Are you a wizard or a prophet?—w/ Charles C. MannAre you a wizard or a prophet?—w/ Charles C. Mann
Episode #

Are you a wizard or a prophet?—w/ Charles C. Mann

Episode #

Are you a wizard or a prophet?—w/ Charles C. Mann


What is the best approach to solving the climate crisis? Should we leverage science and technology to ‘produce’ our way out of the problem? Or aspire to live in Hobbiton and radically reduce our human footprint?

Charles C. Mann is the New York Times bestselling author behind 1491, 1493 and The Wizard and the Prophet and a regular correspondent for The Atlantic, WIRED and Science Magazine. Today, Charles joins Ross to discuss the two major schools of thought he identified in the environmental movement—wizards and prophets—and introduce us to the scientists he uses to represent each camp in his book.

Charles walks us through the fundamental differences between the two groups, describing their values, blind spots and radically different ways of seeing the world. Listen in for Charles’ insight on a third school of thought that dismisses both wizards and prophets and find out where he falls on the wizard-prophet spectrum in light of the current global health crisis.

Connect with Ross


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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World

Charles on Twitter

Norman Borlaug

Road to Survival by William Vogt

Jared Diamond

Naomi Klein

Paul Ehrlich

Bill McKibben

Ted Nordhaus

Hans Rosling

Jesse Ausubel

Ramez Naam

Emma Marris

Planet of the Humans

Nathaneal Johnson in Grist

‘The Call of Cthulhu’ by H.P. Lovecraft

Dr. Vandana Shiva

Adam Smith’s Parable of the Poor Man’s Son

Lynn Margulis

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