DiscoverHow To! With Charles Duhigg
How To! With Charles Duhigg
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How To! With Charles Duhigg

Author: Slate Podcasts

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What if Dear Abby was an investigative reporter? Each week on How To!, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg ("The Power of Habit") takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask, but couldn’t. Until now.

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This bonus episode features Charles's recent appearance on the podcast Hello Monday, where host Jessi Hempel discusses the relationship between work and meaning. Charles tells the story of his experience attending Harvard Business School and all that followed after. It turns out that a paycheck - even a fat one - doesn’t buy a meaningful life. Charles and Jessi dig deep on the perks and pitfalls of business school, point up the importance of perseverance, outline the space between a job description and the job itself, and challenge listeners to make meaning in any job. For more advice from Jessi Hempel, check out our previous episode 'How To Find a New Career Before it's Too Late.' Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Lauren already knows the plot of her bestselling novel—the problem is she hasn’t written a word. Paralyzed by self-criticism and an earlier rejection, this former English major has spent years journaling instead of attempting the scary, difficult work of creative writing. On this episode of How To!, we turn to writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, whose debut novel Fleishman Is in Trouble, was one of the hottest books of the year. Can she help Lauren finally put pen to paper? The first thing Lauren needs to do, Taffy says, is stop journaling, and start writing. And then keep writing: “You can't get to the good sentences if you don't write the bad ones first.” Next, find a trusted reader, not a cheerleader, to give you honest feedback. And when doubt begins to creep in again, look at the writers you admire and simply ask, “Why them and not me?” Do you have a problem that needs a solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Chris has always considered himself “on the right side of things,” but as Black Lives Matter protests sweep across the country, he’s starting to realize he needs to do a lot more. As a white man living in Austin, Texas, he says he has a responsibility to educate himself and make real change—but where to start? On this episode of How To!, we bring in Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race, to walk Chris through some tangible steps he can take to harness this moment. Start by opening your eyes to the systems of injustice at the local level, in your neighborhood or your school, that affect people of color. Then, Ijeoma says, add your voice to those organizations that have already thought long and hard about how to make them more fair and equitable. Chris has more power than he realizes, but it’s crucial that he amplify Black-led efforts already in place in his community. Do you have a problem that needs a solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Karin always thought of herself as the mom of two boys—that is, until last year when her oldest child told her they were nonbinary, meaning they don’t identify as either male or female. Karin loves her kid deeply, but she’s struggling to get used to their new name and pronouns, especially because her town—and husband—aren’t very accepting. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Lisa DelCol, a fellow mom of a nonbinary child and former president of PFLAG Oklahoma City, to help Karin come to terms with her child’s gender identity. Parents are going to make mistakes along the way, Lisa says, but it’s important to share what you learn with others. The more you advocate for them, the more accepting the world becomes. Do you have a problem that needs solving? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Sydney’s dad texted her, “Do me a favor and lose my number,” she was crushed. At 27, Sydney has always had a rocky relationship with her dad, but she held out hope he could still be a part of her life. Now she’s starting to think it’s a lost cause. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Joshua Coleman, a psychologist and author of the upcoming book Rules of Estrangement, who had his own yearslong standoff with his daughter. Before Sydney figures out if she should reconcile with her dad, Josh says, she has to stop internalizing how he treats her. It’s the parent’s job to be mature and if they can’t do that, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over their failings. In the end, the best thing may be to just move on without them. Do you need us to find an answer to a tough question? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Donny is ready to leave the restaurant industry once and for all. As a recovering alcoholic, he was already looking for a new career before COVID-19 upended his life. But at 38 years old, Donny has held 30 different jobs, and without a bachelor’s degree, he worries that he doesn’t have what employers are looking for. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Jessi Hempel, host of the LinkedIn podcast Hello Monday, to help Donny kickstart a new career...during a pandemic. According to Jessi, now is actually a great time to do informational interviews—virtually, if necessary—to expand your network and broaden your horizons. She says it’s important to realize that experience comes in many forms. People skills, not perfect resumes, can ultimately help you get hired.  Do you have a problem that needs a creative solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Alan’s 86-year-old dad will not stop driving—even after an incident where he drove off the road and totaled his car. Feeling guilty and worried, Alan has tried to convince his dad to hand over the keys, even enlisting the support of his father’s doctor, but everything Alan does seems to backfire. In this episode of How To!, Saturday Night Live comedian Jim Breuer shares his own experience dealing with a curmudgeonly father as chronicled in the documentary More Than Me. Jim says to reach an aging parent who is set in their ways, don’t try to replace them as the parent. Instead, realize they’re facing their own mortality and give them a sense of control. Let your dad be a dad, then ask for some fatherly advice: “What would you do if you were me?” Do you have a problem that needs a solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ann’s sister just lost her husband and Ann doesn’t know how to console her. Ann lives in a different state and, having experienced loss herself, knows saying the wrong thing can only add to the hurt. What can Ann do from a distance to make her sister feel better? In this episode of How To!, Megan Devine, a psychotherapist and author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK, says first of all don’t try to cheer them up. Simply acknowledge their pain. Megan learned this the hard way after the sudden loss of her partner in a tragic accident. The classic five stages of grief are problematic, Megan says, because grief doesn’t progress in an orderly fashion. To help a loved one, don’t put the burden on them to figure out how you can help. Instead, anticipate and act on what they need to get by day-to-day. Do you have a problem that needs a creative solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ashley thought by now she’d be on top of the world. Once severely overweight, Ashley lost 155 pounds and recently ran her first half-marathon. But when she looks in the mirror all she sees are the imperfections. In this episode of How To!, we bring in Brittany O’Neill, the real-life inspiration for the hit movie Brittany Runs a Marathon. Having undergone a major transformation herself, Brittany knows what it’s like to feel unhappy after you’ve crossed the finish line. Constant self-improvement doesn’t necessarily lead to self-acceptance, Brittany says. Instead, learn to view yourself through your loved ones’ eyes—even say their praises aloud—and soon, you’ll see what they see. Do you have a problem that needs a creative solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How To Talk to Strangers

How To Talk to Strangers

2020-05-0530:245

Every other Friday, Amy’s calendar reminds her to make the rounds of her office and say “hello” to her colleagues. As an introvert, Amy deeply struggles with small talk, but as a manager of 55 people she’s been told she needs to be more approachable. In this episode of How To!, Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, helps Amy learn how to use her reserved nature to her advantage. Whether you’re anxious about networking at conferences or wondering how to talk to your neighbors—from six feet away—Susan has some tips for how all of us can have better conversations. It takes practice, Susan says, so don’t be afraid to have a few opening lines in your back pocket. What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Joanna really misses her office. Taking Zoom calls from the kitchen in her dimly lit Brooklyn apartment doesn’t compare to her bright, open office filled with friendly coworkers. In this episode of How To!, Ben Waber, an organizational scientist, co-founder of Humanyze, and author of People Analytics, tells us how to use our home office to our advantage. It’s easy to spend all day chained to your computer, but Ben says we need to find ways to take breaks and foster human interaction. After all, chats around the water cooler—or virtual coffee dates—actually boost productivity. And if you’re Joanna, a midday bath might be where you come up with your best ideas. What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Caleb tries to be good to the planet by recycling, biking to work and living a minimalist lifestyle in his small Ohio town. But he still feels guilty about using disposable diapers and buying a minivan for his growing family. How can he fight climate change without driving himself crazy? In this episode of How To!, Emma Marris, an environmental writer and author of Rambunctious Garden, warns us not to fall into the trap of individual guilt. In other words, don’t feel too bad about using that plastic straw. Emma says that plays into the hands of the fossil fuel industry. Instead, reallocate your time and energy toward collective action that works to make large-scale systems more eco-friendly.  What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Marie trains dogs for a living, but she’s struggling to teach herself a new trick—overcoming procrastination. For a year, she’s been ready to launch a new dog training app....just as soon as she makes the training videos for it. The delay is hurting business so why can’t she cross this task off her to-do list? In this episode of How To!, Dan Ariely, professor at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational, shares some procrastination tips that got him through a tough time in his own life. When a difficult task looms in front of you, Dan says, reward yourself for the effort, not the outcome. Otherwise, you may never get started.  What is your steepest challenge during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Quarantine Q&A: Masks

Quarantine Q&A: Masks

2020-04-0707:541

Margit from Denver, Colorado writes in with a question about how to encourage people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Charles offers advice on how to incentivize people to form new habits, and draws lessons from past efforts to change behavior during World War II. What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sarah feels like she’s drowning in the clutter of her tiny Brooklyn apartment where she lives with a messy husband and two-year-old daughter. Now that her family is under quarantine together, the chaos seems destined to only get worse. In this episode of How To!, Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, drops by to give Sarah a home makeover. But Bruce has more than a Marie Kondo-style cleanup in mind. Instead, he suggests that Sarah first declutter her mind and then call a family meeting to reorganize responsibilities.  What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for our recurring Quarantine Q&A. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week, we’re struggling with the same problem as our listeners: self-quarantine. As news of the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, how do we stay sane while staying home? How do we reduce stress and remain healthy while juggling remote work and rambunctious kids? In this episode of How To!, we bring in Celeste Headlee, author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving. Long before the pandemic, Headlee spent a lot of time thinking about how to slow down while practicing her own kind of social distancing—in her case from a hectic life and career. Headlee’s first tip? Pick up the phone and call someone. “It can't be underestimated how powerful the voice is,” she says. “It gives you a feeling of belonging…the most important need that a human being has after survival.” What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re collecting your problems and solutions for a recurring segment on the show. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For years Claire has been holding on to a terrible family secret: Her mom physically abused Claire’s brother when he was young. How could her mom have done that? Now, over a decade later, both Claire’s mother and brother have passed away, but Claire still grapples daily with feelings of anger and deep resentment toward her mom. In this episode of How To!, we bring in Reverend Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and author of The Book of Forgiving. Mpho struggled with forgiveness herself after experiencing an awful tragedy in her South African home. The first step to forgiveness, Mpho says, is telling the story of the hurt—whether that means writing it down or, in Claire’s case, coming on a podcast. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sharon is 38 and never been kissed. This, as she acknowledges, is “a bit weird.” As a nurse who loves ballroom dancing, Sharon is smart, funny, and attractive. At the same time, she’s deeply religious and has been waiting so long for the perfect man she worries that she’ll never find “The One.” In this episode of How To!, we bring in one of New York City’s finest matchmakers, Lisa Clampitt, for some tough love. Lisa believes Sharon has a lot going for her, but in order to find her first kiss she needs to go on a lot more second dates. This is no fairytale, but sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Hema first realized she was gay a few years ago after immigrating to the U.S., she knew she had to tell her mom. But the conversation didn’t go well. Hema’s mom lives in India and is convinced being gay is a Western phenomenon. So how does Hema help her mom accept her for who she is? In this episode of How To!, we bring in Sonali Gulati, a professor, filmmaker and queer rights activist who made a documentary about the parents of LGBTQ people in India. Drawing from her own personal experience, Sonali helps Hema figure out the best way to frame the conversation with her mom. One tip? Speak your parents’ language to explain how your life fits their definition of success.  Do you have a tough challenge that needs a creative solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Anthony is that rarest of things in American politics—a swing voter who is up for grabs in 2020. Caught between his Republican voting history and his current dislike of President Trump, Anthony is now registered as an Independent. But does he follow his head or his heart? In this episode of How To!, we bring in veteran political advisors David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and Mike Murphy, a Republican consultant, who co-host the podcast Hacks on Tap. David and Mike discuss how to weigh ideology vs. electability and rank the issues that really matter. Can their advice help Anthony—and all of us—make sure our vote counts? Do you have a quandary in need of a creative solution? Send us a note at howto@slate.com. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (13)

J B

I really like this podcast. Thank you for the great content!

Jun 25th
Reply

Thushanthi Ponweera

Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

May 29th
Reply

Chandra Sekhar

good

Apr 29th
Reply

Chandra Sekhar

PAIN IS PLEASURE

Apr 28th
Reply

Adam Guennoun

First comment for this video

Mar 5th
Reply

E J

Thanks. Very informative.

Feb 6th
Reply

Aj Hoffman

that's my dad he asked me to listen to this and I'm just so glad he is trying for me and grayson

Jan 22nd
Reply

Pogla

30 minute show with over 5 minutes of ads?

Nov 4th
Reply

Shari Miller

Loved this!!!! I so needed exactly this podcast! thank you

Oct 25th
Reply

Maharshi Bhavsar

can make one for how to sell things on Amazon??

Sep 20th
Reply

Pogla

Really going to town with the ads

Sep 17th
Reply

Hamed Aravane

I have same issue for couple of years like Ben, but the point is that I'm just 24 and worried about my feature and what I do to my life. so I don't have the same drama but I got everything though on myself. however I have anxiety and can't fix it. by the way thanks for this podcast I really appreciate it

Sep 16th
Reply

Laurie Ornelas

adopt kids in America we have kids here at home that need mothers and fathers. what is wrong with you

Sep 7th
Reply
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