges running ‘How to Read a Face in Real Life’ remedial classes. What she uncovers is a global population feeling more and more alienated and isolated. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Noreena Hertz about the causes of our loneliness epidemic, the consequences for each and every one of us, and what we can do to restore human connection in a world that’s pulling us apart.

Thought Economics

Matthew McConaughey is an Academy Award®-winning actor and producer who has played starring roles in some of the most seminal, and commercially successful films in recent history including A Time to Kill (1996), U-571 (2000), the Wedding Planner (2001), Failure to Launch (2006), Magic Mike (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Interstellar (2014), The Dark Tower (2017) and The Gentlemen (2019). In 2009, Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the just keep livin Foundation, which helps at-risk high school students make healthier mind, body, and spirit choices. In 2019, McConaughey became a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Minister of Culture/M.O.C. for the University of Texas and the City of Austin. McConaughey is also brand ambassador for Lincoln Motor Company, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, and co-creator of his favourite bourbon on the planet, Wild Turkey Longbranch. McConaughey has led a charmed and full life. His recent memoir Greenlights takes the reader along with him as he tries to work out this riddle called life but unlike most, he fills it with practical advice and lessons from his life to ours. As Matthew wrote his memoir, the process revealed a theme- an approach- to living that gave him satisfaction at the time, and still today. He calls this process, ‘catching greenlights’ and in this exclusive interview, I spoke to Matthew McConaughey about how we can apply the lessons from his life, to our own. As he says himself, “…hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.” 

Thought Economics

Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris spent three years as a Google Design Ethicist developing a framework for how technology should “ethically” steer the thoughts and actions of billions of people from screens. He is now co-founder & president of the Center for Humane Technology, whose mission is to reverse ‘human downgrading’ and re-align technology with humanity. Additionally, he is co-host of the Center for Humane Technology’s Your Undivided Attention podcast with co-founder Aza Raskin. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce notes that, “Tristan Harris is probably the strongest voice in technology pointing where the industry needs to go. This is a call to arms and everyone needs to hear him now.” In this exclusive interview I spoke to Tristan Harris about how the technologies of social media and the smartphone are destroying our society, and what we can do to pull it back from the brink.

Thought Economics

Steven Pinker (Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard) is a remarkable thinker. He is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” In this exclusive interview, I speak to Steven Pinker about the ideas contained within his most recent book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress – which has been described by Bill Gates as ‘my new favourite book of all time…’

Thought Economics

For over 40 years Penn & Teller have defied labels—and at times physics and good taste– by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy. Penn Jillette is the magician, actor, musician, inventor, television personality, and author who forms half of this incredible and long-standing partnership.  He is a true polymath, and in this exclusive interview I had the pleasure of speaking to Penn to learn more about the role of magic in culture, how you create a great show, and the secrets of building long-standing partnerships.

Thought Economics

If you lose your ego, you lose the thread of that narrative you call your Self,” wrote Haruki Murakami in his book Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche “…humans, however, can’t live very long without some sense of a continuing story. Such stories go beyond the limited rational system (or the systematic rationality) with which you surround yourself; they are crucial keys to sharing time-experience with others…” In a hyperconnected world, our identities matter more than ever – they become empowering, weaponised, sanctuary and danger simultaneously and it’s perhaps because of this, that we must now understand identity more than ever before. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity and Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. We discuss the nature of identity, the labels we place on each other, and how best to  understand their significance and role in society.

Thought Economics

As society has moved through the renaissance into modernity, the questions of why (typically the domain of theology) moved from the arts to science, the preciseness of the latter arguably unsuited to such philosophical questions.  The primacy of overtly scientific approaches to understanding life has come at a tremendous cost; in some ways we see the world in shades of grey rather than in full colour. For many thinkers therefore, the pull of the questions of meaning are too strong to ignore.  In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson – professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.  We discuss the question of how we can find meaning in a complex world.

Thought Economics

The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. Sitting at the helm of the Royal Society is Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who is responsible for giving us some of the most fundamental insights into the biology of life itself. I caught up with Dr. Ramakrishnan to learn more about the role of science in society.

Thought Economics

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