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Say More

Author: The Boston Globe

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Big ideas and big debates, explained through intimate conversations with the compelling personalities who shape them. AI and biotech. Higher education and health care. Climate and sustainability. Politics and the media. Culture and culture wars. Hosted by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung.

57 Episodes
The Karen Read case initially caught the attention of a local group of  diehards. But now it’s hard to go anywhere in Massachusetts these days without finding strong opinions about a woman accused of murdering a Boston police officer. After a grueling eight-week trial, and a deadlocked jury, the judge declared a mistrial. This week, Shirley is joined again by Boston Globe reporter Sean Cotter, and Globe Opinion columnist Joan Vennochi to discuss the case and what comes next. They talk about the mistrial, similarities to the OJ trial,  and what’s up with Chloe the German shepherd. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
One solution to burnout is simple: say NO to more stuff. Our plates are too full.  It turns out, many people struggle with saying NO - especially women - especially at work. This phenomenon helped to birth the “No Club” - five women digging into the science of why we can’t just say no to stuff and what to do about it. In a special bonus episode of our BEATING BURNOUT series, Shirley talks to two members of the No Club about what they have learned about work and life. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Sex educator Emily Nagoski didn’t set out to be an expert on stress. But it turns out, stress is affecting peoples’ sex lives, big time. After helping her sister Amelia through two life-threatening burnout episodes, the two got together to write a book about the science of stress and how it leads to burnout. For them, the journey to understanding stress became a deeper quest for sisterhood and meaning. Emily talks to Shirley about completing the stress cycle, the problem with self-care, and the connections between stress, sleep, and orgasm. Email us at Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
We are living in a time of deep uncertainty, marked by global conflicts, economic anxiety, and societal divisions. No wonder we're so uneasy. Founder and host of the “On Being” podcast Krista Tippett says these uncertain times require a larger spiritual quest for meaning and stillness in modern life. We inhabit a noisy, distracting world of Slacks and texts, and we need to learn how to get quiet. It’s surprisingly hard, and Krista shares her own journey managing burnout and “befriending reality” in all its glorious messiness. Then she sends listeners off with a benediction on burnout. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Cal Newport says we’ve been thinking about productivity all wrong. Cal is an MIT-trained computer scientist and bestselling author specializing in how to work better in our overstimulated world. In this second installment of Say More’s series, BEATING BURNOUT, Shirley talks to Cal about the ways the modern office worker is primed for professional burnout, how hybrid work makes it worse and what we can do about it. He’s not a luddite by any stretch, but he says we should quit social media and leave our phones behind whenever possible. Cal’s new book is called Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment without Burnout. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Harvard Medical School Dr. Aditi Nerurkar says “COVID accelerated everything,” and now 7 in 10 Americans are facing burnout and stress. While many of us expected the post-pandemic period to be a big party, Dr. Nerurkar explains why many of us are still struggling. And why some of us feel even worse than we did before. In the first installment of Say More’s four-part series BEATING BURNOUT, Dr. Nerurkar shares her own journey of becoming a doctor of stress, which started with treating herself. Stress is serious, she says, but not a permanent state. Her new book is called “The 5 Resets: Rewire Your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resilience.” Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
If you ever thought opera was a dead art, you have never talked to Nina Yoshida Nelsen, the new artistic director of the Boston Lyric Opera. Nina, who is Japanese-American,  spent years feeling pigeon-holed playing Asian roles in Madame Butterfly but she says those feelings were just the start of an exciting conversation about the future of the art form. This week on Say More, Shirley talks to Nina about reimagining classics, exploring new stories, and singing in the shower. Email us at Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
It’s hard to say the exact mix of mystery and intrigue that causes a true crime story to blow up. But one thing is true: the viral stories tell us something important about ourselves. Right now in Massachusetts, many people are fervently following the trial over whether Karen Read murdered her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe. Some say she’s simply guilty, and some say she’s being elaborately framed by the police. Shirley Leung talks to Boston Globe reporter Sean Cotter and true crime podcaster Rebecca Lavoie about why this case has sparked so much interest. Email us at Sean's coverage of the Karen Read trial here.Read Shannon Larson's Boston Globe overview of the case: Coverup claims, conspiracies, and a controversial blogger: A full breakdown of the Karen Read caseSee Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Daniela Rus’s dream is to imbue the power of robotics with the wisdom of humanity. She runs MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. As part of his ongoing series on the promise and perils of AI, Globe Ideas Editor Brian Bergstein talks to Rus about her new book “The Heart and the Chip.” She says robots won’t just do our chores and work in our factories; they can teach us how to hit tennis balls like Serena Williams and defy gravity like Iron Man. She says your car won’t just drive you around — it might also be a friend. Email us at Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Author Amy Tan doesn’t just watch birds, she “feels the life within them.” Amy’s new book, “The Backyard Bird Chronicles” takes us into her daily journal, drawing and musing on the lives of birds in her backyard in California. Shirley Leung talks to Amy about her breakthrough novel, “The Joy Luck Club,” the agony of fiction writing, and whether she considers herself an Asian-American writer or just a writer. Throughout her career, Amy has written extensively about mother-daughter relationships, which partly stems from her own experience. Amy says her late mother is present in every one of her works, even this one. Email us at Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Climate change isn’t just one thing, it’s a million things. It’s “everything everywhere all at once,” according to acclaimed author and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert. In her new book “H is for Hope,” Elizabeth goes through the letters of the alphabet explaining the complexities of climate change and musing on weather, power, hope, despair and everything in between.  She joins Shirley this Earth Week to discuss her approach to climate journalism and her agnostic feelings about hope. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a historian who is best known for writing about America's presidents, from Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon B. Johnson. She has a new book out, and this time it’s personal. In "An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s," Doris tells the story of her late husband Dick Goodwin, who was a speechwriter for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Dick was supposed to write the book, but when he passed away in 2018, Doris promised to finish it. This week on Say More, Doris talks to Shirley about the legacy of the 60s, her epic love story with Dick, and the unfinished story of America. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Khan Academy has taught millions of students the fundamentals of math and science, as well as topics ranging from economics to art history. As part of his ongoing series on the promise and perils of AI, Globe Ideas Editor Brian Bergstein talks to Khan Academy founder Sal Khan about the ways that artificial intelligence can (and will) revolutionize education. Sal introduces Brian to “Khanmigo,” an AI tutor that can personalize education for students and teachers. They discuss the benefits of AI in education and what guardrails need to be in place to keep kids safe. Email us at Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
If you liked our last episode with Frontline executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath, you might like this bonus episode. It’s from a new podcast called “Pulitzer on the Road” from our friends at the Pulitzer Prizes. The Boston Globe’s executive editor Nancy Barnes talks to Associated Press journalist Mstyslav Chernov about his Oscar-winning documentary “20 Days in Mariupol." The film is a stunning first hand account of the first days of war in Ukraine in the winter of 2022, produced by the AP and Frontline.Click here for more episodes of “Pulitzer on the Road.”See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Boston-based Frontline has been making documentaries for 40 years, and this year, they took home their first Academy Award for their documentary “20 Days in Mariupol”. The documentary is a first-hand account of the first days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the winter of 2022. The documentary contains gripping and heartbreaking stories of war. It also is a work of journalism, documenting the facts of war. Shirley talks to Frontline’s Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath about this film and what it takes to make documentaries that wake people up. Raney shares the game-changing media strategy sparked by her teenage son. Email us at Watch “20 Days in Mariupol” on the PBS website or on YouTube.  See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
In courts across the country, a war is being waged on federal agencies that ensure clean air, safe drugs and fair banking. These agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, are sometimes referred to as the “administrative state.” Conservative groups are increasingly using legal action to undermine the powers of these regulators. Today on Say More, guest host Kimberly Atkins Stohr, a Boston Globe senior opinion writer, discusses the trend with Emily Hammond, a law professor at George Washington University, and Devon Ombres, a legal expert with the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Email us at Read more about this topic in Kimberly’s column on the topic, Why Democrats need to win Congress. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Bob Rivers, the CEO and chair of Eastern Bank, sits down with Shira Center, the general manager for editorial revenue and strategy at Boston Globe Media, to talk about the bank’s history, its work on diversity and inclusion, and its approach to community investment. Globe Opinion was not involved in the creation or execution of this episode, which was produced by Studio/B, Boston Globe Media’s sponsored content studio.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Everyone’s afraid to fail, but today’s guest says we shouldn’t be. In fact, we should welcome it. Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson says that “failure isn’t final” and that it’s often the first step toward great ideas and innovation. She tells Shirley that the most successful people fail more, not less, than the rest of us. Amy also shares the concept of “psychological safety,:— an essential feature of successful teams — which is created by a culture of sharing and accepting failure. To practice failure herself, Shirley decides to take up basketball and she learns about a useful office supply that would never have been invented without failure. Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Men and boys are less likely to excel in high school or go to college. They are more likely to get hooked on drugs or die of suicide. More broadly, boys and men are at a crossroads. While the #MeToo movement has provided a needed global reckoning for women and girls, it left boys with a long list of “don’ts” without enough “dos.” This week on Say More, author and scholar Richard Reeves talks to Shirley Leung about how this cultural vacuum leaves boys vulnerable to reactionary figures, such as Andrew Tate and other ‘manfluencers.’ He gives Shirley advice on how to prepare her sons for the world. Reeves is president of the American Institute for Boys and Men and author of the book “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It.” Email us at See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
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