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Program 06-04-16-A spacer Listen!

Scientists tell us optimistic people are happier, healthier and even live longer than pessimists. But it's hard to maintain an optimistic frame of mind in the face of daily reports of war, famine, disease and injustice. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, evidence that the world is actually better off than you'd think from reading the news – lessons in optimism, and the science of happiness.






Danny Wallace decided to say "yes" to everything for a year. He tells Steve Paulson why, and what happened, and that he has no regrets, even if he found himself in some strange places, like a gay leather bar in Amsterdam. His book about the experiment in relentless positivity is called "Yes Man." Also Nicole-Anne Boyer is a strategic foresight specialist who helps clients come up with realistic projections of the future. She tells Steve Paulson that violent conflicts have actually dramatically decreased since the end of the Cold War, but people are reluctant to believe it. And she gives him an example of scenario planning in South Africa. Boyer writes for


Rob Brezny is a poet, musician, astrologer and the author of "Pronoia Is the Antidote to Paranoia." He tells Anne Strainchamps that pronoia sees the world as fundamentally friendly and conspiring to shower you in blessings. Brezny shares some of his meditations and reasons for preaching the values and virtues of pronoia. Also, Darrin McMahon is the author of "Happiness: A History." He tells Jim Fleming the Founding Fathers equated happiness with virtue while the modern idea tends to equate happiness with pleasure.


Music critic Bill Friskics-Warren is the author of "I'll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence." He talks with Anne Strainchamps about the spiritual aide of popular music. And we hear lots of musical examples.

CD copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 06-04-16-A.



  • Rob Brezsny, Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings (Frog, Ltd.; ISBN: 1583941231)
  • Bill Friskics-Warren, I'll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence (Continuum International Publishing Group; ISBN: 0826417000)
  • Darrin M. McMahon, Happiness: a history (Atlantic; ISBN: 0871138867)
  • Danny Wallace, Yes Man (Simon Spotlight; ISBN: 1416900667)


  • Rob Brezsny's website:


  • --"The Join Me Song"/ courtesy of Danny Wallace and Penguin Books.
  • "I'd Love to the Change the World"/ Ten Years After, on the CD "The
    Essential Ten Years After Collection" (Chrysalis)
  • That's A-Plenty"/ Jethro Burns from the CD, "Acoustic Disc 100% Handmade
    Music, vol. II" ( Dawg Productions, David Grisman)
  • "You Taste Delicious" / Rob Brezsny. (Available as an MP3 file on Rob's
  • "Sunny Side of Life"/ Front Range, on the CD "Back to Red River (SH-3811)
  • "Dweller On The Threshold"/Van Morrison
    from the CD, The Best of Van Morrison (Polydor/Pgd)
  • " Listen To The Lion"/Van Morrison
    from the CD, "Saint Dominic's Preview" (Polydor/Pgd)
  • "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"/Al Green
    from the CD, "Notting Hill: Music from the Motion Picture" (Island/Universal)
  • "Anarchy In The U.K."/The Sex Pistols
    from the CD, "Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols" (Warner Bros./Wea)
  • "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"/U2
    from the CD, "U2 - The Best of 1980 - 1990") (Island)
  • "Keep on the Sunny Side"/The Whites from the CD, "O, Brother Where Art Thou?"

Distribution dates:

week of 04/22/2007 - hour 2
week of 04/16/2006 - hour 1
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