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...

As fact and fiction blur, America’s finally ready for Polish author Olga Tokarczuk

Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft on maps that lead nowhere, plasticized anatomies, and humor across national borders.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Our fragmented times demand a new kind of novel.
  • Here, Olga talks humor across the world...
  • ... and maps that lead us nowhere.


Author Olga Tokarczuk and translator Jennifer Croft

Does it ever strike you as odd that we manage to inhabit two completely different realities at once? On one level, we have common sense and reason that orient us in the world. We make narrative sense of our own life and self and we go about our day with a provisional yet perfectly satisfactory sense of what the hell we're doing. And on another level, we know basically nothing. Forget about dark matter and multiple universes. Just glance into the eyes of that stranger on the train—there's a whole world in there that you know nothing whatsoever about.

I'm here today with Olga Tokarczuk, who won the Man Booker prize this year for her book FLIGHTS, and with the book's Man Booker prizewinning translator, Jennifer Croft. Flights is a patterned assemblage of sketches, short stories, fragmentary essays about travel. Motion. And it kept striking me while reading it that her writing is about these two worlds we always waver between: Orientation and disorientation. Trying to map things out and then getting lost inside our own maps.

Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

Alissa Quart on coparenting as a growing necessity in America

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on risk taking

3 million people move to urban areas every week. How will we meet the challenge?

Cities of the future won't just be incredibly populated, they'll also be smarter than ever.

Videos
  • Globally we are adding about 3 million people to urban areas each week. Over the course of the year, this number can be equated to roughly 50 Chicagos.
  • This influx of people could make everyday life in urban areas more chaotic than ever. We will need a new playbook for how cities can better handle this massive influx of people.
  • With such population surges, we can use citizen-centric data—computational power—to make the infrastructure of cities run smoother and more efficiently.
Related Articles

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.

Think Again Podcasts


Keep reading Show less

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.

Think Again Podcasts


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.

Think Again Podcasts


Keep reading Show less

Connect with us

How to listen

You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:

Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher RSS feed