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Inquiring Minds

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Inquiring Minds

Indre Viskontas

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Each week we bring you a new, in-depth exploration of the space where science and society collide. We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can benefit everyone—and lead to better decisions. We want to find out what’s true, what’s left to discover, and why it all matters.
 
Donna Karlin and Steve Harper have spent over 15 years percolating about life, business, and the myriad of perspectives we have about ourselves within it all and now we’re inviting you to listen in. Inquiring Minds is about life and the conversations we have to navigate it —Conversations to help us learn, evolve and challenge how we think about ourselves and others so we make better, more informed choices.
 
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show series
 
You might not be aware of it, but the UK is experiencing a wildlife crisis. Ecologist Derek Gow joins us this week to talk about what we ought to do about it and how he’s trying to rewild the country with his farm-turned-wildlife breeding center. Gow wrote the bestselling Bringing Back the Beaver and will soon release his latest book Birds, Beasts …
 
You can believe that or you can approach life from a place of curiosity and inquisitiveness and then ACTUALLY be the smartest person in the room. Join Steve and Donna in conversation about what it looks like when you turn the camera back on yourself and truly look through an honest lens.Steve Harper
 
You can read as many books or take as many courses as you want but if you're unable to read yourself, you'll never learn a thing. Join Donna and Steve in conversation about what you really need to look at in order to learn and move forward in your life and your work.Steve Harper
 
Do you act out of obligation because you haven't set boundaries? Have a difficult time communicating no? Do others know that when you say yes, you're doing it by choice and respect the 'Nos' more because of that? Join Donna and Steve in conversation about how we approach life from this viewpoint and, in turn, strengthen relationships at the same ti…
 
On the show this week we’re joined by naturalist, author, and returning guest Sy Montgomery. Throughout her career, Montgomery has repeatedly shown an incredible ability to understand, befriend, and interact with animals. We last heard from her in episode #128 where she talked about her 2016 book The Soul of an Octopus, but she’s written about ever…
 
Is it to support? Advocate? Demolish someone? Be supportive? How do you want to be seen and heard? Join Donna and Steve in conversation about presence, contribution, point of view and all the other facets of what this question brings to mind.Steve Harper
 
On the show this week we’re joined by Brian Butterworth, emeritus professor of cognitive neuropsychology and author of the new book Can Fish Count? What Animals Reveal About Our Uniquely Mathematical Minds. He’s spent his career looking at the genetics and neuroscience of mathematical ability—and not just in humans. Support the show: https://www.pa…
 
What would you like to discover about yourself? Are you pushing yourself to be a certain way, do something you always thought you should be doing? Or are you curious about what you don't know about yourself and set off on a journey to find that out?Steve Harper
 
Are you living life looking at what was rather than what is or what can be? So many of us rest on our laurels or lament how things in the past were so much better. Join Donna and Steve in conversation to look at when we do this and how we can (literally) turn it around.
 
How do you feel fear and be creative anyway? How is letting your mind wander key to coming up with, and following through on, creative ideas? Returning to the show this week is journalist Matt Richtel, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series on distracted driving, and author of numerous books. His latest book, Inspired…
 
How do you see the world? The world as a whole and your place within it? Everything is about interpretation. What if things weren't exactly as you initially saw them? If you make decisions, judgments and take actions based on interpretations it can get you and so many others into trouble. Join Steve and Donna in conversation about our viewpoints an…
 
Are you aware of how much you criticize yourself? Are you placing limitations on what you can do because of that? Or are you embedding an idea in someone else's mind that you're sub-par? Join Donna and Steve in a conversation about how you can be your worst critic and the ramifications of it.
 
How do you define how painful something is? On the show this week we welcome back physician, writer, and clinical researcher Haider Warraich to talk about his new book The Song of Our Scars: The Untold Story of Pain. Warraich explores the idea that far from being something objective and easily defined, pain is complex, misunderstood, and culturally…
 
We are encouraged to meditate and find space in our lives to think, but how can we not think, or think of nothing? Is it possible? Join Steve and Donna in conversation about how our minds work and some tips to disconnect at a fundamental level.Steve Harper
 
This week we’re joined by Benjamin Ehrlich, author of The Brain in Search of Itself: Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Story of the Neuron. It’s a book about the discoveries and life of Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who has been called the ‘father of modern neuroscience.’ While today relatively unknown outside of his field, Cajal’s di…
 
How many courses and trainings have you been on? Have you changed anything because of them? Some people are serial course-takers and yet haven't integrated any of the learning into who they are or what they do. How are you integrating change into your life?Steve Harper
 
This week, we examine a recent discovery that certain types of cancer cells may allow us to better understand how cells adapt to the intracellular environment (and explain what the intracellular environment is). Indre discusses how she and her students have recently been working on methods of measuring creativity. And we look at some new research f…
 
Your plan is affected by the inclinations, choices and actions of the other player. You must modify constantly But to what end? For you? For the greater good? Somewhere in-between? Join Donna and Steve in conversation about how one has to learn to dance in real time with whatever the moment brings.Steve Harper
 
During the pandemic, one thing we’ve had a little more of--at least sometimes--is time. Time to panic and stress and worry, but also time to think and reflect. This week, in the spirit of reflection, we’re revisiting a conversation with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll recorded back in 2016. At the time he had just written a book called The Big P…
 
Think of a moment when you had to make a tough decision. What might have happened if you made a different decision? What would the consequences have been? Who would you have become as a result? Donna and Steve discuss decision making and, in reflection, what did we learn about ourselves in making them? How can that guide us in making future critica…
 
We can never know what it’s like for a bat to be a bat. Or even if there is something that it is like for a bat to be a bat. But if there is something, we would speculate that the bat has some kind of consciousness or sentience. That’s the argument Jackie Higgins makes in her new book Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses,…
 
If you had to let go of 3 things today, what would they be? What would you gain by letting them go? Donna and Steve talk about what we really want to let go of and what that would bring to our lives. #lettinggo #decisions #choices #freeing #coachingtips #inquringmindsSteve Harper
 
One of the fascinating things about neuroscience is that it gives us something tangible to study in the biology of the brain that can tell us something about the mind, which is so intangible. But what if that approach leaves us missing a big piece of the puzzle? What if the mind actually extends far beyond the biology of the body? Today, Indre is j…
 
More than a hundred million people watched the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up, which focused on our fear that something could crash into our planet from space and destroy it. But what if things that come from space don’t just have the potential to destroy life but also to create it? That’s Greg Brennecka’s argument, and he joins Indre on today’s episo…
 
Decide what kind of life you actually want and say no to everything else that doesn't contribute to it. Join Steve and Donna in looking at how to honor the life we choose to have and make decisions accordingly.Steve Harper
 
Taking no risks will end up being your biggest risk. You have to risk to fail in order to succeed. Join Donna and Steve in conversation about how to take chances and what stops us from risking in the first place.Steve Harper
 
In this week’s episode, Indre revisits a topic that has been covered a couple of times on the podcast: addiction. This time, she’s joined by addiction physician and bioethicist Carl Erik Fisher, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University. Carl works at the intersection of law, ethics, and psychiatry and has had his own strugg…
 
Do we think we deserve some things but don't others? Take risks? Live by someone else's story of you? Join Donna and Steve in conversation about what enables us to take a leap towards a life we love — and — what holds us back!Steve Harper
 
We will be viewed and judged within each and the person who will judge the most is me. But who counts more? Join Steve and Donna in conversation about how we view ourselves and are viewed by others depending on the roles we play and how to dance with them all as they all occur at the same time.Steve Harper
 
We will be viewed and judged within each and the person who will judge the most is me. But who counts more? Join Steve and Donna in conversation about how we view ourselves and are viewed by others depending on the roles we play and how to dance with them all as they all occur at the same time.Steve Harper
 
Visualizing your dreams and doing nothing about them is like getting into your car, setting the GPS and not turning the engine on. Donna's Quote: “How we dream is what gives our lives value. How we choose to live is what determines whether our dreams have value. I believe we each carry a dream of a life we were born to realise which shows up throug…
 
In this last episode of 2021, Adam Bristol joins Indre to talk about the major highlights of 2021, one being the journey through COVID. They map out the key episodes of Inquiring Minds throughout 2021, talk through their personal highlights, and recommend books to read. Recapping episodes touching on the history of quarantine, food and science, the…
 
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