Episode Date September 2, 2021
Featured Guest Nichola Raihani
Featured Book "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin

Episode Summary

Nichola Raihani reading from Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and discussing achieving cooperation through competition.

I’m seven, playing cricket in my backyard in Canberra. I’m batting, my seventy-year-old grandmother is bowling, and I hit an amazing shot. Granny, the most competitive person I have ever met, hurls herself sideways and plucks an amazing catch inches from the ground; I utterly lose my mind. I throw the bat, I cry, I stomp off the field, and I lock myself in my room. Turns out, I was as competitive as my grandmother … and I wasn’t much of a gracious loser.

Nichola Raihani is a fan of cooperation and has much to say about its relationship with competition in our everyday lives. Nichola is a Professor of Evolution and Behaviour and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at University College London, and the author of the newly released book, The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World.

Nichola reads two pages from ‘On the Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin. [reading begins at 25:10]

Hear us discuss:

  • Cooperation and competition: “Cooperation is ultimately a form of competition.” [5:36]
  • Engineering and increasing cooperation. [32:35]
  • How punishment impacts cooperation: “The threat of punishment can be quite effective to induce cooperation, but when it is actually executed, it can cause cooperation to completely unravel.”  [38:00]
  • “A lot of the time, the reason people are cooperative is because it feels really good to help other people.” [46:41]

Join our free membership site, The Duke Humfrey’s, and get access to full transcripts, past episodes, exclusive downloads and more. You’ll find it all at www.MBS.works/podcast

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher 


Nichola Raihani | Twitter

Nichola Raihani’s book | The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

Charles Darwin | On the Origin of Species

Follow Michael on | Instagram | Twitter | YouTubeLinkedIn | Facebook

Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

It looks like you don't have access to this page. If you are a member, please log in below. Click here to sign up for Duke Humfrey's membership.

Access Member Perks in the

Duke Humfrey's

Already a Member? Log in here