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In this episode: 

Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

Elif Batuman has written articles for the New Yorker on everything from the horrible-smelling "corpse flower" to the complex politics of present day Turkey, her parents' native country. Her first book, The Possessed, was a series of "comic, interconnected essays about Russian Literature." Her latest, "The Idiot", is a lucid, disarmingly funny coming of age novel set in 1995. Jason calls it "one of the most delightful books" he's read in years. 

Elif Batuman Quote: People sort of act as if to say “fiction” means there’s a stamp on it which says “Nothing in this book is true,” which to me is ludicrous. To me fiction just means that you’re not making a truth claim. You’re saying “Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t happen. That’s not the point. The point is this story that I’m telling.

 

Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

Maria Popova on an Unsung Hero of Children's Literature and Salman Rushdie on the Left's Taboo of Criticizing Islam 

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.