Smart People Podcast Podcast

Smart People Podcast

An Education, Business and Society podcast featuring Jon Rojas and Chris Stemp
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Christine Montross - Author of Falling Into the Fire: A Psychiatrist's Encounters with the Mind in Crisis, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, staff psychiatrist at Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. When you really get down to it, the entirety of our life is a function of our perception.  The way we interact with the world is completely dependent on the way in which our brain deals with stimulus... that is our existence.  I'd say that's a pretty heavy task for one organ.  However, unlike the heart, which will circulate blood through the body the same way for you as it does for me, your brain will perceive these stimuli differently than mine will.  This difference forms our being, our identity.  For example, you and I could have a conversation and both of us could walk away with two completely different understandings.  We could eat the same food, watch the same movie, and work the same job - yet the way we experience these sensations will be only ours to understand. We tend to forget this simple fact on a daily basis for two main reasons.  First, all of us tend to deal with stimulus in relatively similar manners. Second, humans are magnificent at placing themselves at the center of the universe, assuming that everyone else is interpreting things the same way that they are.  However, we are abruptly made aware of our individuality when someone acts in a way that is extremely out of the ordinary - and this is where it get's really interesting. For example, what would cause a woman to purposefully ingest lightbulbs, a box of nails, and a steak knife, just to then admit herself to the emergency room? Why would an otherwise normal man attempt to amputate a fully functional limb? These are just some of the individuals that our guest this week, psychiatrist Christine Montross, sees on a daily basis in her profession working with the mentally ill.  This week we learn more about the devastation that can be caused when our brain malfunctions. Dr. Christine Montross is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and Co-director of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholarly Concentration at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is also a staff psychiatrist at Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Montross has been named a 2010 MacColl Johnson fellow in Poetry, and the winner of the 2009 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Emerging Indiana Authors Award. She has had several poems published in literary journals, and her manuscript Embouchure was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. She has also written for many national publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post Book World, Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Dr. Montross's first book, Body of Work, was named an Editors' Choice by The New York Times and one of The Washington Post's best nonfiction books of 2007. Her second book, Falling Into the Fire was named a New Yorker Book to Watch Out For. She and her partner, the playwright Deborah Salem Smith, live in Rhode Island with their two young children.
Bob Sutton - Author of Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less and The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't, Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School, IDEO Fellow, ranked one of the "50 Best B School Professors". What we discuss in this episode: • What makes a great professor? What makes a great boss? • Can leadership be taught? Learned? • How do you maintain a good corporate culture as a company grows? How does a company grow/scale effectively? • As a company grows, how does it maintain it's fundamentals, while also allowing individuals to be creative and unique? Quotes we liked from Bob: Resources for you: Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't http://bobsutton.typepad.com/ -- This episode is brought to you by Squarespace – the all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create your own website. For a free trial and 10% off, go to Squarespace.com and use offer code SPP. • Easy – Everything is drag and drop. You can use drag and drop to add content from your desktop, and even rearrange elements of content within a page. • 24/7 support – Squarespace has an amazing 24/7 support team in New York City. They do live chat during the week, and have extremely fast email support throughout the day and night. • Design Focused – Squarespace really cares about design. All their templates are extremely clean, and allow your content to be the focus of your website. -- This episode is brought to you by Warby Parker. – Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point. Go to warbyparker.com/smartpeople to get choose your 5, free Home Try On frames! By visiting, you will get FREE 3 day shipping! • Warby Parker believes glasses should be viewed as a fashion accessory—just like a bag, a shoe, a necktie, a hat. At $95, Warby Parker makes it easy to accessorize with glasses. • Warby Parker makes buying glasses fun, easy, and pain-free. • With the Home Try-On Program, you can order 5 pairs of glasses to be shipped directly to you (free). You can try all the frames on, get a feel for them and get feedback from others! (5 pairs, for 5 days). Mail back to Warby Parker in a prepaid package.  
Eswar Prasad - Author of The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance. Eswar is a Senior Professor at Cornell University, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the New Century Chair in International Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was previously chief of the Financial Studies Division in the International Monetary Fund's Research Department and, before that, was the head of the IMF's China Division. What we discuss in this episode: • Is the dollar still the world’s safest currency, even after the financial crisis? • What does it mean that the US is $17 trillion in debt? Is debt bad? • At what point does the United States have to pay back its debt? • How does the euro compare to the dollar? • Is China a safe place to invest? Notable quotes from Eswar:  
Larry Downes - Author of Big Bang Disruption and Unleashing the Killer App (named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 5 most important books ever published on business and technology). Larry is an internet industry analyst and speaker, having held faculty appointments at Univ. of Chicago, Northwestern, Berkeley, and Stanford and he is a columnist for Forbes and CNET. What we discuss in this episode • What industries are PRIMED for innovation? The answer may surprise you. • The nature of innovation has changed dramatically, in even the last 10 years. • What industries should younger people consider working in to take advantage of the upcoming innovation? • What can existing companies do to fend off new, more agile start-up companies? Quotes we liked from Larry Resources for you • www.larrydownes.com • Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation • Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance  
Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen - The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems, Co-Founders at ReD Associates where they employ social sciences to study human behavior. Christian Madsbjerg has been leading projects and client programs since ReD’s foundation. He writes, teaches, and speaks about the kinds of methods and reasoning needed for fact-based investigations of human activity, emotions, and decision-making processes. He is the author of books on social theory, discourse analysis, and politics. Mikkel B. Rasmussen, a specialist in innovation strategy, is the Director of ReD’s European division. Mikkel founded Mindlab, the first innovation lab for the public sector in Denmark. His work focuses on helping companies create and implement a direction for the future and figure out where and how to focus innovation. He’s on the board of Copenhagen Clean Tech, numerous startups, and several design policy and management firms. What we learn in this episode: • What are the 3 most common types of problems a business can face and which ones are best solved with human sciences? Problems that are known (algorithmic problems).  These can be solved with numerical analysis and spreadsheets. Hypothetical problem.  You have seen the problem before and you can create a hypothesis and calculate your way back. Unknown problems.  Problems that you aren’t sure even exist, but you tend to know something is wrong. These can only be found out using human sciences and observation. • Is yoga a sport? Well, that decision is up to you.  But fitness is now 50% of the sporting industry and women are the largest consumer of sporting apparel. • Why do consumers lie in focus groups? Most people answer questions the way they would like to believe they act.  They would like to think they make rational decisions based on analysis.  However, science has shown us that the majority of the time this is not true. • ReD makes sense of the culture outside a company utilizing 5 phases: Ask the right question Study consumers in their natural environment Pattern recognition and analysis Insight – what to do with the information gained Make sure that the company can understand the recommendations and be ready to act on it. • If you are a business, stop phrasing your question in business terms – phrase it in personal terms.  Turn it into a human question, something that people can experience. Notable Quotables from Christian and Mikkel: 
Brian Dunning – Skeptoid podcast producer, professional myth-buster, author, entrepreneur. Did you know that 98% of all statistics are made up? Did you know I just made THAT statistic up? In an age of information overload, it’s very hard to sift through it all.  For every question, I can find you two very convincing answers, with...
David Kadavy: Author of Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty, design guru. If you know anything about the show, you know that Jon loves his weird stuff.  So leave it to him to find a guy who focuses on design.  What does that even mean? I was pretty sure this conversation wouldn’t apply to my life...
Jonah Berger – Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Do you remember the first time you heard the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black? I do – I f’ing hated it.  I also remember the first time someone told me to listen to “Gangnam Style” and “Thrift...
What does it mean to be educated? What does intelligence truly mean? These are tough questions, but luckily we get the chance to sit down with Dr. Mike Rose to discuss them Dr. Rose received a B.A. from Loyola University, an M.S. from the University of Southern California, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. from...
People enjoy doing things that they are good at – this is no secret.  However, many people don’t even know how to assess themselves and find their strengths.  How can you find your path, what truly makes you happy, if you don’t even have a good grasp on who you are? This is something so...
Whether you are a democrat, republican, or independent, watching the President’s first couple of years in office is always very interesting. Will they maintain all the promises made during their campaign? What will happen if they are faced with a serious situation in office? All these things are very telling of their character. But even...
To this day, ‘History of Rock and Roll’ was one of my favorite classes in college. The artists inspired me. The stories blew me away. The lifestyle seemed to be something only imaginable in books and movies. New York Times best selling author, Steve Almond has many books on his resume, but it was Rock...
Ann Louise Gittleman – “The First Lady of Nutrition” Consider your typical day.  You cook in your microwave, you call people on your cell phone, you work all day on your laptop – wirelessly connected to the world of the interwebs, you read books on your kindle, you listen to the radio in the car,...
“Know Thyself”.  It was inscribed on the Temple of Apollo, it has been referenced by everyone from Plato, to Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It’s an idea that is deeply ingrained in our culture…and rightfully so.  Perhaps no other journey is as important as trying to figure out who you are and who you...
Josh Klein – Technologist & Computer/Life Hacker: Many of today’s systems and organizations still operate on the same processes that became popular during the industrial revolution, but no longer prove relevant. Think about it, a company decides they want to be innovative and productive. They need their employees to be creative and forward thinking. So...
Try to walk into a grocery store, an electronics store, or even a coffee shop without being faced with hundreds of options. Do you want the 50″ 3d LCD TV or the 52″ LED 1080p TV? Everyday, we are faced with hundreds of decisions. This week, we interview Barry Schwartz and talk to him about...
Take a look into the sky tonight and try to imagine how many planets are out there. As of February 2011, there are 1,235 unconfirmed planetary candidates out there. It is widely estimated that there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone. Did you know that one man is responsible for discovering 70 of...
It’s not the first time we’ve talked about it, and it won’t be the last.  The human brain is plain ol’ amazing.  For example, have you ever thought about where a memory is stored? Give it a real long ponder.  Somewhere in your 3 pound ball of spongy tissue, memories from decades past are filed...
Craig Koslofsky, author, Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois . Can you imagine a time without electricity and modern technology? First of all, HOW would you download this podcast? In Craig Koslofsky’s book, Evening’s Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe, Craig discusses “the history of night” and what it...
Can you imagine living a healthy life to the ripe old age of 1,000? How about a world without cancer, Alzheimer’s or diabetes? Our guest on this episode of the podcast believes we are only 25 years from making this dream a reality. This man is Aubrey de Grey, an English author and theoretician in...
We’ve all had the thought before. “That’s it. I’m quitting my job and I am going to culinary school. I am becoming a chef or opening my own restaurant.” Personally, I’ve had this thought many times. I’ve contemplated opening a food truck, a restaurant, or a hot dog stand. I love food. Who doesn’t love...
Tiger Woods….David Duval….Nate Kaeding and Lucid Dreams.  What do they all have in common? They are topics of conversation in this week’s episode of Smart People Podcast! On this episode, we interview world renowned sports psychiatrist Dr. Michael Lardon.  Dr. Lardon is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, in...
“Primal Therapy is aimed at eradicating ones neurosis. It is revolutionary because it involves overthrowing the neurotic system by a forceful upheaval. Nothing short of that will eliminate neurosis.” – The Primal Scream, Arthur Janov This edition of the podcast features Dr. Barry Bernfeld, Associate Director of the Primal Institute in Los Angeles, California.  The Primal Institute...
Jonathan Poneman - Co-Founder of Sub Pop Records, first to sign Nirvana and Soundgarden. Good bands can be found in any local watering hole.  Great bands are much harder to find even with the digital music era.  But the best bands, the bands that change the way we listen to music, the bands that define a generation - well they are truly a magical find.  And perhaps no band better defines the grunge rock genre of the 90's than Nirvana.  However, if it weren't for this week's guest, Jonathan Poneman, the grunge era may have never heard the melodic, angst ridden voice of the late Kurt Cobain. As you will hear in this episode, Jonathan grew up with the same hopes and dreams that many kids have - he wanted to be a rock star.  However, in his own words Jonathan said, "I lacked the requisite good looks and the talent, so I knew I had to make my living elsewhere within the music industry." Lucky for us, he is apparently very good at discovering and popularizing great music.  When he was handed a cassette from a friend titled "Kurt Cobain", he popped it in his ears and was instantly engrossed.  Jonathan pushed hard and got Kurt signed, eventually the band became known as Nirvana. Join us this week and get the inside look on the Seattle music scene and what it was like to hang out with Kurt Cobain, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Soundgarden.  Jonathan Poneman is a true innovator in the music industry. Sub Pop Records, the label that he co-founded with Bruce Pavitt, has been the launching ground for some of the best bands in the past three decades. Check out the Nirvana song that made Poneman a believer! As Poneman mentions in the interview, this is one of the best artists you have never heard!
David Linden, PhD - Neurobiologist, Author of The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning and Gambling Feel So Good, and professor at Johns Hopkins. Ask and you shall receive! The data is in from the Smart People Podcast survey (which is open for anyone to still take, we would appreciate it!) and you all voted psychology and the brain to be the most interesting subject. So - we did what we do best and went out to find the smartest, most interesting, articulate "brain guy" we could. And believe us, he does not disappoint. Join us to learn about how our memory works, what makes us individuals, why we love certain experiences, and more.  It's an all out mind bender! Our guest is David J. Linden, PhD.  David is a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurophysiology.  His most recent book is The Compass of Pleasure and prior to that he wrote The Accidental Mind. His website hilariously warns everyone that he does not want to be confused with the Psychiatrist David E. Linden - because that guy was a total jerk.  
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Podcast Details
Started
Dec 10th, 2010
Latest Episode
Feb 25th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
352
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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