DECIDING FACTORS takes a close look at decision-making, what influences it, and how to learn and apply insight to make an informed choice. Our guests are experts in their fields. Our host, Eric Jaffe, uncovers how they navigated their own paths, what they learned from their journey, and how you can apply these lessons in your own life and career.

If you’re faced with a decision and would be interested in hearing about the Deciding Factors that influence it, email us at and we might cover it in a future episode.

October 17, 2023

John Mearsheimer and Sebastian Rosato Discuss “How States Think”

This September, Professors John Mearsheimer and Sebastian Rosato released their controversial new book, “How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy.” Mearsheimer, a longtime Professor at the University of Chicago, is arguably among the most well-known advocates for the realist school of international relations. Stated simply: the belief that states act in their own interest. […]

August 7, 2023

Eric Rosengren Explains the Inner Workings of the Federal Reserve

While the US has managed to stave off a recession–at least for the time being–the global economy has nonetheless experienced a rocky couple of years: the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. this spring; the growing impact of artificial intelligence on virtually all industries; inflation in the West and deflation in China, and […]

June 27, 2023

Danny Weiss: Taking Us Behind the Scenes in Washington

Although social media has enabled the public to obtain a more intimate and detailed understanding of the “real lives” of famous people, including our political leaders, this transparency doesn’t necessarily help us understand how the real work of lawmaking gets done in Washington.  In today’s political climate, the art of dealmaking, of enacting an agenda, […]

May 23, 2023

Dr. Paul LeBlanc: Embracing Remote Learning to Make College Attainable for All

For many of us, the word “college” conjures images of old brick buildings, studying on the quad, and lecture halls full of students fervently scribbling notes and engaging in debate. But at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the entire idea of college—and how we define success there—has been flipped on its head. While four thousand […]

April 5, 2023

Congressman Barney Frank: Making Sense of Turmoil in the Banking Sector

The past month has been a volatile one for the banking sector, and its impact has been felt across the entire global economy.  On Friday, March 10, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized control of Silicon Valley Bank after a run on its deposits left it insolvent.  The next domino to fall was crypto-friendly Signature Bank, which […]

March 16, 2023

Rajen Sheth: Where Will AI Take Us Next?

Since it launched in November 2022, the artificial intelligence bot known as ChatGPT has generated a lot of both excitement and controversy. The conversation around ChatGPT invites larger questions around the role of artificial intelligence in our lives: where and how should we set limits? How can we employ it in a way that allows […]

February 7, 2023

2023 GLG CEO Survey: Breaking Down the Results

Since 2019, GLG has conducted a survey of global CEOs to help our clients and the broader public better understand how these trends impact business, and what business leaders expect for the future.  In our fourth annual survey, we interviewed more than 450 executives. And the results tell a markedly different—and less optimistic—story than in […]

November 8, 2022

Greg Schultz: 2022 Election – Why Turnout Matters Most

On the long road towards the 2022 midterm elections, the passion – and outrage – around the candidates, the polls, the talking points and the endless Twitter angst has reached a saturation point. Yet this state of chaos leaves us wondering how to evaluate candidates amid this noise, and which factors impact the results of […]

October 4, 2022

Dr. Rob Dietz: Making Sense of a Volatile Housing Market

Navigating the ups and downs of the real estate market has always been challenging, but 2022 has presented would-be buyers and sellers alike with a singular set of complications.  The COVID pandemic and the rise of remote work have changed our calculations for deciding where we want —and can afford— to live. Significant inflation —and […]

September 6, 2022

John Katzman Makes the Case for Remote Learning and Ed Tech

The combined forces of the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring inflation, and a looming recession have aligned to rock virtually every sector of the American economy; our education system has not been spared. As a result, those working within the education sector—as well as parents and students themselves—are left to grapple with a set of newly urgent […]

July 13, 2022

Ambassador Douglas Lute: Making Decisions Amid the Chaos of War

This episode marks our first with an individual who has made decisions regarding our military, in times of war: Decisions that impact the safety and well-being of millions of people, potentially for years to come. How exactly does one navigate such extraordinarily high stakes situations? Ambassador Douglas Lute is a retired three-star general and the […]

June 7, 2022

Mona Mourshed: Streamlining the Job Hiring Process

As countless employers and job seekers alike can attest, we’re in the midst of an extraordinary shift in the job market – and that includes the hiring process. COVID-19 has changed our understanding of how people get hired, as well as the wages and work environments that employees seek. This  has wrought confusion and challenges […]

May 3, 2022

Arun Sharma: Advice for Environmentally-Conscious Investing

Although many of us often find ourselves feeling discouraged and helpless in our fight to combat the climate crisis, there are still some reasons to remain optimistic. One example is the emerging field of ESG investing: the act—and art—of evaluating companies through the lens of their environmental, social, and governance standards. Today’s guest, Arun Sharma, […]

April 5, 2022

Kian Gohar: Navigating the New World of Work

As mask mandates and other COVID prevention measures ease across the country, companies are planning how they will bring their employees back into the office. But in the two years since millions of Americans began working remotely, the entire world of work has changed. And it’s not going back to the way it was.  In […]

March 1, 2022

Kirstine Stewart: Making Sense of Twitter

Of all the social media platforms that have become ubiquitous to modern living, Twitter has been among the most influential.  The company’s success, however, has been a double-edged sword: utilized to spotlight wrongdoing and organize for positive change, it can also fuel echo chambers and further divide us from one another.   In today’s episode, Eric […]

February 1, 2022

Ron Williams: Unpacking the 2022 GLG Global CEO Survey

Download the 2022 CEO Survey Each year since 2019, GLG has surveyed CEOs around the world to gauge their outlook on the global economy and the challenges they anticipate in the year to come. This year, the 2022 GLG CEO Survey, a truly global document includes input from nearly five hundred executives from across the […]

November 16, 2021

Dr. Oxiris Barbot: How Can We Prepare Our Cities to Tackle Pandemics?

It’s been more than a year and a half since the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, and while some aspects of the crisis have been brought under control, others remain extremely difficult to manage.  Navigating the pandemic, particularly at its outset, required resourceful experts who could make decisions of enormous consequence with limited data […]

October 29, 2021

John Podesta: Reflecting on the Art of Leadership in a Divided Washington

You don’t have to look far these days to see that many Americans are skeptical of our political leaders, and even our political system writ large.  Despite our wariness, however, many of us remain eager to participate constructively in the political process, or even run for office. Yet the path to getting involved in politics […]

September 16, 2021

Maurice Obstfeld: Inflation, COVID-19, and the Economy

In May of this year, the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, a top gauge of inflation, showed that April 2021 prices had jumped 4.2% over those recorded in April 2020. Prior to this, inflation had remained relatively dormant. But COVID-19 changed that. In this episode, Maurice Obstfeld, Professor of Economics at Berkeley, and a nonresident […]

July 15, 2021

Susan Ennis: From the Front Line of the Streaming Wars

The streaming world has grown complex. In simpler times, there was Netflix and Hulu, along with a handful of niche services to choose from. But now there are more than 200 streaming services crowding the marketplace, competing for viewers every day. The good news is that only about six or seven of those are dominant, […]

June 10, 2021

Dr. Ruth DeFries: Climate Change — Anxiety and Optimism

The fact that the climate is changing is an incontrovertible fact. If we do nothing – or fall short of what is needed – human beings as a species are headed toward unprecedented disaster.  Our guest in this episode, Dr. Ruth DeFries, Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development at Columbia University and Co-founding Dean of the Columbia Climate School, is one of the people committed to addressing […]

May 17, 2021

Ashley Allison: Everyone Needs a Seat at the Table

There are many voices in the United States that government has struggled to hear, thus failing to consider every point of view when it comes to policy making. While government has made progress in listening to marginalized communities, much more work remains to be done.  In this episode of Deciding Factors, our guest played a large […]

April 29, 2021

Ajit Pai: Closing the Digital Divide in Telco

Virtually everything we do in our lives today relies on technology. Yet, between five and six million Americans still don’t have access to high-speed internet. And while that number is startling, it has fallen significantly in the last four years. In this episode of Deciding Factors, Ajit Pai, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, talks about the role […]

February 23, 2021

Matthew Perault: The Law Behind Free Speech and Censorship on Social Media

On January 8, 2021, two days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account on the platform. Though responses to the ban split along partisan lines, Trump’s suspension from Twitter has deep roots in a piece of legislation that draws criticism from across the political aisle: Section 230 of the […]

January 4, 2021

Dr. Michael Osterholm: Conflicting Signals – Outlook for Combating COVID-19 in 2021

In this episode of Deciding Factors, we talked with Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor, McKnight Endowed Chair in Public Health and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, and author of the 2017 New York Times bestseller The Deadliest Enemy, about the outlook for the world’s […]

December 17, 2020

Rear Adm. John Polowczyk: COVID-19 Medical Supply Chain – A Historic Challenge

In this episode of Deciding Factors, Admiral John Polowczyk discusses how, after he was asked to lead the White House supply chain task force, he saw it as a duty as a naval officer.

November 5, 2020

Jeff Kindler: Difficult but Essential – COVID-19 and a Vaccine

More than six months into the pandemic, COVID-19 is still not under control in the United States. With cases continuing to rise in what looks like to be a severe second stage of infection, the hope for a vaccine is a lifeline for both the mental health of individuals and an economy stretched thin.  

October 3, 2020

Dr. Stephen Ostroff: COVID-19 After Six Months

In this episode, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, former Acting Pennsylvania Physician General and as Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, discusses what the U.S. learned about COVID-19 in the six months since the initial lockdown orders,

September 25, 2020

Ambassador Dennis Ross: Why the Middle East Matters

A significant change in the fundamental dynamics that shape the Middle East may have recently taken place, marked by the recent Israel-UAE “Abraham Accord” that formalizes what was a pre-existing relationship between those two unlikely allies. 

August 5, 2020

Dr. Leana Wen: Reopening Schools Safely

While other countries have managed to contain COVID-19 and have now cautiously reopened their schools, the United States has not succeeded in suppressing the infection which is still showing up in record numbers throughout the country.  

June 30, 2020

Dr. Michael P. Jeffries: A Global Awakening

Across the U.S. and the world, people have hit the streets to demonstrate for an end to systemic racism and police brutality. Dr. Michael Jeffries, a professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, discusses why this time things seem different

May 22, 2020

Dr. Betsey Stevenson: Job Loss vs. Job Destruction

In this episode, Dr. Betsey Stevenson, former Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, discusses how COVID-19 has impacted the job market, where it might go, and what it might look like after the pandemic.

May 17, 2020

Ben Baldanza: Airlines and the New Normal

In this episode, Ben Baldanza, the former CEO of Spirit Airlines, talks about the state of the airline industry; what it will take for airlines to survive the COVID-19 downturn and what managing for the future of air travel might look like.

May 6, 2020

Ron Klain: Reopening Safely

In this episode, Ron Klain, the former United States Ebola response coordinator under President Obama, discusses the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what we have learned from the current state that can help us contend with a future resurgence.

April 29, 2020

Dr. David Shulkin, MD: COVID-19 and the Status of Hospitals

Are hospitals prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic? In this podcast, Dr. David Shulkin talks about hospital staffing, equipment shortages, and how hospitals might look after COVID-19.

April 22, 2020

Dr. Mark Dybul, MD: The World’s Health is Our Health

In this episode, Dr. Mark Dybul, MD, former Global AIDS Coordinator, discusses the importance of regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as a true global crisis.

April 22, 2020

Dr. Sarah Bloom Raskin: The CARES Act and Federal Stimulus

COVID-19 is a public health crisis that has unleashed an economic crisis both in the U.S. and abroad. In this episode, Deciding Factors brings you Dr. Sarah Bloom Raskin, former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary and former member of the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve Board.

April 15, 2020

Neel Doshi: Motivation in the Time of COVID-19

In this uncertain time, it’s increasingly difficult to motivate ourselves, let alone our teams. In this episode, Deciding Factors brings you Neel Doshi, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation.

April 15, 2020

Eric Jaffe: Introducing Deciding Factors

We make decisions every day. Often, there can be a lot riding on the choices you make: the future of your business, your investment portfolio, other people’s livelihoods. That’s why it’s important to understand all the factors that can impact a decision before you choose a path of action.

Power Your Decisions

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