June 14, 2024
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PodKernels: Some Recent Great Podcast Listens

I recently wrapped up an MBA program, and throughout the 2.5-year experience, I did not really enjoy listening to lectures. At the same time, the number of podcasts I listened to on a weekly basis expanded dramatically. Ironically, many of the topics covered on my podcasts of choice overlapped with required lectures. I am not certain if the divergence in interest level I experienced between lecture and podcasts was driven by specific examples provided in the podcasts or the “choice vs. scholastic requirement” dynamic; however, I unquestionably prefer the podcast experience and I have even further expanded my listening post-MBA. I often find side notes or minor points made during the lengthy discussions of podcasts particularly enlightening. Perhaps, in the words of Gladwell on his famed Revisionist History podcast, I enjoy the components of podcasts that are “overlooked” and “misunderstood.” Here are some recent kernels.

Odd Lots 8/12/21

The hosts interviewed Brent Donnelly, an author and stock trader. In the context of managing a stock portfolio and working on a trading desk, Donnelly coined the term “calibrated confidence.” Calibrated confidence demands that a person recognize the limitations of their skill set while maintaining a confidence in what they know and do well. This is critical for stock trading but incredibly valuable in other areas of life as well. One mundane area Donnelly mentions is driving. He referenced a stat that 86% of drivers think they are better than average. One of the arguments for autonomous driving is the irrational confidence most human drivers have behind the wheel. After all, only half of us can be better than average.

Revisionist History S6E8

Most of the episode is spent raising awareness of the criticality of cold water to environmentally friendly laundering. It is well worth a listen. One side note I found both practical and fascinating is the utility of a dishwasher. According to Gladwell and his friends in the detergent industry, a dishwasher uses less hot water and energy in a typical cycle than running a hot tap for two minutes. Assuming an average wash time of 15 seconds per dish, it is environmentally friendly to use the dishwasher for eight or more dishes. Hopefully, this puts an end to “Hun, don’t use the dishwasher for so few dishes” argument some may encounter.

Long Shot Ep. 3

I was profoundly moved when host Shaun Raviv described the lifetime achievements of a 20th-century scientist named Maurice Hilleman. I hadn’t heard of Dr. Hilleman but have certainly benefited from his creations. The man, supported by his team, invented 40 vaccines, including more than half those given to American children as part of the standard regimen. Globally, Hilleman’s vaccines save millions of lives a year. It is hard to conceive of a legacy greater than the lifetime achievement of Dr. Maurice Hilleman.

Honestly With Bari Weiss 8/23/21

Bari Weiss interviewed Josh Rogan, a foreign policy editorialist for the Washington Post. He’s an expert on China and spoke at length about a variety of related topics. On the topic of being an editorialist, Rogan quoted his boss, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, saying, “We like to figure out what’s going on before we figure out what we think about it.” Interesting quote. Obviously, the quote is critically important for an editorial page. I think it is most relevant on social media. Wouldn’t it be nice if folks actually learned about a topic before blasting misinformed and uneducated opinions all over the web.

My podcast habit includes these podcasts and many others, such as Talking Tachlis, 18Forty, 538 Politics Podcast, the Prof G. Show, Pivot and History This Week.


Shlomo Yaros, of Teaneck, listens on 1.5x speed but aspires to achieve 2.0x+.

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