Start Here: The Best of Cognitive Revolution
My fifteen favorite episodes from the show so far.
New to Cognitive Revolution? Here are the episodes I recommend starting with: my personal favorites. Some of them are among the most popular episodes, and some aren’t. They all feature interviews with people I found truly compelling. Some I knew quite well before our conversation, some I didn’t. They’re a representative set of the interviews I’d done for the show through the end of 2021.
If you’d like to find episodes on a specific topics, I have lists of my best-of episodes for: cognitive science, social psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, and non-fiction authors.
15. Christof Koch—A one man symphony. I was so excited when he agreed to be on the show, and he did not disappoint. What a guy.
14. Wade Davis—He’s one of these guys where you simply find yourself in awe of his intellectual prowess. His career has spanned a ton of different topics and mediums (including documentary filmmaking). One of the coolest people I’ve had the chance to meet through the show.
13. Michael Tomasello—He is one of my favorite cognitive scientists of all time. This is the kind of academic I started to show hoping to talk to.
12. Don Norman—His Design of Everyday Things is an all-time classic. It was a huge honor to talk to him for the show.
11. Chantel Prat—Meeting her was like, “Oh wow, this podcasting thing is going to be fun!” But then I realized: that was just Chantel. She’s so cool, and there’s no one else like her. A national treasure.
10. Julia Shaw—The only person who gives Chantel a run for her money in terms of cool-factor is Julia Shaw. I loved the breadth of Julia’s mind. She deserves to be an intellectual influencer of the highest order.
9. Nancy Kanwisher—One of my most popular episodes, and it’s obvious why. Nancy is a superstar. She’s one of the most eminent neuroscientist in the game. It’s difficult to underestimate her impact on the field—both in terms of scientific findings and the influential scholars who got their training in her lab.
8. Mark Granovetter—Probably the most influential sociologist of the later-twentieth century. And now a personal friend of mine. Listen to this episode to hear Mark’s backstory, which evolves into a friendly exchange in which I share quite a bit as well.
7. Mahzarin Banaji—She’s an eminent Harvard social psychologist, and she has an unparalleled backstory. Absolutely one of a kind.
6. Annie Duke—She dropped out of her psychology PhD with only a couple months left before graduating. Then she became a professional poker player. Now she’s a successful author of books on decision-making. Total badass.
5. Brad Voytek—He was early in on the data science game. He also takes his mentorship very seriously, which is one of the attributes I admire most in a science. This was one of those interviews where I’d ask a single, innocuous question, then Brad would take it to another dimension and back. A ton of fun.
4. Steve Pinker—He’s the biggest name not only in cognitive science but probably in the whole public intellectual sphere. You know him. You love/detest him. He’s Steve Pinker.
3. Daniel Everett—A hero of mine. He’s truly lived out his pursuit of ideas, as a Bible-translator-turned-anthropologist in the Amazon. It was so much fun to be able to ask him about his life and career.
2. Louis Menand—My favorite non-fiction writer of all time. He’s written my two favorite non-fiction books I’ve ever read: The Metaphysical Club and The Free World. A huge honor to talk with him.
1. Ben Moser—Since we’re picking favorites here, I’m going to go with Ben Moser. It was an uncommon pleasure. We cover, well, a range of topics. Ben can go on about anything and make it riveting. We developed a nice relationship after this conversation, and I’ve since visited him in Amsterdam.
Have a favorite episode that didn’t make the list? Let me know in the comments!