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It’s an ongoing process, history is not just written once.

- Niels Bjerre-Poulsen

How do you define a nation?


In this episode, co-hosts Thomas Mulhern and Ed Ley sit down with Niels Bjerre Poulsen; author, Ph.D. in American studies, lecturer at University of Southern Denmark’s center for American studies, and key contributor on American politics and American history.


In this wide-ranging conversation, we explore, how to understand a nation and how its perception influences integration, the current political ethos in the age of Brexit and Trump, the art of shaping history, and how to effectively communicate complex information to a culturally diverse audience.

Episode Takeaways

  • What a nation is and how it’s perception impacts integration [01:24]

  • Denmark’s approach to immigration [06:28]

  • The core American ideas [09:46]

  • Frustration around change in America and Northern Europe [11:45]

  • The current mood of American politics [14:04]

  • Who determines the focus and interpretation of history [19:58]

  • The writers of history [28:42]

  • Communicating a message to a Dane vs. an American [30:53]

  • Habits and routines to optimize performance [33:38]

  • Biggest motivator and demotivator [34:36]

  • Challenging personality trait for self-regulation [36:40]

  • Two guests for dinner party and guiding life principle [37:30]

  • Mentors and book recommendations [39:10]

  • Lessons to and from Denmark, and closing comments [42:18]