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Best-selling author Matthew Syed explores the ideas that shape our lives with stories of seeing the world differently.

Popular episodes

An appointment with Dr Leech

Nov 25 • 29:52
Boston, Massachusetts, 1985. Dr Joe Upton is struggling to reattach a severed ear onto a little boy. Using incredible skill and the best in modern equipment he re-attaches the arteries, but the veins are proving difficult. Blood keeps getting congested and the little ear is turning black. Just when it looks like all is lost, Joe remembers leeches.

Once used to treat every m...

The Secret of Success

Nov 17 • 29:09
Lee Chambers is an undeniable success. From his parents' single bedroom, with the boiler humming away day and night, he founds an e-commerce video games business that gives him a healthy bank account in seven months. Next comes the car, the house, the fancy holidays with his wife. But all the time, Lee feels like a total failure. Everyone is telling him he’s a success, but...

18. Tongue-Tied

Nov 10 • 28:55
At a school assembly, 16-year-old Simon Day discovers an acute fear of public speaking. Faced with a crowd of expectant faces, panic begins to set in.

Soon, Simon finds that words fail him at almost every turn, threatening his career, relationships and, ultimately, his happiness.

Matthew Syed follows Simon’s journey to find his voice, uncovering the science of how we speak a...


Nov 3 • 28:37
Arlene Blum has scaled some of the most treacherous peaks in the Himalayas. When she’s not climbing mountains, she’s fighting to get toxic chemicals banned from everyday household goods. Arlene says that her experience leading expeditions has helped her acquire the personal skills and attributes required to push through bold new science policies.

Matthew Syed asks whether ...

Series 3 Coming Soon

Oct 27 • 02:34

16. Big Head

Aug 11 • 29:19
Matthew Syed has come to a horrible realisation about himself. He is in danger of becoming a big head. He’s worried that, with a successful podcast and best-selling books, every positive affirmation he receives is only serving to inflate his sense of entitlement.

The Greeks had a word for this - hubris.

In the final episode of this series, Matthew is on a mission to prevent...

15. Best Feet Forward

Aug 4 • 28:36
When the Danish men’s football team are called up to replace Yugoslavia in the 1992 European Championships, just 10 days before the start of the tournament, nobody fancied their chances, least of all the players themselves.

In this episode of Sideways, Matthew Syed traces their fairy tale journey towards taking home the trophy and reveals what Denmark's story can teach us...

14. Let's All Be Batman

Jul 28 • 29:07
When Amrou Al-Kadhi steps into a pair of heels and takes the stage, they step into another world, another persona where they can be whatever they want.

In this episode of Sideways, Matthew Syed asks whether creating an alter ego is the key to finding our true self.

For Amrou Al-Kadhi, performing as their drag alter-ego, Glamrou started out as an escape. Struggling with men...

13. A Question Of Justice

Jul 21 • 28:35
When Ray and Vi Donovan left court after the sentencing of three boys who murdered their 18-year-old son, Christopher, they said they had justice for Chris, but not the truth. They still didn’t know why Christopher was murdered on a May evening in 2001. That was a question the trial didn’t answer and only Christopher’s killers could.

Years later, they would meet the three ...

12. Brighter than Bagpuss

Jul 14 • 29:11
Boston, Massachusetts. 1970. A group of mothers and young children assembles outside the offices of the local TV station. It’s the first phase of a fight to improve kids’ TV that would go all the way to the United States Senate.

Matthew Syed looks at how kids' TV got smart, and what we can learn about the developing mind from the programme makers who led the way.

In the late...

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