The evidence is clear that people find happiness and greater life satisfaction in faith and spirituality. But what do you do if you have no experience with faith or have fallen away from the religion of your childhood as you’ve grown older? In this episode, Arthur and Ceci discuss overcoming common obstacles to exploring your spiritual side, particularly if you’re feeling religious stirrings for the first time. But Arthur also shares advice for those who are more traditionally religious on how to elevate their practice amid the busyness of everyday life.

 This episode is brought to you by Talkspace, Feetures, and The American Story podcast.

As we enter a new season, we’re facing the reality that the pandemic is not a temporary affliction, but an involuntary transition from one way of life to another. In this episode, Arthur and Ceci discuss the psychology behind why transitions—whether voluntary or involuntary—can be so uncomfortable and why our natural reaction is to resist them

Would you rather be special, than happy? If so, you might be a success addict. In this episode, Arthur and Ceci discuss why success can be so addictive and explain some of the key attributes of those who Arthur deems “success addicts.” No matter your stage in life, Arthur shares three tips for overcoming your success addiction and living a happier, more balanced, and fulfilling life.

This episode is brought to you by Talkspace and The Bradley Speaker Series.

What are you afraid of? We’re facing a fear epidemic in America, and it’s not just due to the coronavirus. In this episode, Arthur and Ceci take a deep dive into fear—including how to understand, manage, and even neutralize it. Most importantly, Arthur shares some actionable tips for building your defenses against fear and learning to love and live courageously.

This episode is brought to you by Noom, Bound by Oath, and Conceived in Liberty, The Bradley Speaker Series.

We all have the tendency to want to avoid bad feelings—pain, anger, sadness, and disgust. But is it right to simply push them away? In this episode, Arthur and Ceci discuss the biological importance of bad feelings, as well as how to manage your unhappiness and even benefit from the inevitable pain and suffering that are a normal part of life.

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What do you do when the world is on fire? Drawing on lessons from his national bestseller, Love Your Enemies, in this episode, Arthur shares some recommendations for curing the culture of contempt that’s left our country bitterly divided. He and Ceci discuss the type of leaders our country needs and how the secret to more healing love—within families, among friends, and even towards our enemies—lies in overcoming our fears.

This episode is brought to you by Skillshare. Explore your creativity at

How does happiness change over a lifetime? What common mistakes do successful people make when faced with professional decline? In this episode, Arthur and Ceci discuss how our lives tend to follow the trajectory of the legendary monomyth, the hero’s journey, and Arthur shares how to conquer the oft-forgotten last stage, when our successes and triumphs are behind us and we find ourselves grappling with feelings of irrelevance and misery.

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“Brazil is the country is the future, and always will be.” So goes a popular and snarky saying. But with the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, has the country reached a turning point?

With the Brazilian president in Washington now to meet with President Trump, Dr. Ryan C. Berg joined us to discuss. On this episode, we cover recent Brazilian history, who Jair Bolsonaro is and why he was elected, what to watch for from his meeting with President Trump, and much more.

Why do women wage war? Jessica Trisko Darden, co-author of the new book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars,” joins the show to shed some light on this often overlooked but important topic. Then, how should the West respond to the attempted return of the so-called “ISIS brides”? We discuss the ongoing debate over the legal status of these women, how the United States and Europe are coping with the situation, and what should be done.

Jessica Trisko Darden is a Jeane Kirkpatrick fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an assistant professor of international affairs with the School of International Service at American University. Her latest book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars” examines three important aspects of women’s participation in non-state armed groups: mobilization, participation in combat, and conflict resolution.

“Sadly, the American Dream is dead.”

It was a refrain repeated often by Donald Trump as he campaigned for president, and it resonated throughout the country. But what is the American Dream, and what killed it? In his new book, “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse,” Tim Carney explores these questions. He joined us on Banter this week to discuss.

When war breaks out, what factors influence the belligerents’ decisions about whether to talk to their enemy, and when may their position on wartime diplomacy change? How do we get from only fighting to also talking? AEI Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting scholar Oriana Skylar Mastro addresses these questions in her new book, “The Costs of Conversation,” which she joined Banter to discuss.

Then, how do we avoid war altogether on the Korean peninsula? And how will the ongoing US-China rivalry play out? Dr. Mastro tells us how to think about the second Trump-Kim summit.

What is the purpose of a higher education? Why does it cost so much? And how come college campuses seem to be so left-leaning? On this episode of Banter, Harvard president Larry Bacow joined us to discuss. Dr. Bacow is the president of Harvard University and one of higher education’s most widely experienced leaders. From 2001 to 2011, he was president of Tufts University and before that he spent 24 years on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds an S.B. in economics from MIT, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


It finally happened: On Friday, February 15, President Trump announced an emergency at the southern border, allowing him to divert funds from other projects to enhance border security. How will this affect the military? What will this look like in practice? What type of precedent does this set? Rick Berger joined Banter to answer all these questions and more.

Rick Berger is a research fellow at AEI, where he works on the defense budget, the National Defense Authorization Act, military appropriations and acquisition reform, as well as on other national security budget-related issues. Before, he was a professional staff member for the Majority Staff at the US Senate Budget Committee, where he worked on defense, foreign affairs, and veteran issues.

This week on Banter, AEI Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies Robert Doar joined the show to discuss his career, poverty alleviation, and the role of think tanks in the United States. Robert was recently selected by the AEI Board of Trustees to serve as AEI’s twelfth president beginning in July 2019. During his tenure at AEI, Robert served as co-chair of the National Commission on Hunger and was a lead member of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity. He also contributed to “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream,” “This Way Up: New Thinking About Poverty and Economic Mobility,” and “Work, Skills, Community: Restoring Opportunity for the Working Class” and served as editor of “A Safety Net That Works: Improving Federal Programs for Low-Income Americans.”

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This week on Banter, AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin joined the show to discuss the revolution’s legacy and what it means for Iran, the Middle East, and the United States today. We also discuss the legacy of the Shah, the lessons other Middle East nations drew from his fall, and whether we can expect the regime to exist for a 50th, 60th, or 70th anniversary of the revolution. A teaser of his answer: “There is a tremendous appetite for a regime change in Iran. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be pro-American.”

Michael Rubin is the author of numerous books, including “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes,” and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos.” He holds a PhD in history from Yale, and lived in post-Revolution Iran. He has extensive experience advising US policy toward the Middle East and is a frequent commentator on Middle East politics.

This week on Banter, AEI visiting fellow Roger Noriega joined the show to discuss the past, present, and future of Venezuela. We cover Venezuela’s history since Hugo Chavez first took power, the ongoing power struggle between Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, and what all this means for US policy moving forward.

This week on Banter, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy Nicholas Eberstadt joins the show to discuss his new report, “China’s demographic outlook to 2040 and its implications: An overview.” In this episode Dr. Eberstadt discusses how the structure of China’s population will likely change over the coming decades, what effects this may have on China’s domestic and foreign policy, and what this means for the United States.

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This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar Ken Pollack joins the show to discuss his new book “Armies of Sand: The Past, Present, and Future of Arab Military Effectiveness.” The book describes four explanations as to why Arab militaries have performed so poorly since World War II. In this episode, Dr. Pollack analyzes each explanation and explains why understanding Arab military effectiveness matters, given the changing balance of power in the Middle East.

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This week on Banter, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Isabel Sawhill joins the show to discuss her new book “The Forgotten Americans: An Economic Agenda for a Divided Nation.” The book describes how we can promote work and increase opportunity and economic mobility for working class Americans. Following the book’s publication, Sawhill published an essay describing focus groups she hosted in Syracuse, New York, Greensboro, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri, where she discussed the ideas included in her book. You can read this essay and more at the links below.