#21: Olga Khazan on the Power of Outsiders
This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.
Olga's family moved to America when she was four years old. They were a Jewish family from Russia. Growing up in small town Texas, let's just say that she was the only one of her classmates named Olga. She is intimately familiar with what it's like to be an outsider. In her new book, Weird, Olga studies how the ways in which we fail to fit in are often what gives us our unique advantage. She is a staff writer for the Atlantic, and this book draws on her experience as a journalist. She's spent the last five years tracking down weirdos and outsiders to tell their stories and connect the dots on what's common between them. In this conversation, we talk about Olga's story, how her parents were against her going into journalism (they've since come around), when she began thinking about weirdness as an intellectual puzzle, and the works in which she finds inspiration as a writer.
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