The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

By Farnam Street

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 Nov 12, 2019


 Jan 29, 2019

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Master the best of what other people have already figured out. Learn more at https://fs.blog/podcast

Episode Date
#80 John Maxwell: Developing the Leader in You
01:01:26

Leadership expert John Maxwell breaks down the four traits every successful person possesses and how to awaken the leader within you, no matter what your job title says.

 

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Mar 31, 2020
#79 Esther Wojcicki: The “TRICK” to Raising Successful People
01:26:54

Esther Wojcicki discusses the current education model and how we can fix it and shares her powerful TRICK acronym, Esther’s secret for raising happy, resilient children.

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Mar 17, 2020
#78 Balaji Srinivasan: Exploring COVID-19
01:13:52

This special pop-up episode explores Covid-19, with Balaji Srinivasan. Balaji is one of the more thought-provoking, interesting, and multi-disciplinary thinkers I know and we do a deep dive, including possible second and third-order consequences.

For a list of references check out: https://fs.blog/balaji-srinivasan/

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Mar 13, 2020
#77 Mike Maples: Living in the Future
01:35:10

Mike Maples, partner at the VC firm Floodgate, shares how mental models shape his decision making process, where to find the next big idea, and how to rally people to your cause.

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Mar 03, 2020
#76 Frank Stephenson: Pushing the Limits of Innovation
01:31:35

Renowned car designer Frank Stephenson teaches the path to mastery, innovation, and taking creative risks. He also gives us a peek into the future of automobiles and what it means for us.

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Feb 18, 2020
#75 Suzanne Iasenza: Rewriting Relationship Narratives
01:13:53

Sex therapist Dr. Suzanne Iasenza explains how our personal narratives determine how we grow as a couple, how we communicate, even how we make love.

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Feb 04, 2020
#74 Jeff Hunter: Embracing Confusion
01:44:11

CEO of Talentism, Jeff Hunter, teaches how to rewrite damaging narratives that hold us back, how to give and receive helpful feedback, and why confusion can be a good thing.

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Jan 21, 2020
#73 Steven Strogatz: Exploring Curiosities
01:35:55

Mathematician Steven Strogatz reveals how math is the key to exploring and understanding the beauty of our world.

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Jan 07, 2020
#72 Neil Pasricha: Happy Habits
01:42:46

Author and happiness expert Neil Pasricha shares the recipe for resilience, an antidote for anxiety, and how his two minute morning routine primes each day for success.

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Dec 24, 2019
#71 Esther Perel: Cultivating Desire
01:17:52

Relationship expert Esther Perel reveals her favorite strategies for “fighting” fair, rewriting stories that damage relationships, and breathing new life into our romantic partnerships.

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Dec 10, 2019
#70 Scott Adams: Avoiding Loserthink
58:03

Dilbert creator and author Scott Adams shares cognitive tools and tricks we can use to think better, expand our perspective, and avoid slumping into “loserthink.”

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Nov 26, 2019
#69 Stephen Schwarzman: What It Takes
01:03:42

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman gives advice on attracting and assessing strong talent, making smart decisions, and how to press forward when the chips are down.

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Nov 12, 2019
#68 Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice
01:06:41

Psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman shines a light on the biases that cripple our decision-making, hamstring negotiations, and damper our thinking, and shares what limited actions we can take to combat their effects. 

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Oct 15, 2019
#67 Jim Collins: Keeping the Flywheel in Motion
02:23:29

An earnest student and powerful teacher, mega best-selling author Jim Collins goes under the hood and shows what all enduring companies have in common. We talk luck, leadership, and business longevity. 

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Oct 01, 2019
#66 Dr. Emily Nagoski: Pleasure is the Measure
01:21:57

Sex educator and author Dr. Emily Nagoski demystifies the science of sexuality and shows us how to shed our insecurities, connect more closely with our partner, and define pleasure on our own terms.

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Sep 17, 2019
#65 Shep Gordon: Trust, Compassion, and Shooting Friends from Cannons
55:49

Legendary show-business manager, agent, and producer Shep Gordon talks sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He also shares the formula for manufacturing fame, and his unique philosophy on success, love and happiness.

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Sep 03, 2019
#64 Greg Walton: The Big Impact of Small Interventions
51:10

Greg Walton, Associate Professor of Psychology at Stanford University shares the four types of interventions, how they’re used to create positive behavior change, and strategies we can use right now to improve our health, well-being, and relationships.

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Aug 20, 2019
#63 Hugh Howey: Winning at the Self-publishing Game
01:36:12

Hugh Howey had two dreams: to make a living from writing and sail around the world. In this interview, he describes how he did both, why traveling is so good for the soul, and how he sold millions of books on his own (even turning down a 7 figure book deal.)

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Aug 06, 2019
#62 Dr. Sue Johnson: Cracking the Code of Love
02:03:21

Dr. Sue Johnson is a researcher, clinical psychologist and developer of EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy. In this interview, we discuss how to create, protect, and nourish fulfilling sexual and emotional relationships.

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Jul 23, 2019
#61 Jonathan Haidt: When Good Intentions Go Bad
01:15:12

Jonathan Haidt is an author, social psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts in moral psychology. On the show we discuss helicopter parenting, the rise of the “call out culture,” and the dangers of social media.

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Jul 02, 2019
#60 Jim Dethmer: Leading Above the Line
01:49:12

Jim Dethmer, founder of The Conscious Leadership Group shares practical advice about becoming more self-aware, ditching the victim mindset, and connecting more fully with the people in our lives. 

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Jun 18, 2019
#59 Following Intellectual Curiosity with Thomas Tull
01:11:34

Thomas Tull, founder of Tulco and former CEO of Legendary Entertainment shares valuable lessons on learning from our own mistakes, asking difficult questions, and protecting our intellectual curiosity.

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May 28, 2019
#57 Sheila Heen: Decoding Difficult Conversations
01:28:27

Sheila Heen, two time NY Times best selling author, consultant, and lecturer at Harvard Law School, makes the tough talks easier by breaking down the three layers that make up every difficult conversation

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May 15, 2019
#58 Gabriel Weinberg: Popping the Filter Bubble
01:35:38

DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg talks data privacy, protecting yourself online and shares his favorite mental models for clearer thinking.

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May 14, 2019
#56 Daniel Gross: Catalyzing Success
01:27:30

Daniel Gross, former Y Combinator partner and current founder of Pioneer, discusses how we can make our success less about luck, the powerful role we play in the lives of others, and the valuable lessons he learned about leadership.

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Apr 16, 2019
#55 Scott Page: Becoming a Model Thinker
01:23:34

On this episode, Scott Page, 5x Author and Professor of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan explains the power mental models have in how we view the world, discover creative solutions and solve complex problems.

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Apr 02, 2019
#54 Jason Fried: Doing the Enough Thing
59:13

Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried gives us a peek behind the scenes of his company and discusses his philosophy on doing great work, making a positive difference, and learning to breathe in the fast-paced culture of today’s workplace.

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Mar 19, 2019
#53 Howard Marks: Luck, Risk and Avoiding Losers
01:32:22

Billionaire investor, author and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Howard Marks discusses risk assessment, how to think different than the crowd, and the three mighty dares that separate the successful from the also-rans.

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Mar 05, 2019
#52 Dr. Laura Markham: Peaceful Parenting with
01:29:03

Parenting expert and multiple best-selling author Dr. Laura Markham breaks down the three keys to successful discipline, how to properly model emotions and conflict resolution, and the coveted recipe for raising happy, resilient kids.

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Feb 19, 2019
#51 Celeste Headlee: The Dying Art of Conversation
01:12:35

Speaker, author and radio journalist Celeste Headlee has had decades of experience fine tuning the recipe for engaging and rewarding conversation. She shares some tips to help us instantly improve our conversational skills and meaningfully connect with others.

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Feb 05, 2019
#50 Josh Wolfe: Inventing the Future
01:37:26

Josh Wolfe, co-founder of Lux Capital discusses how to unearth the unexplored ideas that will reshape our future. We also talk parenting, decision making, and which generation has the best rap.

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Jan 22, 2019
#49 Brent Gilchrist: Goal Mining
52:54

Former NHL player turned mining executive Brent Gilchrist joins me to share the lessons he learned in the trenches of professional hockey. We discuss leadership, hard work, and what it takes to win as a team.

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Jan 08, 2019
#48 Adam Robinson: Winning at the Great Game (Part 2)
01:10:14

Author, educator, and hedge fund advisor, Adam Robinson returns for part 2 of our fascinating discussion. We talk chess, AI, handicapping horse races, and the secret to learning that nobody is teaching.

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Dec 26, 2018
#47 Adam Robinson: Winning at the Great Game (Part 1)
02:00:18

Author, educator, and hedge fund advisor, Adam Robinson shares powerful lessons on winning the game of life. He teaches us how to learn, how to fail, and his three secrets of happiness and success.

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Dec 11, 2018
#46 Sophie Grégoire Trudeau: Authenticity, Kindness, and Self Love
01:05:10

Television personality, activist, mother, and wife to Canada’s Prime Minister, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau discusses her battle with eating disorders, why nature and art play such a huge role in her life and what unites us as people.  

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Nov 27, 2018
#45 Dan Kluger: Taking Time to Get It Right
01:04:33

Dan Kluger, award-winning chef and owner of NYC’s Loring Place joins me on the podcast to reveal what really happens behind the scenes of a bustling restaurant, why every detail of your craft matters, and how to create the perfect experience for every guest.

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Nov 13, 2018
#44 Barbara Coloroso: The Kids Are Worth It
02:03:24

Parenting expert and best selling author Barbara Coloroso shares her three foundational principles of child-rearing, how to get kids to be accountable for their actions, and what we can do as parents to raise confident, happy children.

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Oct 30, 2018
#43 Jennifer Garvey Berger: The Mental Habits of Effective Leaders
01:30:06

In a world that changes at a dizzying rate, effective leaders need to develop the skills to keep up. Developmental coach and author Jennifer Garvey Berger shares 3 habits to ensure continual growth, accelerated learning and deepened relationships of trust.

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Oct 16, 2018
#42 Atul Gawande: The Path to Perpetual Progress
01:20:11

The world-renowned surgeon, writer, and researcher Atul Gawande shares powerful lessons about creating a culture of safe learning, the critical difference between a coach and a mentor, and how to ensure constant improvement in key areas of your personal and professional life.

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Oct 02, 2018
#41 Tobi Lütke: The Trust Battery
01:45:56

Today, I interview fellow Ottawan and the founder and CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lütke. In case you’re still new to the internet, Shopify is the largest ecommerce platform that allows people to easily set up online storefronts to sell everything from jewelry to surfing lessons.

Shopify began as a simple two man operation selling snowboards online, but it became clear rather quickly that it had the potential to grow into much more. Now Shopify employs more than 4,000 people and supports more than 600,000 businesses online. It’s a remarkable story, with a remarkable leader at the helm.

There was so much I wanted to talk to Tobi about that we hop around quite a bit. Here are a few of the topics we discuss:

  • Tobi’s thoughts on how video games helped him prepare to run a company
  • How selling snowboards online slowly transitioned to the creation of one of the biggest tech companies in the world
  • Why Tobi intentionally headquartered Shopify outside of Silicon Valley and how that fits into his overall growth strategy
  • One of the most underrated resources Tobi leans on to mine nuggets of wisdom when trying to get insight or solve a problem
  • The hard and valuable lessons Tobi learned as they scaled from a 2 employee company to a 4,000 employee company
  • What the “Tobi test” is, and how it helps Shopify team members become more adaptable, unified and prepared when things go haywire
  • How employees use the “trust battery” and how it fosters better teamwork, communication, and productivity throughout the company
  • The benefits of hiring employees in a “secondary market” as opposed to a “primary market” and how that contributes to the unique culture at Shopify
  • Tobi’s decision-making process and his philosophy on making quick vs analytic decisions
  • Tobi’s unusual morning routine that gets him in the right mindset to tackle the day
  • His optimistic view of AI and machine learning and how they will impact the way we do things in the future

And more…

Whether you’re building a business of your own, want to create a more dynamic and unified culture at work, or just like hearing entrepreneur war stories, this episode will not disappoint.

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Sep 18, 2018
#40 Ben Thompson: Thriving in a Digital World
01:40:25

Today’s guest is Stratechery author and founder Ben Thompson. If you’re an investor in Silicon Valley, work at a tech start-up, or just love to geek out on technology and business analysis, odds are good that Stratechery is on your short list of must-read blogs.

What started as a side project, quickly ballooned into one of the most influential tech blogs on the web. The New York Times called Stratechery, “one of the most interesting sources of analysis on any subject.”

I agree.

In this interview, Ben and I cover a lot of ground. Here are a few of the things we discuss:

  • Learn once and for all how to pronounce Stratechery. :)
  • How Ben’s business model was developed and how he massaged it over the years to become what it is today
  • The one metric Ben looks at each day to gauge the health of his business
  • How Ben deals with people who rip off his work and pass it off as their own
  • Ben’s thoughts on pricing, free trials, content and other important aspects of online membership sites
  • How Ben structures his day to churn out such incredible content so consistently
  • How Ben handles being wrong on his site, and his process for screening his work for confirmation bias
  • How the internet has changed the traditional view of supply and demand, and what companies should do about it
  • What Ben would teach an MBA class about internet strategy (if you do any business online, you need to hear this)
  • What it would take for a start-up to overtake Google or Apple, and the vulnerabilities that all companies share, no matter how big or profitable
  • The new era of technology and how companies like Netflix, Airbnb, and Amazon are doing it right (and what you can do in your own business to take full advantage)

This is one of the most jam-packed interviews I’ve done on the Knowledge Project. Ben’s answers are so thoughtful and informative that you’re going to want to have a notebook handy.

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Sep 05, 2018
#39 Tyler Cowen: Thinking About Thinking
56:40

There are only a handful of websites that I read religiously. One of those is MarginalRevolution.com, started by my next guest, Tyler Cowen.

Other than hosting one of the most popular economic blogs in the world, Tyler is also an economics professor at George Mason University, a regular New York Times columnist, and the author of over a dozen books, including Average is Over, and The Complacent Class.

With such a prolific guest, it’s no wonder that we cover a lot of ground. In this episode, we discuss:

  • How the future of labor will look drastically different than it does today, and what we can do to future-proof our livelihood
  • The pros and cons of virtual reality and the impact it could have on society
  • The fate of newspapers and how information will be more and more “bundled” according to our tastes and preferences
  • Race relations in the world, and how in many ways we’ve taken discouraging steps backwards
  • How we’re losing touch with the physical world, and some of the symptoms that indicate that we could be in for a rough ride
  • What Tyler suggests doing to improve decision making and how important (and rare) that skill will be in the coming years
  • Tyler’s advice to parents about how to foster resilience, tenacity and internal drive in their children
  • Tyler’s “quake books” and the reading process he’s developed over the years that keeps him sharp
  • Why giving books as gifts can be dangerous
  • The one skill every person should possess before Googling anything
  • What playing competitive chess as a child taught Tyler about how he thinks and views the world today

And much more, including Tyler’s thoughts on minimum wage, bitcoin, and his favorite television programs.

If you want to upgrade your thinking so you’re prepared for the brave new world that’s rapidly developing before our eyes, you won’t want to miss this fascinating episode.

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Aug 21, 2018
#38 Ali Almossawi: Thinking in Algorithms
19:31

My guest for this short episode of The Knowledge Project is a man who wears many hats.

Ali Almossawi is a San Francisco-based author of books on critical thinking and computer science education, and the creator of An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. He is also a principal engineer at Apple and was formerly employed as a data visualization engineer by Mozilla.

His books have been read by 3 million readers, translated into 20 languages, and have sold over a quarter million copies in print.

This interview is only 20 minutes along, but there was a lot I wanted to cover, so we move pretty fast. Specifically, we cover:

  • The unique format Ali chooses when writing a book to help people understand the concepts more deeply
  • The place for empathy in algorithmic thinking and how we can be more empathetic in our daily interactions with each other
  • Ali’s note taking process and how he tracks the ideas and topics he’d like to explore
  • Ali’s daily routine and the “algorithms” he uses to make the most of his day
  • The single habit that has the most profound impact on Ali’s day to day
  • The cost/benefit of sharing on social media and the impact it has on society as a whole

And more.

If you’ve ever wanted to improve the way you process information, think more clearly and make better decisions, you won’t want to miss this interview.

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Aug 08, 2018
#37 Annie Duke: Getting Better by Being Wrong
01:56:32

I have wanted to do this interview for a long time. On this episode, I am thrilled to have Annie Duke, former professional poker player and author of the new book, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts.

Annie has a very interesting background that makes her uniquely qualified to speak about high-level decision making. As an author, speaker, world-class poker player, and academic in the fields of psychology and cognitive theory, Annie understands the intersection of luck, skill, and making decisions in uncertain, chaotic environments better than most people on the planet.

This is a whirlwind of an episode, and we cover all kinds of fascinating topics, including:

  • The strange circumstances that shifted Annie’s path from finishing a Ph.D. in linguistics to becoming a professional poker player
  • What it was like to be a female poker player in a predominantly male sport (especially before poker had become socially acceptable)
  • What drew Annie into such a high stakes, time-pressured environment and why she felt like poker was the perfect fit for her
  • How her graduate work in psychology informed the way she approached the game of poker — and helped her rack up wins
  • How she finds the signal in a very noisy stream of feedback
  • The big mistakes Annie noticed other players making that were stalling their progress in the game but allowed her to make giant leaps forward
  • The role that mental models played in her learning process (and which models Annie liked to lean on the most in a high stakes game)
  • The power of surrounding yourself with people that can help you expand your circle of competence — and how that made all the difference in Annie’s development as a player
  • Confirmatory and exploratory thought, and how one helps us to be “accurate” and one helps us to be “right.”
  • The secret pact you should be making with the people who are closest to you

And so much more.

This episode is just under two hours long, but there’s no fat in it. Annie delivers a masterclass in making the smartest decisions we can, even when our hubris insists otherwise. Do some finger stretches before hitting play, because you’re going to be taking some serious notes.

Please enjoy the interview!

***

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Jul 25, 2018
#36 William MacAskill: The Science of Doing Good
01:05:13

On this episode of The Knowledge Project, I’m happy to have William MacAskill.

William is the co-founder and President of the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) and an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Oxford University. He is also the founder and president of 80,000 Hours, the co-founder and vice-president of Giving What We Can, and the author of Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference.

William’s work is primarily focused on encouraging people to use reason and evidence to find the best possible ways they can use their resources to make the biggest possible impact in the world.

We cover a lot of ground in this interview, including:

  • Why good intentions aren’t enough when giving to charity and how we can do better
  • How William's giving philosophy was formed and how it developed into The Centre for Effective Altruism
  • The best metrics to assess how good a charity is before donating a dime
  • How letting our emotions guide our charitable giving can lead to ineffective, and sometimes harmful outcomes.
  • How many charities today unknowingly reward low dollar donors and sell themselves short millions of dollars in potential donations
  • A powerful thought exercise to help you gain a different but valuable perspective about helping the poor and suffering in the world
  • The one cognitive bias William believes is the most damaging to any business, organization or individual
  • William’s foundational values that guide his day to day decisions and actions
  • William’s take on “radical honesty” and when honesty can be taken too far and is no longer constructive
  • William’s definition of success and the imaginary conversation he has with himself on his deathbed to make sure he’s on the right track (this is awesome)
  • The most common mistake William sees people make over and over (and the embarrassingly simple way to avoid making it)
  • And then to wrap up, I gave him a softball question: What is the purpose and meaning of life?

If you’ve wanted to make more of a positive impact in the world around you, this insightful interview will give you plenty to think about. Your resources are precious and should be optimized to improve the lives of those you help. I don’t know of a better person to guide you than William.

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Jul 11, 2018
#35 Robert Greene: Alive Time vs. Dead Time
01:17:32

In this episode of The Knowledge Project, I have the brilliant Robert Greene. Robert is the

author of 5 New York Times bestsellers, including The 48 Laws of Power and The 33 Strategies of War. He's also written on mastery and seduction.

Robert’s books have been somewhat controversial over the years and have been called amoral, cunning, and even ruthless for what they reveal. Yet millions of readers, from mid-level managers to hip-hop royalty and corporate executives have revered his work as a sort of canonized scripture for the ambitious.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of ground, including:

  • Why Robert believes his first book, 48 Laws of Power has continued to sell steadily for over two decades.
  • What Robert calls “alive time” and “dead time” and how we can optimize each day to be filled with “alive time” and live the life we’re proud of
  • The one skill that determines how far you’ll get in life, no matter how talented you are in anything else
  • Robert’s research method and how he finds such unique and interesting examples
  • What Robert looks for when he reads, and what qualities separate good books from excellent books
  • How Robert developed his famous note card system to extract the meat out of anything he reads
  • Why Robert insists on writing all his notes longhand even though it’s less convenient and less accessible than taking notes digitally
  • What Robert’s daily routine looks like, particularly when he’s writing and researching for a new book
  • What Robert considers to be the single greatest power any human has, and what we can do to strengthen it
  • How having unfettered access to information is actually making us dumber in very important ways and what we can do about it
  • How to fine tune your “bullshit detector” so you’re able to tell the difference between pretenders and performers. (As a bonus, Robert shares a few ways you can improve your bullshitting skills when it becomes necessary)

And a lot more.

Plus, Robert gives us a sneak peek into his newest project, The Laws of Human Nature, which explores the hidden motivations that drive what we do and say.

This interview is packed to the brim with interesting and actionable insights that I think you’re going to love. Grab a pen, a notebook, and a glass of wine and enjoy!

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Jun 27, 2018
#34 Amelia Boone: Learning How to Suffer
01:09:11

Since the popularity of Obstacle Course Racing, or OCR, has exploded onto the scene, there has been one woman who has dominated the sport: Amelia Boone.

Amelia ran her first race in 2011 after some prodding from a co-worker, and though she says she stumbled her way to an unimpressive finish, she was smitten. She has since amassed over  50 podiums and two dozen victories, including the Spartan Race World Championship in 2013, and the World's Toughest Mudder (three times!) in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Oh, and her 2014 victory came just eight weeks after major knee surgery.

Though she vehemently denies it, Amelia is superhuman.

This interview is a little different than others you may have heard on The Knowledge Project but no less fascinating.

We cover a wide variety of topics including habits, reading, self-reliance, and training.

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • Why Amelia was drawn to obstacle racing even though running was something she despised
  • The complementary connection between her sport and her professional work and how racing has made her a more effective attorney
  • How Amelia fights physical and mental fatigue when most people quit (she even shares a story of how she dealt with a vacant support station halfway through a 100 mile race)
  • What she does to develop grit and resilience so she knows she can rely on herself when things get rough
  • Amelia’s “to-do list” trick that makes sure she’s productive — you’ll want to steal this
  • How a serious injury taught Amelia some of her most powerful lessons about who she is and what’s important to her
  • What Amelia’s parents did to teach her to be self-sufficient from a very young age
  • How she learned to deal with setbacks, and how careful she is with the language she uses when she speaks to herself when things go wrong
  • Why Amelia runs with a Sharpie and the same playlist she’s listened to for the past 5 years
  • How Amelia transformed herself from a casual weekend warrior to one of the most finely tuned athletes in the world

Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend jogger, or the only exercise you get is the leisure stroll from the couch to the refrigerator, there are lots of insights and plenty of inspiration waiting for you in this interview.

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Jun 13, 2018
#33 Dan Ariely: The Truth About Lies
56:34

On this episode of the Knowledge Project, I’m joined by the fascinating Dan Ariely. Dan just about does it all. He has delivered 6 TED talks with a combined 20 million views, he’s a multiple New York Times best-selling author, a widely published researcher, and the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.

For the better part of three decades, Dan has been immersed in researching why humans do some of the silly, irrational things we do. And yes, as much as we’d all like to be exempt, that includes you too.

In this captivating interview, we tackle a lot of interesting topics, including:

  • The three types of decisions that control our life and how understanding our biases can help us make smarter decisions
  • How our environment plays a big role in our decision making and the small changes we can make to automatically improve our outcomes
  • The “behavioural driven” bathroom scale Dan has been working on to revolutionize weight loss
  • Which of our irrational behaviors transfer across cultures and which ones are unique to certain parts of the world (for example, find out which country is the most honest)
  • The dishonesty spectrum and why we as humans insist on flirting with the line between “honest” and “dishonest”
  • 3 sneaky mental tricks Dan uses to avoid making ego-driven decisions
  • “Pluralistic ignorance” and how it dangerously affects our actions and inactions (As a bonus, Dan shares the hilarious way he demonstrates this concept to his students on their first day of class)
  • The rule Dan created specifically for people with spinach in their teeth
  • The difference between habits, rules, and rituals, and why they are critical to shaping us into who we want to be

This was a riveting discussion and one that easily could have gone for hours. If you’ve ever wondered how you’d respond in any of these eye-opening experiments, you have to listen to this interview. If you’re anything like me, you’ll learn something new about yourself, whether you want to or not.  

Enjoy!

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May 25, 2018
#32 Patrick Collison: Earning Your Stripes
01:49:33

On this episode of the Knowledge Project Podcast, I chat with Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of the leading online payment processing company, Stripe. If you’ve purchased anything online recently, there’s a good chance that Stripe facilitated the transaction.

What is now an organization with over a thousand employees and handling tens of billions of dollars of online purchases every year, began as a small side experiment while Patrick and his brother John were going to college.  

During our conversation, Patrick shares the details of their unlikely journey and some of the hard-earned wisdom he picked up along the way. I hope you have something handy to write with because the nuggets per minute in this episode are off the charts. Patrick was so open and generous with his responses that I’m really excited for you to hear what he has to say.

Here are just a few of the things we cover:

  • The biggest (and most valuable) mistakes Patrick made in the early days of Stripe and how they helped him get better
  • The characteristics that Patrick looks for in a new hire to fit and contribute to the Stripe company culture
  • What compelled he and his brother to move forward with the early concept of Stripe, even though on paper it was doomed to fail from the start
  • The gaps Patrick saw in the market that dozens of other processing companies were missing — and how he capitalized on them
  • The lessons Patrick learned from scaling Stripe from two employees (he and his brother) to nearly 1,000 today
  • How he evaluates the upsides and potential dangers of speculative positions within the company
  • How his Irish upbringing influenced his ability to argue and disagree without taking offense (and how we can all be a little more “Irish”)
  • The power of finding the right peer group in your social and professional circles and how impactful and influential it can be in determining where you end up.
  • The 4 ways Patrick has modified his decision making process over the last 5 years and how it’s helped him develop as a person and as a business leader (this part alone is worth the listen)
  • Patrick’s unique approach to books and how he chooses what he’s going to spend his time reading

...life in Silicon Valley, Baumol’s cost disease, and so, so much more.

Patrick truly is one of the warmest, humblest and down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure to speak with and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation together. I hope you will too!

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May 02, 2018
#31 Barbara Oakley: Learning How to Learn
01:33:38

Just when I start to think I’m using my time well and getting a lot done in my life, I meet someone like Barbara Oakley.

Barbara is a true polymath. She was a captain in the U.S. Army, a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers, a radio operator in the South Pole, an engineer, university professor, researcher and the author of 8 books.

Oh, and she is also the creator and instructor of Learning to Learn, the most popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ever(!), with over one million enrolled students.

In this fascinating interview, we cover many aspects of learning, including how to make it stick so we remember more and forget less, how to be more efficient so we learn more quickly, and how to remove that barriers that get in the way of effective learning.

Specifically, Barbara covers:

  • How she changed her brain from hating math and science to loving it so much she now teaches engineering to college students
  • What neuroscience can tell us about how to learn more effectively
  • The two modes of your brain and how that impacts what and how you learn
  • Why backing off can sometimes be the best thing you can do when learning something new
  • How to “chunk” your learning so new knowledge is woven into prior knowledge making it easily accessible
  • The best ways to develop new patterns of learning in our brains
  • How to practice a skill so you can blast through plateaus and improve more quickly
  • Her favorite tactic for dealing with procrastination so you can spend more time learning
  • The activities she recommends that rapidly increase neural connections like fertilizer on the brain
  • Whether memorization has a place in learning anymore, or simply a barrier to true understanding
  • The truth about “learning types” and how identifying as a visual or auditory learner might be setting yourself up for failure.

...and a whole lot more.

If you want to be the most efficient learner you can be, and have more fun doing it, you won’t want to miss this discussion.

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Apr 10, 2018
#30 Margaret Heffernan: Collaboration and Competition
01:16:38

Today, I’m joined by speaker, international executive and five-time author Margaret Heffernan. We discuss how to get the most out of our people, creating a thriving culture of trust and collaboration, and how to prevent potentially devastating “willful blindness.”

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Mar 13, 2018
#29 Dacher Keltner: Survival of the Kindest
01:19:58

When Pixar was dreaming up the idea for Inside Out, a film that would explore the roiling emotions inside the head of a young girl, they needed guidance from an expert. So they called Dacher Keltner.

Dacher is a psychologist at UC Berkeley who has dedicated his career to understanding how human emotion shapes the way we interact with the world, how we properly manage difficult or stressful situations, and ultimately, how we treat one another.

In fact, he refers to emotions as the “language of social living.” The more fluent we are in this language, the happier and more meaningful our lives can be.

We tackle a wide variety of topics in this conversation that I think you’ll really enjoy.

You’ll learn:

  • The three main drivers that determine your personal happiness and life satisfaction
  • Simple things you can do everyday to jumpstart the “feel good” reward center of your brain
  • The principle of “jen” and how we can use “high-jen behaviors” to bootstrap our own happiness
  • How to have more positive influence in our homes, at work and in our communities.
  • How to teach your kids to be more kind and empathetic in an increasingly self-centered world
  • What you can do to stay grounded and humble if you are in a position of power or authority
  • How to catch our own biases when we’re overly critical of another’s ideas (or overconfident in our own)

And much more. We could have spent an hour discussing any one of these points alone, but there was so much I wanted to cover. I’m certain you’ll find this episode well worth your time.

***

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Feb 21, 2018
#28 Michael Mauboussin: A Decision Making Jedi
01:16:47

Michael Mauboussin returns for a fascinating encore interview on the Knowledge Project. We geek out on decision making, luck vs. skill, work life balance, and so much more.

***

Michael Mauboussin is back as a returning guest on the Knowledge Project!

He was actually the very first guest on the podcast when it was still very much an experiment. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to continue with the show. (If you missed his last interview, you can listen to it here, or if you’re a member of The Learning Community, you can download a transcript.)

Michael is one of my very favorite people to talk to, and I couldn’t wait to pick up right where we left off.

In this interview, Michael and I dive deep into some of the topics we care most about here at Farnam Street, including:

  • The concept of “base rates” and how they can help us make far better decisions and avoid the pain and consequences of making poor choices.
  • How to know where you land on the luck/skill continuum and why it matters
  • Michael’s advice on creating a systematic decision-making process in your organization to improve outcomes.
  • The two most important elements of any decision-making process
  • How to train your intuition to be one of your most powerful assets instead of a dangerous liability
  • The three tests Michael uses in his company to determine the health and financial stability of his environment
  • Why “algorithm aversion” is creating such headaches in many organizations and how to help your teams overcome it, so you can make more rapid progress
  • The most impactful books that he’s read since we last spoke, is reading habits, and the strategies he uses to get the most of every book
  • The importance of sleep in Michael's’ life to make sure his body and mind are running at peak efficiency
  • His greatest failures and what he learned from them
  • How Michael and his wife raised their kids and the unique parenting style they adopted
  • How Michael defines happiness and the decisions he makes to maximize the joy in his life

Any one of those insights alone is worth a listen, so I think you’re really going to enjoy this interview.

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Jan 23, 2018
#27 Chris Voss: The Art of Letting Other People Have Your Way
01:22:25

Negotiation expert Chris Voss teaches a masterclass on the art of negotiation. Chris is the former lead international kidnapping negotiator at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Jan 03, 2018
#26 Warren Berger: Improving The Questions You Ask
01:22:36
The quality of your outcome depends on the quality of your questions.

Through asking the right questions we can spark innovation and creativity, gain deeper knowledge in the topics that are most important to us, and propel us forward in our personal and professional pursuits.

Yet very few of us do it well — if we do it at all.

My guest on the podcast today is Warren Berger — journalist, speaker, best selling author, and self-proclaimed questionologist.

His insightful book A More Beautiful Question shows how the world’s leading innovators, education leaders, creative thinkers, and red-hot start-ups ask game-changing questions to nurture creativity, solve problems, and create new possibilities.

In this episode, we discuss the importance of asking the right questions, why they’re critical to your success, and how you may be one great question away from a major breakthrough.

You’ll also learn:

  • How Warren manages the constant input and stimulation from online consumption when it’s time to create.
  • The small habits that pack the biggest punch and make the most difference in Warren’s life
  • What makes a question more or less effective
  • How to create a culture where questions are welcome and encouraged
  • Why answering all your kids’ questions may be doing them a disservice — and what to do instead
  • What “collaborative inquiry” is and how to use it to get the most out of your teams in the workplace
  • How Warren transformed one of his most painful failures into one of his most proud achievements
  • Why Warren insists that everyone is creative, and what we can do to fan the flames of our own creativity

If you think you could improve the quality (and frequency) of your questions to enhance key areas of your life, this is not a conversation you’ll want to miss.

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Dec 14, 2017
#25 Gary Taubes: Is Sugar Slowly Killing Us
01:43:35

It seems that nowadays, aside from religion and politics, one of the most hotly debated topics is that of nutrition.

Should we eat high carb diets? Low carb? High fat? High protein? What about wheat or gluten? Should we eat meat or adopt a vegan diet?

There are as many opinions as there are people — and books, magazines and websites are overflowing with information showing you the “right” way to eat and exercise to lose weight.

But if “eating less and moving more” is all it takes to lose weight and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, why are so many of us fat and getting fatter?

In this episode, I chat with Gary Taubes, bestselling author of three books, The Case Against Sugar (2016), Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011) and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007).

We talk about the sharp rise of obesity and diabetes in America, the structural hurdles to effective nutrition research, and explore the common myth that a calorie is just a calorie.

Here are a few other things you’ll learn in this interview:

  • How diets shifted in the last century, and what impact it’s having on our bodies today.
  • Why a carb isn’t just a carb — and why you should know the difference
  • Is the sugar industry the new Big Tobacco?
  • What role genetics play in our health, and how much is under our control
  • Why humans are so attracted to sugar and how to break the habit
  • Gary’s suggestions to improve your health, drop body fat and feel terrific
  • The benefits of fasting and how you can try it out yourself

And a bunch more.

If you think at all about your health, give this podcast a listen. 

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Nov 30, 2017
#24 Susan Cain: Leading the Quiet Revolution
56:59

For decades, introversion was looked at as something to overcome, almost like an illness. The way to win in life was through charisma, outspokenness, and self-promotion.

Even now, in an increasingly noisy world, introverts may feel added pressure to take one of two paths: force themselves into more extroverted behavior, or become even more reserved and shrink back to themselves.

My guest Susan Cain says both paths are wrong and in fact, rob the world of the unique contributions introverts make when they choose to be true to themselves.

Susan knows what she’s talking about. A self-proclaimed introvert, she wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and delivered one of the most popular TED talks ever delivered, with nearly 18 million views to date.

Whether you consider yourself an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert (those lucky bastards in the middle) you’ll find a ton of value in this interview.

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Nov 01, 2017
#23 Ray Dalio: Life Lessons from a Self-Made Billionaire
01:31:25

Are you in love with your own ideas regardless of how good they are Would you like to make better decisions and fewer mistakes? Would you like to improve the most important relationships in your life?

These are just some of the topics I discuss with my guest, Ray Dalio.

Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, and is the author of the new book Principles: Life and Work. He is also a leading figure in the world of philanthropy, is an avid supporter of transcendental meditation, and has appeared on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Ray gave me over an hour and a half of his time, and I didn’t waste a minute of it. 

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Oct 11, 2017
#22 Adam Grant: Givers, Takers, and the Resilient Mind
01:27:42

Are you a giver or a taker? Have you ever struggled to find work/life balance? How do you build resilience in yourself, your team, or your children?

I tackle these topics and many more in this interview with my special guest, Adam Grant.

In this interview, we cover a lot, including:

  • How to tell if you are a giver or a taker (Spoiler: if you just told yourself you’re a giver, you might be in for a rude awakening)
  • How Adam filters down hundreds of ideas and opportunities to the select few he focuses on
  • How to tell if your business idea is a winner or a huge waste of time
  • Why “quick to start and slow to finish” is great advice for budding entrepreneurs
  • How to nurture creativity and resilience in your children (or team culture)
  • How to create positive competitive environments that bring out the best in people
  • Adam’s two core family values and how he instills them in his children
  • “Mental time travel” and how it can make you resilient to any challenge or obstacle
  • Why “how can I be more productive” is the wrong question to ask (and what to ask instead)
  • How Adam and I each address the topic of work/life balance

And so much more.

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Sep 21, 2017
#21 Ed Latimore: The Warrior Poet
01:01:21

Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) might be the most interesting person you'll ever meet.

Ed is a professional heavyweight boxer, physics major, and philosopher. He's also the author of the cult-hit Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Superpower. If there's anything Ed feels like doing, he simply does it.

This interview explores the physics of boxing, the value of a coach, and much of Ed’s hard-fought wisdom. You’ll discover:

  • How the painful end to a relationship lit a fire under Ed that hasn’t stopped burning
  • How Ed knows when he’s bitten off more than he can chew and needs to ease up on the accelerator
  • Why motivation is a terrible way to achieve great things (and what to do instead)
  • The unlikely way that Ed’s runaway best selling book came about
  • Why Ed thinks every person should step into the boxing ring at least once in their life
  • How people get stuck on the “dopamine treadmill” which feels productive but actually gets you nowhere (this is the kiss of death if you want to accomplish any important goal)
  • Ed’s brilliant philosophy on pain and suffering that will change the way you view hardships in your life
  • Ed’s somewhat controversial approach to coaching children and getting the very best out of them
  • The most important element of creating a positive habit (most people get this wrong)

And more.

After listening to this warrior poet, you won’t look at life the same again.

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Aug 09, 2017
#20 Marc Garneau: The Future of Transportation
59:34

Marc Garneau (@MarcGarneau) is a Canadian politician, Engineer, and the Minister of Transport. This interview was recorded live in front of an audience in Montreal. As a bilingual country, you'll hear bits of French from the audience questions here and there but the interview is predominately in English.

In this interview, we discuss the future of transportation (including self-driving cars), infrastructure investments, space, what it means to be a liberal in 2017, how we — as citizens — can judge an elected politician, how he ensures he's getting accurate information in a political system and so much more. 

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

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Jul 02, 2017
#19 Rory Sutherland: The Psychology of Advertising
01:56:13

In this info-packed and entertaining interview, Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, and I dive deep on advertising, persuasion, and why humans do some of the silly things we do.

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May 30, 2017
#18 Naval Ravikant: The Angel Philosopher
02:01:21

Naval Ravikant is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others.

It’s difficult to nail down exactly what we discuss in our conversation because I had so many questions to ask him. Naval is an incredibly deep thinker who challenges the status quo on so many things. This is an interview you’ll want to listen to, think a bit, and then listen to again.

Here are just a few of the many things we cover in this episode:

  • What a “typical day” looks like (not the answer I expected, and not one you’ve likely heard before)
  • How Naval developed his legendary reading habits and how he finds time to read no matter how busy life gets
  • How the internet has impacted book reading (both good and bad) and how to make sure you’re getting the best information from the most reliable sources
  • What popular habit advice Naval thinks is BS and why
  • Naval’s habit stacking technique that helped him overcome a desire for alcohol and other potentially destructive habits
  • How Naval’s core values give direction to his life and how those values developed over time
  • Naval’s thoughts on the current education system and what we can do to facilitate better learning for our children
  • Naval’s favorite mental models for making critical high-stakes decisions
  • His brilliant two-factor calendar authentication concept to keep him focused on only the most important projects
  • Naval’s definition for the meaning of life (buckle up for this one)
  • His amazing response to the investor who wanted to be just like Steve Jobs

And so, so much more.

Just a heads up, this is the longest podcast I’ve ever done. While it felt like only thirty minutes, our conversation lasted over two hours!

And although it is the longest, it’s also our most downloaded episode on the Knowledge Project, so make sure you have a pen and paper handy. There’s a lot of wisdom up for grabs here.

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

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Feb 27, 2017
Aristotle Koskinas on Greek History
01:03:08

This is one of 2 interviews that I conducted while visiting Greece this summer. Greek history is deep routed in many things as philosophy, democracy and culture and has laid the foundation of so much of what we know and how we live today. Today I speak with Aristotle Koskinas (@aristotlekoskin), a guide with Athens walking tours. He's one of the best guides you can find in Athens. In order to be a guide in Greece, an individual must complete a 2½ year program at the School of Tourist Guides in Greece - which is a state school under the Ministry of Development. Some of the courses in the curriculum include Ancient Greek history, Byzantine history, Prehistoric Archaeology, Mythology, Geology, history of Theater –and psychology of the tourist. Listen in for details on the history of Athens over the past 3000 years, the influence Greek culture has had across the world, and some insight on what surprises him meeting visitors from different countries.

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Jan 05, 2017
Santorini Wine with Panayiota Kalogeropoulou
29:29

The island of Santorini has not only has breathtaking views but also a fascinating history. Traces of its first inhabitants have been linked back to 4500 BC. In 1613 BC the most powerful volcanic event in the last 10,000 years took place – completely destroying all the islands within a 60 km radius. It has been estimated that 90 billion tons of molten rock was injected into the air, the sea swallowed the volcano, and a massive tsunami swept across the Aegean Sea. Along with the obvious devastation of nature, it is believed that the eruption also sealed the deal for the most civilized nation on the island at the time, the Minoans. Thanks to the thick layer of ash cause by the event, the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri was so well preserved that we are able to see how prosperous the area had once been with an elaborate drainage systems, multi-storied buildings, incredible wall paintings, furniture and vessels. The site has as much of a significant importance as does Pompeii. The island’s main volcanic rock, its mineral rich soil, and the amazing climate, has produced some incredibly unique wines. Santorini is known for some of the oldest vineyards in the world. And we know that wine is one of my favourite topics. On today’s podcast I speak with Panayiota Kalogeropoulou about Santorini’s wines. Panayiota is the Director at the Domaine Sigalas vineyard. Paris Sigalas, a mathematician with a goal to make his Santorini vineyard a world heritage site, focuses on grapes that thrive in Santorini (these include the Aidani, Athiri, Plantana – and the prime Greek grape Assyrtiko).

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Jan 05, 2017
#15 Samuel Arbesman: Future-Proof Your Knowledge
46:24

Samuel Arbesman is a complexity scientist focusing on the changing nature of science and technology. We discuss learning, reading, and how to optimize both to get the best outcome.

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Nov 28, 2016
#14 Morgan Housel: Reading, Writing, and Lifelong Learning
58:38

Financial writer Morgan Housel and I discuss reading, writing, filtering information, admitting error, important qualities to have in friends and so much more.

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Oct 24, 2016
#13 Pedro Domingos: The Rise of The Machines
01:02:31

In this interview with AI expert Pedro Domingos, you’ll learn about self-driving cars, where knowledge comes from, and the 5 schools of machine learning.

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Aug 30, 2016
#12 Véronique Rivest: Wine Lessons
01:02:10

Véronique Rivest and I explore the fascinating world of wine, including an on-air tasting, tips and tricks for serving wine that will impress your friends and so much more.

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Jul 24, 2016
#11 Ryan Holiday: The Stoic Whisperer
45:27

In this episode, I talk with multiple best selling author Ryan Holiday about how he reads, what it means to be a stoic, and how to gracefully deal with freeloaders.

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May 16, 2016
Are we too busy to pay attention to life?
43:23

An inbetweenisode of sorts where Jeff Annello and I discuss whether we're too busy to pay attention to life - on whether we're too busy to live. If you want more of these let me know #tkp on twitter.

Mar 30, 2016
#9 Maestro Alexander Shelley: The Architecture of Music
56:29

In this incredible episode, I’m joined by Maestro Alexander Shelley. We dive deep into the architecture of music, the necessity of arts, and what makes Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is so popular.

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Mar 18, 2016
#8 Julia Galef: The Art of Changing Minds
53:39

On this episode of the Knowledge Project, I discuss rationality, changing minds (our own and others), filtering information, and a lot more with Julia Galef.

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Feb 20, 2016
#7 Venkatesh Rao: The Three Types of Decision Makers
01:06:25

In this episode, Venkatesh Rao, founder of Ribbonfarm and author of the book Tempo discusses the 3 types of decision-makers and shares how to adopt useful mental models

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Jan 28, 2016
#6 Philip Tetlock: How to See the Future
46:00

In this episode of the Knowledge Project, I chat with professor and New York Times best-selling author Philip Tetlock about how we can get better at the art and science of predicting the future.

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Dec 08, 2015
#5 Chris Dixon: The State of Venture Capital
55:57

In this episode, a16z partner Chris Dixon and I discuss the history of venture capital, artificial intelligence, what makes a great entrepreneur, and why companies fail.

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Nov 13, 2015
#4 Jason Zweig: Elevate Your Financial IQ
01:00:13

WSJ columnist Jason Zweig and I tackle important topics like how to be a smarter investor, filtering out noise, why philosophy and history matters, and his new book, The Devil’s Financial Dictionary.

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Oct 19, 2015
#3 Sanjay Bakshi: Why Mental Models
53:33

In this episode, I chat with professor and value investing genius Sanjay Bakshi about the power of mental models, multidisciplinary thinking, reading, and acquiring worldly wisdom.

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Sep 18, 2015
#2 Michael Lombardi: Leadership on the Field
32:56

New England Patriots Coach Michael Lombardi and I discuss the four aspects of leadership, high stakes decision making, creating a winning culture at work and at home and much more.

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May 29, 2015
#1 Michael Mauboussin: When To Trust Your Gut
38:58

Multiple best selling author and financial strategist Michael Mauboussin shares his wisdom on parenting, daily routines, reading, and how to make better decisions.

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Apr 28, 2015