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...
Lauren Groff: We should die of that roar
In her vivid, dreamlike new book of short stories, Florida is a humid, seething organism that wants to eat you. Snake-infested. Full of sinkholes. A thing to resist, get lost in, surrender to, and sometimes, temporarily escape.
The places we live in shape us. I don't care who you are how indomitable your will…your spirit is in dialogue with the place you live. For example, I live in New York City, a place I wrapped around me like a second skin when I was 18 years old. Back then New York made me feel strong, cool, infinitely removed from the suburbs I grew up in. I've been here for 25 years and at this point what I mostly notice is the claustrophobic public spaces, the smallness of the sky.
What do you feel when you hear the word 'Florida'? Do the pleasure centers of your brain light up, imagining palm trees and pristine beaches? Or does your amygdala kick in as you imagine the ancillary costs of a week at Disney World?
My guest today is the writer Lauren Groff. In her vivid, dreamlike new book of short stories, Florida is a humid, seething organism that wants to eat you. Snake-infested. Full of sinkholes. A thing to resist, get lost in, surrender to, and sometimes, temporarily escape.
Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:
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.
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The 8th century AD was a tough time to be a genius from a poor family in China. Poet and novelist Ha Jin on the tortured life of the legendary drunken poet Li Bai. Also: panpsychism, the value of idleness, and humanities education in America today.
- "I knew in the case of Li Bai, I should follow the poems. Every masterpiece by him would be kind of a small crisis…a center for drama in his life."
- "There are people who want a different kind of fulfillment. Society should be open to that. In the long run, you don't know—maybe those idlers can produce more for the society."
Man-Booker prizewinning author Marlon James in a freewheeling game of verbal ping-pong on African mythology, '80's hip hop, heavy metal, tattoos, and billionaire philanthropy.
- "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" has been compared to "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones", but it's something entirely different.
- Growing up gay in a deeply religious Jamaica and writing his way out of there.
- Trickster narrators, truths you have to sort out for yourself.
Why does Faulkner use "inchoate" so much? Maybe because Benjamin Dreyer wasn't his copy editor. The author of DREYER'S ENGLISH is here to remind us that there's no absolute authority on the English language. Still, please avoid "onboarding".
- Hear! As we play "stump the host" with words everyone spells wrong.
- Marvel! With us at the exquisiteness of the word "twee"
- Absorb! Benjamin Dreyer's simple yet powerful advice about how to write better sentences.
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