After over 700 episodes of the podcast EconTalk, it’s fair to say that Russ Roberts specializes in curiosity and conversation. We spoke to him about both in our recent live Zoom event and asked him how he prepares for those conversations to make them respectful and educational. We also chatted with Russ about the state of polarization in the country right now, how we got here, and what individuals can do to make a difference in our dialogue and how we relate to our political opposites. 

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Show Notes:

Follow Russ on Twitter and keep up with is work (including) on his website. 

Fear the Boom and Bust: Keynes vs. Hayek – The Original Economics Rap Battle! 

The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance by Russ Roberts 

How Adam Smith Can Change Your LifeAUnexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russ Roberts 

EconTalk Episode with Fredrik DeBoer and his book The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice 

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling and his book The Three Languages of Politics 

EconTalk Episode with Lilliana Mason and her book Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity 

EconTalk Episode with Sebastian Junger and his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging 

EconTalk episode on the outrage epidemic and Medium post 

One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle 

About our guest:

Russ Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and host of EconTalk. His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than eight million views on YouTube, been subtitled in eleven languages, and are used in high school and college classrooms around the world.

His latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (Portfolio/Penguin 2014). It takes the lessons from Adam Smith’s little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and applies them to modern life.

He is also the author of three economic novels teaching economic lessons and ideas through fiction. The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (Princeton University Press, 2008) tells the story of wealth creation and the unseen forces around us creating and sustaining economic opportunity. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (MIT Press, 2002) looks at corporate responsibility and a wide array of policy issues including anti-poverty programs, consumer protection, and the morality of the marketplace. His first book, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (Prentice Hall, 3rd edition, 2006) is on international trade policy and the human consequences of international trade. It was named one of the top ten books of 1994 by Business Week and one of the best books of 1994 by the Financial Times. Roberts blogs at and archives his work at

A three-time teacher of the year, Roberts has taught at George Mason University, Washington University in St. Louis (where he was the founding director of what is now the Center for Experiential Learning), the University of Rochester, Stanford University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.