Getting to Yes, And

Russ Roberts: Wild Problems


Russ Roberts

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Kelly connects with Russ Roberts, President of Shalem College in Jerusalem and the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He hosts the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk and has a new book: “Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions that Define Us.”

Although you’re an economist, this book is about the wild problems in life that can’t be solved through a cost-benefit analysis.

“What I try to do in my book - it's not a how to book - it's not an algorithm for how to live. It's a way of thinking about the challenge of how to live, how to think, about what to do when we face these kinds of problems, that are especially frustrating in the modern world because we're so used to so called rational approaches to make our lives better.”

And you suggest that it's many of our modern conveniences that get in the way of us learning how to wrestle with wild problems.

“I think we should spend more time thinking about where we're headed and less time making sure we get there as quickly as possible. The problem is the tools that get us there quickly as possible are so seductive and they work so well, and we're so addicted to them, that when we get to a place in our life, where we don't have that APP, we're kind of thinking, well, now what do I do? And so that's what I've tried to help people in the book.”

You also note that a life well lived will be one filled with joy but also with suffering.  

“You know, you really don't want to go on a journey where it's all sweet all the time, that's not a life - that's childhood if you're spoiled.  Adults go through things that prick us, that squeeze us, that pain us. And, ideally, you bring all of that into your conversations, into your marriage, into your friendships, into your lives and interactions you have with the people around you. I think it makes us often better people and makes us live a life with an even richer texture.”

Follow Russ on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Jay Mallin

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