Podcast

Ep 12: Jonathan Franzen

In 2002, we proudly presented an evening with Jonathan Franzen, winner of the National Book Award 2001. He discussed The Corrections, his novel about the American family, giving a view on modern Western society that is both humorous and poignant. Coming up: Toni Morrison (available on June 1st)
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 11: Patrick Radden Keefe

The great American author and investigative journalist, Patrick Radden Keefe, discusses the Sackler Family, one of the richest families in the world. Just where all their money came from was vague, until it emerged that the Sacklers were the owners of Purdue Pharma, responsible for making and aggressively marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for today’s opioid crisis.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 10: Christiane Amanpour

In 2019, CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour joined us for what turned out to be a witty and revealing conversation about her career and the state of modern journalism.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 9: Francis Fukuyama

This week’s guest is Francis Fukuyama. He argues that populist nationalism is not motivated by economics, as it was through the second half of the 20th century, but by an innate need for dignity. That sounds like a given, but Francis Fukuyama says this is being exploited. Democracy is being undermined as the old world order is swept away and demagogues rise country by country as they preach identity politics based on religion, ethnicity and gender.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 8: Megan Twohey & #MeToo

This week’s guest is New York Times journalist Megan Twohey, whose reporting about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women in Hollywood was, as she put it, “an X-ray into the abuse of power”. The #Metoo movement really got going after Megan Twohey and her colleague Jodi Kantor published their investigative articles about Harvey Weinstein in ‘She Said’, a book sometimes called the feminist “All the President’s Men”.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 7: Garry Kasparov

Seven years ago, Garry Kasparov came to Amsterdam and predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He also described Vladimir Putin’s psychology and motivations in a way that you hear in every current affairs program nowadays.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 6: Joseph Stiglitz

In this episode, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz talks about his book, People, Power, and Profits. The renowned economist states that the U.S. is in need of some serious reform and that government and democracy must be freed from the grasp of wealthy corporate forces in finance and other sectors.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 5: Russell Shorto

In this episode of the show, Russell Shorto talks about his eye-opening book The Island at the Center of the World, a marvelous historical retelling of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam before it became New York.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 4: Dr. Anthony Fauci

As John Adams was one of the great men of his era, we thought our next episode should be with one of the great people of our time: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Brooklyn born and raised, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to president Biden. This was an online interview conducted by Damiaan Denys, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Amsterdam.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 3: Timothy Snyder

Democracy and the rule of law in Western societies are under threat, according to Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University. In his book The Road to Unfreedom, Snyder examines how Western societies left themselves open to anti-democratic forces after the Cold War, and how Russia fell into Putinism, and the rise of Donald Trump, which has become a major threat to democracy around the globe.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 2: Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan’s book, How To Change Your Mind, delves into the world of psychedelics and their medical use. In the past decade, there has been renewed interest in psychedelic research as a form of psychiatric therapy, and to Pollan’s mind this renaissance is long overdue. In this episode, Pollan makes a strong case for researching these drugs further.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Ep 1: Madeleine Albright

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks with former Dutch foreign minister, current EU Vice President, Frans Timmermans, about how the current state of world leadership inspired her book, the ominously titled: Fascism: a Warning.
Download Transcript (PDF)




Trailer 'Bright Minds'

From now on, we will also present our talks and interviews to you in the form of the podcast Bright Minds. Every two weeks you can listen to a new 30 minute talk and/or interview from our rich archive of American speakers. Sign up for our newsletter to keep updated about upcoming episodes. And while you’re there, why not become a member of the John Adams. Not only will you support what we do, you get a discount to future live events.



John Adams, the first American ambassador to the Netherlands, once said: “Let us tenderly and kindly cherish…the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” The John Adams Institute brings the best and the brightest of American thinking to Amsterdam.

Now we’re sharing our treasure trove of great thinkers, speakers and writers with you. From Amsterdam, this is Bright Minds: the podcast from the John Adams Institute.


Find us on these platforms


Apple Spotify Stitcher Google