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Best Podcast Episode I've Heard In a While and Next Book I'll Be Buying 2 min read

Best Podcast Episode I've Heard In a While and Next Book I'll Be Buying

Ezra Klein and Adam Moss on 'The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing,' editing, creativity, and more.

By Cary Littlejohn

The Ezra Klein Show recently had on Adam Moss, former editor of New York magazine, to promote his new book, The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing. And it's quite simply the best podcast episode I've listened to in a long while.

This Conversation Made Me a Sharper Editor - The Ezra Klein Show
*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. *** Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike? Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at

Moss's book is all about how creative types do their work. The chat was wide-ranging, but it was one of the best articulations of what it means to be an editor and how they do the work of editing that I've ever heard. Moss said:

Any editing is just a heightened level of sensitivity to reaction. I think you're just being super sensitive to the way in which your mind is reacting. Or your heart is reacting. It's not just an intellectual thing; it's also very much an emotional thing.

It sounds so simple, but it's actually quite deceptive in its simplicity. It's no small thing to have reactions. Those reactions are, essentially, what define your taste, and an editor has to learn to trust those instincts. But that's easier said than done.

The entire rest of the conversation is great and a must-listen if you pursue any kind of creative endeavor. Topics include how to hire a good team of editors, the three stages of making art, the distance between what you think is good and what you can do as a creative, creative inspiration through motion, fast creatives versus slow creatives, the value of working on paper, artists' faith in themselves, and the differences between young artists and old artists.