Hi, Dax Shepard here. I’m fascinated by smart people with a unique point of view. On this show, I leverage people’s vague awareness of me as an actor to talk with a bunch of bona fide experts. It’s a soothing mix of brain candy and defensive humor (my response to feeling intellectually outclassed). Join me on a layman’s journey through the Land of Specialists!
Dr. Steven Gundry is an American doctor, former cardiac surgeon and author. Dr. Gundry sits down in the attic to discuss his early work in heart transplants, the degeneration of the human microbiome and his theory on lectins as they impact health. Dr. Gundry talks about training as a scrub tech when he was in medical school and Dax is extremely interested in crapsules. The two talk about the evolution of humans, why medical residents are forced to work on no sleep and Monica and Dax host a moonlight fact check.
Tal Ben-Shahar is American and Israeli professor and author in the areas of positive psychology, organizational psychology and leadership. Tal sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his road from squash player to Harvard professor, his trick for mitigating road rage and his psychological approach to solving structural problems. Tal gives tips on building resilience and Dax questions the validity of self-help. The two talk about the reasons behind escalating systemic depression, the idea that humans have more commonalities than differences and the concept of ritualizing positive behavior.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is an American politician serving as the 42nd and current Mayor of Los Angeles since 2013. Mayor Garcetti sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his draw to public service, his love of jazz piano and the overwhelming issue of homelessness in Los Angeles. Dax asks about the future of motorized scooters and Mayor Garcetti talks about his love of napping. The two discuss pragmatism over party and Eric divulges the best restaurant in Los Angeles.
Dr. Rahul Jandial, MD, Ph.D. is a dual-trained brain surgeon and neuroscientist at City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles. Rahul sits down in the attic to discuss intermittent fasting, emigrating from India as an eight-year-old and how he redirected some of his negative qualities into positive ones. Dax wonders if it takes a certain level of arrogance to choose brain surgeon and Rahul gives a breakdown of the human body as it relates to mechanics. The two talk about modern approaches to fighting cancer and the importance of keeping the brain stimulated.
Jennifer Newsom is an American documentary filmmaker and actress. Jennifer joins us on this episode of Experts on Expert to discuss her documentary The Mask You Live In, the value of teaching empathy at a young age and the fear surrounding the toxic masculinity conversation. Dax wonders what it’s like to travel with secret service and Jennifer discusses the increasing need for “feminine” traits in business. The two talk about conscious capitalism and the role both genders play in building stereotypes.
Steve Madden is an American fashion designer and businessman. Steve sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss feeling different from an early age, his experience going to prison and the surreality to watching his life on the big screen. Dax is excited to learn Steve is sober and Steve talks about managing his ego. The two talk about the trap of narcissism and Steve discusses growing his business from $1100 to over a billion dollars.
Dr. Alex Katehakis Ph.D., MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S is the Clinical Director of Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles and the author of Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot, Healthy Sex While in Recovery from Sex Addiction, Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment and co-author of Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence. Dr. Alex sits down in the attic to discuss the role shame plays in sexual dysfunction, the indicators of love addiction and the practice of tantric intimacy. She talks about the multiple factors that lead to disassociation and Dax believes dolphins are very sexual. The two discuss the different types of relationships young people are engaging in and they talk about the impact of pornography on developing minds.
Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author best known for her books Eat Pray Love, Committed and Big Magic. Elizabeth sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss growing up on a Christmas tree farm, her highest moment during the Eat Pray Love process and she talks about a tragic moment that led to a deep realization. Elizabeth recalls getting her first short story published and Dax dissects his young attraction to rogue writers. The two discuss methods of female empowerment and Elizabeth talks about her positive relationship with fear.
Erin Lee Carr is an American documentary film director, writer, and producer. She sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss her journey to sobriety, her interest in complicated humans and growing up with parents who are addicts. Dax asks about Erin’s relationship with her father and Erin talks about creating boundaries in her filmmaking. The two talk about process-oriented work, her need to speak for those who are silenced and how AA meetings taught her how to listen.
Samin Nosrat is an American chef and food writer. She is a regular food columnist for the New York Times magazine and has a docuseries on Netflix called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Samin visits the attic to discuss how community is tied to food, her first experience at Chez Panisse where she eventually worked and her realization that mistakes lead to growth. Dax describes some of his favorite at home recipes and Samin talks about how she cried in every episode of her documentary series. The two talk about food systems, the importance of asking for help and Samin wishes Americans had more words for “restaurant”.
Bill Nye (Bill Nye the Science Guy) is American science communicator, television presenter, and mechanical engineer. Bill sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the importance of facts, the pros and cons of shooting Bill Nye the Science guy in Seattle and he declares all kids love science. Dax wonders if Bill has any taste buds left after eating too many frozen marshmallows and Bill talks about his parents' fascinating journeys. The two discuss the Wright brothers, the impact of Steve Martin and the future of Science.
Esther Perel is a Belgian author and psychotherapist. Esther sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the true definition of eroticism, the unrealistic expectations we put on our partners and how the status of a couple affects the whole family. She finds the current lack of sex education unacceptable and Dax wonders if Esther’s husband is intimidated by her. Esther delineates the complexities of infidelity, she insists we break societal labels and she talks about the residual effect of growing up with parents who survived the Nazi concentration camps.
Dr. Eric Topol is an American cardiologist, geneticist, digital medicine researcher and the director and founder of Scripps research institute. The good doctor sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the benefits of applying Artificial intelligence to our healthcare system, he talks about the concept of deep leaning and he relays the importance of human to human interaction in medicine. Dax wonders if we are spending too much money on end of life care and Eric debunks the notion that AI will fully replace humans. The two talk about the futile search for pain relief and the doctor gets everyone excited about the advent of a smartphone full body scan. Also, Monica and Dax get a special surprise call in the fact check.
Michael Gervais is a high-performance psychologist and co-founder of Compete to Create. In this episode of Experts on Expert, Michael sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss working on the RedBull Stratos project, the nuisance of overcoming mental obstacles and his work with Microsoft employees to maximize work performance. The two talk about the mindfulness revolution, optimal coaching techniques and steps to train your mind.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon, medical reporter and CNN medical correspondent. He sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss wanting to change his name to Steve as a child, performing surgery in a wartime environment and he breaks the misconception that brain size is the primary factor in intelligence. Dax and Sanjay share a Michigander past and they discuss some of the failing components of our current healthcare system. He talks about recent findings in CTE and leaves us with advice on ways to maximize health and prolong life.
John Kim is a licensed therapist, life coach and author. He sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his commitment to redefining masculinity, why he created The Angry Therapist blog and his view on expired relationships. John talks about the deep communication barrier with his parents and Dax wonders if John's marriage was a result of feeling "other" his whole life. The two talk about living in a fatherless nation, they discuss what it means to live a "through me" life and John tells a notable story involving sexual exploration and a stone fruit.
Johann Hari is a Swiss English author and journalist. Johann sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the many factors that have impacted his research on addiction and mental health, he explains why he is disillusioned by the idea that addiction is purely chemical, and he talks about the importance of community and love in depressive people. Johann talks about his own personal experience with anti-depressants, trauma and familial addiction that led him to his exploration. Dax debates Johann about the importance of tough love and he wonders if models of rehabilitation in other countries can be mapped on to America.
Johann is the author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression and the unexpected solutions.
Reshma Saujani is an Indian American lawyer, author, politician and founder of the tech organization Girls Who Code. She sits down in the attic to discuss how she spent her childhood trying to assimilate, what it felt like when she reached a lifelong status goal and she talks about her mission to promote bravery. Dax asks Reshma about what she learned from two failed elections and Reshma discusses her relationship with religion. Dax and Reshma debate the roles of biology and culture on gender differences and Dax wants to go back in time and visit Monica’s grandma.
John Gottman is an American psychological researcher, an award-winning speaker, author, a professor emeritus in psychology and co-founder of the Gottman Institute. John sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his research on thin slicing and predicting marital success. He notes how having a daughter turned him into an instant feminist and He talks about the different ways men and women view sex. The two talk about a father's crucial role to a child, they delve into the four horsemen of the apocalypse and John urges couples to foster curiosity.
Dr. Phil McGraw is an American television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the television show Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil comes to the attic after accidentally going to the wrong house and happily surprising a nice woman. He sits down to discuss growing up around an alcoholic father, he talks about his 10-7-5 theory on life and he reflects on his career before the Dr. Phil show. Dax asks how he handles negative misconceptions about him and Dr.Phil talks about his first meeting with Oprah. The two dissect why they often feel emotionless, they discuss what it’s like to be both fallible and in an advisory position and Dax wonders about the mechanics of sun tea.
Todd Rose is the co-founder and president of the Populace, author of multiple books and a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Todd sits down in the attic to discuss his research on dark horse achievers, he talks about his low point when he was employed giving enemas, and he stresses the importance of finding your motivation. Dax wonders if we live in a world that is able to support this kind of evolved attitude and Todd praises Dax's correct pronunciation of "attic". The two share a visceral memory of the smell of the great salt lake, they delineate the 4 steps to realizing your potential and Dax offers Monica a generous 2019 Christmas present in the fact check.
Bret Weinstein is an American biologist and Evolutionary theorist. Bret sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the boundaries of empathy, the concept of metaphorical truth and the bonding dynamics between males and females. Dax and Bret advocate for the protection of intellectual discourse and the two agree that there isn't a universally effective human diet. Bret talks about the evolvement of monogamy, the trajectory of gossip over time and Dax teaches Bret about the mechanics of the hall pass.
Scott Harrison is the founder and current CEO of the non-profit charity, Charity: Water. Scott sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his unconventional childhood and his career as a club promoter turned philanthropist. He attempts to disarm Dax's skepticism and he explains why giving begets giving. Scott delves into his mothers' struggle with the world, he talks about his feelings of powerlessness and he explains the rare financial model behind Charity: Water.
Jonathan Haidt is an author, moral psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss moral panic on college campuses, the benefits of independence in childhood and the inherent difference in moral attitudes between the political left and right. The two talk about the failure of American systems, the ways in which we are breeding a generation of anxiety/depression and Monica and Dax pontificate on whether incest is immoral in the fact check.
Jonathan Haidt is the author of The Righteous Mind, The Happiness Hypothesis and The Coddling of The American Mind.
Sam Harris is an American author, neuroscientist and podcast host. As the most referenced person on Armchair Expert, Sam enters the attic with an unparalleled reverence. On this special Thanksgiving episode of Experts on Expert, Sam makes our podcast dreams come true. The two discuss Sam’s commitment to honesty, they talk about the country’s political polarization and they consider the idea of separating art from the artist. Dax wonders if Sam operates out of fear, Sam talks about his battle with Batman and Sam attempts to take his foot out of Dax’s mouth.
Jerry Buting (Making A Murderer) is an American criminal defense attorney and author. He sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the mechanics of the justice system, his perpetual desire to root for the underdog and his recent book- Illusion of Justice. Dax asks Jerry about stereotypes in jury selection and Jerry breaks down the necessity of burden of proof. The two talk about the secret skills of an attorney, ethics in justice, false confessions and how the Steven Avery case catapulted him to dreamboat status.
Dr. Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew on Call, Loveline, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew) is a board-certified internist, addiction medicine specialist, and media personality. On this episode of Experts on Expert, Dr. Drew discusses balancing ambition and family, how gut instinct is linked to the brain, and his reasoning for advocating the 12 step program. The two talk about monogamy and sex addiction, they list the myriad effects of suboxone and they chat about our ego's inability to separate self and family. Dr. Drew details some of his public blunders, he talks through the criticisms of Celebrity Rehab and Monica and Dax engage in a strange Foley exercise in the fact check.
Author, professor and Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari discusses the differences between our experiential and narrative selves, he talks about a not so distant future in which AI will drastically alter the workforce and he theorizes on why the technological evolution could potentially warrant the return of communism. The two discuss the idea of myths, virtual reality and security. Dax and Monica mourn the fact that they only had an hour with Yuval and Dax takes an armcherry song request in the fact check.
Yuval Noah Harari is a tenured professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of the international bestsellers Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Broadcast journalist and Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison discusses the difference between Canadian journalism and American journalism, his reluctance to appear self-aggrandizing and his most haunting experience as a journalist. Dax praises Keith's spectacular ability to craft language and Keith tells the story of how he cut off his thumb. The two discuss the impossible role of a step-parent, the correct way to evade spousal homicide and the duality of career ambition.
Jon Favreau an American political commentator, creator and co-host of Pod Save America and the former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama. Jon discusses his heartbreak on the 2004 Kerry campaign, his devotion to the democratic ideal of persuasion and he details his farcical experience sharing a name with the other Jon Favreau. Dax chooses to see America as two spouses in a rocky marriage and Jon shares the story of his first meeting with Barack Obama. The two debate whether it's productive to be inundated with current events, they pinpoint what distinguishes an average speech from a great one and Dax wonders if Jon is the Ma Anand Sheela to Obama's Bhagwan.
Author and humorist, David Sedaris discusses behavioral tics, and value of writing without preciousness and his provocative encounters at book signings. David talks about the authors he is inspired by and Dax tells a story about why he can't drink Pellegrino. The two of them breakdown the dilemma of sharing family stories, the current culture of sensitivity and their mutual path to sobriety.
David Sedaris -- is the author of Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You are Engulfed in Flames, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls and Theft by Finding. He is a contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.
In this inaugural episode of Experts on Expert, Dax speaks to author and child psychologist, Dr. Wendy Mogel about human patterns of behavior, the impact of social media on the family and the importance of free-reign grandparenting. Wendy gives advice on how to speak to children and Dax asks for reassurance on his parenting strategy. The two of them breakdown the moral dilemma of behavioral diagnoses, the role of fear and Wendy discusses a study that uncovered the one thing every child wishes they could tell their parents.
Dr. Wendy Mogel is a practicing clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, New York Times bestselling author and international public speaker.