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Plain English

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Why the Bad Guys—in China, Russia, Iran, and the U.S.—Are Having a Terrible Winter

A year ago, the rise of authoritarianism across the world was ascendant. But at this very moment, the opposite narrative seems like it might just be the most important story in the world.

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Why America Is Suffering a “Friendship Recession”

Derek talks with economist Bryce Ward about the causes and consequences of the rise of alone time in America

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Thanksgiving Mega-Pod: Bob Iger’s Power Grab, SBF’s Scandal, and Elon Musk’s Omnishambles

Derek offers a big-picture explanation for why everything in tech and media—from Elon Musk and Twitter to Bob Iger and Disney—seems to be falling apart at the same time

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If China Invades Taiwan, Is It World War III?

Today’s episode is about China’s turn toward authoritarianism—and why it might be one of the most important stories in the world

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A Crypto Catastrophe: The Stunning Fall of FTX—and What Comes Next

William D. Cohan joins to discuss finance frauds and his new book ‘Power Failure’

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Instant Reaction Pod: Midterm Election Winners, Losers, Surprises, and Takeaways

Derek also discusses why America is so terrible at counting votes

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Elon Musk’s Reign of Chaos and Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Madness

What the hell is happening at these social media companies and, beyond the lurid details and gossip, what does it say about the larger ecosystem?

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America in the Age of Conspiracy: QAnon, JFK, Aliens, and More

Derek is joined by the hosts of ‘Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know’ to discuss conspiracy theories and how they’re affecting America today

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How the U.S. Housing Market Became Such a Dumpster Fire

Derek is joined by Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal to discuss what the hell is going on with American real estate

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How to Invest and Be Happy When It Feels Like the World Is Falling Apart

Derek and Morgan Housel ask what investing is for, whether making more money really makes us happy, and why so many rich people seem so miserable

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Ben Smith on the Future of News, How to Start a Media Company, and Why TikTok Is a Time Bomb

Plus, Ben and Derek offer a brief history of news media in the 21st century and talk about why in some ways the news business is more like the 19th century than the 20th

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Midterm Election FAQ: Can We Trust the Polls? Are Democrats Doomed?

Kristen Soltis Anderson joins the show to discuss the closest races in Georgia and Pennsylvania, whether Donald Trump is an overall help or hindrance to the GOP, and why the golden age of polling is over

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The Case for Indicting Donald Trump

Atlantic staff writer Frank Foer discusses why the indictment of Trump is now "inevitable"

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Is Hybrid Work Doomed?

Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom talks about how the hybrid work revolution is going, and how the weakened connection between work and home continues to change where Americans live

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Why the Future of AI Should Terrify and Thrill You

On the 100th episode of ‘Plain English,’ Derek speaks with Kevin Roose about Elon Musk and the year’s breakthroughs in AI

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Bill Simmons on Aaron Judge, How Baseball Ruined Itself, and the Joy of Debating Sports Records

Derek Thompson and Bill Simmons talk about MLB history, the joy of debating records, how baseball ruined itself, and who’s really baseball’s home run king

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Could the Fed Break the World Economy?

Kyla Scanlon joins the show to talk about whether the Federal Reserve is accidentally triggering a series of diabolical domino effects that could screw up the global economy

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Scott Galloway on Why the Internet Is a Mess, Why the News Is So Angry, and Why American Men Are ‘Adrift’

Plus, discussing the upside of crypto and the dark side of the metaverse

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Is the Federal Reserve Making a Huge Mistake?

Derek and Jason Furman discuss U.S. interest rate policy, the state of the U.S. economy, and the global fallout of U.S. monetary policy

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Why America Has a Crisis of Masculinity

‘Of Boys and Men’ author Richard Reeves talks male voting habits, educational success, and what the future of masculinity looks like

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Why the Voice Inside Your Head Can Sound Like a Jerk

Psychologist Ethan Kross joins the show to explain his work on emotion regulation, his book ‘Chatter’ on the science of negative self-talk, why the ability to have an inner monologue can be a kind of superpower, and how to harness it

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The Housing Recession Is Coming

Derek and Mark Zandi break down the state of the housing market, the prospect of a correction, and how China’s extremely bizarre year is affecting the U.S. economy

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Bill Gates on Progress and the Battle Between Climate Change and Innovation

The 2022 Goalkeepers Report is out, and Bill Gates joins ‘Plain English’ to discuss its findings. Plus, the "best news in the world," why genetics is the most exciting domain in all of science, and more.

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How Ukraine’s New Offensive Could Win the War Against Russia

Paul Poast of the University of Chicago returns to the podcast to break down Ukraine’s extraordinary counteroffensive

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The U.K. Is in Trouble: Economic Crises, Energy Shocks, and the Queen’s Death

The Economist’s Duncan Weldon joins Derek to discuss the economic and political state of the United Kingdom

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America’s National Teacher Shortage: Looming Crisis or Media Myth?

Derek and Heather Schwartz discuss why the "teacher shortage" narrative may be overblown

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Nate Silver on Why This Midterm Election Could Be the Weirdest in Decades

The FiveThiryEight founder joins to discuss Joe Biden’s rising approval rating and how that could effect the upcoming election

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The Messy Debate Over Student Loan Forgiveness

The Atlantic’s Jerusalem Demsas joins Derek to discuss the student loan forgiveness debate and weigh the positives and negatives of President Biden’s controversial new policy

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Burning Questions on Media: Streaming’s Summer of Hell, Movie Theater Woes, and More

Matt Belloni joins to discuss the latest in the entertainment business

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What’s the Secret of Success in America? This Economist Has Answers.

Derek delves into the viability of the American dream in our current economy

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Why Does It Seem Like Everybody Hates Everything?

Chuck Klosterman joins to discuss fandom culture and how it has affected politics

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Donald Trump vs. the FBI: Everything We Know About the Investigation So Far

Author, CNN analyst, and former government official Juliette Kayyem joins the show to separate fact from speculation and discuss the multitude of ways this saga could end