Smartest Person in the Room

Laura Tremaine is not the smartest person in the room, but she knows who is.
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Dec 31, 2018

It's finally here! Our best books of the year episode.

Host Laura Tremaine and her real life book club friends Stephanie Newman-Smith and Yasmin Dunn discuss their favorite books of the year and some of the most buzzed about books of 2018. 


Books mentioned on this episode:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies by Ben Fritz

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld 

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Florida by Lauren Goff

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

The Yes Brain by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Heavy by Kiese Laymon

Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina Longworth

(30:40) Circe by Madeline Miller 

(34:50) 9 Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

(44:36) The Witch Elm by Tana French

(54:55) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

(1:00:10) The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai 

(1:04:04) Educated by Tara Westover

(1:12:30) The Line That Held Us by David Joy



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Nov 8, 2018

You've probably heard Rachael MacFarlane speak at some point in her 20 year acting career. She's given voice to characters from Johnny Bravo, Tom & Jerry, Fancy Nancy, Family Guy, and she has played Hayley on American Dad since 2005. 

Now Rachael has written a children's book titled Eleanor Wyatt, Princess and Pirate. Laura talks with Rachael about her career, her new book, parenting in L.A., and why the message of Eleanor Wyatt is so important. 


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Jul 24, 2018

On today's episode, Laura is the smartest person in the room because she is the ONLY person in the room. That's right, it's a first for this podcast: a solo show! Laura shares the best books she's read so far in 2018. 

Click here for the full show notes.

Follow Laura on Instagram where she shares what she's reading in real time, or sign up for her Secret Post emails here


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Jun 28, 2018

This is the final episode in the BIAS series. We're sharing our thoughts on creating and releasing this series, and answering some of the questions we've received over the last few weeks.

We're also making an announcement about the future of this conversation in this space, since of course this work doesn't stop here. Please check out our ever-evolving resource page here

Thanks for joining us for the BIAS series of Smartest Person in the Room! 


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Jun 21, 2018

Over the past several episodes, we’ve mentioned several times that my friend and co-host for this series Yasmin is married to a white man. Yasmin has talked about how being part of an interracial marriage has given her a unique perspective on the dynamics of race in our culture, and I couldn’t think of a better way to conclude our series on bias than by asking her husband Jason to sit down and talk with us about his perspectives on the reality of racial bias in our country.

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Jun 14, 2018

This episode is different from any episode of Smartest Person in the Room that I’ve ever recorded. Months ago, when Yasmin and I were planning this series, I mentioned that though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 17 years now, I’ve hardly ever been to the historically black neighborhoods of South LA. And so, Yasmin decided to take me on a little field trip in our own city.


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May 24, 2018

This is an unplanned episode. Yasmin and Laura were talking off the record, but the mic was recording. With Yasmin's permission, we are sharing this story. 

The blog post we reference from Luvvie Ajayi can be found here


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May 17, 2018

Early in our friendship, Yasmin and I realized that we had pretty different perspectives on most things pop culture. So many factors (and especially our racial makeup) affects how we see everything from music to movies to the Great American Novel.

In this episode, we talk about Beyonce, Black Panther, Get Out, Michael Jackson, and more. And Yasmin has a SHOCKING (to me) opinion about one of America's most beloved novels. 


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May 10, 2018

This episode is all about racial identity, and how it matters.

I'm speaking with my friends Jason & Yvonne Lee, actors and producers here in Los Angeles. 

I met Jason & Yvonne through our children, and in our very first conversation we ended up talking for hours about Jason's story of being a black man adopted and raised by a white family. He and his wife Yvonne have really interesting things to say about racial identity, and why it matters. 

There are so many layers to this conversation. Make sure you listen all the way until the end. 


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Apr 26, 2018

Continuing our series on racial bias, a black and white conversation between friends. 

In this episode, Yasmin and I talk to her friend and former colleague Melissa Kaplan, the Deputy Superintendent of Education at Bright Star Schools. Melissa tells the story of how she was inspired to take her life experiences of growing up poor with an addict for a father and struggling with a learning disorder to the classroom where she believed she could help her students overcome their challenges the way she had been able to: through hard work and education. But she experienced an unexpected awakening to the realities of race in our country that, as a white woman, she had been unprepared to encounter.

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Apr 19, 2018

This is the beginning of a new series and this time we're trying something a little different. I'm sitting down with my good friend Yasmin Dunn talking heart-to-heart, friend-to-friend about inherent racial bias. Yasmin and I have been having these conversations privately for a few years now, and we thought that bringing these honest exchanges forward might be helpful for an audience who wants to learn more and ask more about race reconciliation.

That said, Yasmin and I are not perfect people and this is not a perfect conversation. We want to stress that neither of us claim to speak for the entirety of our respective races and in these episodes you’ll hear us speaking as friends do: candidly, with a slight shorthand, and with knowledge that the other is bringing only the best of intentions.

We want this series to be a launching point for YOU to start having your own conversations. At the end of the series we’re going to talk more specifically about how to do this in your own life.

In lieu of show notes for this episode, we’ve created a blog post with book, podcast, movie and documentary suggestions that can serve as a resource on this topic. We’ll add to this as the series goes on. You can find that and all of our show notes on the Smartest Person in the Room website under the episodes tab.


Dec 21, 2017

We're talking about the best books we read in 2017! My guest is Yasmin Dunn, a friend and member of my real life book club. We cover all the best novels, self-help, memoirs, and general nonfiction that we read in 2017. 

Read the full show notes here.

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Nov 22, 2017

After 6 episodes, we've concluded our Mind/Body connection series. In this wrap-up episode, host Laura Tremaine and producer/editor Megan Tietz talk through the series as a whole.

We discuss the origins of this series, what stands out to us from concepts and guests, and which episode broke download records (I'll give you one guess).

The wrap-up episodes are for people who enjoy the insider play-by-play. We like to break down what worked and what didn't in a series, and sum up what we learned while making it. 

See all the episodes in the Mind/Body Connection series here

Thanks for listening!

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Nov 17, 2017

Bethany Cole is an only child born to conservative Christian parents who was assigned the gender of male at birth. By the age of five, she realized there was something different about her as compared to her cousins and playmates, but she didn’t how to express how and why she felt so different from other kids.




Read the full show notes for this episode here

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Nov 13, 2017

There is no way to cover the vast topic of Mind/Body connection and not explore the issue of sexuality. We are sexual beings, and yet culture often prevents us from discussing sex in a realistic way. The truth is that sexual gratification enhances many other aspects of our lives, including relationships, mood, and overall health. 

And yet many people live unfulfilled sexual lives because they're afraid to explore what they find pleasurable. That aspect of their mind/body connection languishes out of fear or because of cultural norms. In this episode with sex therapist Dr. Hernando Chavez, we set aside all moral judgements to have a frank discussion about how to identify and ask for sexual pleasure. 

We discuss a number of books in this episode, including:

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cecelia Jetha
Coping with Erectile Dysfunction by Barry McCarthy
SM 101 by Jay Wiseman
The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin
You can read the full show notes here.
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Oct 18, 2017

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. And yet this disease is widely misunderstood and vastly under researched. 

But before one is diagnosed with an eating disorder, there are many steps that fall under the umbrella of disordered eating. And as it turns out, a lot of us have a complicated relationship with food. 

In this conversation with registered dietician Nicole Avila, we talk about a person's relationship to food and how we can reach a healthier mindset about hunger.


Read the full show notes at 

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Oct 10, 2017

Mark Zupan is known for a lot of things: his Gold Medal for rugby in the 2008 Paralympics. As the star of the award-winning documentary Murderball. Inspiring a character on the tv show Friday Night Lights. 

But even without all those accolades and extreme experiences, his perspective on the life-altering accident that rendered him paralyzed would be remarkable. 

This is a conversation about what happens when the mind/body connection is severed. Permanently. 

Read the full show notes here


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Sep 26, 2017

What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Most of us have a vague idea of the ancient Chinese practice involving thin needles stuck in your skin all over your body. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat pain, depression, fertility, and to promote general health and wellness. But do you understand how it works? What are those needles actually doing?

Guest Salena Hanrahan is a licensed acupuncturist and she explains the basics of acupuncture and how to find someone credible to work with you on this intense mind/body connection. She also talks about how acupuncture is becoming more popular here in the west, and how it's often prescribed by doctors as part of an overall treatment plan.

Get full show notes here.

This is part of the Mind/Body series. Other episodes include:

Pilates with Kerri Campbell


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Sep 19, 2017

This is the first episode in the Mind/Body series and we're getting personal.

We’re exploring a topic that is relevant to every human on earth: how our minds and our bodies are intrinsically connected, maybe more so than we ever knew. We’re talking about this from an emotional standpoint and a medical one. It’s a subject that’s been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. The truths behind the mind/body connection are changing lives. 

I’m going to start this series with my own life-changing story. In my thirties, after two babies and a lifetime of bad eating habits, I didn’t even know how disconnected I had become from my body until a series of physical and mental ailments sent me looking for answers.

By chance, I landed in a personal Pilates class. What I learned in just my first few sessions put me on a path that has transformed my body and my brain. The teacher behind this transformation: Kerri Campbell, owner of the Pilates Body Shop here in LA. 

Kerri Campbell

Kerri practices Fletcher Pilates, and has been named one of the top 10 Pilates instructors in Los Angeles. In this conversation, we talk about how reconnecting to the body can bring about happiness, how tweaking just the smallest movements can eliminate pain or bring about energy. 

Pilates has taught me a whole new way to live in my body. Kerri explains why and how this practice can work for everyone. 


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Sep 15, 2017

A sneak-peek of Series 4 of Smartest Person in the Room!

Jun 13, 2017

The best books of 2017 (so far) and what is on our summer To Read lists!

In this special edition episode of Smartest Person in the Room, we're breaking from our series format to discuss all things books and reading in 2017. I invited my friend Stephanie Newman-Smith from my Los Angeles book club to sit down with me to share the best things we've read so far and what we can't wait to read next. 

We’re talking novels, non-fiction, light & fluffy, dark & deep. We hope our conversation today will help you discover the best book you haven’t read yet as well as inspire some meaningful book talk with the readers in your life.

For a full list of the many titles we mention, go to the show notes.

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Host Laura Tremaine is on twitter and Instagram.


Jun 1, 2017

Jen Glantz is a professional bridesmaid. That’s right, you can hire out the role traditionally held by best friends or sisters or cousins or old roommates.

But this unique career started with a Craigslist ad going mega-viral. After a long wedding season of being a traditional bridesmaid for friends near and far, Jen Glantz threw up a Craigslist ad touting her experience and usefulness wearing taffeta on a wedding day.

Within 24 hours her Craigslist posting had been featured on Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post, and she was fending off offers to be on the morning talk shows. Jen's new career was launched, but she found it to be so much more than a business. 

This is an episode about going VIRAL, but even more than that it's an episode about relationship. Are we outsourcing our friendships to the internet? And can it actually work? 

This conversation will make you think about what it means to share special moments with strangers, and question what is real (and what is not) about online relationships. 

Complete show notes here.

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May 24, 2017

This is the third episode in the VIRAL series.

WARNING: This episode contains adult language and humor.

Stephen Glover is known around the globe as Steve-O, a stunt performer and comedian famous for his provocative and death-defying work on MTV’s Jackass franchise and the Wildboyz television series. He is also recognized for his numerous appearances on the Howard Stern show and his competitive moves on Dancing with the Stars. In recent years, he’s risen to success as a stand up comic, and he is outspoken about his animal activism and his sobriety.
I’ve known Steve-O personally for over 15 years, and don’t let his antics fool you, he has always been one of the smartest people in the room. I originally thought that Steve-O would be a good candidate for the VIRAL conversation because his videos and stunts perfectly lend themselves towards going viral and as an individual he has built an online platform with over 11.5 million fans on FB, and nearly 4 million subscribers to his YouTube channels.
But instead of talking about the logistics of viral content creation, our conversation almost immediately took a deeper turn, about the quest for validation, being a different persona online than you are off, and the mental struggle to always have to top yourself.
This is a personal side to the all-encompassing world of viral.
Complete show notes here.
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Mar 2, 2017

This is the second episode in the VIRAL series of Smartest Person in the Room.

My conversation is with actor and producer Shane Nickerson, who knows more than a little something about VIRAL content, as he’s spent years creating it through tv shows for MTV, CMT, and Nickelodeon.

Shane is co-president of the production company Super Jacket with Rob Dyrdek, and together they're responsible for shows like Rob & Big, Fantasy Factory, The Dude Perfect Show, Jagger Eaton's Mega Life, and Crashletes.  

Today we delve into the show Shane helped create with Rob Dyrdek: Ridiculousness, which features remarkable short clips culled from the vast sea of the internet. Ridiculousness is so popular that it was responsible for roughly 23% of MTV’s total programming last year. 

Shane has some really thoughtful insights about internet culture and viral content, but he tells a story at the end of this episode I didn't see coming. He shares a personal story of something going terribly viral in his own life, something that had the potential to wreck his marriage and his career. He fought back against this viral thing and WON. My mouth was hanging open as we recorded.

Complete show notes here.

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