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The Mindful Cranks

The Mindful Cranks broadly explores the cultural translation of Buddhism in the West, various facets of Buddhist modernism, and the mainstreaming of mindfulness in secular contexts. The podcast serves as a forum for voices that go beyond the dominant narratives which have been thus far uncritical of consumerism, medicalization, psychologization, corporatization and self-help approaches. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines — the humanities, philosophy, cultural studies, education, critical pyschology, religious studies, and sociology—The Mindful Cranks welcomes new conversations that challenge the priviledging of scientific materialism, methodological individualism, reductionism, and neoliberalism. Our guests are leading edge scholars, authors, teachers, practitioners and activists that share a mutual interest in civic mindfulness and socially engaged contemplative methods. A wide range of diverse perspectives–including critical theory, critical pedagogy, ethnography, Foucauldian governmentality, feminism, hermeneutics, critical race theory, critical management studies, socially engaged Buddhism, political economy–provide the “cranky” intellectual tools for socially engaged contemplative change.
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Now displaying: 2022
May 15, 2022

I spoke with Johann Hari – whose new book, Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention – and How to Think Deeply Again – is already a New York Times best-seller.  I was fortunate enough to meet Johann in September 2019 when he was writing this book. He came to my house here in Pacifica, California – and we spent the whole day together and discussing a range of topics – from cruel optimism to the privatization of mindfulness as the new neoliberal, capitalist spirituality. 

Johann Hari is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, and the Executive Producer of an Oscar-nominated movie and an eight-part TV series, The Fix,  starring Samuel L. Jackson. His books have been translated into 38 languages, and been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah to Noam Chomsky, from Elton John to Naomi Klein.

His latest book, ‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’, was published in January 2022, and received rave reviews everywhere from the Washington Post to the Irish Times to the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Johann’s first book, ‘Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’, was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film ‘The United States Vs Billie Holiday’. 

I first came across Johann’s work when I read his , ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions 

Johann’s TED talks have been viewed more than 80 million times. The first is named ‘Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong’. The second is entitled ‘This Could Be Why You Are Depressed or Anxious’

He has written over the past decade for some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Politico and many more. He has appeared on NPR’s All Thing Considered, HBO’s Realtime With Bill Maher, The Joe Rogan Podcast, the BBC’s Question Time, and many other popular shows.

Johann studied Social and Political Science at King’s College, Cambridge, and graduated with honors. Check out our show notes on The Mindful Cranks for links to his website.

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