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TWQ Mini: Making sense of our lives, considering the nature of loss, and contemplating the “second arrow” with Shankar Vedantam

In this mini episode of The Write Question, Lauren speaks with the host and executive editor of Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam, about “Healing 2.0,” a month-long series that considers how we can change our lives—by taking a closer look at the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, the nature of loss, and whether we should try to do away with grief altogether.

Hidden Brain airs every Friday at 7PM, after All Things Considered, on Montana Public Radio.

About Shankar:

Shankar Vedantam founded Hidden Brain Media in 2019, and is the host and executive editor of the Hidden Brain podcast and radio show. From 2011 to 2020, he was a social science correspondent with NPR. Before that, he was a national correspondent at The Washington Post. Between 2007 and 2009, he authored the weekly Department of Human Behavior column in The Washington Post. In 2010, he published The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives (Penguin Random House); and in 2021, he published (with Bill Mesler) Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain (W. W. Norton & Company). Shankar is the winner of several journalism awards and was a 2009-2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Lauren Korn recommends:

Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain by Shankar Vedantam and Mill Mesler (W. W. Norton & Company)

Unexpected Weather Events by Erin Pringle (Awst Press)

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (Graywolf Press)

Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Anatomy of Grief by Dorothy P. Holinger (Yale University Press)

Grief Sequence by Prageeta Sharma (Wave Poetry)

The Crying Book by Heather Christle (Catapult Books)

The Write Question team for this episode was Lauren Korn, host, co-producer, and editor; Aidan McMahan, sound engineer; and Noah Epps, who helped with initial edits.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question and TWQ Mini episodes are productions of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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