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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Sep 14, 2021

Jim Salzman and Michael Heller discuss their book "Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives." When is it okay to recline your airplane seat? Do we actually own our smartphones, or are we just leasing them? What do you really own when you click the “buy now” button?  And how is South Dakota making you less wealthy? In the spirited style of Freakonomics and Tipping Point, Jim Salzman and Michael Heller explore fun, surprising, and often infuriating real-life stories that reveal who gets what in the 21st century. 

Remarkably, there are just six simple stories that we all use to claim ownership. These are the same stories kids use to solve fights on the playground – and they offer our best chance to address really big problems like preserving online freedom, cooling our warming planet, and curbing wealth inequality. Ownership shapes every single aspect of our lives - and it’s the savvy owners who choose the story that steers us to do what they want. But don’t be fooled. Ownership is always up for grabs and the prize goes to those who know how its hidden rules really work.

Visit to watch the video of this event.

Moderated by Jeff Cox.