Build For Tomorrow

This is a show about the unexpected things that shape us, and how we can shape the future. We tell funny, surprising stories about why people once feared the things we love (like the teddy bears and coffee!), and the myths we keep telling ourselves (like how new tech is harming us!), and walk away with lessons that can help turn fear and uncertainty into a path of opportunity. Welcome to Build for Tomorrow, hosted by Jason Feifer. (This show was previously called Pessimists Archive.)

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 45m. Bisher sind 46 Folge(n) erschienen. Dieser Podcast erscheint alle 5 Wochen.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 1 day 8 hours 22 minutes


The Scandalous Internet of the 1800s

Today's internet can be a noisy and complicated place, but humanity has seen it all before. In the 1800s, the telegraph triggered many of the same questions and concerns that social media does today — about privacy, information overload, moral corruption, and more. In this episode, travel back to see the origin of our internet-based fears... and whether those fears ever came true. Get in touch! Email. Web: jasonfeifer...


 2019-03-07  48m

Shop Local? Be Thankful for Chain Stores

When chain stores were new, the reaction against them was fierce. Chain stores were accused of destroying democracy, of limiting freedom, of corrupting young people, and of being evil, evil, evil. But in reality, chain stores were innovating the way we shop -- and replacing a very bad kind of local business. Even if you love shopping local, this episode might just change the way you think about business. Get in touch! Email: Twitter: @heyfeifer Web: jasonfeifer...


 2019-02-08  42m

When Novels Were A "Bad Influence"

Today, novels are a wholesome alternative to modern vices. But long before television and video games, novels were the new and scary form of entertainment. They were accused of corrupting the youth, of planting dangerous ideas into the heads of housewives, and of distracting everyone from more serious, important books. In this episode, we explore the roots of anti-novel hysteria, and explore what impact it really did have on us. (And if you're looking for a good novel, check out my novel, Mr...


 2018-10-15  41m

Overcoming Our Fear of the Underground

“A big humbug” -- that’s how one critic described America’s first subway system. Other opponents were more extreme. It would release dangerous underground air, some said. It would disturb the dead, others said. A religious leader in Boston declared it a project of Lucifer himself. Why were people so opposed to this new form of transportation? To understand it, we have to rewind centuries -- to a time when people thought that Earth was hollow, and that hell was directly under their feet...


 2018-08-06  27m

Margarine: A Cautionary Tale of Stupid Laws

This is a story about when a big industry stops competing, and starts trying to pass laws to protect itself instead. Whatever you think you know of margarine, put that aside. When the spread was first invented in the mid-1800s, it was made very differently — and solved very real problems for the nutrient-starved people of the time. That sent the dairy industry into a full-blown panic, leading to margarine’s demonization (and then taxation and strange discoloration)...


 2018-06-18  42m

Even Thomas Edison Got Things Wrong

As electricity began to light our world, resistance came from curious corners. “God had decreed that darkness should follow light, and mortals had no right to turn night into day,” wrote one German newspaper. “A lamp for a nightmare,” declared a Scottish poet. And Thomas Edison, the inventor who gave us the first commercial light bulb, tried his hardest to make people fear a competitor’s form of electricity...


 2018-04-09  44m

Corrupting the Youth With Pinball

Pinball was banned from the 1940s to 1970s in many cities across America. New York City’s mayor made a show of bashing pinball machines with a hammer. Church ladies in suburban Chicago went on vigilante raids, ripping games out of stores. In this episode, we go through history to understand how a simple game became demonized...


 2018-01-27  33m

Coffee: The Original Controversial Drug

For 500 years, a succession of kings, sultans, and businessmen have tried to ban or destroy the world’s favorite morning pick-me-up. Among their claims: Coffee makes you impotent! It destroys brain tissue! It attacks the nervous system! And most critically of all, it makes you want to take up arms against your government. In this episode, we explore exactly what coffee does to us,,, and how did it overcame the controversy to become the best part of waking up...


 2017-11-20  31m

Where the Anti-Vax Movement Came From

“One might suppose that the popular prejudice against vaccination had died out by this time,” one writer complains. It sounds like a lament from today, but in fact, it’s from 1875. Anti-vaxxers may seem like a product of our fake-news, health-hysteria modern times, but the fear that propels these skeptics is as old as the vaccine itself...


 2017-09-09  27m

Why Games Like Chess Are Threatening

For as long as chess has been around — and we’re talking 1,500-plus years — someone has tried to ban it. But why? The answer is complicated, but it begins here: For ages, global and moralistic leaders have viewed games as a threat worth quashing. Get in touch! Instagram: @heyfeifer Twitter: @heyfeifer Web: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


 2017-07-20  25m