Episode 11: “I Dropped Out of an Elite University and I Couldn’t Be Happier”

Zak Slayback was on scholarship at an Ivy League school.

Derek Magill was on the Dean’s list at a top tier university.

They both dropped out, and they’re both glad they did.  Zak and Derek join me to discuss their experiences and offer thoughts on the university system and what dissatisfied students can do.

This and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Bonus Episode: What is Voice & Exit? Max Borders

Max Borders joins me on this bonus episode to discuss the upcoming “Festival of the Future” called Voice & Exit. We talk about what V&E is, why it’s important to provide a safe space for radical ideas, and how to criticize by creating.

Max is the co-founder of Voice & Exit and the managing editor of The Freeman.  V&E is creating an exciting environment where no idea is too big or crazy and humans are free to be relentless optimists and builders for the future.  This year’s event is June 20-21 in Austin, TX.

This and all other episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 10: Steve Patterson on Physics, Paradoxes, and Patronage

Steve Patterson comes back to the show to defend his claim that popular conceptions of quantum physics are claptrap, paradoxes don’t and can’t exist, and that being accurate is more important than believing what feels good. He also talks about his experiment as a freelance philosopher.

You can find Steve on the web here, and support his work here.

This and every other episode is available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 9: Chris Nelson on Language, Meaning, and Movements

*I typically release an episode every Monday, but I had a few great ones ready to go so decided to do this special Friday release.

The most widely read person I know, Chris Nelson, joins me to discuss some of the lesser known work of Adam Smith on language and meaning.  We also talk about interdisciplinary research and problems in the social sciences, as well as philosophical movements and how they change over time for better or worse, and how these changes coincide with changes in language.

Chris always gives me something interesting to think about, and today’s episode is no exception!

As always, this and all other episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 8: Jeff Tucker on Being Personable, Productive, and Playful

International Man of Mystery Jeff Tucker joins me to discuss his approach to life, and how he manages to say ‘yes’ to everything and still consistently produce good work.  Jeff writes 1,500 words every day, and it’s always good stuff.  He is the author of three books, and he speaks regularly around the globe on human liberty, cryptocurrency, virtual communities, economics, philosophy, and more.

My favorite thing about Jeff is that he always seems in good spirits.  Always.  He and I share incredibly similar opinions and outlooks, yet he’s the complete opposite of me in many of his habits and processes.  Conversations like this one always remind me how important it is to find your own rhythm and method.

You can read Jeff daily on his Liberty.me site: tucker.liberty.me.

As always, this and all episodes are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 7: “It’s Not About Race” with TK Coleman

Is police abuse and misconduct a result of racism, or other institutional problems?  Does absence of minority characters on movies and TV reflect consumer preferences, or racist producers?  Does praising rags-to-riches stories imply blaming the down-and-out for their own suffering?  Should some people just keep quiet on the topic of race?  Do we talk too much or too little about it?  Is being ‘color blind’ a good thing?

TK Coleman joins me to discuss these and many other related issues on this episode of the podcast.  If you’re like me, you tend to shy away from conversations about race because it’s such a loaded subject, but this was a very enjoyable and enlightening conversation.

Mentioned in the episode:

Subscribe to the podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.  Every Monday a new episode with notes is posted on the blog under the category Podcast.

Episode 6: Scapegoats, Sacrifice, and Stable Systems

[Note: I’ve made episodes 1-6 live on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher just to front-load the podcast to get started.  I’ll be sharing individual posts about each episode this week, and then back to the every Monday schedule for new episodes.]

After being intrigued by references to René Girard (including from a seemingly unlikely source in tech founder/investor Peter Thiel) I finally picked up a copy of The Scapegoat and read it.  There was a lot to digest, but one of the primary insights that stuck out to me was the way in which ritualized collective violence can act as a stabilizing force in some societies.  Do not in any way mistake this statement to mean that violence of any sort is good, let alone ritualized mob executions and banishment.  They are terrible.  The insight is that, because they serve some kind of equilibriating purpose as perceived by members of the society, you can’t simply put an end to them through legal decree or forced conversion.

I see the same insight from a totally different approach in the work of economist Peter Leeson.  His work focuses on the unlikely ways in which order can emerge even in the most extreme circumstances, and the often odd or seemingly irrational mechanisms used to generate order – from insect trials to self-immolation.  Again, stability or equilibrium does not mean good.  But it should queue us in to the fact that, if we want social change, we need to understand why perverse practices exist and what function they serve in order to get to the root.

I’ll be bringing Leeson on a future episode to discuss his work and these themes in more detail.  Check out his phenomenal book, Anarchy Unbound: Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think (Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society).

The Real Education Podcast with Blake Boles

Can you combine liberal arts and work experience?  Can you combine virtual and real-world?  That’s what Praxis is all about and what I discuss with Blake Boles on this episode of his Real Education Podcast.

Blake is an author and pioneer in the world of self-directed learning.  He’s got his hand in numerous projects and programs and his podcast is one of my new favorites.  Give a listen to the episode, and check out Blake’s stuff at his website.

Episode 5: TK Coleman on Self-Help, Sports, and Some Lies

[Note: I’ve made episodes 1-6 live on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher just to front-load the podcast to get started.  I’ll be sharing individual posts about each episode this week, and then back to the every Monday schedule for new episodes.]

TK comes back to the show to discuss the self-help genre, respond to objections to sports, and share lies that he believes and why.  I am not a fan of self-help generally, and TK loves it.  We discuss what it is, the good and the bad, and what can be gleaned from it.  I play devil’s advocate and ask him why he’d indulge in irrational biases and waste time and energy on sports.

Episode 4: Steve Patterson on Credentialism, Cryptocurrency, and Creative Power

[Note: I’ve made episodes 1-6 live on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher just to front-load the podcast to get started.  I’ll be sharing individual posts about each episode this week, and then back to the every Monday schedule for new episodes.]

Steve Patterson is a philosopher and author without official credentials.  He knew he wanted to do philosophy and write about it, but he was turned off by the hoops and credentialism of the academic system.  He set out on his own as an independent intellectual.  We discuss his journey, his book What’s the Big Deal About Bitcoin?, and how he manages his day in order to continue creating.

Episode 3: Zak Slayback on Education, Aviation, and Innovation

[Note: I’ve made episodes 1-6 live on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher just to front-load the podcast to get started.  I’ll be sharing individual posts about each episode this week, and then back to the every Monday schedule for new episodes.]

Zak Slayback joins me for a discussion primarily on education and how it differs from schooling.  Zak talks about his own story and how he went from top achiever in the schooling system to a major critic of it.  We also touch on Zak’s love of aviation and what’s wrong with the industry and whether or not we can expect to see major innovations there.

Episode 2: TK Coleman on Comments, Critics, and Call-Out Culture

TK joins me for a conversation on the problems with criticism and how it can sap creative power.  The main insight is that criticism is not so bad for society or creators, but that it can have a negative effect on the critic herself.

I did a pretty poor job with the intro on this episode.  I never really gave a bio for TK and I opened with a long statement rather than a question.  But hey, I’ll just tune out the critics anyway, right?

TK’s bio is here, as well as some of his writings and lectures.  He’s probably the most relentlessly curious person I know, with a seemingly limitless capacity for new ideas.  I hope to have him join me regularly on the show.  If you listen to the end you’ll even get to hear him do his best Stephen A. Smith take-down of me.  Here’s the app I referenced a few times in the episode.

Episodes are also available for streaming or download on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Episode 1: Why Am I Doing a Podcast?

I’ve had so much fun listening to and being a guest on podcasts in the last year that I decided to jump head first into the medium and launch my own.  It’s a little scary.  The usual questions and fears and doubts that accompany any creative endeavor exposed to the public come along with it.  It makes me just a little uncomfortable, which is exactly where I want to be.  I’m looking forward to exploring this new medium, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

You can see a Podcast page on this site where the entire playlist will be available.  I’ll also be posting each new episode with notes on the blog under the category “Podcast”.  The show is available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher.

I’m Launching a Podcast

There are too many interesting conversations to have with too many interesting people.  A podcast is a great excuse to get some of these people for an hour to discuss a wide range of ideas.  Why not launch one?

Like any new venture, the typical fears and doubts attend my decision to jump into the podcasting world.  What if I’m no good, or people don’t like it, or they don’t notice it at all, etc.  None of that really matters.  I want a new challenge.  I want to push myself a little further.  Most of all, I want to learn.  I’m a verbal processor and talking with interesting people is the best way for me to learn new things.  It’s like fuel to my creative fire.  So I’m jumping in.  Making it public forces me to deliver and puts enough pressure on me to take it seriously and try to get better.

The first episode will go live tomorrow.  Thereafter I’ll release one every Monday.  I have a lot of great conversations and topics already lined up.  If you have ideas send them along.

Things We Do To Our Children

I joined Albert Lu on The Economy Podcast to talk about things we do to our children.  We discussed whether and to what extent a parent can know what’s good for a child and force them to do things for their own good, from sports to music lessons and beyond.  We also discussed the lack of student-directed learning from grade school all the way through college and the problems it creates.

Listen to the episode here.  I’m on first and then author Richard Maybury on the same topic.