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...

Wesley Yang - The Souls of Yellow Folk

What do the "seduction movement," the Virginia Tech shooter, and the Asian-American experience have in common? Wesley Yang thinks and writes with devastating clarity about loneliness, invisibility, and the incoherence of American life.

Think Again Podcasts
  • What if Asian American cultural "invisibility" is the key to saving America?
  • Are liberalism and democracy too tame to survive identity politics?
  • "One risks being a pariah...just by saying the things that need to be said."



Such and such "doesn't suffer fools gladly". That phrase has always bugged me a bit. It's like someone has just squeezed a pillow infused with an admiration-scented vapor that then hangs in the air for just a second, leaving you to wonder: Who is this remarkable personage? And who are these fools, so unworthy of his regard that he doesn't even have to suffer them? Well maybe he suffers them. But not gladly. And yeah, it's usually a "he".

I don't suffer that phrase gladly. But it's trying to get at something. It's asserting that the world is divided between affable idiots and those whose intellectual rigor leaves no time for idle chit chat. Or that the shared social—and now social media—space is mediocre, coercive, and corrupting. That clear thinking is independent and often lonely. When you put it that way, it's harder to argue with.

My guest today doesn't suffer fools gladly. His pen is sharp and uncompromising, even when he turns it on himself. Wesley Yang writes essays mostly about outsiders and outliers. Some try to fit in. Some try not to. Some succeed. Some fail by succeeding. His new book of essays, which contains some of the best writing I've ever read, is called THE SOULS OF YELLOW FOLK. It was just justly named one of NY Times 100 notable books of the year. And I'm so glad it's brought him to Think Again.

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
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