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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Now displaying: 2022
May 12, 2022

Today, we look at how and why some ideas take off and others don’t – in other words, how and why things scale. I am delighted to bring to you my conversation with John List. John has been described as a ‘master economist’ and a ‘revolutionary experimenter’. He is certainly a pioneer in combining economic theory with field experiments. John is currently the Chief Economist at Walmart and has held the same role at Lyft and Uber. He is also the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics and has been an economic advisor to the Bush White House.

For the purposes of this episode, John discusses his latest and fabulous book The Voltage Effect – How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale. In it, John argues that scalability is critical to just about everything from medical breakthroughs to social movements. John shares a number of insights from the book, including the conditions necessary for something to scale and the secrets to high voltage scaling.

We also spend some time on a topic I consider fascinating – when and how to quit something that is not serving us. This is one of the secrets to high voltage scaling. It’s a fascinating conversation!

Show notes:

The Voltage Effect

John’s University of Chicago page

John on Twitter

John on LinkedIn

The Khasi people of India

Vince Lombardi

John’s piece in the Wall Street Journal on quitting

The quitting ‘coin flip’ experiment

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Like what you heard?

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Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Apr 11, 2022

I’ve been wanting to have an episode in which we take a ‘big picture’ look at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, there is so much analysis out there about the conflict that I wasn’t sure if I could bring on the right guest who could be highly credible and offer a unique perspective, preferably steeped in a wider historical context. This is why I am so delighted to bring to you my conversation with Susan Eisenhower.

Susan is the granddaughter of General and President Dwight Eisenhower. She wrote a critically-acclaimed book about her grandfather’s leadership principles entitled How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions. She is also an expert on Russia-US relations, international security, energy, and space policy. She has served on numerous government task forces, is the Chair of Public Policy Programs at the Eisenhower Institute, and the founder of the Eisenhower Group, a consulting firm. So, she knows of what she speaks.

This episode proceeds in two parts. In the first half, Susan covers General President Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership principles, particularly how he made decisions. We focus on D-Day and when, as President, Ike looked at options to contain Soviet expansionism. These leadership and decision-making principles are not only fascinating, but they are also highly transferable.

In the second half, we fast forward to the present and discuss Russia’s war with Ukraine. Susan shares how we got here, a number of concerns she has, as well as the longer-term implications of the conflict. She also discusses decision-making in the context of nuclear war more broadly.

Show notes:

Susan Eisenhower

How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions

The Eisenhower Foundation

The Great Man Theory of leadership

D-Day

Project Solarium

Atoms for Peace

Gettysburg College

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Mar 31, 2022

What happens when your ability to make decisions gets clouded – and driven – by addiction? Why does ‘letting go’ make sense in these circumstances? What does it feel like when doing the right thing for your health seems somehow risky and frightening? And what in the world does running have to do with all of this?

Making his second appearance on the podcast is my good friend Robert Earl Stewart. Based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Robert (or Bob as I’ve always known him) is a writer, poet, and former journalist and bookseller. He is also a recovering alcoholic and has struggled with food addiction. At one point in his life, he weighed nearly 400 pounds and struggled to breathe while talking.

As you will hear, he took up running in an effort to save his life and ended up writing a fabulous book about his journey. The book is called The Running-Shaped Hole. It’s funny, moving, and inspirational as it chronicles how Robert lost 140 pounds, ran the Detroit Free Press half marathon, ended up in jail at one point, and tons in between. He shares his thoughts on all of those things in this episode and more, including what addiction feels like, family, the importance of surrender, and how authorities suspected he may have been at the head of an international organsised crime syndicate that provokes monied interests at picnics (you will have to listen to learn more about that last one). Like his book, this is an entertaining, funny, and thought-provoking conversation.

Show notes:

The Running-Shaped Hole

Robert on Goodreads

Robert on Twitter

Robert’s first appearance on All Things Risk

Blaise Pascal’s God-shaped hole

Michel Foucault’s heterotopia

Willistead Park

Hiram Walker

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Mar 8, 2022

Recent events – at the time of writing, Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine – reinforce that uncertainty is an inherent human condition. Our guest on this episode offers an approach to this reality that is useful. Paula Reid is an adventurer, and more precisely, an adventure psychologist. She has completed a number of epic things like skiing to the South Pole, sailing around the world, and paddling the Mekong river.

While we have had many adventurers on the show, I invited Paula to appear because she is a trailblazer in the field of adventure psychology – which is all about using applied psychology and experience to facilitate enduring performance and well-being. She helps individuals and organisations survive, cope and thrive during change. Given the state of the world, that is something all of us can use.

Show notes:

Paula’s website

Anticipatory thinking

The Brave Athlete by Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

The film “Backdraft”

Alex Honnold

Adam Grant on Languishing

Safety and wingsuit BASE jumping

Alistair Humphreys on All Things Risk (including references to the ‘doorstep mile’)

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Feb 18, 2022

Today, we look at organisations and the people within them. I want you to meet our guest, Minal Bopaiah. Minal is the founder of Brevity and Wit, a strategy and design firm dedicated to designing a more equitable world. She is also the author of a great book Equity – How to Design Organisations Where Everyone Can Thrive. Minal is based in the USA but her expertise and experience in combining human-centred design, behaviour change science, and the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and accountability is relevant to people everywhere.

From the perspective of risk, uncertainty and decision-making, the concept of equity – the way Minal addresses it – leads to better outcomes. I think that’s because it creates more robust and higher-quality decisions. Minal also makes the distinctions between diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility very clear. Her approach is down-to-earth and pragmatic – and very engaging.

Show notes:

Minal Bopaiah

Brevity and Wit

Equity – How to Design Organisations Where Everyone Can Thrive

Article – “How Putting Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes May Backfire”

The BJP political party in India

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 Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Jan 30, 2022

Today, we talk about the science of fear. Fear is a theme that unsurprisingly comes up a lot on this podcast, as it is so closely associated with risk and uncertainty. We get to discuss fear in a great way with our guest Eva Holland, author of the book Nerve – A Personal Journey Through the Science of Fear. Eva is a freelance writer based in Whitehorse in the Yukon territory of Northern Canada. She is a correspondent for Outside magazine and has had her work published in the likes of Wired, Bloomberg and National Geographic News.

In 2015, Eva was forced to face her greatest fear when her mother sadly passed away suddenly from a stroke. After her grief subsided, Eva began to explore how her fears may have limited her, and whether or not it was possible to move past them. This led to a deep dive into the science of fear, including where phobias come from, how they differ from trauma or anxiety, and whether we can find better ways to feel afraid.

We get into all of that in this episode. We discuss the different types of fear, what Eva learned, some insights into what happens to people who have a rare disease that prevents them from feeling fear, how people like rock climber Alex Honnold process fear, and much more.

Show notes:

Nerve: A Personal Journey Through the Science of Fear (in N America “Adventures in the Science of Fear”)

Eva’s website

Eva on Twitter

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne

Alex Honnold

Patient S.M.

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

Jan 9, 2022

One of the ways in which to manage uncertainty is by creating routines and rituals that drive a degree of certainty in our lives. In previous episodes, we’ve talked about decision-making and decision quality – that we cannot control outcomes but we can control the quality of our decisions. That requires focus. And focus isn’t easy in this day and age of seemingly infinite distraction.

 

With that, I want you to meet our guest, Thatcher Wine. Thatcher is the CEO of Juniper Books. You may have come across them for their beautiful, hand-crafted book sets. The reason I invited Thatcher on the show however is because he recently wrote his own fabulous book – The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better.

 

I think that we believe – even subliminally – that we need to multi-task to be successful. Thatcher’s book tackles that myth and introduces the concept of “monotasking muscles”. He believes we can use monotasking as the foundation for everything in our lives. The book presents twelve monotasks – from reading, listening, playing, creating, sleeping, and more. It is based on research in neuroscience, productivity, and the attention economy which all demonstrate monotasking’s benefits.

In the episode, we cover Thatcher’s background, the origins of the book, what monotasking is, we dive into some of the monotasks most related to the themes of this show, and Thatcher shares some tips on how we can strengthen our monotasking muscles.

Show notes:

The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better

Monotasking Tips

Juniper Books

Thatcher on Twitter

Peter Drucker

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com 

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence

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