Media diet (2)

Some books and podcast episodes I liked recently.


Books that I read recently:

  • William MacAskill, Doing Good Better (also see Alexey Guzey’s critique here)
  • Juno Mac and Molly Smith, Revolting Prostitutes
  • Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now
  • Hillary Clinton, What Happened

Books that I’m currently reading:

  • Diane Coffey and Dean Spears, Where India Goes
  • Eliezer Yudkowsky, Rationality: From AI to Zombies

Books that I plan to read soon:

  • Sujatha Gidla, Ants Among Elephants
  • Philip Bobbit, Terror and Consent
  • Michelle Obama, Becoming


The Ezra Klein Show:

  • Sendhil Mullainathan on the cognitive cost of poverty
  • Cory Booker #1 on hope in politics
  • Elizabeth Warren on how she plans to get her policies passed
  • Patrick Deneen on why liberalism has failed

Rationally Speaking with Julia Galef:

  • Jason Brennan on the case for epistocracy
  • David Roodman #2 on research on deworming programs
  • Chris Blattman on whether sweatshops reduce poverty
  • Kelsey Piper on journalism and effective altruism

Conversations with Tyler:

  • Hal Varian on technology, economics, and companies
  • Raghuram Rajan on “understanding community”
  • Russ Roberts on a lot of things
  • Paul Romer on development, technological progress, dyslexia, and other things
  • Claire Lehmann on Quillette, political correctness, and American-versus-Australian culture
  • Robin Hanson on the role of signaling in everyday decisions and futarchy
  • Sujatha Gidla on caste
  • Dani Rodrik on trade, premature deindustrialization, and development
  • Peter Thiel on a lot of things

The 80,000 Hours Podcast:

  • Hilary Greaves on metaphysics, moral philosophy, and global priorities research
  • Amanda Askell on philosophy as a profession and the ethics of infinity
  • Persis Eskander on wild animal suffering
  • Glen Weyl on “radical markets” and social movements
  • Rachel Glennerster on effective interventions to reduce poverty
  • James Snowden on GiveWell
  • Bryan Caplan on education, authoritarianism, and immigration policy
  • Lewis Bollard on factory farming

The Weeds:

  • The Green New Deal
  • Cory Booker’s “baby bonds” proposal
  • America’s housing crises
  • Gentrification
  • K–12 education reform in the United States
  • Immigration policy

3 Replies to “Media diet (2)”

  1. What did you like about Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”?

    I found it to be utterly full of shit. She vastly exaggerated the role of Russian interference in the election, and she adopted the typical leftist tactic of falsely smearing her political opponents as racist and sexist.

    And this is coming from someone who voted for Hillary over Trump in 2016.

    1. I agree on Russia. I don’t think she did too much “smearing” besides calling Trump a sexist a bunch of times — which is probably fair.

      What I liked was her defense, throughout the book, of not necessarily aiming for “systemic change” or trying to fix every problem in the world, her argument for why she refused to adopt the political strategy of “here are a bunch of problems inherent to the system -> I promise to fix them.” For example, her descriptions of policy proposals that were “radical” and potentially popular that she rejected, such as the basic income idea. I found this interesting, at the very least.

  2. Fair enough. That’s one of the main reasons why I like her: she’s a pragmatist with (mostly) excellent policy ideas, who would have been able to do a lot of good had she been elected.

    It’s not just her smears of Donald Trump that bother me. It’s more about her smears of Trump supporters and right-wingers generally. She doesn’t demonstrate any ability to empathize with them or understand what they found appealing about him. That’s why I wasn’t at all a fan of the book. It failed at its stated goal of explaining “what happened” in 2016.

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