This week, we talk to the author Elif Batuman about her new novel ‘Either / Or’. The book is set in the 1990s, and follows Elif’s fictionalised alter ego, Selin, as she navigates life as a Harvard student. Elif reflects on looking back at the ’90s from a contemporary perspective and talks about what we’ve learnt since. Then, we hear about feedback from deputy FT Magazine editor Esther Bintliff. We live in a culture obsessed with feedback. But what kind of feedback is actually effective?


Want to stay in touch? We love hearing from you. We’re on Twitter @ftweekendpod, and Lilah is on Instagram and Twitter @lilahrap.


Links and mentions from the episode:

Either/Or by Elif Batuman is available in all good bookstores.

– Esther’s piece on feedback,

– Bradley Whitford describing the three-step reaction on WTF with Marc Maron

– If you want to hear Kim Scott talking about Radical Candour at Inbound Bold Talks, 2016:

– Elif Batuman is on Twitter @BananaKarenina. Esther is on Twitter @estherbintliff.


Special offers for FT Weekend listeners, from 50% off a digital subscription to a $1/£1/€1 trial can be found here:

Want to join us at the FT Weekend festival in London on September 3rd? Buy a ticket at And here’s a special £20 off promo code, specifically for FT Weekend listeners: FTWFxPodcast22


Original music by Metaphor Music. Mixing and sound design by Breen Turner and Sam Giovinco.

Silicon Valley clip courtesy of HBO.

Read a transcript of this episode on

See for privacy and opt-out information.

View our accessibility guide.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this audio


Comments have not been enabled for this article.