Conversations with Tyler
Tyler Cowen is the economist behind Marginal Revolution. He's an ecclectic thinker and an entertaining host. His guests are from different spheres and he’ll approach topics like sports, education, philosophy and culture among others, applying economic thinking to those worlds.
Conversations with Tyler: Ben Sasse on the Space between Nebraska and Neverland
The US senator and former college president joined Tyler for a conversation on adolescence, adulthood, driving for Uber, loving Luther, hate-reading Rousseau, the decline of small towns, backpacking across Europe, America’s peculiar fondness for age-segregation, and why his latest book contains so little sex.
Conversations with Tyler: Malcolm Gladwell on Harvard Endowments, Satire, and more
Journalist, author, and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell joins Tyler for a conversation on Joyce Gladwell, Caribbean identity, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.
Conversations with Tyler: David Wolpe on Leadership, Religion, and Identity
Named one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of our time, Rabbi David Wolpe joins Tyler in a conversation on flawed leaders, Jewish identity in the modern world, the many portrayals of David, what’s missing in rabbinical training, playing chess on the Sabbath, Srugim, Hasidic philosophy, living in Israel and of course, and the durability of creation.
Conversations with Tyler: Chef Mark Miller on food as the ultimate intellectual exploration
Chef Mark Miller is often called the founder of modern southwestern cuisine, but his unique anthropological approach to food has led him to over 100 countries around he world. He joins Tyler for a conversation on food cultures, the most underrated chili pepper, how to develop a palate, the best food cities in Asia, Mexico, and Europe, the problems with sous-vide, mezcal versus tequila, the decline of food brands, how to do fast food well, why Michelin guide is overrated, and why the next hipster food trend should be about corn.
Conversations with Tyler: Jhumpa Lahiri on writing, translation, and identity
Author, teacher, and translator Jhumpa Lahiri joins Tyler for a conversation on identity, Rhode Island, writing as problem solving, reading across languages, the badness of book covers, Elena Ferrante, Bengali culture, the magic of Calcutta, Italian authors, Indian classical music, architectural influences, and much more.
Conversations with Tyler: Joseph Henrich on cultural evolution, WEIRD societies, and more
To anthropologist Joseph Henrich, intelligence is overrated. Social learning, and its ability to influence biological evolution over time, is what really sets our species apart. He joined Tyler for a conversation on his work on cultural evolution, as well as his life among different tribes (academic and otherwise), Star Trek, big gods, small gods, China’s missing industrial revolution, the merits of coconut milk, the Flynn effect, American exceptionalism, and why he wants to travel in time to 6th-century Kent.
Conversations with Tyler: Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese Food, Culture, and Travel
For centuries, China has treated its cuisine with a reverence and delight that is only just starting to emerge with Western “foodie” culture. No one understands this better than Fuchsia Dunlop, who has spent her career learning about the fantastic diversity in Chinese food, and who is one of Tyler’s favorite writers on any subject. She joined Tyler over dinner at Panda Gourmet, one of his favorite restaurants in DC, to talk about all aspects of how to truly enjoy Chinese food, including where to visit, how to order, the few key ingredients to keep in your pantry, her favorite Chinese dishes, what Chinese chefs think about Western food, and why you should really learn to love sea cucumbers.
Conversations with Tyler: Steven Pinker on Language, Reason, and the Future of Violence
Steven Pinker has spent an entire academic career thinking deeply about language, cognition, and human nature. Driving it all, he says, is an Enlightenment belief that the world is intelligible, science can progress, and through rational inquiry we can better understand ourselves. He recently joined Tyler for a conversation not only on the power of reason, but also the economics of irrational verbs, whether violence will continue to decline, behavioral economics, existential threats, the merits of aerobic exercise, photography, group selection, Fermi’s paradox, Noam Chomsky, universal grammar, free will, the Ed Sullivan show, and why people underrate the passive (or so it is thought).
Conversations with Tyler: Margalit Fox on Life, Death, and the Best Job in Journalism
The stereotypical obituary is a formulaic recitation of facts — dry, boring, without craft. But Margalit Fox has shown the genre can produce some of the most memorable and moving stories in journalism. Exploiting its “pure narrative arc,” Fox has penned over 1,200 obituaries, covering well-known and obscure subjects with equal aplomb. In her conversation with Tyler Cowen, Fox reveals not only the process for writing an obituary, but her thoughts on life, death, storytelling, puzzle-solving, her favorite cellist, how it came to be that an economist sang opera 86 times at the Met, and much more.
Conversations with Tyler: Michael Orthofer on Why Fiction Matters
Watch to discover why Michael believes everyone should read more fiction , how we should choose books, why American popular literature is overrated, what he thinks about authors like Herman Melville, Fyoder Dostoevsky, Goethe, J.K. Rowling, Arno Schmidt, and many more, what he thinks about Amazon.com and the best sites for readers, why studying literature at college was such a big disappointment, how much covers matter, and why his opinion will never be the final word.
Conversations with Tyler: Cass Sunstein on Bob Dylan, Justice and Hayek.
Cass Sunstein joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on judicial minimalism, Bob Dylan’s best album, the metaphysics of nudging, Possession, the ideal size of the Supreme Court, the wisdom of Yoda, Hayek, why people should choose their own path, the merits of a banned products store, James Joyce, and, oh yeah, Star Wars
Conversations with Tyler: Camille Paglie on David Bowie and Feminism
Camille Paglia joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on the brilliance of Bowie, lamb vindaloo, her lifestyle of observation, why writers need real jobs, Star Wars, Harold Bloom, Amelia Earhart, Edmund Spenser, Brazil, and why she is most definitely not a cultural conservative.
Conversations with Tyler: Nate Silver on Forecasting
Nate Silver joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on data, forecasting, My Bloody Valentine, the social value of gambling, Donald Trump and the presidential field, vacation advice, Supreme Court picks, the wisdom of Björk, and the most underrated statistic for finding good food.
Conversations with Tyler: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Segregation, Islam and Basketball
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on segregation, Islam, Harlem vs. LA, Earl Manigault, jazz, fighting Bruce Lee, Kareem’s conservatism, dancing with Thelonious Monk, and why no one today can shoot a skyhook.
Conversations with Tyler: Cliff Asness on Investing
Tyler and investment strategist Cliff Asness discuss momentum and value investing strategies, disagreeing with Eugene Fama, Marvel vs. DC, the inscrutability of risk, high frequency trading, the economics of Ayn Rand, bubble logic, and why never to share a gym with Cirque du Soleil.
Conversations with Tyler: Dani Rodrik on Deindustrialization and John le Carre
Tyler and Dani Rodrik discuss premature deindustrialization, the world’s trilemmas, the political economy of John le Carré, what’s so special about manufacturing, Orhan Pamuk, RCTs, and why the world is second best at best.
Conversations with Tyler: Luigi Zingales on Italy, Trump and Coffee
Tyler Cowen and Luigi Zingales discuss Italy, Donald Trump, Antonio Gramsci, Google and conglomeration, Luchino Visconti, Starbucks, and the surprisingly high productivity of Italian cafés.
Conversations with Tyler: Jeffrey Sachs on Russia's Failures, Charter Cities and more
Jeffrey Sachs and Tyler Cowen discuss the resource curse, why Russia failed and Poland succeeded, charter cities, Sach's China optimism, JFK, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, whether Africa will be able to overcome the middle income trap, Paul Krugman, Sach's favorite novel, premature deindustrialization, and how to reform graduate economics education.
Conversations with Tyler: Peter Theil on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Peter Thiel is among the most impressive innovators of the past two decades. As co-founder of Paypal and seed-funder for Facebook, Thiel has been instrumental in the conception and growth of some of today’s most entrepreneurial and innovative companies. In his latest best-selling book, Zero to One, Thiel explains how to build a better future by capitalizing on innovation. A staunch optimist, he maintains that progress can be achieved anywhere the human mind is able to think creatively. Thiel describes how entrepreneurial thinking leads to innovation, which builds something new and moves the mark from zero to one.