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Billionaire Book Club: A Podcast About Books
41 minutes | Mar 18, 2018
Andrew Kimler Talks Originals
I got to sit down with the very funny Andrew Kimler to talk about his choice, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (2016), by Adam Grant. It's a fascinating book that challenges all sorts of conventional wisdom. Why did the Segway scooter fail? Why is it better to procrastinate? Why will no one from The Bachelor's casting office return my phone calls? Andrew is an actor and comedian who you can see performing at UCB. I'd also recommend you check out his podcast, Applying it Liberally, and follow him on Twitter @AndyKimy .
43 minutes | Mar 11, 2018
Justin Budlow Talks Ishmael
I sat down with my old friend Justin Budlow to talk about his choice, a wonderful book called Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn. Like most good books, it's about a single man talking to a single gorilla. It's part philosophy book and part novel, and it really gave me some interesting things to think about re: the environment, how humans interact with the rest of the world, why did I never get to have a gorilla teach me things, etc. Justin is a great friend, I can only assume he's a great product manager as well, and I'd encourage you all to watch Justin play guitar on Instagram at bud_low.
42 minutes | Mar 4, 2018
Amy Lynne Berger Talks One More Thing
I sat down with actor, comedian, and writer Amy Lynne Berger to talk about her excellent choice, B. J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (2014). It's the best book of short humor pieces I've read since Jon Stewart's Naked Pictures of Famous People, and I really enjoyed reading it and talking about it. Catch Amy perform here in New York with her sketch team, The Nitro Girls, every Friday at 7 at The Magnet Theater. And absolutely follow her on Twitter@AmyLynneBerger!
37 minutes | Feb 25, 2018
Meredith Houff Talks The Most Magnificent Thing
I sat down to talk with educator Meredith Houff about her choice, The Most Magnificent Thing, which was written by Ashley Spires and published in 2014. It's a great read about a little girl (and her dog/assistant) who tries and tries to bring to life the invention in her mind and only manages it after realizing what she can learn from the "wrong things" she made. We talked about the book, about teaching, and about Growth Mindset. Enjoy!
45 minutes | Feb 18, 2018
Phil Stamato Talks The Swerve
This week, I sat down with standup comic and student of the classics Phil Stamato to talk about The Swerve: How The World Became Modern, written by Stephen Greenblatt and published in 2011. It tells the story of a long-lost text, On The Nature Of Things, was rediscovered in fifteenth century Italy, as well as the effects of that discovery on the thinkers (or, "Thought Leaders") of the Renaissance. You can see Phil do standup at his monthly show Nothing Important in Crown Heights, read his writing on Splitsider.com, and follow him on Twitter.
43 minutes | Feb 11, 2018
Monique Moses Talks Ready Player One
I sat down with Monique Moses to talk about Ready Player One, written by Ernest Cline and published in 2011. The book tells the story of a dystopian future in which civilization has mostly fallen apart and everyone spends much of their time inside a VR simulation called OASIS. (Can't wait!) We talk about nostalgia, representation, and adaptations! Monique is an actor and comedian you might recognize from Astronomy Club, IFC Comedy Cribs, and UCB. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @nutellacartel.
43 minutes | Feb 4, 2018
David Sonshine Talks The Fifth Sacred Thing
In this episode, I sat down with David Sonshine to talk about The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993) by Starhawk. This is a really cool book which tells the story of a dystopian future in which an eco-feminist society in the Bay Area comes into conflict with their capitalist, theocractic neighbors to the south. It's a compelling adventure story, a vivid illustration of a society that lives in harmony with nature, and a meditation on nonviolence. David is a longtime friend of my brother and I.
40 minutes | Jan 28, 2018
Mike Diaz Talks How To Win Friends And Influence People
I sat down with my friend and colleague Mike Diaz, who chose the book How To Win Friends And Influence People (1936) by Dale Carnegie. It's a fascinating book that lays out principles for human relationships, and demonstrates with exhaustive evidence how those principles can redound to your and others' benefit. Mike and I talked about our favorite principles, worked on the cast for a movie version, and discussed the line between influence and manipulation.
41 minutes | Jan 21, 2018
Dre Wright Talks The Autobiography Of Malcolm X
I sat down with Dre Wright to talk about the vital, classic work The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Haley (1965). Dre is a friend and coworker who may soon be starting a podcast of his own - stay tuned! We get into the arc of Malcom X's life, his philosophy (and its evolution), wolves vs. foxes, and we discuss whether Malcolm X (or someone like him) could rise to prominence today. Enjoy!
41 minutes | Jan 14, 2018
Colin Canny Talks Fire And Fury
This week, I sat down with my friend and coworker Colin Canny to talk about the new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (2018) by Michael Wolff. Colin agreed to speed read the book with me so that we could get an episode out in time to jump on the trending topics bandwagon. What a thrilling ride! This was a fascinating book in the same way that the Hindenburg was a fascinating rigid airship explosion. Colin and I talked about the constant leaking, who would get cast in the movie version, and Steve Bannon's odd diet.
44 minutes | Jan 7, 2018
Shand Thomas Talks The Vacationers
This episode had me sitting down Shand Thomas to talk about Emma Straub's The Vacationers (2014). It's a fun and breezy story of - you guessed it - people on vacation, and we had a blast chatting about it. We covered the characters' relationships, which ones we hated and which ones we loved, some of the book's best lines, and - inexplicably - the film You've Got Mail. You can catch Shand doing improv in the city, and you can follow her on twitter @shandthomas.
49 minutes | Dec 31, 2017
Momoh Pujeh Talks The Power Of Now
I sat down with standup comedian Momoh Pujeh to talk about his selection, The Power of Now (1997) by Eckhart Tolle, a book which extols the importance of "Now" (read the book or listen to the episode for a deeper understanding of the concept, or perhaps just further confusion). This was a fun episode in part because Momoh initially hated the book, and it was only after a few subsequent reads that he came to appreciate the book - the first time a guest has had that arc. Momoh performs standup comedy in New York City - you can catch him at The Grisly Pear, and possibly on a webseries "when he gets around to it." You can follow him on Twitter at @Yopujeh.
46 minutes | Dec 24, 2017
Julianna Haubner Talks Ragtime
In this episode, I sat down with Julianna Haubner, who my friend and colleague from our college newspaper, the Colby Echo. She is one of the most voracious readers I know and is currently an editor for the publisher Simon & Schuster. We had a ball talking about E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime (1975), a riveting book about turn of the century New York. We talked about historical fiction, Julianna's job at S&S, and independent bookstores!
45 minutes | Dec 17, 2017
Jeremy Bent Talks The Dispossessed
I sat down with Jeremy Bent to talk about Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed (1974). This is a riveting science fiction novel about two worlds & societies that have largely existed in isolation until the narrative present, and the story of the physicist, Shevek, who attempts to break down the walls between the two worlds. We talk about the ludicrous flights of fancy this book engages in, such as a society in which a minority of rich people live like kings while the majority are poor people with no prospects of upward mobility. Or, get this, the book posits an Earth that has depleted all its resources and is barely habitable! Jeremy is a hilarious improviser based in New York City, and also founded and performs on the sci-fi improv podcast Mission To Zyxx. Follow him on twitter at @JeremyMBent!
33 minutes | Dec 10, 2017
Ellen Castellini Talks The Dinner
I talked with Ellen Castellini about The Dinner (2009) by Herman Koch, which tells the story of two families who must address a horrible secret over the course of - and this came out of left field for me - a dinner. It's a by turns grim and funny story, and we had a great time breaking down both parts. Ellen is a mom and accountant from Chicago, and she's also the first guest who read her choice in a real life book club! We were joined by Ellen's daughter Clare, six months old as of this recording.
54 minutes | Dec 3, 2017
Kelsey Nash Talks The War Of Art
In this episode, I talk with my friend Kelsey Nash about Steven Pressfield's The War of Art (2002). It was an honest and interesting conversation about the different battles we fight in trying to do creative work (or, different facets of "Resistance," as Pressfield labels them). Kelsey's an actor, filmmaker, content creator, and writer with tons of good stories of his own struggles against resistance. Listen to find out what kind of plant Kelsey re-potted instead of working on his script!
42 minutes | Nov 26, 2017
Maggie Bower Talks East of Eden
My friend Maggie Bower came on to talk about John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1952). This is one of my favorite books too, and I really enjoyed talking about Maggie's first reading of the book while leading a 50 day canoe trip in Ontario, the treatment of male vs. female characters, and, of course, "Thou Mayest." Maggie does comedy and improv in New York City and you should consider following her on twitter at @magbower .
38 minutes | Nov 19, 2017
Sarah Jean Alexander Talks Inferno (A Poet's Novel)
In this episode, I sat down with friend and poet Sarah Jean Alexander, who chose the book Inferno (A Poet's Novel), by Eileen Myles. This was a really interesting book that explores poetry, writing, queerness, and living in New York, among other things. We had a great conversation, picking different sections and ideas from the book to discuss (are subways hell? Yes!), and Sarah Jean gave a glimpse into the world of poetry readings. And stay tuned after the conversation to hear a reading of her poem, "Real Good." You can follow Sarah Jean on twitter at @sarahjeanalex which also has links to her latest book, Stop Goddamn Apologizing. Enjoy!
42 minutes | Nov 12, 2017
Ken McGraw Talks Belushi
I sat down with actor and comedian Ken McGraw to talk about his choice, Belushi: A Biography (2005) by Judith Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby. We get into Belushi's tremendous life & works, his influence on Ken's life and comedy, as well as Ken's first theatrical credit as Elf No. 7. You can follow Ken on Twitter here@KenMcGraw and you can see him perform on the show Characters Welcome at UCB in the East Village.
50 minutes | Nov 5, 2017
Bridget Scanlon Talks Cloud Atlas
I sat down with Bridget Scanlon to talk about David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (2004). It's a great read, both interesting for the story/stories it contains as well as it's stylistic and structural innovations. Bridget and I talk about the novel's Russian doll structure, which sections we like best, and why the movie adaptation didn't work so well. We also coin some new words!
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