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A listener commented the other day on Twitter that on two completely different recent episodes of this show – one about technology and the other one about jellyfish, the same idea came up. That stories play a powerful role in shaping our real lives. This idea comes up so often, in so many different forms and contexts, that I’ve begun to think of it as maybe the crucial truth for understanding why people do the things we do. The stories we wrap around ourselves, our neighbors. our children. The invisible stories we struggle against. 

Nobody I know of understands this better, nor writes more cleanly and poetically about these struggles than my guest today Daniel Alarcón. He’s the co-founder of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language podcast now on NPR, and he’s the celebrated author of novels and short stories including his newly published collection The King is Always Above the People

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

André Dubus III on violence, Ariel Levy on surviving grief

Daniel Alarcon On Writing: There are small and potentially delightful puzzles to be solved at every step.  Whether it’s at the sentence level…or the narrative structure level…to say nothing of the most  delightful and complicated puzzle of all, which is the meaning of the story. And you yourself might have an idea of what the meaning is going to be, but the story itself may have other ideas.


About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

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.