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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. 

This week's guest is novelist Ian McEwan. He’s the bestselling author of 16 books, including Atonement, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the WH Smith Literary award and Amsterdam, which won the Booker Prize. His latest book, Nutshell, is a darkly funny, brilliant riff on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, told from the point of view of an extremely articulate, nine month old fetus, viewing an unfolding murder plot from the limited vantage point of his mother’s womb.

In this far-ranging, lively dialogue, McEwan and host Jason Gots discuss Hamlet, moral quandaries, and how to set boundaries in a world that threatens to pull you in every direction.

Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Charles Duhigg on focus and productivity, Glenn Cohen on the ethics of abortion

Ian McEwan Quote: I hike a lot, and I never take a phone with me…just to be in the moment and enjoy the rock that we happen to inhabit and its beauty.  And also the pleasures of getting lost. Sometimes you walk in a deep wood…and it’s quite possible to lose your way.  Then you’ve got a problem to solve. It’s so delicious! To solve a problem, and come out the other side.

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.