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?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Edith Hall – from Aristotle to Oprah and back again: how to live your best life

Classicist Edith Hall reminds us that Aristotle's "virtue ethics" was a sophisticated, subtle approach to the pursuit of lifelong happiness a couple millennia before Oprah thought of inviting us to live our best life.

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  • "Aristotle invents empirical science, where you go out with your own senses and amass data and then infer scientific principles from it. He simply treats morality in the same way."
  • How to find happiness, how to deal with loss, and how to build a democracy that works.


We've been talking a lot lately on this show about happiness. What it is, where we can get more of it, why it does not yet seem to be available on the Internet. Author Ruth Whippman presented some compelling evidence that the way most Americans are pursuing happiness is making us unhappier. Buddhist master teacher Joseph Goldstein talked about a way of training yourself to be more generous, and the happiness this has brought to his life.

In her new book ARISTOTLE'S WAY, classicist Edith Hall reminds us that Aristotle's "virtue ethics" was a sophisticated, subtle approach to the pursuit of lifelong happiness a couple millennia before Oprah thought of inviting us to live our best life. Offering no listicles of the top ten happiness hacks, Aristotle tried to live and taught the virtues of an ethically guided, purpose driven life with plenty of room for good friends, sensual pleasures, and long walks on the beaches of Ancient Greece, Macedonia, and what is now Turkey.

Edith Hall—my guest today—enjoys putting the pleasure as well as the rigor into all aspects of Ancient Greek and Roman History, society, and thought. She's a professor of Classics at King's College, London, the author of more than 20 books, and a world leader in the study of ancient theatre and culture.

Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:

Nick Offerman on what happiness is

Stephen Greenblatt on the Adam and Eve story

Open academic culture, more crucial than ever, is in peril

Why campuses are becoming polarized — and what we can do about it.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • The narrowing of academic freedom is a major problem for institutions of higher education.
  • Social media, external pressures, and increasingly diverse student bodies — while providing some positives — create more opportunity for misunderstanding and miscommunication.
  • Reaffirming the value of and commitment to open debate ensures a more vibrant academic culture.
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  • 12min summarizes hundreds of best-selling books down to essential 12-minute microbooks.
  • Microbooks are downloadable in both text and audio formats.
  • You can request a 12min summary of any non-fiction book not in their vast library.
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Elif Shafak (writer) – the cemetery of the companionless

Following the Booker shortlisting of her novel 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World, British-Turkish author and activist Elif Shafak returns to Think Again to talk about forgotten lives, the nature of evil, and what we mean by progress.

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Reginald Dwayne Betts - Nothing to resurrect after prison

"I think when you come to grips with what happened, it gives you a chance of doing something different. What's really dark is when you're going through something and you have no perspective." By revisiting—through poetry—his 9 years in prison for a teenage carjacking, Reginald Dwayne Betts finds freedoms most of us have never known.

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Some experiences change you so completely that you're left with a choice: either spend your life running from them or spend your life turning them over in memory, trying to find new ways in, through, and out the other side. The power of the impulse to explain or somehow articulate these experiences is inversely proportionate to other people's ability to understand them. They're everything all at once. It seems to me that my guest today has made that second choice, the hard choice not to run away. Or maybe it's a choice you have to keep making over and over again. His name is Reginald Dwayne Betts. He's 39 years old—an accomplished poet and essayist and a graduate of Yale Law School. But he spent most of his teenage years and young adulthood in prison and over a year in solitary confinement, experiences neither society, nor memory, nor his fellow feeling for the more than 2 million people behind bars in the United States, the vast majority of them black men and boys, has let him forget. Dwayne's beautiful and necessary new book of poems is called FELON, and I'm honored to have him with me here today to talk about it.



Bill Bryson on the most extraordinary machine in the known universe

Journeys of discovery and wonder in the inner and outer world.

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