Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast
Those who study human behavior have learned that simply by encouraging—or “nudging”—individuals toward the right decisions for themselves, dramatic improvements can be made. Cultural commentator David Brooks and Cass Sunstein, legal scholar and the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, discuss the power of “nudge” and how, broadly implemented, it can be a force for substantial change.
In these final days of Barack Obama’s presidency, we consider how the future will view his leadership. Will economic recovery and health care victories at home be overshadowed by what many see as his failure to intervene meaningfully in conflicts abroad? Critics on the left wish the president had gone further on several key issues, while critics on the right have little good to say about Obama’s governance. With an approval rating of 55 percent, the highest it’s been in years, President Obama seems poised to leave office on a high note. But what will the history books say?
What actually happens to the brain when we meditate? Published studies have documented the many physical and mental health benefits of meditation, including decreased pain, better immune function, less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control. Imaging studies show, with meditation there’s increased activity in brain regions associated with attention, a higher volume of grey matter, and lessened amygdala response to emotional stimuli. In this episode meditation teacher and director of the David Lynch Foundation Bob Roth talks with documentary filmmaker Perri Peltz about the scientific case for taking up meditation.
“I spent the first half of my life being afraid,” says Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of the bestselling memoir of transgender experience, She’s Not There, “and the second half telling people to be brave.” In this episode, Boylan opens up about her battle with suicide, how society treats her differently as a female, and the power of love and family. She talks about living life as a father for six years, a mother for twelve, and neither for a few years in between. She’s interviewed by Kirsten Powers, a Fox News contributor.
Author and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman says the world has entered an age of dizzying acceleration, and in this episode, he explains how to live in it. His latest book Thank you for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations delves into mega changes in terms of computing power, the global economy, and the environment. How do these changes interact? How do we keep up with a quickly changing world? Friedman discusses his book with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. Their conversation is part of the Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series at the Institute.