Plain English with Derek Thompson

By The Ringer

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Category: News Commentary

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Subscribers: 1185
Reviews: 5
Episodes: 235

 Mar 1, 2024

 Jan 18, 2024
Poignant, thought-provoking stuff.

Wow Jeff
 Apr 18, 2023
Pseudo intellectualism. Interesting topics, but superficial discussion and analysis

 Mar 10, 2023

 Feb 14, 2023


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

Episode Date
Harsh Truths About 2024 and the Future of the U.S. Economy
Jul 19, 2024
"The Weirdest Housing Market in Recent History"
Jul 12, 2024
"People Feel Lied To": The White House, the Media, and the Joe Biden Blame Game
Jul 05, 2024
Whatever Happened to Serial Killers?
Jun 28, 2024
The Radical Cultural Shift Behind America's Declining Birth Rate
Jun 21, 2024
Breathing Is Easy. But We’re Doing It Wrong.
Jun 14, 2024
The News Media’s Dangerous Addiction to ‘Fake Facts’
Jun 07, 2024
Microplastics Are Everywhere. How Dangerous Are They?
May 31, 2024
Why the New NBA Deal Is So Weird. Plus, How Sports Rights Actually Work.
May 28, 2024
What America’s Bold New Economic Experiment Is Missing
May 24, 2024
The Five Superstars Who Invented the Modern NBA
May 21, 2024
Are Smartphones Really Driving the Rise in Teenage Depression?
May 14, 2024
Are Flying Cars Finally Here?
May 07, 2024
How the Logic of Cults Is Taking Over Modern Life
May 03, 2024
How Will the Gaza War Finally End?
Apr 30, 2024
A Political Scientist on How Protests Can Change Minds or Backfire
Apr 26, 2024
What Kind of a Superpower Is India Becoming?
Apr 23, 2024
Health Fads and Fictions: VO2 Max, Supplement Mania, Sunlight, and Immortality
Apr 19, 2024
U.S. Economy FAQ: Skyrocketing Insurance Prices, Stuck Inflation, Higher Rates, and Wrong Experts
Apr 16, 2024
If the 2024 Election Is So Important, Why Does It Feel So Boring?
Apr 12, 2024
A Psychologist Explains Four Reasons the Internet Feels So Broken
Apr 09, 2024
Why School Absences Have "Exploded" Across America
Apr 05, 2024
What Evolutionary Biology Can Teach Us About Diet, Exercise, and Staying Alive
Apr 02, 2024
America's Biggest Car Companies Are in Trouble
Mar 26, 2024
Should the U.S. Ban TikTok?
Mar 19, 2024
How Hollywood’s Hit Formula Flopped—and What Could Come Next
Mar 12, 2024
What Many Economists (and I) Got Wrong About This Economy
Mar 05, 2024
Why the "Need for Chaos" Is Eating American Politics
Mar 01, 2024
Why Americans Stopped Hanging Out—and Why It Matters
Feb 27, 2024
"We’re Seeing a Fundamental Reorganization of Work in America"
Feb 23, 2024
How to Have the Hardest Conversations—in Marriage, Politics, and Life
Feb 20, 2024
Would You Buy a Drug to Extend Your Dog’s Life?
Feb 16, 2024
The Dark Side of the Internet's Obsession With Anxiety
Feb 13, 2024
Can Solar Power and Battery Tech Save the World From Climate Change?
Feb 09, 2024
The Gender War Within Gen Z
Feb 06, 2024
What’s the Best Diet for Planet Earth?
Jan 30, 2024
Why Did Stanley Water Bottles Suddenly Become a Cultural Phenomenon?
Jan 26, 2024
Why the U.S. Media Industry Is in Meltdown
Jan 23, 2024
World on Fire, Part 3: How Did America's Border Crisis Get So Bad?
Jan 19, 2024
World on Fire, Part 2: Global Conflict Has Surged to an 80-Year High. Why?
Jan 16, 2024
World on Fire, Part 1: The Houthis, Israel's Impossible War, and Worsening Middle East Chaos
Jan 12, 2024
The Dark Side of the Obsession With Focus
Jan 09, 2024
Four Megatrends for 2024 in Tech, Economics, Media, and Weird Science
Jan 03, 2024
The Biggest Breakthroughs in Science Happening Right Now
Dec 27, 2023
The Truth About Ketamine: Depression Cure, Health Fad, or Placebo?
Dec 22, 2023
The Year in Media and Entertainment: What’s Broken (News), What’s Surging (Netflix), and What’s Next
Dec 19, 2023
How Weight-Loss Drugs Could Impact U.S. Healthcare and Food. Plus, the Biggest Problems With GLP1s.
Dec 15, 2023
The Weight-Loss Drug Revolution, Part 1: Why These Drugs Work So Well
Dec 12, 2023
Why It’s So Hard to Buy a House Right Now—and Why It Might Get Better Soon
Dec 08, 2023
How Henry Kissinger’s Catastrophes and Triumphs Changed the World
Dec 05, 2023
Elon Musk’s Meltdown, the Death of Twitter, and the Chaotic Future of Social Media
Dec 01, 2023
How China's Economic Miracle Went Off the Rails
Nov 28, 2023
Inside the OpenAI Meltdown
Nov 21, 2023
The Media is Missing Something Big in Biden’s Bad Polling Numbers
Nov 17, 2023
How ChatGPT Can Change the Future of Jobs—Starting With Your Own
Nov 14, 2023
What Most People Get Wrong About Wealth, Fame, and Happiness
Nov 10, 2023
The Fragile Hope for Peace in Israel-Palestine
Nov 07, 2023
Could a Housing Recession Take Down the U.S. Economy?
Nov 03, 2023
Two Israel-Palestine Historians Explain: How Did We Get Here? And What Happens Next?
Oct 31, 2023
The Science of Achievement, With Adam Grant
Oct 27, 2023
Israel Has No Good Options
Oct 24, 2023
The Tragedy of Picking Sides in the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Oct 17, 2023
Inside the Trial of Sam Bankman-Fried
Oct 13, 2023
Israel at War: Why Did Hamas Attack?
Oct 10, 2023
Disney’s Downfall: The Rise and Fall of an Entertainment Giant
Oct 03, 2023
Why Americans are Losing Faith in College
Sep 26, 2023
What’s So Great About Marriage?
Sep 19, 2023
Why Is It So Expensive to Build Stuff in America?
Sep 12, 2023
Fatherhood and What Americans Get Wrong About Major Life Changes
Sep 06, 2023
Experts Predicted a Recession This Year. How Were They So Wrong?
Aug 08, 2023
Why Elite College Admissions Are Biased Toward the Superrich
Aug 01, 2023
Oppenheimer: The Genius, the Film, and the Project That Changed the World
Jul 25, 2023
How Hollywood Drove Its Business Model Off a Cliff
Jul 19, 2023
Americans Think the Economy Is Terrible. The Data Tell Another Story.
Jul 11, 2023
How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains
Jul 05, 2023
What Just Happened in Russia This Weekend?
Jun 27, 2023
The Science of Procrastination—and How to Really Get Stuff Done
Jun 20, 2023
Why Fertility Rates Are Plunging—in the U.S., South Korea, and Everywhere Else
Jun 13, 2023
Why So Many Young Men Are Lonely, Sexless, and Extremely Online
Jun 06, 2023
How Hollywood's Writers Strike Could Change the Future of TV and Movies
May 30, 2023
Why Youth Sports in America Are in Decline
May 23, 2023
The Future of War Is Here
May 16, 2023
A Diet Conspiracy: Is Ice Cream Secretly Good for You?
May 09, 2023
An Optimistic Guide to America’s Clean-Energy Future
May 02, 2023
The Most Important Thing Most Americans Misunderstand About Insomnia
Apr 25, 2023
How American Cities Can Avoid the ‘Urban Doom Loop’
Apr 18, 2023
Americans Die Younger Than People in Any Other Rich Country. Why?
Apr 11, 2023
How Strong Is the Case Against Donald Trump?
Apr 06, 2023
Myth-Busting Wellness Hacks: Cold Plunges, Coffee, Alcohol, and Fitness Trackers
Apr 04, 2023
Eight Burning Questions About the Donald Trump Indictment
Mar 31, 2023
Why the Cult of Achievement in Schools Is Making People Miserable
Mar 28, 2023
A Mind-Expanding Conversation About Human History and Happiness With Tim Urban
Mar 24, 2023
The AI Revolution Could Be Bigger and Weirder Than We Can Imagine
Mar 21, 2023
MAILBAG: Why Does the Internet Make Us Depressed? Where Does Good Writing Come From? Is College Worth It Anymore?
Mar 17, 2023
The SVB Debacle: The Biggest Myths, the Out-of-Control Blame Game, and the Worst Takes
Mar 15, 2023
Silicon Valley Bank Collapse FAQ: Whose Fault Is It? How Can We Stop a Bank Panic? What Comes Next?
Mar 13, 2023
"Industrial Policy" Is the Hottest Idea in Economics. What Could Go Wrong?
Mar 10, 2023
How the Media Failed Its COVID Test: The Truth Behind the Lab Leak and Masking Debates
Mar 07, 2023
Why Are American Teens So Unhappy? How Do We Solve This Crisis?
Mar 03, 2023
Happiness in America, Part 1: The Secret to a 'Good Life,' According to an 80-Year Study
Feb 28, 2023
The Science of How Music Hits Have Changed in the Last 60 Years
Feb 24, 2023
Bing Chatbot Gone Wild and Why AI Could Be the Story of the Decade
Feb 21, 2023
UFOs and Aliens and Drones and Balloons: Understanding the U.S. Sky Wars
Feb 17, 2023
Why Everybody Is Wrong About a Recession and Housing’s Great Comeback
Feb 14, 2023
The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Fake Meat in America
Feb 10, 2023
China’s Spy Balloon Is Down. Cold War 2.0 Risks Are Rising.
Feb 07, 2023
Econ Megapod: The Debt Ceiling Is Dumb, and the Inflation “Crisis” Might Be Over
Feb 03, 2023
The Dark Side of Being Obsessed With Productivity
Jan 31, 2023
How AI Could Change Apple and Google, Writing and Music, and Everything Else
Jan 27, 2023
Why Big Tech's Jobs Bubble Burst. Plus, SBF's Scandal Deepens.
Jan 24, 2023
America Isn’t Ready for the Weight-Loss-Drug Revolution That’s Coming
Jan 20, 2023
How Americans Got Everything About Food—Fat, Sugar, and Obesity—‘Entirely Backwards’
Jan 17, 2023
True or False: 10 Controversial Predictions About the Future of Streaming, Tech, and Media
Jan 13, 2023
Why There Is So Much Bullsh*t in Science
Jan 11, 2023
The 2023 Economy FAQ: Is Recession Inevitable? Will Housing Crash? Can Tech Recover?
Jan 04, 2023
PE Greatest Hits: Thompson and Klosterman Debate Why Society Got So Negative
Dec 27, 2022
PE Greatest Hits: Derek and Ryen Debate the Most Impressive Sports Statistic of All Time
Dec 20, 2022
ChatGPT, Obesity Drugs, Exoplanet Images, and Medical Miracles: The Most Amazing Breakthroughs of 2022
Dec 13, 2022
Sperm Counts Are Falling All Over the World—Why?
Dec 09, 2022
Who's Afraid of a Four-Day Work Week?
Dec 06, 2022
Why the Bad Guys—in China, Russia, Iran, and the U.S.—Are Having a Terrible Winter
Dec 02, 2022
Why America is Suffering a 'Friendship Recession'
Nov 29, 2022
Thanksgiving Mega-Pod: Bob Iger’s Power Grab, SBF’s Scandal, and Elon Musk’s Omnishambles
Nov 22, 2022
If China Invades Taiwan, Is It World War III?
Nov 18, 2022
A Crypto Catastrophe: The Stunning Fall of FTX—and What Comes Next
Nov 15, 2022
Instant Reaction Pod: Midterm Election Winners, Losers, Surprises, and Takeaways
Nov 09, 2022
Elon Musk's Reign of Chaos and Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse Madness
Nov 07, 2022
America in the Age of Conspiracy: Q-Anon, JFK, Aliens, and More
Nov 04, 2022
How the U.S. Housing Market Became Such a Dumpster Fire
Nov 01, 2022
How to Invest and Be Happy When It Feels Like the World Is Falling Apart
Oct 28, 2022
Ben Smith on the Future of News, How to Start a Media Company, and Why TikTok Is a Time Bomb
Oct 26, 2022
Midterm Election FAQ: Can We Trust the Polls? Are Democrats Doomed?
Oct 25, 2022
The Case for Indicting Donald Trump
Oct 18, 2022
Is Hybrid Work Doomed?
Oct 14, 2022
Why the Future of AI Should Terrify and Thrill You
Oct 11, 2022
Bill Simmons on Aaron Judge, How Baseball Ruined Itself, and the Joy of Debating Sports Records
Oct 06, 2022
Could the Fed Break the World Economy?
Oct 04, 2022
Scott Galloway on Why the Internet Is a Mess, Why the News Is So Angry, and Why American Men Are ‘Adrift’
Sep 29, 2022
Is the Federal Reserve Making a Huge Mistake?
Sep 27, 2022
Why America Has a Crisis of Masculinity
Sep 23, 2022
Why the Voice Inside Your Head Can Sound Like a Jerk
Sep 20, 2022
The Housing Recession Is Coming
Sep 15, 2022
Bill Gates on Progress, Food Technology, and the Battle Between Climate Change and Innovation
Sep 13, 2022
How Ukraine’s New Offensive Could Win the War Against Russia
Sep 12, 2022
The UK Is in Trouble: Economic Crises, Energy Shocks, and the Queen’s Death
Sep 08, 2022
America’s National Teacher Shortage: Looming Crisis or Media Myth?
Sep 06, 2022
Nate Silver on Why This Midterm Election Could Be the Weirdest in Decades
Sep 02, 2022
The Messy Debate Over Student Loan Forgiveness
Aug 30, 2022
Burning Questions on Media: Streaming’s Summer of Hell, Movie Theater Woes, and CNN’s Risky Pivot
Aug 26, 2022
What’s the Secret of Success in America? This Economist Has Answers.
Aug 23, 2022
Why Does It Seem Like Everybody Hates Everything?
Aug 19, 2022
Donald Trump vs. the FBI: Everything We Know About the Investigation So Far
Aug 16, 2022
A New Way to Think About Racism in America
Aug 12, 2022
Carbon Removal Might Be the World’s Most Important Technology. How Does It Work?
Aug 09, 2022
Curiosity Corner: Monkeypox Myths, Millennial Facts, and Overpopulation Fears
Aug 05, 2022
Is Old Music Killing New Music?
Aug 03, 2022
How the Democrats' New Climate Bill Could Change the World
Aug 01, 2022
Why the Question "Are We in a Recession?" Is Impossible to Answer
Jul 29, 2022
Crypto Crash, Part II: A Debate About the Future of Web3
Jul 26, 2022
Crypto Crash Part I: The Case Against Crypto
Jul 25, 2022
Why It Seems Like So Many Countries Are Falling Apart
Jul 22, 2022
The World Is on Fire. Here’s a Realistic Plan to Save Humanity.
Jul 19, 2022
Three Ways the Elon Musk–Twitter Showdown Could End
Jul 14, 2022
Burning Questions About the Future of Media: Netflix vs. Disney, TikTok vs. Everyone, and the Metaverse
Jul 12, 2022
Musk Meltdown: Elon’s Breakup With Twitter Is Going to Be Very Messy
Jul 10, 2022
The Biggest Economic Question of the Moment: Is This Peak Inflation?
Jul 08, 2022
Why Are the Police So Bad at Solving Murders?
Jul 06, 2022
Abortion Pills Are a Game Changer, Plus Our Next Big Culture War
Jul 01, 2022
Five Reasons Everybody Is Wrong About a U.S. Recession—Including Me
Jun 28, 2022
The End of Roe v. Wade Changes Everything
Jun 24, 2022
Why Air Travel Is a Hot Mess Right Now
Jun 24, 2022
Why Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing—and an Ingenious Plan to Bring Them Down
Jun 21, 2022
The Big Winners and Losers From the Remote Work Revolution
Jun 17, 2022
The End of the Everything Boom (Plus: The Federal Reserve's Risky Move)
Jun 15, 2022
The Big Inflation FAQ: Why It’s So High, How Everyone Got It Wrong, and What's Next
Jun 13, 2022
California’s Elections Sent an Important Message. What Is It?
Jun 10, 2022
Curiosity Corner: America’s Gun Dilemma, the Future of Corporate Politics, Relationship Advice, and More!
Jun 07, 2022
America’s Gun Problem Is Impossible
May 26, 2022
What's Going on With the U.S. Housing Market?
May 24, 2022
Why Does the Internet Hate Amber Heard?
May 20, 2022
The Mystery of America's Missing Baby Formula
May 18, 2022
Why the U.S. Could Be Headed For the "Weirdest Recession Ever"
May 17, 2022
Market Meltdown: Why Tech and Crypto Are Crashing - and What Happens Next
May 11, 2022
The Future of AI Is Thrilling, Terrifying, Confusing, and Fascinating
May 10, 2022
The 300-Year History of Abortion in America—in 30 Minutes
May 06, 2022
How Would the End of Roe v. Wade Change America?
May 04, 2022
Economic Mystery Hour: How Low Will Stocks Go? Is a Recession Inevitable?
May 03, 2022
Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Next Great Quarterback?
Apr 29, 2022
The End of the Golden Age of Streaming
Apr 26, 2022
Instant Reaction Pod! Elon Musk Buys Twitter. So, What Happens Next?
Apr 26, 2022
Why Are American Teenagers So Sad and Anxious?
Apr 22, 2022
How Joe Biden Lost Millennials
Apr 19, 2022
The News About Shanghai’s COVID Lockdown Is Shocking. The Reality Might Be Worse.
Apr 15, 2022
Instant Reaction Pod! Elon Musk Offers to Buy 100 Percent of Twitter.
Apr 14, 2022
When Will the Ukraine War End? (Plus: 10 Good Minutes on What the Hell Elon Musk Is Doing With Twitter)
Apr 12, 2022
It's Not Just You: America's Epidemic of Bad Behavior
Apr 08, 2022
Why U.S. Population Growth Crashed to a Record Low
Apr 05, 2022
Should You Be Afraid of TikTok?
Apr 01, 2022
What Is the “Don’t Say Gay” Law Really About? (Plus: The Big Disney vs. DeSantis Showdown in Florida.)
Mar 29, 2022
How Ukraine Wins
Mar 25, 2022
Could Putin’s War Crash the U.S. Economy?
Mar 22, 2022
Five Reasons Putin’s War Was Doomed From the Start
Mar 14, 2022
Why a No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Could Be—Literally—the Worst Idea Ever
Mar 10, 2022
“Every Person Is Ready to Die for Our Country”: Five Ukrainians on Life Inside Putin’s War Zone
Mar 08, 2022
SPECIAL DOUBLE EPISODE: What Putin Will Do Next and the West’s Unprecedented "Financial War" on Russia
Mar 02, 2022
Russia’s Economic Meltdown, Putin’s Big Mistake, and the West’s Financial War Against Vlad and the Oligarchs
Mar 01, 2022
How Putin's War Will End
Feb 25, 2022
What Vladimir Putin Wants—and How Russia’s War in Ukraine Could Reshape the World
Feb 25, 2022
Four Brilliant Frames for Finding the Next Big Thing, With Venture Capitalist Josh Wolfe. Plus, What's Eating Tech Stocks in 2022?
Feb 22, 2022
The Great Debate: What's the Single Most Amazing Sports Statistic in U.S. History?
Feb 18, 2022
What American Media Is Getting Wrong About Canada’s Big Protests
Feb 15, 2022
The Meaning of Life and the Power of Regret
Feb 11, 2022
Media Gossip Hour: Spotify's Joe Rogan Problem, Facebook's TikTok Crisis, and Crypto's Anonymity Conundrum
Feb 08, 2022
This Guy Predicted the 2021 Economy. I Asked Him What's Next.
Feb 04, 2022
One Big Question For: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, and Meta
Feb 01, 2022
Should We Cancel Student Debt?
Jan 28, 2022
Crypto Crashing, Pandemic Stocks Plunging: The Story Behind January’s Crazy Stock Market
Jan 25, 2022
2022 Is Off to a Terrible Start for Democrats
Jan 21, 2022
The Biggest Losers of the Streaming Wars: ESPN, Movie Theaters, Peacock, and More
Jan 18, 2022
Everybody Was Wrong About Inflation
Jan 14, 2022
Omicron: Feelings vs. Facts
Jan 11, 2022
The Biggest Inventions of the 2020s: Cancer Vaccines, Flying Cars, Space Travel, and More
Jan 07, 2022
The Four Ways That America Is Polarizing
Dec 28, 2021
The Four Biggest Myths of the U.S. Economy. Plus, Omicron in 100 Seconds.
Dec 21, 2021
Elon Musk Is the Person of the Year. Who Is the Person of the Century?
Dec 17, 2021
The Elizabeth Holmes Trial With Rebecca Jarvis of 'The Dropout' Podcast
Dec 14, 2021
Media Report Card! Biden Blues, Omicron Fears, Chris Cuomo, and a Celebrity Profile for the Ages
Dec 10, 2021
Work in America Is Broken—Can Remote Work Save Us?
Dec 07, 2021
BONUS POD: The Future of Democracy, the Media, and the Economy With Andrew Yang
Dec 04, 2021
The Bad Guys Are Winning
Dec 03, 2021
The Omicron Variant: So, How Bad Is It?
Nov 30, 2021
Buy or Sell Pandemic Trends: Peloton, Movie Theaters, Masks, and More!
Nov 23, 2021
We Have to Talk About Inflation
Nov 19, 2021
The Future Is Going to Be Weird As Hell
Nov 16, 2021
Introducing Plain English with Derek Thompson
Nov 11, 2021