Subscriptions: Plain English with Derek Thompson

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Longtime Atlantic tech, culture and political writer Derek Thompson cuts through all the noise surrounding the big questions and headlines that matter to you in his new podcast Plain English. Hear Derek and guests engage the news with clear viewpoints and memorable takeaways. New episodes drop every Tuesday and Friday, and if you've got a topic you want discussed, shoot us an email at! You can also find us on tiktok at



Date Title Status
10/31/23 The Deep Story of Israel, Palestine, and Hamas Transcribed
10/27/23 The Science of Achievement, With Adam Grant Transcribed
10/24/23 Israel Has No Good Options Transcribed
10/17/23 The Tragedy of Picking Sides in the Israel-Palestine Conflict Transcribed
10/13/23 Inside the Trial of Sam Bankman-Fried Transcribed
10/10/23 The War in Israel Transcribed
10/3/23 Disney’s Downfall: The Rise and Fall of an Entertainment Giant Transcribed
9/26/23 Why Americans are Losing Faith in College Transcribed
9/19/23 What’s So Great About Marriage? Transcribed
9/12/23 Why Is It So Expensive to Build Stuff in America? Transcribed
9/6/23 Fatherhood and What Americans Get Wrong About Major Life Changes Transcribed
8/8/23 Experts Predicted a Recession This Year. How Were They So Wrong? Transcribed
8/1/23 Why Elite College Admissions Are Biased Toward the Superrich Transcribed
7/25/23 Oppenheimer: The Genius, the Film, and the Project That Changed the World Transcribed
7/19/23 How Hollywood Drove Its Business Model Off a Cliff Transcribed
7/11/23 Americans Think the Economy Is Terrible. The Data Tell Another Story. Transcribed
7/5/23 How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains Transcribed
6/27/23 What Just Happened in Russia This Weekend? Transcribed
6/20/23 The Science of Procrastination—and How to Really Get Stuff Done Transcribed
6/13/23 Why Fertility Rates Are Plunging—in the U.S., South Korea, and Everywhere Else Transcribed
6/6/23 Why So Many Young Men Are Lonely, Sexless, and Extremely Online Transcribed
5/30/23 How Hollywood's Writers Strike Could Change the Future of TV and Movies Transcribed
5/23/23 Why Youth Sports in America Are in Decline Transcribed
5/16/23 The Future of War Is Here Transcribed
5/9/23 A Diet Conspiracy: Is Ice Cream Secretly Good for You? Transcribed
5/2/23 An Optimistic Guide to America’s Clean-Energy Future Transcribed
4/25/23 The Most Important Thing Most Americans Misunderstand About Insomnia Transcribed
4/18/23 How American Cities Can Avoid the ‘Urban Doom Loop’ Transcribed
4/11/23 Americans Die Younger Than Those in Any Other Rich Country. Why? Transcribed
4/5/23 How Strong Is the Case Against Donald Trump? Transcribed
4/4/23 Myth-Busting Wellness Hacks: Cold Plunges, Coffee, Alcohol, and Fitness Trackers Transcribed
3/31/23 Eight Burning Questions About the Donald Trump Indictment Transcribed
3/28/23 Why the Cult of Achievement in Schools Is Making People Miserable Transcribed
3/24/23 Tim Urban on Thinking Deeply About Human History and the Meaning of Life Transcribed
3/21/23 The AI Revolution Could Be Bigger and Weirder Than We Can Imagine Transcribed
3/17/23 MAILBAG: Why Does the Internet Make Us Depressed? Where Does Good Writing Come From? Is College Worth It Anymore? Transcribed
3/15/23 The SVB Debacle: The Biggest Myths, the Out-of-Control Blame Game, and the Worst Takes Transcribed
3/13/23 Silicon Valley Bank Collapse FAQ: Whose Fault Is It? How Can We Stop a Bank Panic? What Comes Next? Transcribed
3/10/23 America’s Big New Economic Idea—and All the Ways It Could Go Wrong Transcribed
3/7/23 How the Media Failed Its COVID Test: The Truth Behind the Lab Leak and Masking Debates Transcribed
3/3/23 Why Are American Teens So Unhappy? How Do We Solve This Crisis? Transcribed
2/28/23 Happiness in America, Part 1: The Secret to a 'Good Life,' According to an 80-Year Study Transcribed
2/24/23 The Science of How Music Hits Have Changed in the Last 60 Years Transcribed
2/21/23 Bing Chatbot Gone Wild and Why AI Could Be the Story of the Decade Transcribed
2/17/23 UFOs and Aliens and Drones and Balloons: Understanding the U.S. Sky Wars Transcribed
2/14/23 Why Everybody Is Wrong About a Recession and Housing’s Great Comeback Transcribed
2/10/23 The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Fake Meat in America Transcribed
2/7/23 China’s Spy Balloon Is Down. Cold War 2.0 Risks Are Rising. Transcribed
2/3/23 Econ Megapod: The Debt Ceiling Is Dumb, and the Inflation “Crisis” Might Be Over Transcribed
1/31/23 The Dark Side of Being Obsessed With Productivity Transcribed
1/27/23 How AI Could Change Apple and Google, Writing and Music, and Everything Else Transcribed
1/24/23 Why Big Tech's Jobs Bubble Burst. Plus, SBF's Scandal Deepens. Transcribed
1/20/23 America Isn’t Ready for the Weight-Loss-Drug Revolution That’s Coming Transcribed
1/17/23 How Americans Got Everything About Food—Fat, Sugar, and Obesity—‘Entirely Backwards’ Transcribed
1/13/23 True or False: 10 Controversial Predictions About the Future of Streaming, Tech, and Media Transcribed
1/11/23 Why There Is So Much Bullshit in Science Transcribed
1/4/23 The 2023 Economy FAQ: Is Recession Inevitable? Will Housing Crash? Can Tech Recover? Transcribed
12/27/22 PE Greatest Hits: Thompson and Klosterman Debate Why Society Got So Negative Transcribed
12/20/22 PE Greatest Hits: Derek and Ryen Debate the Most Impressive Sports Statistic of All Time Transcribed
12/13/22 ChatGPT, Obesity Drugs, Exoplanet Images, and Medical Miracles: The Most Amazing Breakthroughs of 2022 Transcribed
12/9/22 Sperm Counts Are Falling All Over the World—Why?
12/6/22 Who's Afraid of a Four-Day Work Week?
12/2/22 Why the Bad Guys—in China, Russia, Iran, and the U.S.—Are Having a Terrible Winter
11/29/22 Why America is Suffering a 'Friendship Recession'
11/22/22 Thanksgiving Mega-Pod: Bob Iger’s Power Grab, SBF’s Scandal, and Elon Musk’s Omnishambles
11/18/22 If China Invades Taiwan, Is It World War III?
11/15/22 A Crypto Catastrophe: The Stunning Fall of FTX—and What Comes Next
11/9/22 Instant Reaction Pod: Midterm Election Winners, Losers, Surprises, and Takeaways
11/7/22 Elon Musk's Reign of Chaos and Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse Madness
11/4/22 America in the Age of Conspiracy: Q-Anon, JFK, Aliens, and More
11/1/22 How the U.S. Housing Market Became Such a Dumpster Fire
10/28/22 How to Invest and Be Happy When It Feels Like the World Is Falling Apart
10/26/22 Ben Smith on the Future of News, How to Start a Media Company, and Why TikTok Is a Time Bomb
10/25/22 Midterm Election FAQ: Can We Trust the Polls? Are Democrats Doomed?
10/18/22 The Case for Indicting Donald Trump
10/14/22 Is Hybrid Work Doomed?
10/11/22 Why the Future of AI Should Terrify and Thrill You
10/6/22 Bill Simmons on Aaron Judge, How Baseball Ruined Itself, and the Joy of Debating Sports Records
10/4/22 Could the Fed Break the World Economy?
9/29/22 Scott Galloway on Why the Internet Is a Mess, Why the News Is So Angry, and Why American Men Are ‘Adrift’
9/27/22 Is the Federal Reserve Making a Huge Mistake?
9/23/22 Why America Has a Crisis of Masculinity
9/20/22 Why the Voice Inside Your Head Can Sound Like a Jerk
9/15/22 The Housing Recession Is Coming
9/13/22 Bill Gates on Progress, Food Technology, and the Battle Between Climate Change and Innovation
9/12/22 How Ukraine’s New Offensive Could Win the War Against Russia
9/8/22 The UK Is in Trouble: Economic Crises, Energy Shocks, and the Queen’s Death
9/6/22 America’s National Teacher Shortage: Looming Crisis or Media Myth?
9/2/22 Nate Silver on Why This Midterm Election Could Be the Weirdest in Decades
8/30/22 The Messy Debate Over Student Loan Forgiveness
8/26/22 Burning Questions on Media: Streaming’s Summer of Hell, Movie Theater Woes, and CNN’s Risky Pivot
8/23/22 What’s the Secret of Success in America? This Economist Has Answers.
8/19/22 Why Does It Seem Like Everybody Hates Everything?
8/16/22 Donald Trump vs. the FBI: Everything We Know About the Investigation So Far
8/12/22 A New Way to Think About Racism in America
8/9/22 Carbon Removal Might Be the World’s Most Important Technology. How Does It Work?
8/5/22 Curiosity Corner: Monkeypox Myths, Millennial Facts, and Overpopulation Fears
8/3/22 Is Old Music Killing New Music?
8/1/22 How the Democrats' New Climate Bill Could Change the World
7/29/22 Why the Question "Are We in a Recession?" Is Impossible to Answer
7/26/22 Crypto Crash, Part II: A Debate About the Future of Web3
7/25/22 Crypto Crash Part I: The Case Against Crypto
7/22/22 Why It Seems Like So Many Countries Are Falling Apart
7/19/22 The World Is on Fire. Here’s a Realistic Plan to Save Humanity.
7/14/22 Three Ways the Elon Musk–Twitter Showdown Could End
7/12/22 Burning Questions About the Future of Media: Netflix vs. Disney, TikTok vs. Everyone, and the Metaverse
7/10/22 Musk Meltdown: Elon’s Breakup With Twitter Is Going to Be Very Messy
7/8/22 The Biggest Economic Question of the Moment: Is This Peak Inflation?
7/6/22 Why Are the Police So Bad at Solving Murders?
7/1/22 Abortion Pills Are a Game Changer, Plus Our Next Big Culture War
6/28/22 Five Reasons Everybody Is Wrong About a U.S. Recession—Including Me
6/24/22 The End of Roe v. Wade Changes Everything
6/24/22 Why Air Travel Is a Hot Mess Right Now
6/21/22 Why Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing—and an Ingenious Plan to Bring Them Down
6/17/22 The Big Winners and Losers From the Remote Work Revolution
6/15/22 The End of the Everything Boom (Plus: The Federal Reserve's Risky Move)
6/13/22 The Big Inflation FAQ: Why It’s So High, How Everyone Got It Wrong, and What's Next
6/10/22 California’s Elections Sent an Important Message. What Is It?
6/7/22 Curiosity Corner: America’s Gun Dilemma, the Future of Corporate Politics, Relationship Advice, and More!
5/26/22 America’s Gun Problem Is Impossible
5/24/22 What's Going on With the U.S. Housing Market?
5/20/22 Why Does the Internet Hate Amber Heard?
5/18/22 The Mystery of America's Missing Baby Formula
5/17/22 Why the U.S. Could Be Headed For the "Weirdest Recession Ever"
5/11/22 Market Meltdown: Why Tech and Crypto Are Crashing - and What Happens Next
5/10/22 The Future of AI Is Thrilling, Terrifying, Confusing, and Fascinating
5/6/22 The 300-Year History of Abortion in America—in 30 Minutes
5/4/22 How Would the End of Roe v. Wade Change America?
5/3/22 Economic Mystery Hour: How Low Will Stocks Go? Is a Recession Inevitable?
4/29/22 Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Next Great Quarterback?
4/26/22 The End of the Golden Age of Streaming
4/26/22 Instant Reaction Pod! Elon Musk Buys Twitter. So, What Happens Next?
4/22/22 Why Are American Teenagers So Sad and Anxious?
4/19/22 How Joe Biden Lost Millennials
4/15/22 The News About Shanghai’s COVID Lockdown Is Shocking. The Reality Might Be Worse.
4/14/22 Instant Reaction Pod! Elon Musk Offers to Buy 100 Percent of Twitter.
4/12/22 When Will the Ukraine War End? (Plus: 10 Good Minutes on What the Hell Elon Musk Is Doing With Twitter)
4/8/22 It's Not Just You: America's Epidemic of Bad Behavior
4/5/22 Why U.S. Population Growth Crashed to a Record Low
4/1/22 Should You Be Afraid of TikTok?
3/29/22 What Is the “Don’t Say Gay” Law Really About? (Plus: The Big Disney vs. DeSantis Showdown in Florida.)
3/25/22 How Ukraine Wins
3/22/22 Could Putin’s War Crash the U.S. Economy?
3/14/22 Five Reasons Putin’s War Was Doomed From the Start
3/10/22 Why a No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Could Be—Literally—the Worst Idea Ever
3/8/22 “Every Person Is Ready to Die for Our Country”: Five Ukrainians on Life Inside Putin’s War Zone
3/2/22 SPECIAL DOUBLE EPISODE: What Putin Will Do Next and the West’s Unprecedented "Financial War" on Russia
3/1/22 Russia’s Economic Meltdown, Putin’s Big Mistake, and the West’s Financial War Against Vlad and the Oligarchs
2/25/22 How Putin's War Will End
2/25/22 What Vladimir Putin Wants—and How Russia’s War in Ukraine Could Reshape the World
2/22/22 Four Brilliant Frames for Finding the Next Big Thing, With Venture Capitalist Josh Wolfe. Plus, What's Eating Tech Stocks in 2022?
2/18/22 The Great Debate: What's the Single Most Amazing Sports Statistic in U.S. History?
2/15/22 What American Media Is Getting Wrong About Canada’s Big Protests
2/11/22 The Meaning of Life and the Power of Regret
2/8/22 Media Gossip Hour: Spotify's Joe Rogan Problem, Facebook's TikTok Crisis, and Crypto's Anonymity Conundrum
2/4/22 This Guy Predicted the 2021 Economy. I Asked Him What's Next.
2/1/22 One Big Question For: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, and Meta
1/28/22 Should We Cancel Student Debt?
1/25/22 Crypto Crashing, Pandemic Stocks Plunging: The Story Behind January’s Crazy Stock Market
1/21/22 2022 Is Off to a Terrible Start for Democrats
1/18/22 The Biggest Losers of the Streaming Wars: ESPN, Movie Theaters, Peacock, and More
1/14/22 Everybody Was Wrong About Inflation
1/11/22 Omicron: Feelings vs. Facts
1/7/22 The Biggest Inventions of the 2020s: Cancer Vaccines, Flying Cars, Space Travel, and More
12/28/21 The Four Ways That America Is Polarizing
12/21/21 The Four Biggest Myths of the U.S. Economy. Plus, Omicron in 100 Seconds.
12/17/21 Elon Musk Is the Person of the Year. Who Is the Person of the Century?
12/14/21 The Elizabeth Holmes Trial With Rebecca Jarvis of 'The Dropout' Podcast
12/10/21 Media Report Card! Biden Blues, Omicron Fears, Chris Cuomo, and a Celebrity Profile for the Ages
12/7/21 Work in America Is Broken—Can Remote Work Save Us?
12/4/21 BONUS POD: The Future of Democracy, the Media, and the Economy With Andrew Yang
12/3/21 The Bad Guys Are Winning
11/30/21 The Omicron Variant: So, How Bad Is It?
11/23/21 Buy or Sell Pandemic Trends: Peloton, Movie Theaters, Masks, and More!
11/19/21 We Have to Talk About Inflation
11/16/21 The Future Is Going to Be Weird As Hell
11/11/21 Introducing Plain English with Derek Thompson