Back to Blog

How to Tell When You’ve Joined a Cult with Amanda Montell

interviews Jul 24, 2023


There isn’t always a standard definition of a cult, but there are things to look for, and we’ve all fallen for cultish practices or groups before. Sharon is joined by author Amanda Montell to talk about all things cultish. Language is often used as a tool of influence, like thought-terminating cliches, mantra phrases that are used to shut down independent thinking or questioning. Cultish leaders also take advantage of people by relying on our confirmation biases. We may think we couldn’t be fooled into joining a cult, but human nature is full of mystic moments and irrationality; it’s inevitable that we’ve joined a few cults along the way. 

Special thanks to our guest, Amanda Montell, for joining us today. You can order a copy of Cultish here.


Hosted by: Sharon McMahon

Guest: Amanda Montell

Executive Producer: Heather Jackson

Audio Producer: Jenny Snyder


Links to Full Episode:


About the Guest: 

Amanda Montell is a writer and linguist from Baltimore. She is the author of the acclaimed books Wordslut, Cultish, and the forthcoming The Age of Magical Overthinking. Along with co-hosting the hit podcast Sounds Like a Cult, her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and more. She holds a degree in linguistics from NYU and lives in Los Angeles with her partner, plants, and pets. Find her on Instagram @Amanda_Montell.


Related Links:


Episode Sponsor Codes:

Mayhem: The 1970s You Never Knew, Episode 8

Nov 27, 2023

Mayhem: The 1970s You Never Knew, Episode 7

Nov 20, 2023

Enough with Cassidy Hutchinson

Nov 16, 2023