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Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 9.5+ million listens. Investments, economics, psychology, politics, decision-making, human behavior, entrepreneurship and trading -- all passionately explored and debated. Guests include Nobel Prize winners: Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Hart, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. More guests: Jack Canfield, Howard Marks, James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams.

Praise:

“Your questions were excellent questions. I enjoyed this very much.”

--Vernon Smith, Nobel Prize in Economics

“You’ve surrounded yourself with one of the most advanced group of mentors possible…The people on your podcasts, and people in your life, all are people with strong opinions, all people that make you think and make you grow. You just have some kind of an affinity for people like that, and that’s part of what makes you good at what you do.”

--Ed Seykota

“Michael Covel’s podcast has had over [9.5] million listeners and he’s completed [900+] episodes. He’s probably the most established podcaster on this list—and it shows. Mr. Covel’s podcast is great for those looking for alternative views on the market, those who are tired of hearing the same old stories told on CBNC and other traditional outlets. This is highly recommended if you are looking to expand your mind in investing. Mr. Covel has had some incredible guests, to include multiple Nobel Prize winners and world-famous investors. One of my favorite episodes was when Mr. Covel interviewed Annie Duke, a former professional poker player who has some incredible insights on decision making. Mr. Covel always has me thinking and Annie Duke only amplified my brain-wave activity.”

--Wall Street Journal

Mar 25, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Steven Pinker. Steven is a Canadian-born American cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. He covers phenomena that have traditionally not been looked at scientifically such as: visual perception, war and peace, and differences in writing styles. He has authored numerous books with his most recent being, “The Sense of Style.”

Steven knew he was an atheist from the age of 13. He never had a big revelation because God was never a real part of his consciousness. However, his religious awareness as a young man helped to guide his career into using science, and science only in his research. He puts science as the decider of “what is.”

Michael asks, “How has human behavior been shaped by evolution.” Steven based his book, “The Blank Slate” around the idea that humans aren’t born with a blank slate. He says that to have the ability to analyze speech and comprehend speech you have to have something there at birth. If the mind has a built in structure, where did it come from? Steven argues it comes from evolution and natural selection. He uses a combination of cognitive science and evolutionary psychology to back up his theories. He also covers why there has been so much controversy surrounding the idea that we are not born with a blank slate and why our common sense so often clashes with our political conviction. One reason he offers is because many think the idea of equality means that we should be indistinguishable, essentially like clones. He argues that fairness should not be based on sameness.

Michael goes back to the blank slate concept and asks, “Are we born good or bad? And explain what you have learned throughout your career about the evolution of language.” Steven says we have some good and some bad. The brain is massively complex and layered. There is so much going on in the brain when someone speaks and when someone listens and retains the information. Eggs and sperm have about 70 mutations. That is how we have natural selection that makes someone run faster, see better, think faster, etc.

Next, Michael and Steven dive into the history of violence, where it came from and where we stand today. Steven says you can’t get an accurate view of violence from the news. They find the worst violence and promote it. The rate of homicides have plummeted over the years. There are far less wars going on now than in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and so on. Since the end of WWII there has been a steady decline. Civil wars have still occurred but they are far less plentiful than they use to be and death rates are also less than they use to be. Steven’s next book, due to be published in 2017, is a defense of science, reason and humanism as a source of aiding in morality.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Evolution
  • Natural selection
  • War statistics
  • Cognitive science
  • Evolutionary psychology