Interviews with writers, journalists, filmmakers, and podcasters about how they do their work. Hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff.



Episode 458: Max Chafkin

Max Chafkin is a features editor and reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek. His new book is The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power.

“I think there's like a really good way to come up with story ideas where you basically just look for people who have given TED Talks and figure out what they're lying about. And there's also a tendency in the press to pump up these startups based on those stories…. It's worth taking a critical look at these stars of the moment. Because often there's not as much there as we think. And if you’re talking about Theranos or something, there's some potential to do harm—but also it means that maybe more worthwhile efforts are not getting the attention they deserve.”

Show notes:

  • @chafkin
  • maxchafkin.com
  • Chafkin on Longform
  • Chafkin's Bloomberg Businessweek archive
  • 02:00 "Anything Could Happen" (Inc. • Mar 2008)
  • 09:00 "A Broken Place: The Spectacular Failure Of The Startup That Was Going To Change The World" (Fast Company • Apr 2014)
  • 15:00 The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power (Penguin Press • 2021)
  • 22:00 Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire’s Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire (Portfolio • 2019)
  • 25:00 "The Education of a Libertarian" (Peter Thiel • Cato Unbound • Apr 2009)

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 2021-09-29  49m