How to Die


"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

That Woody Allen quote cleverly sums up the feeling that many people have about death -- that we want to avoid it at any cost. And we don't want to talk about it. But death is a fact of life, so this week on How to Do It: The Guide to Things Your Hope You Never Need to Know Sarah Treleaven and Josh Bloch delve into questions about our mortality.

We hear from a former Texas prison chaplain who accompanied 95 death row inmates to their execution, and visit a Death Cafe to talk about things we're not usually supposed to talk about.

Plus, an answer to the question: When the time comes, what should you wear?

On this week's episode...

  • Carroll Pickett discusses the emotional burden of bearing witness to almost 100 executions...and why he's come to believe that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Pia Interlandi tells us what makes for a great-looking corpse.
  • Comic Rebecca Kohler talks about dying onstage...and how it's not the end of the world, even if it feels like it.
  • We visit the Death Cafe for insight into different attitudes towards mortality.
  • Yale philosophy professor Shelly Kagan talks about what makes a good death.
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