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TRBQ Podcast #16 — Choosing to Stay


These are the final words of Jennifer Michael Hecht’s most recent book: “Choose to stay.”

Hecht argues against suicide as an escape from despair. She offers two reasons. Choosing to stay allows you the chance to be helpful to someone else. And, she says you owe your future self a chance at happiness.

Hecht talks with Dean Olsher about her book, Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It.


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TRBQ Podcast #14 — Take My Corpse, Please

Mary Roach wants you to give yourself away. Not yet, though. After you’re dead. She wrote a book called “Stiff,” in which she details what has happened over the years to bodies that were donated—willingly or unwillingly—to science.

“I think that, for many people, does take the edge off it,” Roach says. “You know there is some good coming from something that’s otherwise kind of a bummer.”


Calling the Spirits

The TRBQ team met Harvard ethnomusicologist Richard Wolf while working on a show about music. But Wolf studies the funeral music of the Kota people in south India, and he has something to say about death, too.

Listen to more of Richard Wolf’s interview on TRBQ’s radio special: What Is a Good Death?

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TRBQ Podcast #9 — E.O. Wilson on storytelling

Unraveling the truth behind why human beings tell stories requires a scientist who can explain science to non-scientists.

Enter E. O. Wilson.

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TRBQ Podcast #8 — A casket for Mom

Tad Hoskins thinks we should face the facts: We’re all going to die. So we should make the necessary preparations. He’s not a morbid guy — just well prepared. That’s why he has his mom’s casket stored in his workshop.


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TRBQ Podcast #5 — Death in Seattle

Americans don’t seem to have much trouble with violent death at the movies. But real death is a different story. Slow, lingering death from old age, funerals, embalming, cremation – these are not really dinner table conversation. A group called The Order of the Good Death is trying to change that. The Order wants to “prepare a death-phobic culture for their inevitable mortality.” Producer Catherine Winter spent some time with members of the Order in Seattle, and rode with a dead woman on her last trip, to the crematorium.