Cover art for podcast The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with Sean Illing

589 EpisodesProduced by VoxWebsite

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversatio… read more

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Rachel Maddow on skinhead rallies, AIDS activism, and why she doesn't read op-eds

February 9th, 2016


Rachel Maddow is, of course, the host of MSNBC's top-rated, Emmy-award winning primetime news show and the bestselling author of "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power." But Maddow took a winding path to cable …

How lobbying works, with super-lobbyist Tony Podesta

February 16th, 2016


When the New York Times profiled Tony Podesta, the headline was simply: "Tony Podesta, superlobbyist." Podesta is head of the Podesta group, and …

Bill Gates on stopping climate change, building robots, and the best books he's read

February 23rd, 2016


Bill Gates is one of those people for whom "needs no introduction" is actually true. The polymathic Microsoft founder now leads the world's largest …

Theda Skocpol on how political scientists think differently about politics

March 1st, 2016


Political science is a misunderstood discipline. It's often laughed off by people who think it's ridiculous that something as human and contingent …

Jim Yong Kim on revolutionizing how we treat the world's poor

March 8th, 2016


This was an amazing interview.Jim Yong Kim is the president of the World Bank — the massive, multilateral institution dedicated to eradicating …

Michael Needham on the Republican Party's crack-up

March 15th, 2016


Want to understand what's happened to the Republican Party? Then listen to this discussion.Michael Needham is the CEO of Heritage Action for America, where he's been one of the activists at the center of the fight …

Cory Booker on the spiritual dimension of politics

March 22nd, 2016


Cory Booker is a United States senator from New Jersey, the only vegan in Congress, and the author of the new book "United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good". In this conversation, Ezra …

David Chang, head of the Momofuku empire

March 29th, 2016


David Chang has driven many of the most important food trends of the last decade. His Momofuku empire has put pork belly on your plate, ramen on your corner, and bagel bombs in your local coffee shop. He's received four …

Neera Tanden on what it's like to work for Hillary Clinton

April 5th, 2016


Neera Tanden is CEO of the Center for American Progress — perhaps the most influential left-leaning think tank in Washington. Before that, though, …

Grover Norquist explains what it takes to change American politics

April 12th, 2016


This is an interview you all have been asking for since day one. Grover Norquist is the head of Americans for Tax Reform, the creator of the …

Ben Thompson on how the media business is changing

April 19th, 2016


Note: There was a technical issue with the first upload of this show, please re-download if you got to it early.Since starting his site Stratechery in 2013, Ben Thompson has established himself as one of the smartest …

Ben Thompson on how to make it in media in 2016

April 19th, 2016


Note: If you saw this twice, this is a reissue of a previous episode, with corrected audio.Since starting his site Stratechery in 2013, Ben Thompson …

Bruce Friedrich on how technology will reduce animal suffering

April 26th, 2016


When I first met Bruce Friedrich, he was running PETA's awareness campaigns. Yeah, those campaigns — the ones where naked people stuffed themselves in saran wrap and cages, and where wounded chickens limped outside …

Robert Reich on supporting Bernie Sanders, dating Hillary Clinton, and fighting inequality

May 3rd, 2016


You could fill a podcast just reciting Robert Reich's biography. Rhodes Scholar. Assistant to U.S. Solicitor General Robert Bork. Director of policy …

Arianna Huffington on sleep, death, and social media

May 10th, 2016


Arianna Huffington is, of course, the editor and namesake of the Huffington Post, one of the true juggernauts of the new media world. But her path to that position has been a winding one. She was a prominent …

Alice Rivlin, queen of Washington's budget wonks

May 17th, 2016


There is no budget wonk in Washington with a resume as thick as Alice Rivlin's. She was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office. She was the director of President Bill Clinton's Office of Management and …

Andrew Sullivan on quitting blogging, fearing political correctness, and Donald Trump

May 24th, 2016


Last year, Andrew Sullivan quit blogging — the medium he had done so much to create. And you know what? He was pretty damn happy about it. He was …

Secretary of Labor (and maybe VP?) Tom Perez

May 31st, 2016


Tom Perez is President Obama's Secretary of Labor. He is also, according to the New York Times, on Hillary Clinton's shortlist for the vice presidency.I spoke with Perez about his path to the Labor Department, the …

Moby on how cheap rent leads to great art

June 7th, 2016


Moby's new memoir, Porcelain, is a great read for policy wonks. Really.It's less a history of music than a history of New York in the 80s and 90s, …

Jessica Valenti on honesty, internet trolls, and modern feminism

June 14th, 2016


Jessica Valenti is the founder of Feministing, a columnist at the Guardian, and the author of the new book "Sex Object." She's also a friend from the …

Jesse Eisenberg on Jewish humor, writing lessons, and interrogating strangers

June 21st, 2016


My guest on this episode is Jesse Eisenberg — who you may know as Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman, Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, or Daniel Atlas in the just-released Now You See Me 2.I was apprehensive about …

Heather McGhee on what Democrats get wrong about racism

June 28th, 2016


Heather McGhee is the president of the think tank Demos, and one of the most interesting thinkers today on the intersection of racism and economic inequality.Among Heather's most interesting arguments is her belief that …

Patrick Brown on plant-meat that bleeds and the science of flavor

July 5th, 2016


Not long ago, I had the chance to eat a burger from a company called Impossible Foods. The burger was delicious. It was juicy, savory, and bloody. Oh, and it was made from plants.Yes, they've created a veggie burger …

Hillary Clinton. Yes, that Hillary Clinton.

July 12th, 2016


My interview this week is with Hillary Clinton. You may have heard of her.I won't bore you with Clinton's bio. Instead, I want to say a few words about what this interview is, as it's a bit different than the EK Show's …

Conservative intellectual Yuval Levin on how the Republican Party lost its way

July 19th, 2016


Yuval Levin has been called "the most influential conservative intellectual of the Obama era," and the moniker fits. As editor of National Affairs — …

Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show

July 26th, 2016


This is a serious conversation with a very funny man.Trevor Noah is the host of Comedy Central's the Daily Show. He's also a stand-up comic who grew up in apartheid South Africa, the son of a black mother and a white …

Atul Gawande on surgery, writing, Obamacare, and indie music

August 2nd, 2016


I've wanted to do this interview for a long, long time.Atul Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He's a professor in the Department …

Melissa Bell on starting Vox, managing media, and connecting newsrooms

August 9th, 2016


I first started working with Melissa Bell at the Washington Post. I was trying to launch a new product — Wonkblog — and I needed some design work done. Melissa wasn't a designer. She wasn't a coder. She didn't manage …

Grant Gordon on studying the world's worst conflicts

August 16th, 2016


Grant Gordon is a political scientist and policymaker who specializes in humanitarian intervention. He’s a fellow at the Stanford Center on …

Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions

August 23rd, 2016


Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction (though if you didn't know the famed author has launched a podcast, you should — it's called Revisionist …

W. Kamau Bell on the lessons of parenthood, Twitter, and fame

August 30th, 2016


W. Kamau Bell is a comedian and a writer. But you probably know him from one of his podcasts(Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time …

Stewart Butterfield on creating Slack, learning from games, and finding your online identity

September 6th, 2016


If you came by the Vox office, you would find it oddly quiet. That's not because we don't like each other, or because we're not social, or because we …

Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters

September 13th, 2016


I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, …

Dr. Leana Wen on why the opposite of poverty is health

September 20th, 2016


There are a couple of ideas that drive how I see policy and politics. One of them is that most of what drives health outcomes has nothing to do with …

HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell on running Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid

September 27th, 2016


This week, I've turned over the mic to The Weeds' Sarah Kliff. She went to Capitol Hill to interview HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell about all things …

The best conversation I’ve had about the election, with Molly Ball

October 4th, 2016


This election season has left pretty much everything I thought I knew about politics in doubt. Both parties nominated unpopular candidates, even when …

Tyler Cowen interviews Ezra Klein about politics, media, and more

October 6th, 2016


A number of you have asked that we turn the tables and have someone interview me for the show. So when Tyler Cowen — economist at George Mason …

Francis Fukuyama on whether America's democracy is decaying

October 11th, 2016


Francis Fukuyama is a political scientist, a public intellectual, and progenitor of the famed "End of History" thesis. But his recent work is his …

Let's talk about Hillary Clinton's policy ideas, with Jonathan Cohn

October 18th, 2016


The overwhelming focus of this election has been Donald Trump — the things he does, says, tweets. But the next president is likely to be Hillary Clinton. And we've put a lot less effort into understanding her lengthy, …

Joseph Stiglitz on broken markets, bad trade deals, and basic incomes

October 25th, 2016


This week’s guest is a Nobel Prize winner. We like to sprinkle those in every so often. Joseph Stiglitz revolutionized how economists understood …

Deborah Tannen on gendered speech, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and you

November 1st, 2016


To understand the 2012 election, you had to ask a political scientist. To understand the 2016 election, you need to call a linguist.At least, I did. …

David Frum on the 2016 election, and the long decline of the GOP

November 6th, 2016


We’re bringing the Ezra Klein Show to you a little early this week because, well, there's an election coming in a few days. And we wanted to talk about it. The 2016 election is the product of profound failures on the …

Ron Brownstein: Clinton didn’t lose because of the white working class

November 15th, 2016


Why did Hillary Clinton lose the election? Why did Donald Trump win it? And why was the polling so completely wrong?No one digs deeper into the …

Heather McGhee returns to talk Trump, race, and empathy

November 22nd, 2016


There are few episodes of this show that people loved as much as my conversation with Heather McGhee, president of the think tank Demos. Our first …

Award-winning chef José Andrés on cooking, creativity, and learning from the best

November 29th, 2016


José Andrés isn't just a chef. He's a force. All that talk of how DC is now a hot dining scene? Andrés deserves more than a bit of the credit. He's …

Stripe CEO Patrick Collison on management, rationalism, and the enlightenment

December 6th, 2016


Patrick Collison is the 28-year-old CEO of Stripe, the online payments company that was just valued at $9 billion.Haven't heard of Stripe? You've …

Ta-Nehisi Coates: "There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story"

December 14th, 2016


Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author at the Atlantic. His book, Between the World and Me, won the National Book Award, and was spoofed on SNL. He's writing the (awesome) Black Panther series for Marvel. He's a certified …

Tim Wu's interesting, unusual, fascinating life

December 20th, 2016


Columbia law professor Tim Wu makes me feel boring and underaccomplished. He’s been a Supreme Court clerk, a Silicon Valley startup employee, a …

Evelyn Farkas explains the crisis in Syria and the threat of Russia

December 27th, 2016


From 2012 to 2015, Evelyn Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, where she was responsible for …

You Ask, Ezra Answers

January 3rd, 2017


At long last, here’s the Ask Ezra Anything episode. You sent in great questions, and I answered as many as I could. To keep me honest — and to make …

Sarah Kliff and Ezra Interview Obama About Obamacare

January 6th, 2017


Two weeks before he leaves office, President Obama sits down for a lengthy conversation about the lessons of the Affordable Care Act and the law's uncertain future.

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Elizabeth Kolbert: We have locked in centuries of climate change

January 10th, 2017


Elizabeth Kolbert covers climate change for the New Yorker. She's the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction. And she recently wrote a …

Keith Ellison: The Democratic National Committee has become the Democratic Presidential Committee, and that needs to end

January 17th, 2017


Congressman Keith Ellison is the frontrunner to lead the Democratic National Committee in the Trump era. Ellison has a fascinating backstory: he's the first Muslim elected to the US Congress, and he was the second …

JD Vance: the reluctant interpreter of Trumpism

January 24th, 2017


J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy has been adopted as the book that explains Trumpism. It's the book that both Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rob Portman recommended as their favorite of 2016. It's a book Keith Ellison, …

Jennifer Lawless on why you — yes, you — should run for office

January 31st, 2017


There are 500,000 elected positions in the United States. I'll say that again: 500,000. And that's no accident. "Our political system is built on the …

David Miliband explains the global refugee crisis

February 2nd, 2017


Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning Muslim refugees from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, and indefinitely banning them from Syria, doesn't come in a vacuum. The world is currently experience …

Kara Swisher gives a master class on reporting and interviewing

February 7th, 2017


Before I launched this podcast, I asked Kara Swisher to coffee. Swisher founded the technology news site Recode, hosts the excellent Recode Decode …

Avik Roy on why conservatives need to embrace diversity

February 14th, 2017


Avik Roy advised Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign on health care, ran the policy shop on Rick Perry’s 2016 campaign, and then worked for Marco Rubio after …

Elizabeth Drew covered Watergate. Here's what she thinks of Trump.

February 21st, 2017


Elizabeth Drew is the author of Washington Journal, one of my favorite books about Watergate. Drew covered the story as a reporter for the New Yorker, and the book emerges from the real-time, journalistic diary she kept …

Yuval Harari, author of “Sapiens,” on AI, religion, and 60-day meditation retreats

February 28th, 2017


Yuval Noah Harari’s first book, “Sapiens,” was an international sensation. The Israeli historian’s mind-bending tour through the trump of Homo sapiens is a favorite of, among others, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and …

Tim Ferriss on suffering, psychedelics, and spirituality

March 2nd, 2017


Tim Ferriss is the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, as well as the new book, Tools of Titans. He’s also the host of The Tim Ferriss Show, which is one …

Cecile Richards on Planned Parenthood, labor organizing, and the Supreme Court

March 7th, 2017


Before Cecile Richards was president of Planned Parenthood, she was a labor organizer working with garment workers in El Paso, Texas. The experience …

Denis McDonough on how to run the White House

March 14th, 2017


How do you actually run a White House? What is the president’s actual job? What is the chief of staff’s role? What happens if you screw up? These are …

Molly Ball on whether facts matter in politics

March 21st, 2017


You may remember the Atlantic's Molly Ball from the fantastic pre-election conversation we had on this podcast. She's back this week to talk about an …

Tyler Cowen explains it all

March 28th, 2017


I have never come across a mind quite like Tyler Cowen’s. The George Mason economist, and Marginal Revolution blogger, has an interesting opinion on, …

Chris Hayes on the crisis of elites and the politics of order

April 4th, 2017


I could describe this podcast, and I will. But the tl;dr is this is one of my favorite conversations so far, and you’re going to enjoy it. So just go …

G. Willow Wilson on religion, comics, and modern myths

April 11th, 2017


This is a podcast about topics we don’t always cover on this show. Religion. Spirituality. Gender roles. Traditionalist societies. Comic books.G. …

Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media

April 18th, 2017


I was asked recently to name a book that changed my life. The book I chose was Cal Newport’s “Deep Work,” and for the most literal of reasons: it’s …

Elizabeth Warren on what Barack Obama got wrong

April 25th, 2017


Elizabeth Warren is the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the senior senator from Massachusetts, and the author of the new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle …

VC Bill Gurley on transforming health care

May 2nd, 2017


Washington has been gripped of late by the world’s most depressing, least imaginative, debate over health care. The question, as it stands, is whether Obamacare will survive (while being mildly, but persistently, …

Cory Booker returns, live, to talk trust, Trump, and basic incomes

May 4th, 2017


Senator Cory Booker is back! In this special live episode of The Ezra Klein Show — taped at Vox Conversations — Booker and I dig into America’s …

Death, Sex, and Money’s Anna Sale on bringing empathy to politics

May 9th, 2017


There’s much talk of “empathy” in today’s politics, but it’s a cramped, weaponized form of empathy — an empathy designed to force us to grudgingly …

Bryan Stevenson on why the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice

May 16th, 2017


Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. He and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release for more than 115 wrongly convicted prisoners on death row. He’s the author …

Yascha Mounk: Is Trump’s incompetence saving us from his illiberalism?

May 23rd, 2017


Yascha Mounk is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, a Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and host of the podcast, The …

Kwame Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism

May 30th, 2017


Few words are as reviled in American politics as “cosmopolitan.” The term invokes sneering, urban, elite condescension. It’s those smug cosmopolitans …

Masha Gessen offers a plausible Trump-Russia theory

June 6th, 2017


Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and the author of, among other books, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Since the election, she has been analyzing Donald Trump through the lens …

Zephyr Teachout on suing Trump, fighting corruption, and breaking monopolies

June 13th, 2017


Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University, the author of Corruption in America, one of the lead lawyers in the emoluments case that’s …

Al Franken on learning to be a politician

June 20th, 2017


Sen. Al Franken’s new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, is the rare politician memoir that’s actually interesting. And note that I said …

danah boyd on why fake news is so easy to believe

June 27th, 2017


danah boyd is an anthropologist and computer scientist who studies the way people actually use technology. Not the way we wish we used technology, or …

Avik Roy and Ezra debate the Senate GOP's health bill

July 3rd, 2017


According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate GOP’s health care bill — officially known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act — will lead to 22 million fewer people with health insurance and plans with such …

Eddie Izzard on World War I, cake or death, and marathoning

July 11th, 2017


Now that I've gotten Eddie Izzard to re-derive his famed "cake or death?" routine in real time, I'm ending this podcast. Always good to go out on top. Okay, maybe I won't actually end it. But this episode was a thrill …

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, the first psychologist to run a jail

July 18th, 2017


Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart calls the 8,000-person Cook County Jail the largest mental health institution in the country. Thirty percent of its inmates have diagnosed mental health issues, and the number with …

Julia Galef on how to argue better and change your mind more

July 25th, 2017


At least in politics, this is an era of awful arguments. Arguments made in bad faith. Arguments in which no one, on either side, is willing to change …

What’s scary isn’t Trump’s illiberalism but America's acceptance of it

August 1st, 2017


Yascha Mounk is a lecturer at Harvard, a columnist at Slate, and the host of The Good Fight podcast. He’s also an expert on how democracies backslide …

Sen. Michael Bennet on why this is a dismal, sociopathic era in Congress

August 8th, 2017


Michael Bennet is an accidental senator. He was unexpectedly appointed to fill an open seat after Ken Salazar joined the Obama administration. He had never run for elected office before, or served in a legislative body. …

Chris Hayes on whether Trump should be removed from office

August 15th, 2017


In the aftermath of Trump’s bizarre, dangerous North Korea tweets, I’ve been fixated on a question: Should Trump be removed from office?   The …

Why prosecutors, not cops, are the keys to criminal justice reform

August 22nd, 2017


Angela J. Davis is the former director of the DC public defender service, a professor of law at American University, and editor of a remarkable new …

From 4Chan to Charlottesville: where the alt-right came from, and where it's going

August 29th, 2017


Angela Nagle spent the better part of the past decade in the darkest corners of the internet, learning how online subcultures emerge and thrive on …

Dan Rather thought he'd seen it all. But then came President Trump.

September 5th, 2017


Dan Rather has covered the most momentous events of the modern era. He was in Dallas, Texas, during President Kennedy's assassination. He was in Vietnam, embedded with US troops, in 1965 and 1966. He reported on …

What Hillary Clinton really thinks

September 12th, 2017


On page 239 of What Happened, Hillary Clinton reveals that she almost ran a very different campaign in 2016. Before announcing for president, she read Peter Barnes’s book With Liberty and Dividends for All, and became …

David Remnick on journalism in the Trump era and why he hires obsessives

September 19th, 2017


For the past 19 years, David Remnick has been the editor of the New Yorker, perhaps the greatest magazine in the English language. Under his leadership, the New Yorker has received 149 nominations for National Magazine …

Reihan Salam wants to remake the Republican Party -- again

September 25th, 2017


In 2008, Reihan Salam co-wrote Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream with his frequent collaborator …

How the Republican Party created Donald Trump

October 2nd, 2017


Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have studied American politics for more than three decades. They are the town’s go-to experts on the workings of …

Ta-Nehisi Coates is not here to comfort you

October 9th, 2017


“It’s important to remember the inconsequence of one’s talent and hard work and the incredible and unmatched sway of luck and fate,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power. Coates’s view …

What happens when human beings take control of their own evolution?

October 16th, 2017


Over the past decade, scientists have developed what was once just the subject of dystopian fiction: gene editing technology. It's known as CRISPR. …

Why the Weinstein scandal gives Tig Notaro hope about Hollywood

October 23rd, 2017


Tig Notaro dropped out of high school. She drifted between odd jobs for a long time and eventually found her way to Colorado, where she discovered …

Why politics needs more conflict, not less

October 30th, 2017


Here’s a counterintuitive thought: maybe Congress in particular, and politics in general, has too little conflict, not too much. That’s James …

Evan Osnos on the North Korea crisis, Trump’s mental health, and China's rise

November 6th, 2017


Evan Osnos is the author of the National Book Award-winning The Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, as well as a staff writer at the New Yorker. And he’s recently back from a trip to …

Ai-jen Poo: the future of work isn’t robots. It’s caring humans.

November 13th, 2017


When we talk about the future of work, we usually focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, driverless cars. The future of work, we’re told, is a …

Rebecca Traister on #MeToo, female rage, and Anita Hill’s legacy

November 20th, 2017


We’re living through an upheaval. The #MeToo moment has engulfed some of the most powerful men in politics, entertainment, and media. It has also …

What Buddhism got right about the human brain

November 27th, 2017


I wanted to take a post-Thanksgiving break from politics and current events this week to talk to Robert Wright. He's written some of the best books …

The case for impeachment

December 4th, 2017


I have grown obsessed with a seemingly simple question: Does the American political system have a remedy if we elect the wrong person to be …

"An orgy of serious policy discussion" with Paul Krugman

December 11th, 2017


On October 24, 2016, in the final days of the presidential election, Paul Krugman, the Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, …

What life is like in North Korea

December 18th, 2017


The most important story in the world right now is how real the chance of war with North Korea is — and how cataclysmic such a war would be. Part of …

The inside story of Doug Jones’s win in Alabama

December 25th, 2017


“The day before the Washington Post story came out, we were behind by one point, 46 to 45,” says Joe Trippi. “And the day before the election, we were ahead in our own survey by two points. We ended up winning by 1.8.” …

Pod Save America’s Jon Favreau on Trump’s first year, the GOP’s “rot,” and the left’s failures

January 2nd, 2018


Jon Favreau was President Obama’s chief speechwriter. In those days, he was a frequent critic of the political media, frustrated, as many in the …

The most clarifying conversation I’ve had on Trump and Russia

January 8th, 2018


What really happened between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? The investigation into that question has rocked American politics. The …

You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it

January 15th, 2018


Oftentimes it’s easy for me to describe these conversations. This one is on Trump and Russia. That one is on health care. But not this time. I want you to listen to this conversation, because Jaron Lanier is brilliant …

How to oppose Trump without becoming more like him

January 22nd, 2018


Krista Tippett is the host of the award-winning radio show and podcast On Being. In 2014, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. For good reason. She's created, over decades, something …

How Democracies Die

January 29th, 2018


The year is young, but Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die is going to be one of its most important books. It will be read as a commentary on Donald Trump, which is fair enough, because the book is, …

Why my politics are bad with Bhaskar Sunkara

February 5th, 2018


Bhaskar Sunkara is the founder and publisher of Jacobin, a journal of “socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.” He launched the …

Steven Pinker: enlightenment values made this the best moment in human history

February 12th, 2018


Does the daily news feel depressing? Does the world feel grim? It’s not, says Harvard professor Steven Pinker. This is, in fact, the best moment in …

How technology brings out the worst in us, with Tristan Harris

February 19th, 2018


In 2011, Tristan Harris’s company, Apture, was acquired by Google. Inside Google, he became unnerved by how the company worked. There was all this energy going into making the products better, more addicting, more …

Amy Chua on how tribalism is tearing America apart

February 26th, 2018


Human beings are tribal creatures, particularly when they feel threatened. And the reality of living in America in 2018, at a time of massive …

This isn’t Joe Kennedy’s grandfather’s Democratic Party, and he knows it

March 5th, 2018


When you’re sitting in front of Rep. Joe Kennedy, it’s clear that you’re sitting in front of a Kennedy. The face, the jawline — it’s all uncannily familiar. But Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is rising in a …

A better conversation on guns

March 12th, 2018


Want to know why we can’t make any progress on the guns debate? Because this isn’t a debate over policy. It’s a debate over identity. After last …

Melinda Gates (live!) on stopping climate change, ending malaria, and the problems money can’t solve

March 19th, 2018


Melinda Gates is the co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the United States. With more than $40 billion in assets, the Gates Foundation works on a dizzying …

Is Mitch Landrieu the "White, Southern Anti-Trump"?

March 26th, 2018


Mitch Landrieu is the white mayor of New Orleans, and he wants America to talk about race. Landrieu is the author of the new book, In The Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. The statues he refers to …

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next

April 2nd, 2018


It’s been a tough year for Facebook. The social networking juggernaut found itself engulfed by controversies over fake news, electoral interference, …

The Sam Harris Debate

April 9th, 2018


There’s a lot of backstory to this podcast, most of which is covered in this piece. The short version is that Sam Harris, the host of the Waking Up podcast, and I have been going back and forth over an interview Harris …

Carol Anderson on White Rage and Donald Trump

April 12th, 2018


Carol Anderson is a professor of African-American studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. …

Is modern society making us depressed?

April 16th, 2018


“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief — for our own lives not being as they should?” asks Johann Hari. “What if it is a form of grief for …

Special episode: The Syrian conflict, explained by a UN diplomat who saw it start

April 20th, 2018


Many of you will remember the interview I did with Grant Gordon, who works on humanitarian policy innovation at the International Rescue Committee. …

Is American democracy really in decline? A debate.

April 23rd, 2018


Yascha Mounk’s new book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, is perhaps the year’s scariest read. In it, Mounk argues that “liberal democracy, the unique mix of individual rights …

The age of "mega-identity" politics

April 30th, 2018


Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not identity politics as we’re used to thinking about it.  In Uncivil Agreement: How …

The New York Times’s lead Clinton reporter reflects on her coverage

May 3rd, 2018


It’s time to talk about the damn emails — and the way the media covered them. Amy Chozick reported on Hillary Clinton for a decade. She was there as Clinton’s campaign fell short in the 2008 Democratic primaries. And as …

Optimism about America

May 7th, 2018


In a February 2017 column, David Brooks wrote about "the Fallows Question, which I unfurl at dinner parties: If you could move to the place on earth …

A mind-expanding conversation with Michael Pollan

May 14th, 2018


This is perhaps the most literal title I’ve given a conversation on this podcast. This is a discussion about how to expand your mind — how to expand the connections it makes, the experiences it’s open to, the sensory …

Tyler Cowen on the painful end of American complacency

May 21st, 2018


Headlining any conversation with Tyler Cowen is difficult. This one, for instance, covers how to write a book, single-payer health care, political …

Political power and the racial wealth gap

May 28th, 2018


The racial wealth gap is where past injustice compounds into present inequality. When I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, on this show, what would prove to him …

How Jane Mayer exposed Eric Schneiderman, Bush’s torture program, and the Kochs

June 4th, 2018


On May 7, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow published a story in the New Yorker detailing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s alleged history of …

The Green Pill

June 11th, 2018


What accounts for the way most of us eat? What’s the ideology, the theory, behind our diets? And what happens when you stop believing in it? Over the …

What Ellen Pao saw coming

June 18th, 2018


Ellen Pao had a rough 2015. She lost her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest and most …

Eric Garcetti on the lessons of Los Angeles

June 25th, 2018


There’s been a lot of talk about the coming of majority-minority America — the point, projected for roughly 2045, when there will no longer be any racial or ethnic group that makes up a majority of the United States. …

The Supreme Court vs. Democracy

July 2nd, 2018


If 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had tipped the other way, President Hillary Clinton would’ve named both Antonin Scalia and …

The most clarifying conversation I’ve had about Trump and Russia (part 2)

July 5th, 2018


What have we actually learned about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, and his administration’s efforts to cover those ties up? What role did Russia …

Jaron Lanier’s case for deleting social media right now

July 9th, 2018


During my book leave, I took a social media sabbatical. No reading Facebook. No reading Twitter. And you know what? It was great. I felt able to think more clearly, and listen more closely, than had been true in years. …

How to disagree better

July 16th, 2018


Arthur Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of Washington’s most respected and powerful conservative think tanks. He’s …

What economists and politicians get wrong about trade

July 19th, 2018


For decades, Harvard’s Dani Rodrik has been a lonely voice in the economics profession warning that the academics were getting this one wrong. Trade …

The most important idea for understanding American politics in 2018

July 23rd, 2018


America is changing. A majority of infants are, for the first time in US history, nonwhite — and the rest of the population is expected to follow …

The surprising story of how American politics polarized

July 30th, 2018


We talk a lot on this podcast about the epic levels of political polarization and how much of our ongoing breakdown they explain. But what was …

Taking Trump’s corruption seriously

August 2nd, 2018


The question of whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election has consumed Washington since the Justice Department appointed …

Why online politics gets so extreme so fast

August 6th, 2018


During the 2016 campaign, Zeynep Tufekci was watching videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. But then, she writes, she "noticed something …

Chef Marcus Samuelsson on immigration, creativity, and Anthony Bourdain

August 13th, 2018


Marcus Samuelsson is the Michelin-starred chef behind Harlem’s The Red Rooster an award-winning cookbook author,the winner of the first season of Top Chef: Masters, ;nd the host of No Passport Required, a new food and …

Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate.

August 20th, 2018


"The future without jobs will come to resemble either the cultivated benevolence of Star Trek or the desperate scramble for resources of Mad Max,” …

Reup: Zephyr Teachout vs. Corruption

August 24th, 2018


Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University and one of the nation’s foremost experts on political corruption. She’s also, after a …

I build a world with fantasy master N.K. Jemisin

August 27th, 2018


I’m just going to say it. This may be the most fun I’ve ever had on a podcast. Nora Jemisin — better known by her pen name, N.K. Jemisin — just won the Hugo Award for best novel for the third year in a row. No one had …

Anand Giridharadas on the elite charade of changing the world

August 30th, 2018


“How can there be anything wrong with trying to do good?” asks Anand Giridharadas in his new book, Winners Take All. “The answer may be: when the good is an accomplice to even greater, if more invisible, harm.” …

Your attention is being hijacked. Chris Bailey can help.

September 4th, 2018


Life is the sum focus of what you pay attention to. You hear that a lot. But look at the verb there: “pay” attention to. As if attention is something …

David French on “The Great White Culture War"

September 10th, 2018


David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting …

Martha C. Nussbaum on how fear deforms our politics

September 17th, 2018


In her new book Monarchy of Fear, famed philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum identifies fear as the oldest and deepest of our emotions. Fear takes hold in …

Carol Anderson on the myth of American democracy

September 24th, 2018


The president of the United States was the runner-up in the popular vote. The majority in the US Senate got fewer votes than the minority. And even …

Francis Fukuyama’s case against identity politics

September 27th, 2018


Is all politics identity politics? And if so, then what does it mean to condemn identity politics in the first place? That’s the subject of my …

Patrick Deneen says liberalism has failed. Is he right?

October 1st, 2018


Liberalism, write Patrick Deneen, "has been for modern Americans like water for a fish, an encompassing political ecosystem in which we have swum, …

Rebecca Traister: Women's rage is transforming America

October 4th, 2018


Why did Christine Blasey Ford have to smile and politely ask for breaks while Brett Kavanaugh could rage at the cameras and dismiss the hearings as a …

Jose Antonio Vargas on living undocumented in Trump’s America

October 8th, 2018


Jose Antonio Vargas was born in the Philippines in 1981. When he was 12, his mother sent him to America, to live with family. When he was 16, he went to the DMV to get a driver's license and found out his green card was …

Reihan Salam makes the case against open borders

October 11th, 2018


In his new book, Melting Pot or Civil War: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders, Reihan Salam tries to do something difficult: …

Why Bill Gates is worried

October 15th, 2018


“To put it bluntly,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report, “decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because …

Jay Rosen is pessimistic about the media. So am I.

October 18th, 2018


This is a tough conversation. It was a tough one to hold, and it’s a tough one to publish. I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for 15 years. I …

What Nate Silver's learned about forecasting elections

October 22nd, 2018


This close to an election, who do I want to hear from? Nate Silver, of course. I sat down with the FiveThirtyEight founder and math wizard to talk about how he builds his forecasting models, what they’re saying about …

Doris Kearns Goodwin (live!) on how great presidents are made

October 25th, 2018


If you’ve got a question, Doris Kearns Goodwin has a charming, insightful, well-told presidential anecdote for you. Actually, a couple of them. I …

Rep. Mark Sanford on losing the Republican Party to Donald Trump

October 29th, 2018


Mark Sanford was elected to Congress in 1994, where he quickly established himself as one of the most conservative members of the chamber. In 2002, …

How identity politics elected Donald Trump

November 1st, 2018


Identity Crisis is the most important book written on the 2016 election. Based on reams of data covering virtually every controversy, theory, and explanation for the outcome, it settles many of the debates that have …

Sandy Darity has a plan to close the wealth gap

November 5th, 2018


Here’s something to consider: For families in which the lead earner has a college degree, the average white family has $180,500 in wealth. The …

Presidents in crisis with Slow Burn’s Leon Neyfakh

November 8th, 2018


Slow Burn is one of my favorite podcasts of the past few years. Its first season, on Watergate, relived the confusion, chaos, and strangeness of the …

Ask Ezra Anything

November 12th, 2018


You had questions. Smart, interesting questions. Questions about the zero-sum logic of markets, about whether compromise is possible or even …

Whitney Phillips explains how Trump controls the media

November 15th, 2018


Here’s a fun fact: The best training for understanding the president’s media strategy is to have studied internet trolls for years and years. Okay, …

Molly Ball on Nancy Pelosi’s future and Paul Ryan’s failure

November 19th, 2018


The midterm elections are being interpreted almost entirely as a referendum on President Donald Trump. But it was also a referendum on Paul Ryan’s …

The Impact: Deportation without representation

November 22nd, 2018


For Thanksgiving listening, I have an episode of The Impact, from my Weeds co-host Sarah Kliff. The Impact is a show about how policy shapes our …

Where Jonathan Haidt thinks the American mind went wrong

November 26th, 2018


Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist at New York University and the co-founder of Heterodox University. His book The Righteous Mind, which describes the …

Peter Beinart on anti-Semitism in America and illiberalism in Israel

November 29th, 2018


This is a conversation I’ve been putting off, if I’m being honest. I can’t hold it from the safe space of journalistic distance. It’s about the …

How to be a better carnivore

December 3rd, 2018


Here are two things I believe. First, the way we treat the animals we kill for food is shameful. Second, only a tiny percentage of the population …

Will Storr on why you are not yourself

December 6th, 2018


“To have a self is to feel as if we are, in the words of neuroscientist Professor Chris Frith, the ‘invisible actor at the centre of the world’.” That’s Will Storr, writing in his fantastic book Selfie. Ignore the very …

Adam Serwer on white political correctness

December 10th, 2018


“What a society finds offensive is not a function of fact or truth,” writes Adam Serwer, “but of power.” Serwer is a writer at the Atlantic, and he’s …

How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy

December 13th, 2018


In Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj’s new Netflix show, he does three things political comedians often don’t do. First, he makes political comedy personal. …

Rep. Katie Porter on how capitalism is failing

December 17th, 2018


Katie Porter is the Rep.-elect from California’s 45th District, which happens to be the district I grew up in. She’s part of the brigade of Democrats who turned Orange County blue for the first time since the Great …

TED’s Chris Anderson on the lessons of listening

December 20th, 2018


You know TED. Black stage, red accents, wireless mic, one speaker. Billions of views each year. TED is more than a conference now; it’s a meme: “Thanks for coming to my TED talk” closes Tumblr and Twitter posts. Chris …

Kara Swisher interviews me on the Future of Journalism (Live!)

December 24th, 2018


When I decided to start an interview podcast, the first person I went to for advice was Kara Swisher — founder of Recode, host of the Code Conference and the Recode/Decode podcast, and one of the most legendary …

Best-of: Bryan Stevenson

December 27th, 2018


Here, at the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite episodes of the show with you. Bryan Stevenson tops the list. He’s the founder of the …

Best of: N.K. Jemisin

December 31st, 2018


This is the most fun I’ve ever had on a podcast. Nora Jemisin — better known by her pen name, N.K. Jemisin — won the Hugo Award for best novel this year for the third year in a row. No one had ever done that before. …

Jill Lepore on America’s two revolutions

January 3rd, 2019


Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, and the author of These Truths, a dazzling one-volume synthesis of American history. …

Anil Dash on the biases of tech

January 7th, 2019


“Marc Andreessen famously said that ‘software is eating the world,’ but it’s far more accurate to say that the neoliberal values of software tycoons …

Eric Holder’s plan to save democracy

January 10th, 2019


Eric Holder was attorney general during the first six years of Barack Obama’s presidency, and there are days when it feels like he’s the attorney …

Cal Newport has an answer for digital burnout

January 14th, 2019


Cal Newport suspects you’re a digital maximalist — someone who believes that any potential for benefit is reason enough to start using a new …

Sean Decatur doesn’t see a free speech crisis on campus

January 17th, 2019


Sean Decatur is the president of Kenyon College and the first African-American to hold that job. He’s also one of the most thoughtful voices in the …

Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational

January 21st, 2019


There aren’t too many people with an idea that will actually change how you think about American politics. But Frances Lee is one of them. In her new …

Robert Sapolsky on the toxic intersection of poverty and stress

January 24th, 2019


Robert Sapolsky is a Stanford neuroscientist and primatologist. He’s the author of a slew of important books on human biology and behavior. But it’s …

Ending the age of animal cruelty, with Bruce Friedrich

January 28th, 2019


You often hear that eating animals is natural. And it is. But not the way we do it.

The industrial animal agriculture system is a technological …

This conversation will change how you understand misogyny

January 31st, 2019


Misogyny has long been understood as something men feel, not something women experience. That, says philosopher Kate Manne, is a mistake. In her book Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, Manne defines misogyny as “as …

The world according to Ralph Nader

February 4th, 2019


Ralph Nader needs no introduction. But if your knowledge of Nader mostly consists of his 2000 campaign for the presidency, his career does demand …

Leftists vs. liberals, with Elizabeth Bruenig

February 7th, 2019


What separates Obama-era liberalism from Sanders-style democratic socialism? What are the fights splitting and transforming the Democratic Party actually about?

This is a conversation I’ve wanted to have for a while, in …

The core contradiction of American politics

February 11th, 2019


The Republican and Democratic parties are not the same. I’ll say it again: The Republican and Democratic parties are not the same.

I don’t just mean they believe different things. I mean they’re composed in different …

Andrew Sullivan and I work out our differences

February 14th, 2019


I’ve been arguing with Andrew Sullivan online for almost 15 years now. It’s one of my oldest and most rewarding hobbies. In the past, I’ve always …

Anniversary special: Rachel Maddow

February 18th, 2019


To celebrate The Ezra Klein Show's third anniversary, I’m listening back to the very first episode: a conversation with Rachel Maddow. 

Rachel is, of course, the host of MSNBC's primetime news show and a best-selling …

Why should we care about deficits?

February 21st, 2019


Stony Brook University’s Stephanie Kelton is the most influential proponent of Modern Monetary Theory, a heterodox take on government budgets that urges a focus on inflation, rather than deficits. Jason Furman was …

Noah Rothman on the "unjustice" of social justice politics

February 25th, 2019


I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism and the GOP.

For the last three years or so, there has been an ongoing …

Pramila Jayapal thinks we can get to Medicare-for-All fast

February 28th, 2019


The Democratic Party is quickly coalescing around an ambitious Medicare-for-All platform — and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is shaping up to be a major voice in that debate.

Jayapal co-chairs the Congressional Progressive …

Life after climate change, with David Wallace-Wells

March 4th, 2019


After years of hovering on the periphery of American politics, never quite the star of the show, it seems that climate change is having a moment. An …

Pop music can make you smarter

March 6th, 2019


Vox takes culture seriously. Our coverage of movies, TV, books, and music delves deep into what our cultural touchstones reveal about who we are and …

ICYMI: Paul Krugman

March 7th, 2019


For this episode of the Ezra Klein show we're digging back into the archives to share another of our favorite episodes with you!


On October 24, …

The roots of extremism, with Deeyah Khan

March 11th, 2019


What draws someone into an extremist movement? Is it about ideology? Race? Politics? So many of our discussions about extremism try to explain away …

ICYMI: Julia Galef

March 14th, 2019


For this episode of The Ezra Klein Show, we're digging into the archives to share another of our favorites with you!


At least in politics, this is an …

Why Gov. Jay Inslee is running for president on climate change

March 18th, 2019


Vox senior politics reporter, Jane Coaston speaks to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee at South by Southwest about climate change, his 2020 candidacy, why …

American politics after Christianity, with Ross Douthat

March 21st, 2019


I’m Vox’s interviews writer, Sean Illing. Lately, I’ve been interested in the following question: Is the decline of institutionalized Christianity …

The somewhat fractured state of American conservatism

March 25th, 2019


Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, sits down with Vox senior politics reporter Jane Coaston to discuss intellectual …

Meet the policy architect behind the Green New Deal

March 28th, 2019


Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced a Green New Deal resolution, outlining a bold effort to decarbonize the US …

Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change

April 1st, 2019


First off. Hello! I’m back from paternity leave. And this is a helluva podcast to restart with.

Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar, a Navy veteran, …

How whiteness distorts our democracy, with Eddie Glaude Jr.

April 4th, 2019


“Race isn’t about black people, necessarily,” says Eddie Glaude Jr. “It’s about the way whiteness works to disfigure and distort our democracy, and the ideals that animate our democracy.”

Glaude is the chair of Princeton …

An ex-libertarian’s quest to rebuild the center right

April 8th, 2019


Nothing would do more to repair American politics than for the center right to regain power in the Republican coalition. But before that can happen, …

Identity, nationalism, and fatherhood

April 11th, 2019


Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review and the author of My Father Left Me Ireland, a moving, lyrical memoir about fatherhood and identity. It’s also a stirring defense of nationalism, an attack …

In defense of white-backlash politics

April 15th, 2019


“The big question of our time is less, ‘What does it mean to be American?’ than, ‘What does it mean to be white American in an age of ethnic …

How social democrats won Europe — then lost it

April 18th, 2019


Democratic socialism is on the rise in the United States, but it’s been a dominant force for far longer in Europe. Ask Bernie Sanders to define his …

Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle

April 22nd, 2019


In the past few months, two essays on America’s changing relationship to work caught my eye. The first was Anne Helen Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed piece defining, and describing, “millennial burnout.” The second was Derek …

Lessons from Vox’s first 5 years

April 25th, 2019


This is a special episode for me. Vox turns 5 this week! So I sat down with my co-founders, Melissa Bell and Matt Yglesias, to discuss what went right, what went wrong, what changed in the media environment, and what we …

Emily Oster schools me on parenthood

April 29th, 2019


I’ve read a lot of Emily Oster over the past year. Her first book, Expecting Better, has become the data-minded parent’s bible on pregnancy. Her new book, Cribsheet, extends that analysis to the first years of life.

The disillusionment of David Brooks

May 2nd, 2019


2013 was David Brooks’s worst year. “The realities that used to define my life fell away,” he says. His marriage ended. His children moved out. The …

Ask Ezra Anything 3: Endgame

May 6th, 2019


Time for another AMA! You all hit the big stuff in this one. What’s the purpose of this show? How do I prep for it? What did I think of the Whiteshift conversation? What has fatherhood changed in my worldview? What …

The purpose of political violence

May 9th, 2019


“Between 1830 and 1860, there were more than seventy violent incidents between congressmen in the House and Senate chambers or on nearby streets and …

Contrapoints on taking the trolls seriously

May 13th, 2019


YouTube is where tomorrow’s politics are happening today.

If you’re over 30, and you don’t spend much time on the platform, it’s almost impossible to …

What kind of news is cable news? (With Brian Stelter)

May 16th, 2019


Brian Stelter is the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, as well as the network’s chief media correspondent. But before he was the host of Reliable Sources, he was just a kid with a blog — a blog that obsessed over the …

Matt Yglesias and Jenny Schuetz solve the housing crisis

May 20th, 2019


In this special crossover episode, Brookings Institution’s Jenny Schuetz joins The Weeds’ Matt Yglesias to discuss subsidies, zoning reform, and much more.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)

May 23rd, 2019


“For some, there may be a kind of engineer’s satisfaction in the streamlining and networking of our entire lived experience,” writes Jenny Odell. …

Why good people are easily corrupted (with Lawrence Lessig)

May 27th, 2019


I’ve been learning from, and arguing with, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig for a decade now. We have a long-running debate over whether money …

How the brains of master meditators change

May 30th, 2019


Richie Davidson has spent a lifetime studying meditation. He’s studied it as a practitioner, sitting daily, going on retreats, and learning under masters. And he’s pioneered the study of it as a scientist, working with …

How Mitch McConnell convinced Michael Bennet to run for president

June 3rd, 2019


I’m not sure what I expected Sen. Michael Bennet’s answer to be when I asked him why he was running for president. I didn’t expect it to be “Mitch McConnell.”

Since arriving in the Senate in 2009, Bennet has built a …

Michael Lewis reads my mind

June 6th, 2019


Michael Lewis needs little introduction. He’s the author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, The Blind Side, The Fifth Risk. He’s the host of …

The plan behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans

June 10th, 2019


Oligarchic capitalism? Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. Opioid deaths? She’s got a plan for that too. Same is true for high housing costs, offshoring, child care, breaking up Big Tech, curbing congressional …

This changed how I think about love (with Alison Gopnik)

June 13th, 2019


Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California Berkeley. She’s published more than 100 journal articles …

Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo (Live!)

June 17th, 2019


“The phrase ‘identity politics’ is a weaponization of the Democrats’ structural advantage in elections from now until eternity,” says Stacey Abrams.

Why liberals and conservatives create such different media (with Danna Young)

June 20th, 2019


The debate over polarized media can make the two ecosystems sound equivalent. One is left, the other right, but otherwise they’re the same. That …

Failing towards Utopia

June 21st, 2019


Nice Try! is a new podcast from Curbed and the Vox Media Podcast Network that explores stories of people who have tried to design a better world, and what happens when those designs don't go according to plan. Season …

The cognitive cost of poverty (with Sendhil Mullainathan)

June 24th, 2019


If you’re a Parks and Rec fan, you’ll remember Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness. Right there at the base sits “Capitalism: God’s way of determining who is smart and who is poor.”

It’s a joke, but not really. Few want …

An enlightening, frustrating conversation on liberalism (with Adam Gopnik)

June 27th, 2019


“Liberalism is as distinct a tradition as exists in political history, but it suffers from being a practice before it is an ideology, a temperament …

Behind the panic in white, Christian America

July 1st, 2019


About seven in 10 American seniors are white Christians. Among young adults, fewer than three in 10 are. During the span of the Obama administration, …

White threat in a browning America (Jennifer Richeson re-air)

July 4th, 2019


This conversation with Yale psychologist and MacArthur genius Jennifer Richeson first appeared a year ago, and it’s one of my favorites. But I wanted …

Rod Dreher on America’s post-Christian culture war [CORRECTED]

July 8th, 2019


[A quick note about this episode - we have fixed an error that caused some listeners to hear overlapping audio in the first portion of the show. Thank you for your understanding, and we're sorry for the issue]

In 2017, …

What deliberative democracy can, and can’t, do (with Jane Mansbridge)

July 11th, 2019


Every time I do an episode on polarization, I get a few emails asking: What about deliberative democracy? Couldn’t that be an answer?

Deliberative …

George Will makes the conservative case against democracy

July 15th, 2019


It’s a good time to be a Republican. But it’s a bad time, George Will argues, to be a conservative. Hence his new, 700-page manifesto, The Conservative Sensibility, which tries to rescue conservatism from the …

How white identity politics won the Republican civil war

July 18th, 2019


Tim Alberta’s new book American Carnage documents “the Republican Civil War”: a decade-plus struggle over whether the Republican Party would build …

Rutger Bregman’s utopias, and mine

July 22nd, 2019


Universal basic income. A 15-hour work week. Open borders.

These ideas may strike you as crazy, fantastical, maybe even utopian... but that’s exactly the point.

My guest today is Dutch historian Rutger Bregman, whose book

Is the media amplifying Trump’s racism? (with Whitney Phillips)

July 25th, 2019


Some podcasts I do are easy. There’s a problem and, hey look, here’s a great answer! Some are hard. There’s a problem and, well, there may not be a good answer. This is one of those.

When Donald Trump tweeted that four …

Generation Climate Change

July 29th, 2019


This is one of those episodes I want to put the hard sell on. It’s one of the most important conversations I’ve had on the show. The fact that it left me feeling better about the world rather than worse — that was …

Is big tech addictive? Nir Eyal and I debate.

August 1st, 2019


“How do successful companies create products people can’t put down?”

That’s the opening line of the description for Nir Eyal’s bestselling 2014 book

Astra Taylor will change how you think about democracy

August 5th, 2019


Astra Taylor’s new book has the best title I’ve seen in a long time: Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone.

I talk a lot about democracy on this show, but not in the way Taylor talks about it. The …

Can Raj Chetty save the American dream?

August 8th, 2019


I don’t ordinarily find myself scrambling to write down article ideas during these conversations, but almost everything Raj Chetty says is worth a feature unto itself. For instance:

- Great Kindergarten teachers generate …

Matt Bruenig’s case for single-payer health care

August 12th, 2019


The Democratic primary has been unexpectedly dominated by a single question: Will you abolish private health insurance?

Wrapped in that question are …

The Constitution is a progressive document

August 15th, 2019


“The Constitution must be adapted to the problems of each generation,” writes Erwin Chemerisnky, “we are not living in the world of 1787 and should …

Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)

August 19th, 2019


Imagine a society whose rulers suppress free speech, free association, even bathroom breaks. Where the government owns the means of production. Where …

The original meaning of “identity politics” (with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

August 22nd, 2019


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of multiple books, including …

Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

August 26th, 2019


The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and …

A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

August 29th, 2019


I don’t usually begin interviews with the question “who the hell are you?” But, then again, not every guest is John Higgs.

I fell into Higgs’s work by accident. An offhand recommendation of his book on the KLF, a British …

The rocky marriage between libertarians and conservatives

September 2nd, 2019


Hello, everybody! I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism.

Today, I'm speaking with Conor Friedersdorf, a staff …

John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong

September 5th, 2019


Hello everyone. I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism (Ezra will be back from vacation next week).

Political animals (with Leah Garcés)

September 9th, 2019


Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to be an animal rights activist. Tens of billions of animals are being tortured and slaughtered every year. It …

Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism

September 12th, 2019


I’m careful about inviting politicians onto this podcast. Too often, questions go unanswered, and frustrated emails flood my inbox. So I only bring …

Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD

September 16th, 2019


I’m not usually a fanboy on this podcast, but this episode is the exception.

I love the web-comic XKCD. I’ve had prints of it hanging in my house for years. It’s nerdy and humane, curious and kind. And every so often, …

Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosing schools, and Cuba

September 19th, 2019


“The truth is that as much democracy as this nation has today” writes Nikole Hannah-Jones “it has been borne on the backs of black resistance.”

When meritocracy wins, everybody loses

September 23rd, 2019


In The Meritocracy Trap, Daniel Markovits argues that meritocracy — a system set-up to expand opportunity, reduce inequality and end aristocracy — has become exactly what it was set up to combat: a mechanism for …

Samantha Power’s journey from foreign policy critic to UN ambassador

September 26th, 2019


Samantha Power reported from the killing fields of Bosnia. She watched a genocide that could’ve been stopped years earlier grind on amidst …

An inspiring conversation about democracy

September 30th, 2019


Danielle Allen directs Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. She’s a political theorist, and a philosopher, and the principal investigator of …

Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things

October 3rd, 2019


Malcolm Gladwell’s work is nothing short of an intellectual adventure.

Sometimes, as in his podcast Revisionist History, he takes something small and …

Ibram X. Kendi wants to redefine racism

October 7th, 2019


Racism is one of the most morally charged words in the English language. It is typically understood as a form of deep inner prejudice — something that people actively feel and consciously express. My guest today, Ibram …

The loneliness epidemic

October 10th, 2019


As US surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Vivek Murthy visited communities across the United States to talk about issues like addiction, obesity, and mental illness. But he found that what Americans wanted to talk to him …

How politics became a war against reality

October 14th, 2019


In his brilliant 2014 book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, Soviet-born TV producer turned journalist Peter Pomerantsev described …

We don’t just feel emotions. We make them.

October 17th, 2019


How do you feel right now? Excited to listen to your favorite podcast? Anxious about the state of American politics? Annoyed by my use of rhetorical …

The four words that will decide impeachment

October 21st, 2019


Hey EK Show listeners! Something different today. The first episode of my new podcast: Impeachment, Explained.

This was the week of confessions. …

Neoliberalism and its discontents

October 24th, 2019


“Neoliberalism” is one of the most confusing phrases in political discourse today. The term is often used to describe the market fundamentalism of …

We live in The Good Place. And we’re screwing it up.

October 28th, 2019


Welcome to the first episode of our climate cluster. This isn’t a series about whether “the science is real” on climate change. This is a series about what the science says — and what it means for our lives, our …

The climate crisis is an oceans crisis

November 4th, 2019


Welcome to episode 2 of our climate cluster. The more I prepared for this series, the more I realize there was a big blue gap in my understanding of climate change.

Oceans cover 70% of the earth, absorb 93% of the heat …

What a smarter Trumpism would sound like

November 7th, 2019


Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the co-founder of the New America Foundation, and an important contributor to American Affairs, a journal originally created to imagine a more …

Introducing Reset

November 8th, 2019


Thanks for listening to Reset from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Today's episodes were Can A.I. Tech You To Write Better and Quantum Supremacy, WTF.

If you enjoyed these episodes, subscribe to Reset for free …

ICYMI: Edward Norton’s theory of mind, movies, and power

November 8th, 2019


Due to a technical glitch this interview with Edward Norton did not find it’s way into most people’s feeds. If you were able to download the first one this is indeed the exact same interview, but if you missed it …

How social media makes us antisocial

November 11th, 2019


Andrew Marantz is a writer at the New Yorker who, for years, has been deeply immersed in the world of conservative trolls, alt-right social media …

How Whole Foods, yoga, and NPR became the hallmarks of the elite

November 14th, 2019


If you're anything like me, this episode will make you think about the way you shop, learn, eat, parent, and exercise in a whole new way.

My guest …

Having a bad day? Dave Eggers can help.

November 18th, 2019


I’ve wanted to have Dave Eggers on the show for a while now. Eggers has not only written a vast range of books (a deeply ironic personal memoir, a heartwarming novel about a Sudanese refugee, a futuristic story about a …

There’s more to life than profit

November 21st, 2019


Yancey Strickler is the co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, and he’s just released a new book, This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More …

Because podcast

November 25th, 2019


Gretchen McCulloch is a self-described “internet linguist,” host of the podcast Lingthusiasm, and author of the recent book Because Internet: …

Best of: The age of "mega-identity" politics

November 28th, 2019


Happy Thanksgiving! Please enjoy a re-air episode from April 2018 with Lilliana Mason.

Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not …

Peter Singer on the lives you can save

December 2nd, 2019


Imagine you’re walking to work. You see a child drowning in a lake. You’re about to jump in and save her when you realize you’re wearing your best suit, and the rescue will end up costing hundreds in dry cleaning bills. …

When doing the right thing makes you a criminal

December 5th, 2019


For most of his life, Wayne Hsiung was a typical overachiever. He attended the University of Chicago, started his PhD in Economics, became a law professor at Northwestern, was mentored by Cass Sunstein. But then, …

The moral philosophy of The Good Place (with Mike Schur and Pamela Hieronymi)

December 9th, 2019


After creating and running Parks and Recreation and writing for The Office, Michael Schur decided he wanted to create a sitcom about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence: What does it mean to be a …

Paul Krugman on climate, robots, single-payer, and so much more

December 12th, 2019


It’s cliché to call podcasts wide-ranging. But this conversation, with Nobel-prize winning economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, really is. …

How to solve climate change and make life more awesome

December 16th, 2019


The climate series is back! The reason for the delay is that I wanted to make sure that this episode was next up in the series. Once you start listening, you’ll understand why. 

So far, we’ve spent the series talking …

The geoengineering question

December 19th, 2019


Most analyses of how to “solve” climate change start from a single, crucial assumption: that carbon emissions and global warming are inextricably …

Republicans vs. the planet

December 23rd, 2019


Dave Roberts is an energy and climate writer at Vox and a senior fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. …

Best of: Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle

December 26th, 2019


Here, at the end of the year, I wanted to share one of my favorite episodes of 2019 with you.

Earlier this year, two essays on America’s changing relationship to work caught my eye. The first was Anne Helen Petersen’s …

Ask Ezra Anything

December 30th, 2019


It’s here. The final AMA of 2019. Among the questions you asked:

- If you believe that changing someone's mind about a topic, any topic is difficult, …

How to topple dictators and transform society (with Erica Chenoweth)

January 2nd, 2020


The 2010s witnessed a sharp uptick in nonviolent resistance movements all across the globe. Over the course of the last decade we’ve seen record …

Nathan Robinson’s case for socialism

January 6th, 2020


“Socialism” is simultaneously one of the most commonly used and most confusing terms in American politics. Does being a socialist mean advocating for …

How an epidemic begins and ends

January 8th, 2020


Introducing season 3 of The Impact!

The 2020 candidates have some bold ideas to tackle some of our country's biggest problems, like climate change, …

The conservative mind of Yuval Levin

January 9th, 2020


Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the way we often conflate two very distinct things when we assign political labels. The first is …

An “uncomfortable” conversation with Cory Booker

January 13th, 2020


There is a moral radicalism to the way Cory Booker lives out his politics. He lived for years in a housing project. He leads hunger strikes. He …

Post-debate special!

January 16th, 2020


Vox's Matt Yglesias and I unpack the debate that did, and didn't, happen.

Related reading:

"Joe Biden will never give up on the system" by Ezra Klein

"4 …

The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

January 20th, 2020


With “reeducation" camps in China, religious disenfranchisement in India, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, street violence in Sri Lanka, mass shootings …

Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

January 23rd, 2020


This is a podcast episode literally years in the making. It’s an excerpt — the first anywhere — from my book Why We’re Polarized.

A core argument of …

Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

January 27th, 2020


“The bad days are back” wrote Batya Ungar-Sargon in the Forward in December, “Orthodox Jews are living through a new age of pogroms. This week, as we celebrated the Festival of Lights, there were no fewer than 10 …

Why We're Polarized, with Jamelle Bouie (live!)

January 30th, 2020


 The Why We’re Polarized book tour kicked off this week with a wonderful event at Sixth and I in Washington, DC. My conversation partner for this one …

Is Tom Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics?

February 3rd, 2020


Tom Steyer has worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He made his billions running a hedge fund for decades before moving into progressive …

Jill Lepore on what I get wrong

February 6th, 2020


Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, the author of These Truths, and one of my favorite past guests on this show. But in this episode, the tables are turned: I’m in the hot seat, and Lepore has …

Tim Urban on humanity’s wild future

February 10th, 2020


 I’ve been a fan of Tim Urban and his site Wait But Why for a long time. Urban uses whimsical illustrations, infographics, and friendly, nontechnical language to explain everything from AI to space exploration to the …

If God is dead, then … socialism?

February 13th, 2020


Hello! I’m Sean Illing, Vox’s interviews writer filling in for Ezra while he’s on book tour. My guest today is Martin Hägglund, a philosopher at Yale …

Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

February 17th, 2020


This one was a pleasure. Ta-Nehisi Coates joined me in Brooklyn for part of the “Why We’re Polarized” tour. His description of the book may be my …

What Donald Trump got right about white America

February 20th, 2020


Hello! I’m Jane Coaston, filling in for Ezra. My guest today is Tim Carney, a commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. 

In the wake of the 2016 election, …

Barbara Ehrenreich on UBI, class conflict, and collective joy

February 24th, 2020


In the late 90s Barbara Ehrenreich went undercover as a waitress to discover how people with minimum wage full-time jobs were making ends meet. It …

Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry

February 27th, 2020


It’s the rare podcast conversation where, as it’s happening, I’m making notes to go back and listen again so I can fully absorb what I heard. But …

Weeds 2020: The Bernie electability debate

February 29th, 2020


Welcome to Weeds 2020! Every other Saturday Ezra and Matt will be exploring a wide range of topics related to the 2020 race. 

Since the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders has become the clear frontrunner in the 2020 …

Rebecca Solnit on Harvey Weinstein, feminism, and social change

March 2nd, 2020


Rebecca Solnit is one of the great activist-essayists of our age. Her books and writing cover a vast amount of human existence, but a common thread …

What would a Sanders or Biden presidency look like?

March 5th, 2020


Super Tuesday winnowed the 2020 Democratic primary race down to two candidates: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. So how would their presidencies …

Are you a "political hobbyist?" If so, you're the problem.

March 9th, 2020


Obsessively following the daily political news feels like an act of politics, or at least an act of civics. But what if, for many of us, it’s a …

Dan Pfeiffer on Joe Biden, beating Trump, and saving democracy

March 12th, 2020


Before becoming the co-host of Pod Save America, Dan Pfeiffer spent most of his adult life in Democratic Party politics, which included serving as …

Weeds 2020: The coronavirus election

March 14th, 2020


This week, President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders each gave separate speeches in response to a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak in the United States. What did …

A master class in organizing

March 16th, 2020


The Bernie Sanders campaign is an organizing tour-de-force relative to the Joe Biden campaign; yet the latter has won primary after primary — with even higher turnouts than 2016. So does organizing even work? And, if …

"The virus is more patient than people are"

March 19th, 2020


Ron Klain served as the chief of staff to vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. In 2014, President Barack Obama tapped him to lead the …

An economic crisis like we’ve never seen

March 23rd, 2020


“What is happening,” writes Annie Lowrey, “is a shock to the American economy more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.”  

It’s also different from what anyone alive has ever experienced. For many of …

Is the cure worse than the disease?

March 26th, 2020


"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself!"

That was President Donald Trump, this week, explaining why he was thinking about lifting coronavirus guidelines earlier than public-health experts recommended. …

Coronavirus has pushed US-China relations to their worst point since Mao

March 30th, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder that the worst really can happen. Tail risk is real risk. Political leaders fumble, miscalculate, and …

What social solidarity demands of us in a pandemic

April 2nd, 2020


There is no doubt that social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But the efficacy of social distancing (or really any other public health measure) relies on something much deeper and …

Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too

April 6th, 2020


In January, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first presidential candidate to release a plan for combatting coronavirus. In March, she released a second plan. Days later, with the scale of economic damage increasing, she …

Toby Ord on existential risk, Donald Trump, and thinking in probabilities

April 9th, 2020


Oxford philosopher Toby Ord spent the early part of his career spearheading the effective altruism movement, founding Giving What We Can, and focusing his attention primarily on issue areas like global public health and …

Scott Gottlieb on how, and when, to end social distancing

April 13th, 2020


When will social distancing end? When will life return to “normal”? And what will it take to get there? 

Scott Gottlieb is a physician and public health expert who served as Donald Trump’s first FDA commissioner, where …

Why Bernie Sanders lost and how progressives can still win

April 16th, 2020


The Democratic presidential primary is over. Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee heading into the fall. And this week, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren endorsed their former competitor.

On the left, the question is: …

The loneliness pandemic/Betraying “essential workers”

April 20th, 2020


We have something a bit different today. Two episodes from our extraordinary colleagues at Today, Explained, both of them close to my heart. 

The …

An epic conversation with Madeline Miller

April 23rd, 2020


It’s been a while since I’ve been able to introduce a conversation on this show as fun. But this one was. I needed it. Maybe you do, too.

Madeline Miller has written some of my favorite novels of the past few years. Her …

Bill Gates’s vision for life beyond coronavirus

April 27th, 2020


In 2015, I asked Bill Gates a simple question: What are you most afraid of? 

He replied by telling me about the death chart of the 20th century. There’s the spike for World War I. The spike for World War II. But between …

What should the media learn from coronavirus?

April 30th, 2020


The coronavirus is “a nightmare scenario” for media, wrote New York Times columnist Charlie Warzel. “It is stealthy, resilient and confounding to …

An unusually honest conversation about wielding political power

May 4th, 2020


Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is the co-chair of the 95-member House Progressive Caucus. That means, in the aftermath of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, she leads the most influential bloc of progressive …

Jenny Odell on nature, art, and burnout in quarantine

May 7th, 2020


One of my favorite episodes of this show was my conversation with Jenny Odell, just under a year ago. Odell, a visual artist, writer, and Stanford lecturer, had just released her book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the …

Why the coronavirus is so deadly for black America

May 11th, 2020


In Michigan, African Americans represent 14 percent of the population, 33 percent of infections, and 40 percent of deaths. In Mississippi they …

A mind-bending conversation about quantum mechanics and parallel worlds

May 14th, 2020


While you read these words, the universe is splitting into countless copies. New realities, all with a version of you, exactly like you are now, but …

"The world’s scariest economist” on coronavirus, innovation, and purpose

May 18th, 2020


The Times of London called Mariana Mazzucato “the world’s scariest economist.” Quartz describes her as “on a mission to save capitalism from itself.” Wired says she has “a plan to fix capitalism,” and warns that “it’s …

Why “essential” workers are treated as disposable

May 21st, 2020


Grocery store clerks. Fast food cashiers. Hospice care workers. Bus drivers. Farm workers. Along with doctors and nurses, these are the people who are putting their own lives at risk to keep our society functioning day …

Robert Frank's radical idea

May 25th, 2020


I’ve known Cornell economist Robert Frank for almost 15 years. And for as long as I’ve known him, Frank has been trying to convince his fellow economists of an idea that’s simple to state, but radical in its …

From politician to priest

May 28th, 2020


I first met Cyrus Habib at a conference a few years ago. You don't forget him. He's a Rhodes scholar. Iranian-America. As lieutenant governor of …

Are humans fundamentally good? (with Rutger Bregman)

June 1st, 2020


Dutch historian and De Correspondent writer Rutger Bregman got famous for the lashings he gave Tucker Carlson and the assembled plutocrats of Davos. …

Why Ta-Nehisi Coates is hopeful

June 4th, 2020


The first question I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this episode, was broad: What does he see right now, as he looks out at the country? “I can't believe I'm gonna say this,” he replied, “but I see hope. I see progress …

A former prosecutor's case for prison abolition

June 8th, 2020


In 2017, Paul Butler published the book Chokehold: Policing Black Men. For Butler the chokehold is much more than a barbaric police tactic; it is …

A serious conversation about UFOs

June 11th, 2020


You may have been following — I hope you are following — the New York Times's recent UFO reporting. Videos that the Navy confirms are real show …

Ross Douthat and I debate American decadence

June 15th, 2020


In his new book, The Decadent Society, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat diagnoses America’s core problems as decadence: “a situation in which …

The transformative power of restorative justice

June 18th, 2020


The criminal justice system asks three questions: What law was broken? Who broke it? And what should the punishment be? Upon that edifice — and …

Which country has the world's best healthcare system?

June 22nd, 2020


I got my start as a blogger. But more specifically, I got my start as a health policy blogger. My first piece of writing I remember people really …

Your questions, answered

June 25th, 2020


Believe it or not, we’re already halfway through 2020. What a great year so far, huh? Just a delight. That means it’s time for an AMA. Among the …

Nicholas Carr on deep reading and digital thinking

June 29th, 2020


In 1964, the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote his opus Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. In it, he writes, “In the long run, a medium's content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how …

Land of the Giants: The Netflix Effect

July 1st, 2020


Land of the Giants is a podcast from our friends at Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network that examines the most powerful tech companies of our …

Danielle Allen on the radicalism of the American revolution — and its lessons for today

July 2nd, 2020


My first conversation with Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen in fall 2019 was one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t expect to have Allen on …

Can artificial intelligence be emotionally intelligent?

July 6th, 2020


When we talk about AI, we’re often talking about a very particular, narrow form of intelligence — the sort of analytical competence that can win you …

The frightening fragility of America's political institutions

July 9th, 2020


Masha Gessen grew up in the Soviet Union and spent two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, before being driven from the …

Free speech, safety, and ‘the letter’

July 13th, 2020


Last week, Harper’s published an open letter arguing that “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.” The letter had a long list of signatories, …

What a post-Trump Republican Party might look like

July 16th, 2020


Five years ago, Oren Cass sat at the center of the Republican Party. Cass is a former management consultant who served as the domestic policy …

Bryan Stevenson on how America can heal

July 20th, 2020


What would it take for America to heal? To be the country it claims to be?

This is the question that animates Bryan Stevenson’s career. Stevenson is …

The crisis in the news

July 23rd, 2020


There’s been a lot of discussion lately — including on this show — of the problems facing national news. Cries of fake news, illiberalism in the …

A rabbi explains how to make sense of suffering

July 27th, 2020


In this special crossover episode of Vox's Future Perfect series, The Way Through, Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai …

Dadding out with Mike Birbiglia

July 30th, 2020


Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians. He’s behind the specials. “Thank God for Jokes” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” the movies …

Best of: Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

August 3rd, 2020


The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and …

How inequality and white identity politics feed each other

August 6th, 2020


Conservative parties operating in modern democracies face a dilemma: How does a party that represents the interests of moneyed elites win mass support? The dilemma sharpens as inequality widens — the more the haves …

A devastating indictment of the Republican Party

August 10th, 2020


For 30 years, Stuart Stevens was one of the most influential operatives in Republican politics. He was Mitt Romney’s top strategist in 2012, served …

What would Keynes do?

August 13th, 2020


The novel coronavirus — and America’s disastrously inept response — has shuttered the economy, leaving factories quiet, businesses closed, workers …

Hannah Gadsby on comedy, free speech, and living with autism

August 17th, 2020


Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby became a global star with her Netflix special Nanette. It’s a remarkable piece of work, and it does what great art is supposed to do: Give you a sense, however fleeting, of what it is …

What it would take to end child poverty in America

August 20th, 2020


In 2019, about one in six children in America — 12 million kids nationwide — lived in poverty. That’s a rate about two or three times higher than in peer countries. And that was before the worst economic and public …

Isabel Wilkerson wants to change how we understand race in America

August 24th, 2020


Isabel Wilkerson is an intimidating guest. She’s a former New York Times reporter, Pulitzer Prize recipient, Guggenheim fellow, and hands-down one of …

How to decarbonize America — and create 25 million jobs

August 27th, 2020


Saul Griffith knows the US energy system better than just about anyone on this planet. He’s an inventor, a MacArthur genius fellow, and the founder …

Why the hell did America invade Iraq?

August 31st, 2020


In 2003, America invaded Iraq. The war cost trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and destabilized …

Andrew Yang on UBI, coronavirus, and his next job in politics

September 3rd, 2020


The last time Andrew Yang was on the podcast, he was just beginning his long shot campaign for the presidency. Now, he’s fresh off a speaking slot at the Democratic convention, and, as he reveals here, talking to Joe …

Black Republicans, Donald Trump, and America's "George Floyd moment"

September 7th, 2020


The Republican Party began losing the Black vote around 1936. Since then, Republicans have commissioned reports, hired consultants, and spent huge …

How to think about coronavirus risk in your life

September 10th, 2020


Coronavirus has turned life into an endless series of risk calculations. Can I take my child to see his grandparents, even if it means getting on a …

Race, policing, and the universal yearning for safety

September 14th, 2020


Our conversation over race and policing — like our conversations over virtually everything in America — is shot through with a crude individualism. …

The Matt Yglesias Show

September 17th, 2020


Matt Yglesias is a co-founder and senior correspondent at Vox, my co-host on The Weeds podcast, and my oldest friend in journalism. Matt’s college …

David French and I debate polarization, secession, and the filibuster

September 21st, 2020


David French is a senior editor at the Dispatch, a columnist at Time, and one of the conservative commentators I read most closely. French and I have …

RBG, minority rule, and our looming legitimacy crisis

September 24th, 2020


The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just weeks before a presidential election, leaves us in dangerous waters. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which …

A radical — or obvious? — plan to save American democracy

September 28th, 2020


We talk a lot on this show about the problems with American political institutions. But what if all those problems are actually just one problem: the …

A dark, dangerous debate

September 30th, 2020


In a special, post-debate episode, I'm joined by Matt Yglesias to discuss the most unnerving presidential debate I've ever seen.


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), …

The meat we eat affects us all

October 2nd, 2020


In this special episode of the Future Perfect podcast, neuroscientist Lori Marino helps us understand how arbitrarily we draw the lines between animals as pets and animals as food, and how we might redraw those lines.

How a climate bill becomes a reality

October 5th, 2020


Helluva week in politics, huh? And yet, in the background, the world is still warming, the fires still burning, the future still dimming. There will …

Fareed Zakaria on how Biden and Trump see the world

October 8th, 2020


Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a columnist for the Washington Post, and one of the most astute foreign policy thinkers of …

The case for Trump’s foreign policy

October 12th, 2020


As we approach the 2020 election, I want to make sure the conversation on this show reflects the actual choice the country is facing. So we are going to be doing a few episodes, including this one, with guests who …

Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

October 15th, 2020


Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest American novelists alive today. She’s the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead — one of my favorite …

What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?

October 19th, 2020


If Democrats win back power this November, they will be faced with a choice: Leave the existing Supreme Court intact, and watch their legislative agenda — and perhaps democracy itself — be gradually gutted by 5-4 and …

Trumpism never existed. It was always just Trump.

October 22nd, 2020


In 2016, Julius Krein was one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. In Trump’s critiques of the existing Republican and Democratic …

Sarah Kliff grades Biden and Trump's health care plans

October 26th, 2020


There are few issues on which the stakes in this election are quite as stark as on health care. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to pass (and Democrats largely support) a massive health care expansion …

Nate Silver on why 2020 isn't 2016

October 29th, 2020


As you may have heard, there's a pretty important election coming up. That means it's time to bring back the one and only Nate Silver. 

Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, boasts one of the best …

Stacey Abrams on minority rule, voting rights, and the future of democracy

November 2nd, 2020


We’re one day away from the election, though who-knows-how-many days from finding out who won it. But there’s more at stake than whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be our next president. 

There is a fight behind the …

Chris Hayes and I process this wild election

November 5th, 2020


This is not the post-election breakdown I expected to have today, but it's definitely the one that I needed.

Chris Hayes is the host of the MSNBC primetime show, “All In," and the podcast "Why is this Happening? With …

The Joe Biden experience

November 7th, 2020


Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. And — counting the votes of people, not just land — it won’t be close. If current trends …

The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s the Republican Party.

November 12th, 2020


If the past week — and past four years — have proven anything, it’s that we are not as different as we believed. No longer is the question, "Can it happen here?" It’s happening already. As this podcast goes to air, the …

Antitrust, censorship, misinformation, and the 2020 election

November 16th, 2020


I’ve been fascinated by the sharp change in how the tech platforms — particularly the big social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and to some …

What Democrats got wrong about Hispanic voters

November 19th, 2020


Donald Trump has built his presidency on top of racial dog whistles, xenophobic rhetoric, and anti-immigrant policies. A core belief among liberals …

Best of: Vivek Murthy on America’s loneliness epidemic

November 23rd, 2020


At the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite episodes of the show with you (we’ll be back next week with brand new episodes). My …

Best of: Alison Gopnik changed how I think about love

November 26th, 2020


Happy Thanksgiving! We will be back next week with brand new episodes, but on a day when so many of us are thinking about love and relationships I wanted to share an episode that has changed the way I think about those …

The most important book I've read this year

November 30th, 2020


If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the …

Best of: Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational

December 3rd, 2020


There are few conversations I’ve had on this show that are quite as relevant to our current political moment as this one with Princeton political …

Joe Biden and "the new progressivism"

December 7th, 2020


It’s often said that Joe Biden has an instinct for finding the political center — that of his party, and that of the country. To understand how Biden …

Best of: Robert Sapolsky on the toxic intersection of poverty and stress

December 10th, 2020


Robert Sapolsky is a Stanford neuroscientist and primatologist. He’s the author of a slew of important books on human biology and behavior, including …

Michael Pollan on the psychedelic society

December 14th, 2020


On November 3, as the country fixated on the incoming presidential election results, voters in Oregon approved a seemingly innocuous ballot measure …

Best of: An inspiring conversation about democracy with Danielle Allen

December 17th, 2020


This conversation with Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen in fall 2019 is one of my all-time favorites. 


Allen directs Harvard’s Edmond J. …

What I’ve learned, and what comes next.

December 21st, 2020


As strange as it is to write, this is my last podcast here at Vox.

In January, I'll be starting at the New York Times as a columnist on the opinion …

Best of: Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry

December 24th, 2020


It’s the rare podcast conversation where, as it’s happening, I’m making notes to go back and listen again so I can fully absorb what I heard. But …

Best of: Michael Lewis reads my mind

December 28th, 2020


Michael Lewis needs little introduction. He’s the author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, The Blind Side, The Fifth Risk. He’s the host of …

Best of: The moral philosophy of The Good Place

December 31st, 2020


After creating and running Parks and Recreation and writing for The Office, Michael Schur decided he wanted to create a sitcom about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence: What does it mean to be a …

Best of: Ending the age of animal cruelty, with Bruce Friedrich

January 4th, 2021


You often hear that eating animals is natural. And it is. But not the way we do it.

The industrial animal agriculture system is a technological …

Best of: We don’t just feel emotions. We make them.

January 7th, 2021


How do you feel right now? Excited to listen to your favorite podcast? Anxious about the state of American politics? Annoyed by my use of rhetorical …

Sam Sanders and Olivia Nuzzi on President Trump’s last days

January 14th, 2021


New York magazine's Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi spent the past four years covering the Trump White House. In this inaugural episode of Vox Conversations, Nuzzi talks to guest host Sam Sanders, host of NPR's …

Peter Kafka and Kevin Roose on big tech's power and responsibility

January 18th, 2021


Recode’s Peter Kafka speaks with New York Times’s Tech columnist Kevin Roose about big tech’s power and responsibility - and whether it is going to …

What it means to be a "good" rich person

January 21st, 2021


Vox columnist Anne Helen Petersen talks with sociologist Rachel Sherman about her research into the anxieties of wealthy people and their desire to …

The Joe Biden experience

January 25th, 2021


Ezra Klein is joined by Evan Osnos, a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now to discuss …

Why fascism in Post-Trump America isn't going away

January 28th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks to Yale professor and author Jason Stanley about why American democracy provides such fertile soil for fascism, how Donald Trump demonstrated how easy it was for our country to flirt with a …

The Capitol Siege and American Revolution

February 4th, 2021


Vox's Dylan Matthews talks with author and Revolutions podcaster Mike Duncan about what history can tell us about the insurrection at the US Capitol. …

Biden's immigration architect on racism, reform, and the Obama legacy

February 11th, 2021


NPR journalist, memoirist, and host of the upcoming WBEZ podcast The Art of Power Aarti Shahani talks with Cecilia Muñoz, a former aide to Obama and part of Biden's transition team. It's a conversation about immigration …

Uncovering the history of psychedelics in Christianity

February 18th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks about the the little-known history of psychedelics and spirituality in the Western world with Brian Muraresku, author of The …

A Watchmen writer on race, TV, and tech giants

February 25th, 2021


The Undefeated's culture critic Soraya Nadia McDonald talks with Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer Cord Jefferson. They discuss the …

Who owns the Western?

March 4th, 2021


Vox book critic Constance Grady talks with Vox gender identities reporter and novelist Anna North about Anna's new book Outlawed. They discuss creating an alternative history, reimagining the Western, and having fun …

Reframing America's race problem

March 11th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with the author of The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee, about the costs of racism in America — for everyone. They discuss what we all lose by buying into the zero-sum paradigm that progress for some …

"Wintering," wisdom, and weathering life's darkest times

March 18th, 2021


Vox's Sigal Samuel talks with the author of Wintering, Katherine May, about the lessons we can learn during life's darkest seasons. They talk about …

The border, explained by someone who knows it intimately

March 25th, 2021


Aarti Shahani, NPR journalist and host of WBEZ podcast Art of Power, talks with investigative journalist and author Alfredo Corchado about the …

Introducing Unexplainable

March 27th, 2021


Unexplainable is a new podcast from Vox about everything we don’t know. Each week, the team look at the most fascinating unanswered questions in science and the mind-bending ways scientists are trying to answer them. …

Who is the real George Soros?

April 1st, 2021


Vox's Worldly host Zack Beauchamp talks with author and New Statesman editor Emily Tamkin about the life and legacy of George Soros. How did a Hungarian billionaire philanthropist become the No. 1 boogeyman of …

Patricia Lockwood's big, beautiful internet brain

April 8th, 2021


Writer and Vox contributor Anne Helen Petersen talks with poet and novelist Patricia Lockwood about the experience of being extremely online. They discuss Lockwood's book No One Is Talking About This, writing and …

How to replace everything in the industrialized world

April 15th, 2021


Climate writer and Vox contributor David Roberts talks with Jessika Trancik, Associate Professor at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at M.I.T. They discuss many aspects of the vast undertaking to remake our …

The complicated history of wildlife conservation

April 22nd, 2021


Vox environmental reporter Benji Jones talks with journalist and author Michelle Nijhuis about her book Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction. They talk about the history of the conservation movement …

How to be wrong less often

April 29th, 2021


Vox's Dylan Matthews talks with Julia Galef, host of the podcast Rationally Speaking, and author of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things …

Why are we so worried about Satan?

May 6th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with Sarah Marshall, co-host of the You're Wrong About podcast, about the Satanic Panic of the early 1980s. They discuss America's penchant for moral panics, why the country latches onto …

Freedom, and what it means to have a body

May 13th, 2021


Vox's Anna North talks with author Olivia Laing about her book Everybody: A Book About Freedom. Through the surprisingly connected lives of artists, …

The gift of getting old

May 20th, 2021


Vox’s Sean Illing talks with Max Linsky, host of the new podcast 70 Over 70, which features intimate conversations with people over 70 years old. …

What pandemic recovery should look like

May 27th, 2021


Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Janelle Jones, chief economist at the Labor Department, about what's actually going on with the US economy — and who are the workers most dramatically affected by the pandemic. They …

The man who proposed reparations in the 1860s

June 3rd, 2021


Vox’s Dylan Matthews talks with historian Bruce Levine about his book Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary and Fighter for Racial Justice. They …

Digital dictatorship

June 10th, 2021


The internet was first conceived as a tool to promote free expression, to foster and enliven debate, and to strengthen democratic ideals. But it …

Honoring Juneteenth with Ibram X. Kendi

June 17th, 2021


In this special edition of Vox Conversations in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, Vox race reporter Fabiola Cineas spoke with author and podcast host …

The science of dating

June 24th, 2021


Relationships journalist and podcast host Andrea Silenzi talks with Logan Ury, behavioral scientist-turned-dating coach, and author of How to Not Die Alone. They discuss the decision-making that gets in the way of our …

Introducing: Now & Then

July 1st, 2021


Now & Then is a new podcast from CAFE hosted by award-winning historians Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman. Every Tuesday, Heather and Joanne use their encyclopedic knowledge of US history to bring the past …

What makes a great conversation?

July 8th, 2021


Here's a look ahead at what's to come for Vox Conversations. Vox's Sean Illing welcomes colleague Jamil Smith to the podcast as an additional regular …

How to forgive

July 12th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with Elizabeth Bruenig about how hard it is to forgive, how to balance our desire for justice with our humanity, and about …

The rugged majesty of revision

July 15th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith speaks with novelist and author Kiese Laymon in a far-ranging conversation about Laymon's reacquiring the rights to his own books, the struggle of retelling our own stories, and the challenges of …

Why we love drugs

July 19th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with author Michael Pollan about his new book This Is Your Mind on Plants, why some societies condemn drugs that other …

Jane Goodall on the power of hope

July 22nd, 2021


Vox's Sigal Samuel talks with world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall about what six decades of studying chimpanzees has taught her about humans. …

Fareed Zakaria on the fate of democracy

July 26th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with CNN's Fareed Zakaria about the global trend in democratic decline, and whether we should worry about America. They …

Philadelphia's progressive prosecutor

July 29th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Larry Krasner, the former civil rights attorney who's been district attorney of Philadelphia since 2018. They talk about …

We need to talk about UFOs. Seriously.

August 2nd, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with international politics professor and amateur ufologist Alex Wendt about why it's time to start thinking more seriously …

The death of cool

August 5th, 2021


Vox culture contributor Anne Helen Petersen talks with writer Safy-Hallan Farah about the concept of 'cool.' They discuss different generations' …

Marty Baron on the future of news

August 9th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with former Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron about the state of journalism. They discuss Baron's post-retirement reflections on both the Post and the profession at large, what's gone …

Robert Reich wants you to take on the system

August 12th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with former labor secretary, author, and social media gadfly Robert Reich about how our elected officials have fallen victim to the interests of the wealthy, what the pandemic exposed about our …

Bill Maher on free speech, comedy, and his haters

August 16th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with comedian Bill Maher about the risks and challenges of political comedy today, free speech, and whether ideology …

How seashells shaped the world — and predict our future

August 19th, 2021


Vox's Benji Jones talks with author and environmental journalist Cynthia Barnett about seashells and her new book, The Sound of the Sea. They discuss …

Was the cruelty the point?

August 23rd, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with Adam Serwer, whose new book The Cruelty Is the Point documents the role of cruelty in American politics, the way it was …

Clint Smith III on confronting the legacy of slavery

August 26th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with author Clint Smith III about his book How the Word Is Passed, which documents the writer's personal journey visiting sites that embody the legacy of American slavery. They discuss the power …

The news is by — and for — rich, white liberals

August 30th, 2021


Vox’s Sean Illing talks with professor and media researcher Nikki Usher about her new book News for the Rich, White, and Blue, which documents systemic problems in the ways journalists and institutions decide what …

Why America's obsession with rights is wrong

September 2nd, 2021


Vox's Zack Beauchamp talks with Columbia law professor Jamal Greene about his book How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing …

Rep. Pramila Jayapal on immigrants and America after 9/11

September 9th, 2021


Aarti Shahani, host of the WBEZ Chicago podcast Art of Power and author of the memoir Here We Are, talks with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) about how 9/11 changed the relationship between immigrants and America. They …

The road from 9/11 to Donald Trump

September 13th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with national security reporter Spencer Ackerman, author of the new book Reign of Terror. They discuss the staggering changes to our country in the 20 years since 9/11; the flaws, misdeeds, and …

Ken Burns's latest on The Greatest

September 16th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with acclaimed documentary filmmakers Ken and Sarah Burns. The father-daughter team discuss their latest documentary about The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, trying to say something new about a famous …

How to make meaning out of suffering

September 20th, 2021


Vox’s Sean Illing talks with David Wolpe, senior rabbi of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about the role and nature of God, how religion and …

Revolutionary Love

September 23rd, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with author, activist, and filmmaker Valarie Kaur about her memoir See No Stranger and the Revolutionary Love Project. They …

Fighting a world on fire with fire

September 27th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with climate scholar Andreas Malm about his book How to Blow Up A Pipeline. They discuss the failure of decades of protests and …

Is there a hack for enlightenment?

September 30th, 2021


Vox's Sigal Samuel talks with scholars and authors Wesley Wildman and Kate Stockly about their book, Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of …

What's your status?

October 4th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with writer Will Storr about his new book The Status Game, and its central idea: all human beings are constantly competing for status. They discuss how certain aspects of society "supercharge" our …

Bryan Stevenson on the legacy of enslavement

October 7th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with attorney, author, and activist Bryan Stevenson about the newly expanded Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. They discuss the museum's project to connect America's history of enslavement …

Trapped inside with Susanna Clarke's Piranesi

October 14th, 2021


Vox's Constance Grady talks with novelist Susanna Clarke about her latest book, Piranesi, before a virtual audience for the Vox Book Club. They discuss how Clarke's novel engages with themes that have come to …

What the internet took from us

October 18th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with writer and New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul about her book 100 Things We've Lost to the Internet and the ways, …

Fannie Lou Hamer and the meaning of freedom

October 21st, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Keisha Blain, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America. They discuss the legacy of Fannie …

How Big Tech benefits from the disinformation panic

October 25th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with Joe Bernstein of BuzzFeed News about online disinformation and what — if anything — can be done about it. They discuss the …

The overwhelming, invisible work of elder care

October 28th, 2021


Vox culture contributor Anne Helen Petersen talks with Liz O'Donnell, an advocate for working caregivers and the author of Working Daughter: A Guide …

John McWhorter, the anti-antiracist

November 1st, 2021


Sean Illing talks with John McWhorter, linguist, New York Times columnist, and author of Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. …

Nonbinary parenthood

November 4th, 2021


Anna North talks with Krys Malcolm Belc, nonbinary transmasculine parent, essayist, and author of the memoir The Natural Mother of the Child. They …

The paradox of American freedom

November 8th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with Sebastian Junger, journalist, filmmaker, and author of the recent book Freedom. Informed by his experience hiking (and trespassing) along America's rail lines, Junger discusses the paradoxes of a …

The stories soul food tells

November 11th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Caroline Randall Williams, academic, poet, and co-author (with her mother, Alice Randall) of Soul Food Love. They …

Why Chris Hayes thinks we're all famous now

November 15th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with Chris Hayes, author, commentator, and host of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC. They discuss his recent essay in the New Yorker about fame and the internet, why we seek attention from strangers …

The highs and lows of the "creator economy"

November 18th, 2021


Vox's Rebecca Jennings talks with Taylor Lorenz, tech culture reporter for the New York Times, about the creator economy: what it is, who's in it, …

How progressives get back in the game

November 22nd, 2021


Sean Illing talks with Briahna Joy Gray, the former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 Presidential campaign, and current host of the Bad Faith podcast. They discuss the practical challenges facing the …

Workers of the world, stay home!

November 29th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with Anne Helen Petersen and her partner Charlie Warzel about their new book, Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. They talk about a new model of remote work, why …

E.O. Wilson's plan to save the world

December 2nd, 2021


Vox's Benji Jones talks with the celebrated entomologist, biologist, and naturalist E.O. Wilson. They talk about Wilson's sixty-plus years as a …

Jill Lepore on Elon Musk's imaginary world

December 6th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with historian Jill Lepore about her new podcast: The Evening Rocket explores Elon Musk and the new form of extravagant, extreme capitalism — which Lepore dubs "Muskism" — that he has ushered in. They …

The father of environmental justice

December 9th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with Dr, Robert Bullard, a pioneer in the crusade for environmental justice, about his more than four decades in the fight. …

The good life is painful

December 13th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with psychologist Paul Bloom about his new book The Sweet Spot, and whether it's necessary to experience suffering in order to live …

Is ethical investing a scam?

December 16th, 2021


Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Tariq Fancy about whether or not "socially responsible investment" is a scam. Fancy is a former executive who led sustainable investing at BlackRock, one of the world's largest asset …

The cult of toughness

December 20th, 2021


Sean Illing talks with political commentator and author David French about modern conservatism and masculinity. They discuss the divergence between …

Chris Bosh on winning (and losing everything)

December 23rd, 2021


Vox’s Jamil Smith talks with NBA legend Chris Bosh about his basketball career, his youth, and his legacy. They discuss Bosh’s transition to the NBA, …

Best of: We need to talk about UFOs. Seriously.

December 27th, 2021


Vox's Sean Illing talks with international politics professor and amateur ufologist Alex Wendt about why it's time to start thinking more seriously …

Best of: Clint Smith III on confronting the legacy of slavery

December 30th, 2021


Vox's Jamil Smith talks with author Clint Smith III about his book How the Word Is Passed, which documents the writer's personal journey visiting sites that embody the legacy of American slavery. They discuss the power …

Best of: Why fascism in America isn't going away

January 3rd, 2022


Vox's Sean Illing talks to Yale professor and author Jason Stanley about why American democracy provides such fertile soil for fascism, how Donald Trump demonstrated how easy it was for our country to flirt with a …

Rep. Jamie Raskin on living through the unthinkable, twice

January 6th, 2022


Vox's Dylan Matthews talks with Congressman Jamie Raskin about the tragic loss of his son Tommy, who was twenty-five years old when he died at the …

Are we living in a simulation?

January 10th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with philosopher David Chalmers about virtual worlds and the nature of reality, and other topics that stem from Chalmers's new book Reality+. In this far-reaching discussion, Sean and Prof. Chalmers …

Novelist Lauren Groff on the other Matrix

January 13th, 2022


Vox's Constance Grady talks with novelist Lauren Groff about her latest book, the National Book Award finalist Matrix, before a virtual audience for the Vox Book Club. They discuss the enigmatic historical figure at the …

Imagine a future with no police

January 20th, 2022


Vox's Fabiola Cineas talks with author, lawyer, and organizer Derecka Purnell about her recent book Becoming Abolitionists. They discuss Derecka's …

A scientist's case for "woo-woo"

January 24th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with David Hamilton, a scientist and former research chemist turned author, about his new book Why Woo-Woo Works, in which he offers a scientifically-grounded defense of alternative practices like …

A Yellowjackets creator spills his guts

January 27th, 2022


Vox's Constance Grady talks with Bart Nickerson, the co-creator of new TV show Yellowjackets, which airs on Showtime. Yellowjackets follows a girls' …

Pod Save the Democrats

January 31st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Dan Pfeiffer, former senior advisor to President Obama and co-host of the Pod Save America podcast, about what is wrong with the Democratic Party's brand right now. They discuss what Dan calls the …

Democracy in crisis, part 1: Ross Douthat isn't too worried

February 3rd, 2022


Just how worried should we be about the future of American democracy? This is the question at the center of a two-part series from Vox Conversations …

Why we can't pay attention anymore

February 7th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with the author Johann Hari about his new book Stolen Focus, which explores what's happening — and what's already happened — to our …

Democracy in crisis, part 2: The two-party problem

February 10th, 2022


Just how worried should we be about the future of American democracy? This is the question at the center of a two-part series from Vox Conversations …

What Don't Look Up is really about

February 14th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with David Sirota, the journalist turned Oscar-nominated co-writer (with director Adam McKay) of the film Don't Look Up. They talk about the movie and how it was originally received, who the truest …

Could we lose delicious foods forever?

February 17th, 2022


Vox's Benji Jones talks with food journalist and author Dan Saladino, whose new book Eating to Extinction documents rare foods and food cultures from …

Robert Glasper on why Black Radio is back

February 24th, 2022


Vox’s Jamil Smith talks with musician Robert Glasper, four-time Grammy-winner, about the release of his new album Black Radio III. They discuss Glasper's distinctive genre-defying sound, his unique gift for musical …

Russia's war with Ukraine — and reality

February 28th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with journalist, author, and Russian disinformation scholar Peter Pomerantsev about the invasion of Ukraine. Recorded on Friday, …

Why does middle school suck?

March 3rd, 2022


Hillary Frank, the creator of the podcasts The Longest Shortest Time and Here Lies Me, talks with journalist and author Judith Warner about middle …

The conversation about guns we're not having

March 7th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with firearms journalist Stephen Gutowski, founder of They discuss the major barriers, principles, and blind spots on both sides of the largely stagnant national conversation on guns and …

Author Kiley Reid on why we read novels

March 10th, 2022


Vox's Constance Grady talks with Kiley Reid, author of the critically-acclaimed novel Such a Fun Age. In this episode, which is a recording of a live Vox Book Club event, they discuss what novels are really for, the …

David Cross is disappointed in you guys

March 14th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with comedian David Cross, well-known for his decades-long stand-up career, as well as for his role on the cult hit TV show

The madness behind The Method

March 17th, 2022


Vox's Alissa Wilkinson talks with cultural critic and author Isaac Butler about his new book, The Method. They discuss the transformation that the …

The limits of forgiveness

March 21st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with philosopher Lucy Allais about the nature, power, and limits of forgiveness. They talk about the role of forgiveness in the …

What happened to American conservatism?

March 24th, 2022


Vox’s Jamil Smith talks with Charlie Sykes — journalist, author, stalwart "never Trumper," and a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark. They …

The Philosophers: Resisting despair

March 28th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with author and professor Robert Zaretsky about the French philosopher, novelist, and journalist Albert Camus (1913–1960). Though Camus might be best known for his novel The Stranger, Sean and Prof. …

The War in Ukraine, Explained — Part 1: Why did Putin go to war?

March 31st, 2022


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one of the biggest and most confusing political events of our lifetimes. We aim to bring some clarity in this special …

The spirituality of parenting

April 4th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with the author and self-described mystic David Spangler about parenting as a spiritual enterprise, where the parent communes in a radical way with the spirit of another and expands the limits of the …

The War in Ukraine, Explained — Part 2: Sanctions

April 7th, 2022


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one of the biggest and most confusing political events of our lifetimes. We aim to bring some clarity in this special …

The case for regret

April 11th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with writer Daniel Pink about his book The Power of Regret. They discuss why regret can be not only useful, but potentially the …

The War in Ukraine, Explained — Part 3: The nuclear threat

April 14th, 2022


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one of the biggest and most confusing political events of our lifetimes. We aim to bring some clarity in this special …

Michael Lewis on why Americans distrust experts

April 18th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with writer Michael Lewis about why it is that Americans are so good at producing knowledge, but so bad at identifying and utilizing that knowledge — the central issue of the new season of his podcast …

The War in Ukraine, Explained — Part 4: The future of Europe

April 21st, 2022


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one of the biggest and most confusing political events of our lifetimes. We aim to bring some clarity in this special …

The Philosophers: Loneliness and totalitarianism

April 25th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with professor Lyndsey Stonebridge about the philosopher Hannah Arendt, author of The Origins of Totalitarianism. Arendt might be best known for coining the phrase “the banality of evil” in her …

Who decides how to conserve nature?

April 28th, 2022


Vox's Benji Jones talks with Indigenous leader Kimaren ole Riamit about the role of Indigenous peoples in the conservation movement. Bringing the …

Did the sexual revolution go wrong?

May 2nd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with author and Washington Post columnist Christine Emba about whether or not we need to rethink sex. They discuss why, according …

The moral dangers of dirty work

May 5th, 2022


Vox’s Jamil Smith talks with journalist and author Eyal Press about "dirty work" — the jobs Americans do that, as Press explains, can lead workers to perform morally compromising activities unwittingly. They discuss …

Elites have captured identity politics

May 9th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, whose new book Elite Capture is about how the wealthy and powerful co-opt political movements, and use the …

Anita Hill finally gets even

May 12th, 2022


Vox's Fabiola Cineas talks with Anita Hill, whose testimony during the 1991 confirmation hearings for now-Justice Clarence Thomas highlighted the …

Rethinking the "end of history"

May 16th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama, whose ideas about the "end of history" and the ideological supremacy of …

Why accidents aren't accidental

May 19th, 2022


Vox’s Marin Cogan talks with author and journalist Jessie Singer, whose book There Are No Accidents asks us to completely rethink our understanding of accidents as seemingly random, blameless, harm-inducing events. …

The Philosophers: America's philosophy, with Cornel West

May 23rd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Cornel West about the American philosophical tradition known as pragmatism. They talk about what makes pragmatism so distinctly American, how pragmatists understand the connection between …

The rise and fall of America's monuments

May 26th, 2022


Jamil Smith talks with Erin Thompson, professor of art crime and author of Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America's Public Monuments. They discuss why we honor horrible people from the past in metal and stone, …

Carmen Maria Machado's haunted feminine

June 2nd, 2022


Vox's Constance Grady talks with writer Carmen Maria Machado, whose 2017 short story collection Her Body and Other Parties was a National Book Award …

Michael Ian Black on being a better man

June 6th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with comedian and author Michael Ian Black about his book A Better Man, in which Black writes a letter to his son about …

The war on trans people

June 9th, 2022


Vox’s Emily St. James talks with Chase Strangio of the ACLU about the assault on the rights of trans Americans taking place in many states across the …

The fight for Ukraine — and democracy

June 13th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with historian and author Timothy Snyder about the war in Ukraine, the stakes for Europe and the rest of the world, and the battle between Putin's autocracy and democracy being waged. They also discuss …

The racist origins of fat phobia

June 16th, 2022


Vox’s Anna North talks with Da'Shaun Harrison, the activist, author, and 2022 Lambda Literary Award recipient for their book Belly of the Beast: The …

Station Eleven's creator on the end of the world

June 23rd, 2022


Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos sits down with Patrick Somerville, the creator and showrunner of HBO's critically-acclaimed series Station Eleven, adapted from the novel by Emily St. John Mandel. They talk about the weirdness of …

The Philosophers: Stoic revival

June 27th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with author Ryan Holiday about Stoicism — a philosophy with roots in ancient Greece and which flourished in early imperial Rome — …

The Fortress of Solitude saw it all coming

June 30th, 2022


Vox's Constance Grady talks with writer Jonathan Lethem about his 2003 work The Fortress of Solitude in this recording from a live Vox Book Club …

Steve Bannon is still at war

July 11th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Jennifer Senior, the Pulitzer-winning staff writer at the Atlantic, about her recent piece on Steve Bannon called "American …

Does China control Hollywood?

July 14th, 2022


Vox's Alissa Wilkinson talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Erich Schwartzel about Red Carpet, his new book detailing the myriad ways that …

The price of keeping secrets

July 18th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with professor Michael Slepian, author of The Secret Life of Secrets. This new book explores secret-keeping behavior and its consequences, as well as how secrecy relates to trust. Sean and Michael talk …

Hacking coral sex to save the reefs

July 21st, 2022


Vox's Benji Jones talks with marine biologist Hanna Koch about her team's efforts to repopulate the planet's coral reefs through cutting-edge …

The necessity — and danger — of free speech

July 25th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan about his new book The Paradox of Democracy, which he co-authored with media …

How middlemen took over the economy

July 28th, 2022


Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Kathryn Judge, professor at Columbia Law School and author of the new book Direct: The Rise of Middleman Economy and …

The Supreme Court's power grab

August 1st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie about the U.S. Supreme Court's recently-concluded term, which produced landmark opinions …

Even Better: Activism when you don't know where to start

August 4th, 2022


Every Thursday in August, you'll hear Even Better on Vox Conversations, a special series focused on helping people live better lives individually and …

Why we're still postmodern (whatever that means)

August 8th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Stuart Jeffries, journalist and author of Everything, All the Time, Everywhere, about why postmodernism is so hard to define, and why — as Jeffries argues — it's still a very active presence in …

Even Better: Workplace equality 2.0

August 11th, 2022


Every Thursday in August, you'll hear Even Better on Vox Conversations, a special series focused on helping people live better lives individually and …

Your gut instinct is usually wrong

August 15th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Don't Trust Your Gut. Seth argues that the way we make decisions is wrong, outdated, and based on methods or conventional wisdom …

Even Better: Setting your boundaries

August 18th, 2022


Every Thursday in August, you'll hear Even Better on Vox Conversations, a special series focused on helping people live better lives individually and …

The quest for authenticity

August 22nd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Skye Cleary, philosopher and author of the new book How to Be Authentic. The book is an examination of how to live an authentic life through the lens of the life and thought of the great French …

Even Better: Don't call it a budget

August 25th, 2022


Every Thursday in August, you'll hear Even Better on Vox Conversations, a special series focused on helping people live better lives individually and …

What Clarence Thomas really thinks

August 29th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Corey Robin, author of a recent article — as well as a 2019 book — about the life and thought of Supreme Court Justice …

40 Acres: The original promise

September 1st, 2022


Fabiola Cineas talks with Nkechi Taifa, the founder and director of the Reparation Education Project, about the history of the fight for reparations …

40 Acres: $14 trillion and no mules

September 8th, 2022


Paying the price. One of the typical questions asked during conversations about reparations is how to pay for them. Fabiola talks with economist …

40 Acres: The old Jim Crow

September 12th, 2022


Why slavery? Marxist scholar Adolph Reed argues that Jim Crow — not enslavement — is the defining experience for Black Americans today. Reed recounts …

40 Acres: Reaching reconciliation

September 15th, 2022


What good are piecemeal reparations? From Georgetown University, where school leadership once sold enslaved people, to Evanston, Illinois, where …

The Parent Trap

September 19th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Nate Hilger, economist, data scientist, and author of the new book The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis. The book explores what is expected of parents, …

How society sexualizes us

September 22nd, 2022


Vox’s Emily St. James talks with the celebrated author and trans activist Julia Serano about her new book, Sexed Up. They talk about what …

The politics of 'Yellowstone'

September 23rd, 2022


Into It is a new podcast from Vulture and New York Magazine hosted by Sam Sanders. Each week, Sam and his Vulture colleagues break down the pop …

A new philosophy of love

September 26th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Carrie Jenkins about her new book Sad Love, and her call to rethink the shape and boundaries of romantic love. In this far-ranging discussion about the meaning of romantic love, Sean and Carrie …

How do we fix the harm we cause?

September 29th, 2022


Vox’s Marin Cogan talks with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg about her new book On Repentance And Repair, which is about how to make amends in the modern world. They talk about the difference between repentance and forgiveness, …

A GOP insider on why the party went Trump

October 3rd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with former Republican strategist Tim Miller about his new book Why We Did It, which offers an inside look at Donald Trump's total …

Best of: Why America's obsession with rights is wrong

October 6th, 2022


In this episode originally recorded in July 2021, Vox's Zack Beauchamp talks with Columbia law professor Jamal Greene about his book How Rights Went …

Introducing The Gray Area

October 11th, 2022


Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity. The Gray Area is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between with host Sean Illing. We …

Neil deGrasse Tyson gets political

October 13th, 2022


On this first episode of The Gray Area, Sean Illing talks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who takes on many of our most vexing societal problems in his new book Starry Messenger. According to Neil, if we all …

How we got to January 6th

October 17th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with war reporter and New Yorker contributing writer Luke Mogelson about his new book The Storm Is Here. In it, Luke shares his on-the-ground reporting across America — from anti-lockdown protests in …

Is America losing its religion?

October 20th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Reza Aslan, scholar of religions and author of multiple bestselling nonfiction works, to discuss the state of religion in …

The new American Reconstruction

October 24th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with historian and author Peniel Joseph about his new book The Third Reconstruction, which argues that the time we're currently living in can be understood as on a continuum with the civil rights era …

Finding hope in a world on the brink

October 27th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Jonathan Lear, a psychoanalyst and philosopher, about his new book Imagining the End: Mourning and Ethical Life. How can we continue to live a good life in a world beset by catastrophe, crisis, …

Dying with dignity

October 31st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with reporter Katie Engelhart, whose book The Inevitable is an up-close look at physician-assisted dying. This is the practice of receiving state-sanctioned medical aid to end one's life — a practice …

Yuval Noah Harari thinks humans are unstoppable

November 3rd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Yuval Noah Harari, historian and bestselling author, about how humanity came to be the dominant species on earth, and what our …

Today's Republicans were made in the 1990s

November 7th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Nicole Hemmer, history professor and author of the new book Partisans. In it, she gives a reinterpretation of the Reagan …

Why are billionaires prepping for the apocalypse?

November 10th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with technologist, media theorist, and author Douglas Rushkoff, whose new book Survival of the Richest explains how the …

James Carville unpacks the midterms

November 14th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with veteran political strategist James Carville about the U.S. midterm elections — and the surprising success for Democrats that …

Your identity is a story you tell yourself

November 17th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with neuroscientist Gregory Berns, author of The Self Delusion. Berns claims that the idea of a unified, persistent self is a kind …

The free-market century is over

November 21st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with economic historian Brad DeLong about his new book Slouching Towards Utopia. In it, DeLong claims that the "long twentieth century" was the most consequential period in human history, during which …

If society is making us sick, how can we heal?

November 28th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician, speaker, and bestselling author who has written on subjects like addiction, stress, and attention deficit disorder. In Maté's new book, The Myth of Normal, he argues …

The end of social media

December 1st, 2022


Sean Illing talks with technology writer and philosopher Ian Bogost about the state of social media — especially in the wake of Elon Musk's recent …

A veteran reporter on how to fix the news

December 5th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with James Fallows, veteran reporter and editor at The Atlantic, about the state of political journalism in America. Fallows has …

The power of attention in a world of distraction

December 8th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Michael Sacasas, an author and teacher exploring the relationship between technology and society in his newsletter, The …

Men and boys are struggling. Should we care?

December 12th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with author, researcher, and Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard V. Reeves about his new book Of Boys and Men, which documents the ways that males all over the industrialized world are …

The church of celebrity

December 15th, 2022


Guest host Alissa Wilkinson talks with Katelyn Beaty, author of the new book Celebrities for Jesus, about how the dynamics of fame, influence, and new media are changing our experience of religious faith. They discuss …

Best of: The necessity — and danger — of free speech

December 19th, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan about his new book The Paradox of Democracy, which he co-authored with media …

Best of: America's philosophy, with Cornel West

December 22nd, 2022


Sean Illing talks with Cornel West about the American philosophical tradition known as pragmatism. They talk about what makes pragmatism so distinctly American, how pragmatists understand the connection between …

What do we owe animals?

January 5th, 2023


Guest host Sigal Samuel talks with philosopher and author Martha Nussbaum about her new book, Justice for Animals. Martha discusses several different …

Is ethical AI possible?

January 9th, 2023


Sean Illing talks with Timnit Gebru, the founder of the Distributed AI Research Institute. She studies the ethics of artificial intelligence and is an outspoken critic of companies developing new AI systems. Sean and …

Can race be transcended?

January 12th, 2023


Sean Illing talks with author Thomas Chatterton Williams about race and identity in America. Thomas has analyzed racial identity through the lens of his own upbringing, and the performativity and pressures he …

The roots of homelessness

January 19th, 2023


Sean Illing talks with writer and reporter Jerusalem Demsas about the causes of homelessness in America. They discuss our ideas of home ownership, …

Can effective altruism be redeemed?

January 23rd, 2023


Guest host Sigal Samuel talks with Holden Karnofsky about effective altruism, a movement flung into public scrutiny with the collapse of Sam …

Revisiting the "father of capitalism"

January 26th, 2023


Sean Illing talks with Glory Liu, the author of Adam Smith’s America: How a Scottish Philosopher became an Icon of American Capitalism. Smith is most well-known for being the “father of capitalism,” but as Liu points …

The creator of Fargo is done with good guys vs. bad guys

January 30th, 2023


Sean Illing talks with Noah Hawley, the creator and showrunner of the anthology drama Fargo on FX, as well as a celebrated novelist whose newest book …

Is America broken?

February 2nd, 2023


Sean Illing speaks with Alana Newhouse, the editor-in-chief of Tablet magazine. They discuss her recent essay on "brokenism," a term she coined in an …

Best of: Imagine a future with no police

February 6th, 2023


Guest host Fabiola Cineas talks with author, lawyer, and organizer Derecka Purnell about her recent book Becoming Abolitionists. They discuss …

Behind the blue wall

February 9th, 2023


Sean Illing speaks with Rosa Brooks, a former reserve police officer and current law professor at Georgetown University. Brooks wrote Tangled Up in …

The value of being a "hater"

February 13th, 2023


Guest host Rebecca Jennings talks with Justin Charity, cultural critic and senior staff writer at The Ringer, about what it means to be dubbed a …

The dark history of Silicon Valley

February 16th, 2023


Sean Illing speaks with Malcolm Harris, a journalist, critic, and author of the new book Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the …

Taking Nietzsche seriously

February 23rd, 2023


Sean Illing talks with political science professor Matt McManus about the political thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century German …

For Black horror fans, fact is scarier than fiction

February 27th, 2023


Guest host Alissa Wilkinson talks with Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman about her new book, The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to …

Breaking our family patterns

March 2nd, 2023


Sean Illing speaks with marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon, whose new book The Origins of You aims to help us identify and heal the wounds that originated from our family, which shape our patterns of behavior …

The cost of saving pandas

March 6th, 2023


The giant panda is no longer endangered. This, of course, is good news. But the model of conservation that worked to protect these iconic bears has failed to help the countless other threatened species on Earth, most of …

Revisiting the American Dream

March 9th, 2023


In America, there's been an increase of available jobs, and there's also been a series of high-profile layoffs, strikes, and calls for unionization. The social safety net for workers is disappearing, so what can people …

Poetry as religion

March 13th, 2023


Sean Illing speaks with poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht, whose new book The Wonder Paradox asks: if we don't have God or religion, what — if anything — do we lose? They discuss how religion accesses meaning — …

The case for failure

March 16th, 2023


Is our society's fixation with success hindering our ability to find humility? Sean Illing speaks with Costica Bradatan about his new book In Praise of Failure: Four Lessons in Humility, which explores failure through …

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