I’ve started a podcast called the Most Interesting People I Know, featuring interviews on science, ethics, and (mostly) politics (found under that name or “Garrison Lovely” wherever you find podcasts). The only other episode that is with an aspiring EA is the first episode with Chloe Cockburn, but an episode with Lewis Bollard is coming out soon, and I plan to have more EAs on soon. I’m very open to recommendations as well!

Episode link: http://bit.ly/2M8FWeu

Episode description: Spencer Greenberg is a mathematician, social scientist, and entrepreneur. He received his PhD in applied math from NYU and is the founder of SparkWave, a social venture foundry. As we discuss, SparkWave has created a number of apps tackling problems like depression, anxiety, and finding participants for academic studies. Spencer also created the site www.clearerthinking.org, which offers free online tools and training programs to help users avoid bias and make better decisions. This site has a lot of fun and thought-provoking exercises. My favorites that we didn’t dig into: common misconceptions, political bias test, and leaving your mark on the world. Spencer has spoken at Effective Altruism Global and been published in the New York Times.

We cover: life changing questions you can ask yourself, intrinsic values, some hard problems for utilitarianism, Sparkwave’s apps for anxiety and depression, how to ensure social ventures don't become evil, Effective Altruism, the profound challenge of doing good in the world, the connection between our happiness and the news, gaming Facebook for your happiness, the best legal approach to prostitution, Spencer's thoughts on fiction and nonfiction, why memorizing is underrated, and the best description of Burning Man I've heard. 

When I conceived this show, Spencer was one of the first people that came to mind. As you’ll soon see, he has informed and well-developed thoughts on a huge range of topics. He’s changed my mind quite a few times, and I appreciate his approach to thinking through the hardest problems we face as a species. 

Spencer’s referenced work:

Life-Changing Questions

Intrinsic Values Test

Spencer’s presentation at Effective Altruism Global on “Value traps, and how to avoid them”

Mind Ease for anxiety

UpLift for depression

Facebook post on humor

Facebook post on 10 policies Spencer supports


The 36 Questions That Lead to Love

The Repugnant Conclusion

Current Affairs article on Wikipedia

Is it fair to say that most social programmes don’t work?

Peter Singer’s essay Famine, Affluence and Morality

What it’s like to go to Burning Man for the first time




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I'm a big fan of Spencer's work and will seek out this episode -- thanks for sharing!

Your pitch might be extra-persuasive if you note specific ways Spencer has changed your mind; if you previously believed X and now believe Y, there are probably other readers who now believe X and would be curious to understand how one might arrive at Y.

Good point. I think the biggest way he's changed my mind is by helping me understand the ways in which other people's perspectives and default modes of thinking may differ. I have a tendency to see the exchange of ideas as an argument to win (partly a product of my personality, partly a product of my years doing competitive debate). Spencer's approach in conversation, writing, and tools on Clearer Thinking emphasize the mode of discovering how other people think about the world. His work has also pushed me to examine my own bias, particularly on political issues.

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