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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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One day in 1987, a young girl in a small town in upstate New York disappeared and then turned up dead. For seven years her murder went unsolved, until police finally caught the killer, a local man whom everyone knew. The town would never be the same, according to our listener Jen who grew up there. She’s a true crime fanatic and first-time podcaster who wants to investigate how the murderer got away with it for so long. In this episode of How To!, we bring on Jessica Garrison, a BuzzFeed News senior editor of investigations and author of the book The Devil’s Harvest. She shares the story of a notorious California contract killer who got away with more than 30 murders over 3 decades before he was brought to justice. In order to understand how that could happen, Jessica says, you need to look at the victims, who are often powerless and overlooked by society because of their class, race or immigration status. The ways in which we tell their stories can have outsized consequences on the entire criminal justice system. If you liked this episode, check out “How To Forgive the Unforgivable.” Do you have a mystery in your life you need help 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
Shayne defuses bombs for the military, but in his personal life he’s terrified of confrontation. Take, for example, the time his kids’ babysitter cleaned out a week’s worth of groceries from his fridge and he never said anything. Shayne wants to be understanding and give people the benefit of the doubt, but he ends up feeling taken advantage of time and time again. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference, to help Shayne stand up for himself. No matter how conflict-averse you are there are a few key ways you can persuade people to give you what you want—whether you’re arguing at home with your spouse, trying to get a free upgrade at a hotel, or, in Chris’s case, negotiating with terrorists. Empathy can be a powerful tool, Chris says, if you know how to use it.  If you liked this episode, check out “How To Convince People to Give You Money.” Are you worried about accomplishing your goals? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
College application season is here and Aria, a 17 year-old senior, is stressing—even more than usual. At her high school in Chicago’s south suburbs, she gets good grades, is on the cheer team, in multiple honor societies, leads the choral ensemble, and hosts her own feminist podcast. But now that Aria’s learning remotely during a pandemic, her anxiety is off the charts. How can she possibly choose a college, much less a career, amid such uncertainty? In this episode of How To!, we bring in Eve Ewing, a multi-talented poet, author, and sociologist, to help Aria work through her worries about the future. Like Aria, Eve spent time in Chicago-area public schools—first as a student and then, to her own surprise, as a teacher. Eve knows you can’t plan your exact path from Point A to Z. Instead, just focus on taking the next best step forward, Eve says, and trust that when you do, you’ll be getting that much closer to the person you’re destined to become. If you liked this episode, check out “How To Perform Under Pressure.” Are you worried about accomplishing your goals? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Thirteen-year-old Henry seems like a model son. He gets good grades, plays on the hockey team, and has a solid group of friends. But Henry’s been spending a lot more time on the Internet during the pandemic, and recently brought up something that troubled his parents—that a woman could ruin a man’s career by accusing him of sexual harassment. Now his parents wonder what other forms of toxic masculinity Henry is learning online and in the locker room. In this episode of How To!, we bring on Peggy Orenstein, author of Boys & Sex, to share what she’s learned about how to raise a boy into a modern man. When it comes to sex and consent, Peggy says, this shouldn’t be one single talk. Instead, over the course of many conversations, help your kids understand that most media—and especially porn—does not portray sex realistically. Try to talk about intimacy in a positive way, rather than just warning your son what to avoid or how things can go wrong. If you liked this episode, check out “How To Get Your Kid to Finally Grow Up.” Do you need help having a hard conversation? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Anna is sure the amount of time her two children spend on YouTube or Roblox cannot be good for them. With remote learning this fall, Anna is worried their addiction to screens is only going to worsen, stunting their imagination and exposing them to dangers online. In this episode of How To!, we bring on Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World, to help Anna figure out the most constructive ways to monitor and guide her children’s screen time. The first step, Devorah says, is to realize not all screen time is created equal. Stop thinking of technology as the enemy. Instead, how can you help your kids translate their obsession with video games or social media into real-world skills? If you liked this episode, check out “How To Put Down Your Phone.” Do you have a bad habit you need to break? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mitchell is a physical therapy student who dreams of revolutionizing the industry. What if physical therapists and their patients weren’t so constrained by insurance companies? His classmates and professors think he’s crazy, but Mitchell thinks disrupting the status quo could help a lot of people—if only he knew how to get started. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Guy Raz, the host of NPR’s How I Built This and author of the new book of the same title, to share what he’s learned from the hundreds of entrepreneurs who have come on his podcast. When calculating risk vs. reward, Guy says, think about the difference between something being scary vs. dangerous. It’s scary to build a startup and potentially fail, but think how dangerous it would be to have a boring job always wondering “what if”? If you liked this episode, check out “How To Fire Your Daughter.” Do you have a dream you wish you could turn into reality? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Expert tips for navigating a most unusual back-to-school season. A special three-part series coming September 1st! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The trouble began when Sarah put a fern in front of her new condo. Nice, right? The woman who lives in the unit above didn’t think so, and without warning sent Sarah a slew of passive-aggressive notes. Sarah thinks it’s all a big misunderstanding, but now her neighbor refuses to even speak to her. Sarah is wracked with anxiety, struggling to sleep, and contemplating moving out. On this episode of How To!, we turn to stand-up comedian Tig Notaro, a cancer survivor and host of the new advice podcast Don’t Ask Tig, to help Sarah approach the situation with humor and clarity. When things don’t go your way, Tig says, you have to take back control of your own story. What would the hero in your favorite movie do? For Sarah, this means gardening with headphones and the Rocky theme on the soundtrack.  And a special birthday we'd like to celebrate... It’s been a year since we started solving guests’ problems, and we recently called a few of them to see how their lives have changed since they came on the show. Check out our article "Can a Podcast Change Your Life?" to read some of the surprising and inspiring things that happened! Do you have a problem that could use some humorous advice? 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. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. If you liked this episode, check out “How To Talk to Strangers.” Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Johnny is worried about being stuck in the same job forever. He’s been trying to climb the corporate ladder of his software company for years but has had little success. He knows he deserves a promotion, but he doesn’t want to be pushy, especially during a pandemic. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Alex Carter, author of Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything, to help Johnny assert himself and convince his higher-ups that promoting him would, in fact, benefit everyone at the company. Getting what you want, Alex says, is not so much about pitching yourself the perfect way as it is about asking the right questions. This is a time for companies to spend every dollar wisely, so why not invest in a proven performer?  If you liked this episode, check out “How To Find a New Career Before It’s Too Late.” Do you need help solving one of life’s puzzles? 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
David was in the ocean in Hawaii when the unthinkable happened—a shark attacked him and bit off his leg. “I don’t think you’re gonna make it,” a medic told the 25-year-old on the helicopter ride to the hospital. But David did make it, and soon he learned that surviving the shark wasn’t the hardest part—it was what came after. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, psychiatrist and author of The Body Keeps the Score, to help David understand and deal with the lasting psychological trauma of the attack. For anyone suffering from severe trauma, Bessel says, it’s okay to grieve the person you were before. Accepting the loss of the “old you” will allow you to better embrace who you are now, both in your mind and body.  Do you need help overcoming life’s many challenges? 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
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
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Comments (14)

Kristi Barnhart Kallgren

we may not be in a zombie apocalypse, but close enough.....wonder how this episode would be different if created now...

Sep 2nd
Reply

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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