How To! With Charles Duhigg

How To! With Charles Duhigg

What if Dear Abby was an investigative reporter? Each week on How To!, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg ("The Power of Habit") takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask, but couldn’t. Until now.... Show More

Episodes

August 11, 2020 32 min
The trouble began when Sarah put a fern in front of her new condo. Nice, right? The woman who lives in the unit above didn’t think so, and without warning sent Sarah a slew of passive-aggressive notes. Sarah thinks it’s all a big misunderstanding, but now her neighbor refuses to even speak to her. Sarah is wracked with anxiety, struggling to sleep, and contemplating moving out. On this episode of How To!, we turn to stand-up comedi...
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Johnny is worried about being stuck in the same job forever. He’s been trying to climb the corporate ladder of his software company for years but has had little success. He knows he deserves a promotion, but he doesn’t want to be pushy, especially during a pandemic. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Alex Carter, author of Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything, to help Johnny assert himself and convince his higher-u...
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July 14, 2020 30 min
David was in the ocean in Hawaii when the unthinkable happened—a shark attacked him and bit off his leg. “I don’t think you’re gonna make it,” a medic told the 25-year-old on the helicopter ride to the hospital. But David did make it, and soon he learned that surviving the shark wasn’t the hardest part—it was what came after. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, psychiatrist and author of The Body Keeps ...
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This bonus episode features Charles's recent appearance on the podcast Hello Monday, where host Jessi Hempel discusses the relationship between work and meaning. Charles tells the story of his experience attending Harvard Business School and all that followed after. It turns out that a paycheck - even a fat one - doesn’t buy a meaningful life. Charles and Jessi dig deep on the perks and pitfalls of business school, point up the...
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June 30, 2020 32 min
Lauren already knows the plot of her bestselling novel—the problem is she hasn’t written a word. Paralyzed by self-criticism and an earlier rejection, this former English major has spent years journaling instead of attempting the scary, difficult work of creative writing. On this episode of How To!, we turn to writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, whose debut novel Fleishman Is in Trouble, was one of the hottest books of the year. Can she ...
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June 23, 2020 27 min
Chris has always considered himself “on the right side of things,” but as Black Lives Matter protests sweep across the country, he’s starting to realize he needs to do a lot more. As a white man living in Austin, Texas, he says he has a responsibility to educate himself and make real change—but where to start? On this episode of How To!, we bring in Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race, to walk Chris through some t...
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Karin always thought of herself as the mom of two boys—that is, until last year when her oldest child told her they were nonbinary, meaning they don’t identify as either male or female. Karin loves her kid deeply, but she’s struggling to get used to their new name and pronouns, especially because her town—and husband—aren’t very accepting. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Lisa DelCol, a fellow mom of a nonbinary child and fo...
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When Sydney’s dad texted her, “Do me a favor and lose my number,” she was crushed. At 27, Sydney has always had a rocky relationship with her dad, but she held out hope he could still be a part of her life. Now she’s starting to think it’s a lost cause. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Joshua Coleman, a psychologist and author of the upcoming book Rules of Estrangement, who had his own yearslong standoff with his daughter. B...
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Donny is ready to leave the restaurant industry once and for all. As a recovering alcoholic, he was already looking for a new career before COVID-19 upended his life. But at 38 years old, Donny has held 30 different jobs, and without a bachelor’s degree, he worries that he doesn’t have what employers are looking for. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Jessi Hempel, host of the LinkedIn podcast Hello Monday, to help Donny kicks...
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Alan’s 86-year-old dad will not stop driving—even after an incident where he drove off the road and totaled his car. Feeling guilty and worried, Alan has tried to convince his dad to hand over the keys, even enlisting the support of his father’s doctor, but everything Alan does seems to backfire. In this episode of How To!, Saturday Night Live comedian Jim Breuer shares his own experience dealing with a curmudgeonly father as chron...
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Ann’s sister just lost her husband and Ann doesn’t know how to console her. Ann lives in a different state and, having experienced loss herself, knows saying the wrong thing can only add to the hurt. What can Ann do from a distance to make her sister feel better? In this episode of How To!, Megan Devine, a psychotherapist and author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK, says first of all don’t try to cheer them up. Simply acknowledge thei...
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May 12, 2020 33 min
Ashley thought by now she’d be on top of the world. Once severely overweight, Ashley lost 155 pounds and recently ran her first half-marathon. But when she looks in the mirror all she sees are the imperfections. In this episode of How To!, we bring in Brittany O’Neill, the real-life inspiration for the hit movie Brittany Runs a Marathon. Having undergone a major transformation herself, Brittany knows what it’s like to feel unhappy ...
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May 5, 2020 32 min
Every other Friday, Amy’s calendar reminds her to make the rounds of her office and say “hello” to her colleagues. As an introvert, Amy deeply struggles with small talk, but as a manager of 55 people she’s been told she needs to be more approachable. In this episode of How To!, Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, helps Amy learn how to use her reserved nature to her advantage. Wh...
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Joanna really misses her office. Taking Zoom calls from the kitchen in her dimly lit Brooklyn apartment doesn’t compare to her bright, open office filled with friendly coworkers. In this episode of How To!, Ben Waber, an organizational scientist, co-founder of Humanyze, and author of People Analytics, tells us how to use our home office to our advantage. It’s easy to spend all day chained to your computer, but Ben says we need to f...
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Caleb tries to be good to the planet by recycling, biking to work and living a minimalist lifestyle in his small Ohio town. But he still feels guilty about using disposable diapers and buying a minivan for his growing family. How can he fight climate change without driving himself crazy? In this episode of How To!, Emma Marris, an environmental writer and author of Rambunctious Garden, warns us not to fall into the trap of individu...
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April 14, 2020 33 min
Marie trains dogs for a living, but she’s struggling to teach herself a new trick—overcoming procrastination. For a year, she’s been ready to launch a new dog training app....just as soon as she makes the training videos for it. The delay is hurting business so why can’t she cross this task off her to-do list? In this episode of How To!, Dan Ariely, professor at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational, shares some proc...
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April 7, 2020 7 min
Margit from Denver, Colorado writes in with a question about how to encourage people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Charles offers advice on how to incentivize people to form new habits, and draws lessons from past efforts to change behavior during World War II. What are your toughest challenges during the pandemic? And what have you found is working for you? Leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001. We’re coll...
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March 31, 2020 34 min
Sarah feels like she’s drowning in the clutter of her tiny Brooklyn apartment where she lives with a messy husband and two-year-old daughter. Now that her family is under quarantine together, the chaos seems destined to only get worse. In this episode of How To!, Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, drops by to give Sarah a home makeover. But Bruce has more than a Marie Kondo-style cleanup in mind. Instead, he sug...
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March 24, 2020 31 min
This week, we’re struggling with the same problem as our listeners: self-quarantine. As news of the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, how do we stay sane while staying home? How do we reduce stress and remain healthy while juggling remote work and rambunctious kids? In this episode of How To!, we bring in Celeste Headlee, author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving. Long before the pandemic,...
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March 17, 2020 31 min
For years Claire has been holding on to a terrible family secret: Her mom physically abused Claire’s brother when he was young. How could her mom have done that? Now, over a decade later, both Claire’s mother and brother have passed away, but Claire still grapples daily with feelings of anger and deep resentment toward her mom. In this episode of How To!, we bring in Reverend Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond ...
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