How To!

How To!

What if Dear Abby was an investigative reporter? Each week on How To!, Amanda Ripley (bestselling author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out, The Unthinkable, and The Smartest Kids in the World) 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.

Episodes

September 21, 2021 34 min
Susan never really got over saying goodbye to her eldest daughter, who left for college four years ago. She knew it would be sad, but she didn’t expect to be nauseous. Now her youngest is applying to college, and she’s already dreading drop-off next fall which makes her feel like a "pathetic loser." What can Susan do to prep herself for more heartbreak and a completely empty nest? On this episode of How To!, we bring on Kel...
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Every kid sneaks a cookie from the cookie jar, but Jamie’s 8 year-old daughter Simone has taken it to the next level. If you look under her pillow or in the back of her closet, you’ll find stashes of candy wrappers and other illicit items. When confronted, Simone never cracks under pressure. Jamie is worried that if this behavior isn’t stopped soon, Simone will grow up to be a “supervillain.” On this episode of How To!, we bring on...
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September 7, 2021 32 min
Usually when something enters Rachel’s parents’ home, it never leaves. Growing up, Rachel and her siblings tried to clean out the growing piles of junk, but her mom would often dig into the trash to retrieve whatever was tossed. Rachel finally escaped her parent’s over-stuffed house but she still worries about their safety and quality of life. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Jessie Sholl, author of Dirty Secret: A Daughter ...
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Have you ever had to make an impossible decision? One that doesn’t have an obvious “right” answer. One that someone will inevitably hate. John knows this feeling all too well. He’s the superintendent for a mid-size school district in California. To say the last school year was difficult is a major understatement… John tried to ensure the safety of his students, teachers, and faculty while balancing the reality of students strugglin...
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August 24, 2021 34 min
Do you think of yourself as a “good” person? Most of us do. You probably show others kindness and respect—no matter their age, gender, sexuality, or race, right? But our unconscious biases are often more powerful than we realize. In fact, mountains of evidence show the extent to which implicit bias is ingrained in our police departments, doctor’s offices and hiring committees, often to the detriment of marginalized groups. Our list...
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It’s painful for Barbara to think back on her son Ethan’s childhood. For years Ethan was caught between feuding parents until, one day, Ethan went to live with his dad and never came back. Barbara regrets not fighting harder for her son or at least communicating better. Now she wants to ask for a second chance before it’s too late—but isn’t sure how to go about it. On this episode of How To!, the second in a two-part series, we con...
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Barbara survived a divorce so brutal that she refers to it as ‘The War of the Roses.’ Perhaps the most painful casualty was the severing of her relationship with her son, Ethan. Decades have passed and Ethan is now married with kids of his own, who Barbara adores. But due to their chilly, distant relationship, Barbara doesn’t get to see them as much as she’d like. Can Barbara repair their broken relationship before it’s too late? O...
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August 3, 2021 31 min
Avalon is driven, creative, and… can’t meet a deadline to save her life. In her defense, she’s a card-carrying member of the gig economy, juggling a complicated schedule as a DJ and visual artist. Avalon’s tried to organize her life using a bullet journal, but procrastination keeps getting in the way of her career pursuits. On this episode of How To!, the second in a two-part series on time management, we talk to Christopher Cox, a...
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There’s one thing that all of Helena’s personal projects have in common: they remain unfinished. The family photo album is empty, as is her mom’s recipe book. And the lavender garden is still unplanted. Helena is not lazy. In fact, she’s a busy lawyer who has no problem finishing tasks at the office. But she’s also a busy mother raising a family, and free time is hard to come by. So how can Helena banish her distractions? On this e...
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Winning the Olympics is everything Steve Mesler ever wanted. So when he and his U.S. bobsled teammates stood atop the podium at the 2010 Vancouver Games, his life seemed golden in every way. But soon after his triumph, Steve began to experience a period of extended mourning. Even though he won a gold medal, he lost his identity and sense of purpose. And he wasn't the only one. On this episode of How To!, the former Olympian, co...
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Alexandra and her boyfriend want to buy a house, but they’re looking in one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S. So when they got outbid for their dream home, Alexandra was secretly relieved. Spending money, even if it’s something she can afford, is absolutely terrifying to her. Alexandra grew up homeless and even though she’s now a lawyer, she has a hard time ever feeling financially secure. On this episode of How To!, we br...
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Rich thought nothing of going to the hospital for a routine colonoscopy—until he got the bill. Even with insurance, Rich is on the hook for nearly $2,000, way more than he ever expected. It’s particularly painful because Rich was planning to finally pay off his credit card debt before getting married. So what can he do? Our expert this week has a suggestion—don’t pay the bill, at least, not at first. On this episode of How To!, we ...
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Have you ever thought about running but been too intimidated to start? Or maybe you’ve already got an after-work jogging routine and need tips on how to increase your endurance? On this episode of How To!, we reveal the game-changing, unexpected running tips you didn’t know you needed with the help of Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, and Shannon Palus, a Slate sen...
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Lee is worried that one day soon her 25-year-old adopted daughter, who is pregnant and struggling with a drug addiction, will show up on her doorstep with a baby in tow. How will she be able to explain the situation to her other daughter, who’s only 6 years old? And how can she prepare her for the day she’ll confront drugs and alcohol herself? On this episode of How To!, we bring on Jessica Lahey, a teacher and the author of The Ad...
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For the past year, Brandon has been terrified of leaving his apartment. And so he’s settled into an extreme pandemic routine. He cooks all of his own meals, has yet to see his parents, and on the rare occasion he takes the trash out, still wears double masks, rubber gloves and safety goggles. Brandon has been fully vaccinated for weeks now but the very low risk of a breakthrough Covid case seems like a grave danger because a few ye...
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Ever since she started taking a new medication a few years ago, Meme is worried that she’s lost her sex drive. She still has a great relationship with her husband, but she isn’t interested in sex the way that she used to be, and she’s worried it’s hurting her marriage. On this episode of How To!, we bring on sex educator Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are, to coach Meme through how to revamp her sex life. For busy couples, yo...
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What does it take to persevere and succeed, not just in our careers but in all aspects of our lives? For psychologist Angela Duckworth, the answer can be summed up in one concept: grit. She explains the ingredients in grit and the experiences that make one person persist where another gives up — and offers concrete steps to instill grit early in life and sustain it. This is an episode of The TED Interview, a podcast from the TED Au...
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Michaela is worried that her son, Asher, is constantly worried. At 8 years old, Asher is already dealing with some pretty intense anxiety. For example, he cried every day at school last year. Now that he’s being home schooled during the pandemic, Michaela has seen how much pressure Asher puts on himself to do well. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Dr. Krystal Lewis, a clinical psychologist at the National Institute of Mental...
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Stacie is in her early 30s and is ready to have a baby. There’s just one problem—she doesn’t have a partner. As much as she wants to be a mom, Stacie is worried about being a single parent by choice. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Lori Gottlieb, therapist, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and solo mom herself. Lori opens about her own experience having her son on her own, navigating people’s judgment, and findin...
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Shirley loves her job as a product manager for a startup, but she can’t stand her manager. He’s inefficient, old-fashioned, and entirely unsupportive of her work. “Just so you know, you don’t deserve this,” he told Shirley when she recently got promoted. Is there anything Shirley can do to make her work situation better? On this episode of How To, we bring on Patty McCord, former chief talent officer for Netflix and author of Power...
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