Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.
The writer Joyce Carol Oates grew up on a farm, tending chickens in what she describes as a very desolate part of upstate New York, and grew up to write around 90 (and counting) novels and collections of essays and short stories, many of them while teaching at Princeton University. She’s won many, many awards, including the National Book Award, the Pen/Malamud Award and the National Humanities Medal. Her powerful new novel, A Book of American Martyrs, begins with a terrible act of violence – and then deals with its complex aftermath.
Today's conversation starts there, weaving through the political and religious landscape of America, past and present. We also talk about whether writing, for Joyce, is as "effortless" as critics have described the experience of reading her. Trump comes, up, inevitably but briefly. Stick around for a fascinating discussion of the challenges early success can pose for young writers, including Oates' former student, Jonathan Safran Foer.
Surprise conversation starter interview clips:
Gish Jen on Identity and Choice in the West, Nicole Mason on Poverty in America
It's been seven years since the start of the last bull market. Is it time for investors to adjust the equity portion of their retirement portfolios? Jane Hodges, freelance writer and frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, lays out four options for how much stock you might want to own in a retirement account.
ExxonMobil's plentiful oil and gas reserves could make it a gusher stock for investors; FedEx is well-positioned for the growth of global trade and ramped-up e-commerce; Tax consequences of investments in exchange-traded funds that buy gold and silver could be costly; With moderate economic growth of 3 percent, profits may leap by an average of 10 percent per quarter
Federal regulators are asking for more and more private data to help them better monitor markets, but can they keep it secure? The Wall Street Journal's Andrew Ackerman has the latest details, including what may change under a Trump administration.