Tell Me What You Want


Do we know what we really want, and what we are willing to do to get it? What if what we want doesn’t align with who we think we are supposed to be? Dr. Charlotte Fox Weber joins us today to help us think about what we really want. In this episode we consider some of life’s messy questions about opportunity, regret, ego, growth, and power.

Today’s book is: Tell Me What You Want: A Therapist and Her Clients Explore Our 12 Deepest Desires (Atria Books,2023), by Dr. Charlotte Fox Weber, which is an exploration of the twelve fundamental psychological needs we all share. In Tell Me What You Want, Dr. Weber guides us in navigating our deepest longings, by asking the too-often unasked questions: “What do we want? And how do we get it?” Each of us, at certain moments in our lives, can feel lost or confused. We often don’t know how to get what we want, or what we think we want, but we share these universal desires: to love and be loved; understanding, power, attention, freedom; to create, to belong, to win, to connect, to control; and we want what we shouldn’t. In the twelve chapters, each focused on one of these universal desires, psychotherapist Dr. Weber considers the personal costs of met and unmet desires, and how they can lead to insights, change, and growth.

Today’s guest is: Dr. Charlotte Fox Weber, who is a psychotherapist and writer. She cofounded Examined Life, and was the founding head of The School of Life Psychotherapy. She grew up in Connecticut and Paris and now lives in London with her husband and two young children. Tell Me What You Want is her first book. Find out more at

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is a freelance book editor. She has served as content director and producer of the Academic Life podcast since she launched it in 2020. The Academic Life is proud to be an academic partner of the New Books Network.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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