For over a century, anthropologists have immersed themselves in unfamiliar cultures, uncovering the hidden rituals that govern how people act. Now, a new generation of anthropologists are using these methods in a new context – to illuminate the behaviour of businesses and consumers around the globe. In Anthro-Vision, Gillian Tett – bestselling author, Financial Times journalist, and anthropology PhD – reveals how anthropology can help make sense of the corporate world. She explains how to identify the ‘webs of meaning’ that underpin consumers’ behaviour on the other side of the planet. She reveals why ‘sense-making’ can explain the most erratic behaviour of Wall Street bankers, and why concealed systems of barter shape our relationship with Silicon Valley. She delves into the cultural shifts driving investment in new markets and green issues. And she reveals what anthropology can tell us about our own workplaces, too: by identifying the hidden tribes within the office, or pinpointing which rituals are binding together a team. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Gillian Tett about how anthropology can help us better understand the world, and why business leaders need to understand and apply anthropology to build successful organisations.

Thought Economics

Disasters are inherently hard to predict. But when catastrophe strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of many developed countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why? While populist rulers certainly performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, Niall Ferguson argues that more profound pathologies were at work – pathologies already visible in our responses to earlier disasters. Drawing from multiple disciplines, including economics and network science, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe offers not just a history but a general theory of disaster. As Ferguson shows, governments must learn to become less bureaucratic if we are to avoid the impending doom of irreversible decline. In this interview, I speak to Niall Ferguson about how we should think about disasters & catastrophe and how society can (and should) be better prepared.

Thought Economics

Tim Peake is a former Apache pilot, flight instructor, test pilot and current European Space Agency astronaut. A veteran of eighteen years military service, Tim has flown over 3000 hours on operations worldwide. In December 2015, Tim became the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station and conduct a spacewalk during his six month mission. He also ran the London marathon from space. Tim’s mission engaged more than two million students in outreach activities. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Tim Peake about our fascination with space, how seeing the earth from International Space Station changed his view of humanity and his learnings on resilience from training to be an astronaut and spending 186 days in space.

Thought Economics

Ziya Tong is one of the world’s most engaging science journalists. In her new book, The Reality Bubble she takes a ground-breaking look at the hidden things that shape our lives in unexpected, dangerous and profound ways. Ziya Tong serves on the Board of the WWF, and is Vice Chair of WWF Canada. She anchored Daily Planet, Discovery Channel’s flagship science programme, until its final season in 2018. Tong also hosted the CBC’s Emmy-nominated series ZeD, PBS’ national prime-time series, Wired Science, and worked as a correspondent for NOVA scienceNOW. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Ziya Tong about humanity’s biggest blind spots. We talk about our biology and how technology is revealing a world beyond our senses. We explore our civilisational blind spots, how they shape our society – and how we collectively remain blind to some of the most important aspects of our world.

Thought Economics

Nitin Sawhney CBE, recipient of the Ivor Novello 2017 Lifetime Achievement award, is one the most distinctive and versatile musical voices around today. Sawhney has recorded multiple albums, film soundtracks and compilations, encompassing over 60 film and TV scores and is established as a world-class producer, songwriter, touring artist, BBC Radio 2 and club DJ, multi-instrumentalist, theatrical, dance, videogame and orchestral composer and cultural/ political commentator.  He holds 6 honorary doctorates from various UK universities along with 2 fellowships and works as Ambassador for/sits on the board of multiple charities. He has received over 20 major national and international awards for his work and is a member of the academy of motion picture sciences (Oscars), BAFTA and the US recording academy (Grammys). Sawhney is also the new Chair of the PRS Foundation, the UK’s funding body for new music and talent development. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Nitin Sawhney CBE on the fundamentals of why we make music.

Thought Economics

Brian Eno is a remarkable man. He is a musician, producer, visual artist, theorist, activist and philosopher, a polymath who has become one of our world’s most significant artists. In this first of a new series of conversations around our biggest unanswered questions, I spoke to Brian and asked: Why do we make art?

Thought Economics

James Thornton is a remarkable individual who has dedicated his life to fighting for climate and environmental justice. As a Wall Street lawyer, he won over 80 cases to force the Reagan Administration to clean up polluted water. It was in 2007, when he moved to Europe that ClientEarth was formed with a mission to change the way environmental protections are made and enforced. Now operating globally, ClientEarth uses advocacy, litigation and research to address the greatest challenges of our time – including nature loss, public health and climate change. In the last decade alone, ClientEarth has led an EU-wide law banning illegally harvested rainforest timber, setup the Sustainable Seafood Coalition, won numerous cases against governments for failing to tackle air pollution, and forced many nations and corporations to create sustainable change in their policy and strategy for the benefit of the climate and environment. James and his team use the most effective tool in the arsenal for change, the law. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to James Thornton about how we can tackle one of the greatest challenges our species has ever faced, climate change.

Thought Economics

The philosophy of science has sought to introduce order into the chaos of existence by replacing supernatural and mystical with reason, logic and frameworks. Like most of our progress as a species- this isn’t a smooth curve, but unpredictable leaps forward in our knowledge that create platforms from which humanity can never go back. Quantum mechanics represents one of those fundamental leaps; a change in our understanding of everything that will have far reaching implications ranging from the future of technology, to the very understanding of who we are. In these exclusive interviews I speak to Sean Carroll (Research Professor of Physics at Caltech and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute), Jim Al-Khalili (University of Surrey Distinguished Chair, Professor of Physics and Public Engagement in Science), Brian Greene (Professor of Physics & Mathematics at Columbia University) and Carlo Rovelli (Director of the quantum gravity group of the Centre de Physique Théorique (CPT) of the Aix-Marseille University)

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

Research has shown that evolution has created the psychological mechanisms which have enabled, and emboldened the spread of faux-intellectual movements (anti-vaccination, climate-deniers) and which can explain most of our deep rooted preferences, beliefs, and consumption instincts. To learn more, I spoke to Dr. Gad Saad a professor, evolutionary behavioural scientist, author, and public intellectual.  Gad has become one of the world’s most sought after commentators in this field, his YouTube channel, ‘The Saad Truth’ has close to 145,000 subscribers and has been viewed over 14 million times.

Thought Economics

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