On To the Best of Our Knowledge, we have deep conversations with a wide array of people about the things that inspire them and the big ideas they draw from that inspiration. In our regular series—Bookmarks, Deep Tracks, and Dangerous Ideas—we ask those individuals to describe their ideas and the inspirations that drive them in their own words.


Seeing is Forgetting the Name of The Thing One Sees

Choreogapher Bill T. Jones recommends Lawrence Weschler's "Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees."More

"My Friend Dahmer" by Derf Backderf

What do you do when your buddy in high school turns out to be the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer?More

"The Nazi and the Barber" by Edgar Hilsenrath

Paul Beatty, the Booker Prize Winning Author of “The Sellout"" recommends "The Nazi and the Barber,” a novel by Holocaust survivor Edgar Hilsenrath. More

Dangerous Ideas


Can playing out negative scenarios lead to a more positive life?More


Historian Iain McCalman’s Dangerous Idea? The Anthropocene — the idea that humans have fundamentally changed our global climate. It’s scary, but we’re also seeing people come together in unprecedented ways to solve planetary problems.More

A flower at the end of life

Author and professor Simon Critchley offers a dangerous idea that concerns time. And death.More

Deep Tracks

David Giffels and his dad

A few years ago, David Giffels took on an unusual woodworking project — he started building his own coffin. With his 80-year-old father. But after losing his mother and best friend suddenly, his woodworking project took on a whole new meaning.

Nikka and Strings

When Nikka Costa was ten, she was a pop sensation in Europe. In her 20s, she was Britney Spear’s opening act. But she’s left pop music behind and now she’s performing songs by some of the musicians she’s known, including Prince and Frank Sinatra.More

rock and roll

For author Jennifer Egan — whose novel "A Visit From The Goon Squad" documents the inner life of lifelong rock and roll stars—the pauses in rock ballads might say as much or more than the riffs.More

Sonic Sidebar


Chuck Klosterman thinks the Internet has ruined a lot of things, including death.More

ignored on the phone

For three decades, MIT professor Sherry Turkle's been looking at the ways we interact with machines. She believes our digital devices are taking a toll on our personal relationships.More

basketball rivals

During basketball camp in Fargo, North Dakota, cultural critic Chuck Klosterman made an enemy — for life. And maybe that was a bad idea.More