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Aspen Ideas to Go


Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.

Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.


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Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.




Stop Being an Unreliable Narrator of Your Own Story

Grappling with the challenges and problems life throws at us is difficult, especially during a pandemic. Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb says the stories we tell about ourselves and others can make it even harder to cope. She says we must look closely at the running commentary in our own minds to see if we are being too self-critical, or if we are not taking responsibility for our situation. Making connections with others can help us to hold a mirror up so we can better see ourselves. Aspen...


How Racism Feeds the Hunger Crisis

In this pandemic recession, millions of Americans are going hungry, and Black and Hispanic households are hit harder than white ones. Throughout US history, hunger and health have been tied to race. Slave owners gave slaves just enough food to survive. “To be enslaved was to experience hunger,” says food historian Fred Opie. Now, Covid-19 is affecting low-income, communities of color disproportionately. Poor access to healthcare, bias in clinical settings, underfunded educational and health...


Are Leaders Born or Made? (Rebroadcast)

President Trump’s second impeachment trial is beginning. In his first days in office, President Biden is navigating a pandemic and an economic crisis. With presidential leadership once again at the forefront and President’s Day just around the corner, we’re revisiting an episode featuring presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. In her book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, Kearns Goodwin examines the leadership qualities of past presidents. Were presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore...


Are Posts and Tweets the Greatest Threats to Democracy?

America’s Founders didn’t envision activist groups mobilizing on social media and disinformation spreading across the internet. Thanks to the web, new threats to democracy — like the January 6th attack on the US Capitol — have emerged. Following a similar deadly march in 1787, the Founders questioned the strength of the democracy they built. Shays’s Rebellion led to more support among the Founders for a stronger national government. But the protective barriers they thought would safeguard...


Religious Freedom for All, Not Just the Majority

Most Americans see religious freedom as an important right. Yet how that freedom is defined and applied isn’t consistent, and efforts to safeguard the religious freedom of some may be discriminatory for others. Experts say it is critical to address this issue politically, socially, and culturally or risk alienating people from all backgrounds. Religious liberty lawyer Asma Uddin works for the protection of religious expression for people of all faiths. She speaks with Montse Alvarado of the...


How Joe Biden’s Successes, Failures and Tragedies Prepared Him to Be President

Joe Biden is a centrist who believes in the power of bipartisanship. To get both sides to listen to each other, he’ll have to break down the barriers created by today’s polarized politics, says New Yorker magazine staff writer Evan Osnos whose latest book is “About Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.” Osnos speaks with Margaret Brennan of Face the Nation on CBS News. They discuss how Biden’s experience with loss and grief gives him the ability to connect with people in...


Unpacking Cybersecurity and Social Media Failures: Where Do We Go from Here?

Last year Russia infiltrated the digital networks of federal agencies and many of America’s largest corporations, and last week’s armed insurrection on the US Capitol was fomented through disinformation campaigns on social media. Cyberattacks and manipulation of elections and domestic affairs threaten national security and global relations. John Carlin of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program leads a conversation with Kevin Mandia, CEO of FireEye, the cybersecurity company...


Brain Health and the Pitfalls of "Bikini Medicine"

Even though women are likely to live longer than men, their hormonal changes make them far more susceptible to age-related memory loss like Alzhemier’s disease and other conditions. Yet gender is often not a primary consideration by the medical community — but more and more research shows that it should be. Professor of neuroscience, neurology, and radiology Lisa Mosconi directs the Women’s Brain Initiative at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her latest book is “The XX Brain.” She discusses...


The World Needs Women in Leadership Roles

Today’s women are warriors and peacemakers, athletes and artists. Women in leadership roles can play a crucial role in leading us toward a better and more equitable future, and women must be part of the solution to the current global crises. Former US secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and former prime minister of New Zealand the Honorable Helen Clark are trailbreaking leaders and powerful advocates for women’s empowerment. They speak with the Aspen Institute’s Forum on Women and Girls...


Can Character Be Learned? (Rebroadcast)

Psychologist Angela Duckworth explains how to raise a child with strong character. Duckworth, who's the author of Grit and a MacArthur "Genius," talks with Jackie Bezos about how young people learn to be grateful, vulnerable, and fearless by modeling the adults in their lives. (This conversation is from the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival.)


Profit and Purpose Go Hand in Hand: Corporate Leaders Dan Schulman and Mellody Hobson on Values-Driven Business

Corporations can play a critical role in closing the wealth gap and confronting systemic racism in America. Taking a hard look at diversity in their workforces, supply chains, and customer bases will pay off — not just in a better corporate image but in an improved economy that benefits everyone, including the corporations. “We as leaders, those of us in positions of power, have an obligation to stand up and act as true corporate citizens, says Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal. “It also gives us...


Building Public Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

With millions of Americans already infected with COVID-19, public health officials are working to ensure that a safe and effective vaccine is available for every American who wants one. They also want to be sure people aren’t afraid of getting those shots. Nancy Messonnier, M.D., is director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. She leads the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts in the areas of distribution, administration, implementation, safety,...


How Meritocracy's Luster Tarnishes The American Dream

The American Dream says hard work will lead to a better life. But Harvard professor Micheal Sandel says climbing the ladder of success is getting harder in the United States, because the rungs on the ladder are growing further apart. He says inequality is deeper and upward mobility has stalled — and that’s a failure of the meritocracy, the governing elites, a group desperate to hold on to status and wealth as evidenced by recent college admission scandals. Elliot Gerson, executive vice...


The Most Important Rule for a More Civil Thanksgiving: No Eye Rolling

Current political fault lines are fracturing American society as people grow further apart from one another due to differing beliefs and opinions. We often see people we disagree with as caricatures, and think we can never reconcile our differences. Yet despite that sense of contradiction we are much closer to each other than we think. To bridge the divide, we have to strengthen the bonds that make us human. In this special Thanksgiving conversation Krista Tippett longtime host of the radio...


Beyond Good Intentions: Facing Racism in America Head On

It’s time to slow down and start again to remake American culture and undo systemic racism, says author and Yale professor Claudia Rankine. White Americans must wade into the waters of whiteness, and interrogate their own responses to Blackness. They need to see how policies and institutions continue the patterns of segregation and legacies of white supremacy. Eric Liu of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program speaks with Rankine about her new book, “Just Us: An...


Can We Draw on Civil Rights History to Combat Systemic Racism Today?

The civil rights movement has affected all Americans, whether they realize it or not. The opportunity for everyone to vote represents a major shift, but changes in education, housing and even sports reflect the strategic leadership of activists throughout American history. Civil rights experts and Stanford University professors Pamela Karlan and James Steyer discuss the history of civil rights movements in this country including racial equality, women's and LGBTQ rights and how those efforts...


Elevating The Common Good Over Self-Interest

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says liberal democracy has become about “me” instead of “us.” In his new book, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, Sacks says we are losing our strong, shared moral code and that’s challenging our sense of community and common good. Growth comes from an openness to others who may not be like us and, he says, developing a moral bond based on mutual acceptance will reduce conflict. In today’s show he speaks with Reverend Serene Jones, the first woman...


A Look Behind The Scenes of Coronavirus Vaccine R&D

As scientists work to develop a vaccine to battle the coronavirus pandemic, many people question whether the process has been rushed and if the results will be effective and safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving new vaccines in this country. FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and former FDA commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg say the agency uses data driven techniques to review and approve any new medication and they aren’t cutting corners with this one. They...


An Insider's Perspective: Trump’s National Security Advisor

From domestic election security and counterterrorism, to U.S. interests around the globe, the National Security Advisor provides solutions to the most critical challenges of our time. President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Ambassador Robert O’Brien, joins former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Theydiscuss critical issues including Washington’s response to China and Russia’s rising global influence, America’s future role in the Middle East and the growing North Korean nuclear...


A Crack In Creation: The Power and Ethics of Gene Editing (Encore)

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to molecular microbiologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier for their work on CRISPR, the revolutionary technology that gives scientists a way to accurately cut DNA and transform the genetic code of life. Likened to a pair of “genetic scissors,” CRISPR could open the door to cures for some cancers, sickle cell anemia, and other diseases. But it is not without controversy. It’s already been used to manipulate embryos. That could be the...