We’re talking today with bestselling author Rick Hanson about his book Resilient. Dr. Hanson is a therapist. He has a PhD in clinical psychology and a lot of his writing is at the intersection of psychological science, neuroscience, and mindfulness. He shares insights with us about how to manage stress, as well as the origins of it, and what it really takes for most of us to reduce it. Toward the end of the interview we talk about motivation: how it works and how we can refuel.
There is something magical about the way some people can push their physical limits. Think about Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile in 1954, or Diana Nyad’s 103 mile swim from Cuba to Florida, or the countless people who have climbed Mt. Everest. Their physical limits impress us but we also know it’s not all about the body. So much is influenced by the mind, their motivation, and their shear ability to put themselves on the line. Today we talk about the role the brain plays when it comes to pushing the limits of endurance. Alex Hutchinson is an award-winning journalist and the author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.
Dr. Rachel Yehuda’s is a pioneer in the study of stress, trauma, and epigenetics. She has discovered that trauma survivors can leave biological markers in their offspring’s genes. These markers appear to be associated with parents' experience of extreme stress. But this field is relatively new, with more research needing to be done, so today we talk about stress and then delve into the possible theories behind the science, what these theories might mean, and why this kind of biological effect could be a strength. Rachel Yehuda is the Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Fariba Nawa is a journalist who covers war, corruption, cultural trends, and human rights. She is drawn to the dire situations that war creates—the victimhood, the violence, and the people who are silenced by their circumstance. Mostly she wants to tell the stories of people who aren't able to share their own. But for her, going back to Afghanistan, eventually to live there, had another dimension: she was going home. I ask Fariba questions that we all, at times, wonder about: What does belonging look like to you? Do you feel at home? How have you been shaped by feelings of guilt?
Paula Stone Williams is a pastor and speaks nationally on issues of gender equity, LGBTQ rights, and religion. Her TEDx talk "I've lived as a man & a woman—here's what I learned" has received over 800,000 views. Today we talk with Paula about her search for authenticity, her experience being transgender and, given that she has lived as a woman and a man, what she’s observed about gender equity.
Dr. Ron Friedman is an award-winning psychologist, business consultant, and the author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace. He writes for the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and CNN. Dr. Friedman's research sheds light on how to build healthy workplaces, which includes embracing failure, giving up the mindset of perfection, and taking care of yourself. We start the interview with Ron talking about what motivated him to pursue such an extensive project—what became his book.
You’ve probably heard businessmen or women touting what has become an adage: invest in your strengths. They mean well, and in some cases they're right, but when you’re dealing with who you want to become, it’s hard to find universal truths.
Barbara Oakley, the author of Mindshift, offers a fresh perspective. She shares stories about people who buckled down and pursued what for them seemed like long shots, if their pasts were any indication of what they could be good at. We talk with Barbara about learning, grit, and the challenges people face when changing careers. And, in case you’re wondering, Barbara knows a lot about learning. She is the co-creator of the wildly popular Coursera Course Learning How to Learn. The course is the largest MOOC (which stands for “Massive Open Online Course”). It has totaled over two million enrollments.
As humans we have an emotional life that is always active. And if you’re like me, you might find yourself wondering: Why is my mind so busy all the time? Does my brain really know what is best? Are my judgements accurate?
I am very excited to have Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett joining us. She is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, and the author of the book How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. The Harvard professor of psychology and bestselling author Daniel Gilbert has this to say about her work: “A brilliant and original book on the science of emotion by the deepest thinker about this topic since Darwin.” We begin with Lisa explaining how we as humans shape each other.
Reaching our goals is partly what makes us feel good about life—we want to contribute, we want to feel competent at what we do, and we want to feel like we are learning and growing. But so often we face a problem: what we need to accomplish feels like the last thing we want to do, so we procrastinate or create all kinds of tricks to try to get ourselves to work harder that often don't work. Today we talk with someone who says our overemphasis on a topdown approach to self-control is faulty. In fact, too much of it will harm us in the long run.
David DeSteno, a professor and researcher at Northeastern University, talks about a different approach in his new book, Emotional Success. There are three emotions we can cultivate that not only enrich our lives, but they help us be more gritty without the longterm consequences.
The theory of emotion, through much of the twentieth century, was dominated by the idea that emotion is learned through the culture you grow up in. But a man by the name of Paul Ekman, thought this thinking was faulty. He believed Darwin's theory of emotion was correct, which supports the idea that there are basic emotions that are a product of our biology. In other words, they’re universal, something we all have in common. So Ekman and his colleagues set out to test this idea in 1967 and, after traveling across the globe to run cross cultural experiments, they found support for six emotions that we all share: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and surprise. But today the study of emotion is a burgeoning field. It’s believed that all of our decisions and actions are spurred by emotion, so researchers are studying other emotions—ones that go beyond our basic need to survive and look at how we thrive. We talk with Jessica Tracy, a researcher and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, about her new book, Pride.
We are joined by bestselling author Robert Fulghum. It is hard to wrap our mind around a precise meaning of life, but Robert's words lead us to a river of sustenance—to places that nourish, heal, and help us go beyond ourselves. Through the experiences he shares, you get a sense of his perspective and the values he holds that make his life full of rich experiences and adventures that span time, relationships, and space. We hope you enjoy the conversation.
The majority of people say they want to write a book, as much as 80-90% by some estimates, so today we’re diving into what makes a good story. It turns out, there are some rules that writers use, and once you know them, you will start to recognize them in the books you read, the movies you watch, and—hopefully—in the stories you write. Matthew Bird, the author of Secrets of Story, shares some insights. And, yes, I recommend his book because it is not only brimming with ideas, it is laugh-out-loud.
You can visit Matthew's blog here.
In her book, Grace Without God, Katherine Ozment explores how we can bring the best of religion into our lives without the parts that clash with our secular beliefs. She drifted away from religion as an adult, but after having children she realized that she needed to create a space where her family could explore the big questions: Why are we here? Where are we going? What happens when we die? On a quest to answer how people are exploring a world without religious faith, Katherine visited churches, discovered nonreligious communities, and spoke with scholars about the increasing trend of being religiously unaffiliated.
If you ever find yourself banging your head against a wall because you can't solve a problem in your life, it’s you and everybody else, which brings us to our expert today. As a business consultant, speaker, and co-author of the book Innovation as Usual, Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg has worked with managers all over the world to reframe how they think about their problems and how they go about solving them.
Check out Wedell-Wedellsborg's HBR article Are You Solving the Right Problems?
Wedell-Wedellsborg has been featured in:
The Sunday Times
Harvard Business Review
Britain’s HR Magazine (2014) “Top 20 International Thinkers”
So often we are distracted and not present in the conversations in our lives and as a result we miss opportunities to connect and to build a better part of ourselves. Today we learn how to shift our attention, how to expand the breadth and depth of our relationships, and how to overcome some hurdles we have within ourselves. Joining us is Dr. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist, business consultant, and the author of the widely acclaimed book Just Listen.
Goulston has been featured in:
Harvard Business Review
The Today Show
Dacher Keltner is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkley and the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center. He has authored several books on human emotion and he is here today to talk with us about his most recent book: The Power Paradox.
Keltner has been featured in:
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The London Times
Monica Worline, a business consultant and researcher at Standford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research, joins us to talk about her new book, Awakening Compassion at Work. The book is coauthored with Jane Dutton, a professor emerita of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.
Worline and Dutton's work have been featured in:
Harvard Business Review
Psychology Today says "a must-read book"
Andy Molinsky, a professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis University's business school, talks about his new book, Reach, and shares ideas about "just right" challenges that help us expand our comfort zone.
Molinsky's work has been featured in: