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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

The Party of Gridlock; Asia's War of Words; 1-on-1 Interview with a Former U.S. Treasury Secretary; China Doing Something About Its Airpocalypse; Interview with Peter Singer about Cyber Security; Behavior that Helps Create Champions

Aired February 16, 2014 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We will start the show on the other side of the world, in Asia, where the president of a country has said that it's like 1938 all over again. Are the tensions there that serious? What is going on?

Then, Larry Summers on the Fed Chair, Janet Yellen's first weeks on the job. How did she do? I will ask the man who would have had that job.

And from super powers to superpower, how to win an Olympic gold medal. We'll explain to you that at that level, it is all in your head.

Also, hackers have broken into banks and big box chains, but could they really bring down the entire power grid of a country or attack the U.S. government? We will find out.

But, first, here's my take: I've sometimes been described as a centrist. And I freely admit to believing that neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue.

But sometimes, reality points firmly in one direction. Watching the machinations in Washington over the past two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country's gridlock.

Consider what just happened on immigration. Now, a majority of Americans support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants as well as enhanced border controls.

The leadership of the Republican Party in both houses of Congress talked about a comprehensive reform package that would create a lengthy waiting time for citizenship, 13 years, and couple this with tougher enforcement. Most Democrats were willing to accept this compromise.

But it became clear to the GOP leadership that even this would be unacceptable for many tea party Republicans. So, on January 30th, party leaders circulated a new proposal that took away any prospect of a special path to citizenship, no matter how long they waited.

Instead, these people would merely be given legal documents allowing them to work and pay taxes. This was a huge concession to tea party activists and seemed unlikely to go anywhere. Democrats had been firmly against the concept of permanent second-class status for illegal immigrants. A majority of the public opposes it as well.

But within a few days, President Obama took the opportunity of an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper to say he was "encouraged" by the proposal. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I genuinely believe that Speaker Boehner and a number of House Republicans, folks like Paul Ryan, really do want to get a serious immigration reform bill done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Every Democrat I spoke with hated the idea, for moral and political reasons. Most were surprised by Obama's concession. So what happens next? A few days later, House Speaker John Boehner stood in front of the media and explained that even his new non-citizenship plan was a nonstarter and immigration reform was dead.

His explanation was that no one trusted Obama to enforce the laws. But in fact, the Obama administration has enforced immigration laws ferociously. It deported more than 400,000 people in 2012, two- and-a-half times the number in 2002.

In 2002, under the George W. Bush administration, for every two people removed from the country, 13 became legal residents. In 2012, under Obama, for every two removed, just five became residents.

For these reasons, as well as the recession, the number of illegal immigrants has not increased in several years.

Harvard University's Theda Skocpol points out in an essay in the journal Democracy that commentators have been proclaiming the decline of the tea party's influence for several years now.

And yet it continues to exert a powerful influence on the Republican Party. It has two things going for it: immense passion and grass-roots energy and the breakdown of authority within the Republican Party.

Immigration was supposed to be ripe for common-sense reform. The public is for a compromise solution, policy wonks have proposed ways to make it work, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it, the country's leading technology firms have been clamoring for it, senior Democrats and Republicans are all in favor.

And yet it couldn't get past the central problem in Washington today: the extreme and obstructionist faction within the Republican Party that cannot take yes for an answer. So the next time someone blames both sides for Washington's paralysis or issues a bland call for "leadership" to get us out of it, remember the case of immigration.

For more, go to cnn.com/fareed and read my Washington Post column this week. Let's get started.

The war of words in Asia is getting so strong you might be excused if you though that there might soon be a war of more than words. Just three weeks ago, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe compared Japan and China today to the state of relations between Germany and the United Kingdom just before the outbreak of World War I.

Then, last week, President Aquino of the Philippines compared China's ambitions in the South China Seas to Adolf Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Is this all rhetoric or reality? To help us sort this out, joining me here in New York is Elizabeth Economy. She's the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Asia Studies and the co-author of "By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World."

And Evan Osnos is a staff writer at the New Yorker and was the magazine's China correspondent for the last eight years. He's now based in D.C. and he joins us from there.

So, Liz, the China-Japan situation seems pretty bad. The Japanese Prime Minister has just recently called for a revision of Japan's constitution so that it can have a proper army.

It already spends a lot of money on what it calls a defense force, but now they want to have a proper, presumably, army with an offense capacity as well. And this is the richest and the second richest country in Asia we're talking about and the second and third largest economies in the world. It feels very tense.

ELIZABETH ECONOMY, SENIOR FELLOW FOR ASIA STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think that's right. You know, we've watched over the past year or so increasing rhetoric, sort of attacks by Chinese ambassadors on Japanese ambassadors and vice versa, sort of really a ratcheting up of tensions.

And we've seen China certainly behaving far more assertively throughout the region. But now we're seeing Prime Minister Abe beginning to step it up as well. So, you know, for much of the past three to five years, Asia has really been on the defensive.

But Prime Minister Abe is beginning to a far more offensive strategy I think in terms of dealing with China.

ZAKARIA: Evan, what about this comment from the President of the Philippines? It struck me as a very strong statement for a president of a country to make to compare what China was doing to Hitler's annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia. EVAN OSNOS, FORMER CHINA CORRESPONDENT, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORKER MAGAZINE: Yes, this was a significant moment. President Aquino of the Philippines was, for the first time, being very clear about the threat that he feels his country is under.

Over the last two years, China and the Philippines have been in the midst of an increasing complex and dangerous relationship over parts of uninhabited land in the Pacific, in the South China sea.

What President Aquino was doing was, in effect, alerting the world that he feels that his country is facing a long-term threat from China. And the United States has indicated that it's willing to meet his concerns.

You've seen very strong statements over the last few weeks from U.S. officials that, for the first time, have made clear that the United States believes that China's claims to 90 percent of the South China Sea contravene international law.

This is the first time the United States has said it as clearly and as explicitly as it has and I don't think that's -- that's not by accident. The United States is, in effect, putting China on notice that it's going to be standing with its friends and allies within the region in order to try to prevent a fundamental change in the status quo.

ZAKARIA: How much of this some kind of new nationalism in China that you hear a lot about? Xi Jinping worried about the Communist Party's legitimacy is -- you know, is seeking a number of strategies and one of them is a more assertive nationalistic China.

OSNOS: I think that's right. You need to interpret, in some ways, Xi Jinping's actions in the context of the pressures he faces at home. He has an economy which is on the verge of transition. It's going to be growing more slowly in the years ahead than it has been.

And that means that he's going to need to summon the energy of his people, the unity of his people in new ways and one of the tools that is available to him is nationalism and he seems to be using it and using it fairly effectively on the home front.

ZAKARIA: But, Liz, what this suggests, as you point out, if he's going to do this and if this is not going to let up, the other Asian countries are pushing back and their relations are pretty bad.

There is no European community where all this stuff is sorted out. Could this spiral out of control? I mean if you had another incident in the East China Seas where some Japanese boat captain goes into what is considered Chinese waters and it spirals out of control, things can get pretty rough.

ECONOMY: I think that's right. I think the Chinese run the risk at this point of, you know, not simply antagonizing all of their neighbors, but really what we're beginning to see is all of their neighbors beginning to form their own alliances. You know, it's not simply the United States now as the dominant force within the region and the rise in China, but you're having Japan undertake military exercises with India and Vietnam, with Australia.

A lot of cross-cutting alliances are developing within the region that are really designed to counter China's rise.

ZAKARIA: Do you think, Evan, when you -- when the Chinese look at this, do they resent all this and say, look, we're -- you know, we're a rising power. Naturally, we're going to have a slightly more expansive view of our interests.

What do you think is the -- you know, what would somebody from the Chinese government, if you were -- if they were to ever talk frankly, what would they say?

OSNOS: You know, the Chinese government is facing a moment when it recognizes that, in some ways, it has to acknowledge its own sense of ambition in the world today.

It wants the rest of the world, in effect, to make room for a different kind of China. This is a country that is now more powerful. It has a larger military and, of course, a larger economy than its ever had.

And it believes, as Xi Jinping, the president, has said to President Obama, that it's time for a new model of great power relations. What that means is, in effect, it is time to put the old kinds of relationships on the shelf, the relationship in which China basically played the role of a secondary power.

ZAKARIA: This is a delicate balance, right Liz, because the United States is trying to, in a sense, deter China and maintain stability, but, presumably, it doesn't want to provoke an American- Chinese cold war.

ECONOMY: No, I think that's right, but China's not going to play by the rules. And the U.S. really has no alternative except to say, as Evan said, we are going to stand by our allies. We're drawing a line in the sand.

ZAKARIA: Fascinating. Liz Economy, Evan Osnos, thank you so much.

Up next, Janet Yellen has started the top job at the Federal Reserve. I'm going to speak with the man who was in the running for that job, but pulled out, Larry Summers. What he would do differently when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET YELLEN, CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM: The conditions facing the economy are extremely unusual. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Janet Yellen didn't have a lot of time to get settled into her new job as Fed Chair before being called before Congress. On Tuesday, just days after her tenure began, she testified before the House Financial Services Committee.

Wall Street was all ears and its reaction was mostly positive after a month of much market turmoil.

What was the reaction of the man who might have been Fed Chair? We will ask him. Larry Summers is a former Secretary of the United States Treasury who withdrew his name from consideration for the top job at the Fed in September.

He joins me now from Cambridge where he was the President of Harvard University and is now a professor there.

Larry, welcome back to the show.

LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES TREASURY: Good to be with you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Would you have said anything differently from what Janet Yellen said? She's promised a great deal of continuity.

SUMMERS: Look, it's very hard to judge tactics from the outside. I think we have a -- we've had and we continue to have a Federal Reserve that recognizes that inadequate demand, inadequate growth and inadequate employment are the greatest threats to America's economic health.

And so they have maintained a policy bias towards expansion and I think that's broadly the appropriate orientation to have. The questions of precise tactics are very, very hard to judge from the outside.

ZAKARIA: But, Larry, if you look what the Fed has done. It has kept interest rates very low, done other very extraordinary things precisely to address the issue of slow growth and high unemployment.

And, yet, if you look at the unemployment numbers, you still have persistently weak employment.

SUMMERS: I don't think that's the right way to look at it. First, wherever you observe doctors working hardest, you'll observe the most sick people, but that doesn't prove that doctors are counterproductive or unproductive.

Of course, in the face of unprecedented weakness, we've had unprecedentedly easy monetary policy, but that doesn't call into question the efficacy of the monetary policy.

Where I would agree with the critics and where I've been a strong critic myself is that I believe we would be doing much better of more of the spur to economic growth was coming from the side of government spending or tax reduction rather than relying on the monetary and liquidity tools to the extent we have, but that, of course, is not within the power of the Federal Reserve.

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that the U.S. is going to grow, is going to surprise on the upside, as they say in market lingo, that is the growth will be this year probably a little stronger than the consensus?

SUMMERS: I'm not sure. I think the consensus has come down a bit in the last few weeks. I probably would have said that two months ago, Fareed, but now I think, after two soft employment reports, after a sense that there's been a big inventory build-up that has -- that will get run down and that will come at the expense of GDP.

I think that actually the statistics right now and the people who base their judgments on the statistics are actually a little more optimistic right now than the business folk I talked to, who have order books, who are still fairly nervous.

So I'd say around the consensus forecast of about 3 percent, the risks are pretty symmetric.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you finally, Larry, watching this debt ceiling fiasco one more time or the avoidance of a fiasco, does this -- do you think we should somehow find a way to abolish the debt ceiling? I think Denmark and the United States are the only two countries that have it and in Denmark it's essentially automatically raised.

We're unique in having this double-barrel system where first you spend the money and then you have to raise the debt ceiling. Should we abolish it?

SUMMERS: Yes. There is no productive purpose to it. You know, I have college-aged children and occasionally, we have a difference of opinion about how much money they've spent.

And in our family, we discuss whether they're going to pay or whether I'm going to pay. But we don't discuss whether or not Visa should get stiffed, because we know that would be terrible for our family's credit rating and that's just not what we would do.

And, in the same way, we've incurred all these liabilities. We spent this money. Going through a process of deciding whether we're going to pay the debt we already owe is not worthy of a great nation.

Larry Summers, thank you very much. I would love to be a fly on the wall watching a kid explaining to the former Treasury Secretary why he didn't pay his -- why he doesn't want to pay his Visa bills.

SUMMERS: Good to be with you.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure. Up next, What in the World. Look at these before and after pictures from China. One is with smog and one without. Well, it turns out Beijing has actually made a big step toward cleaning up its air. I'll explain. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Now, for our What in the World Segment. I want to give you some surprising good news that comes out of China. As you probably know, China's super speed growth has produced super high levels of pollution.

Beijing's poor air quality has popularized the word, "Airpocalypse." There are days when you can see barely see more than a few feet in front of you. It got so bad that the U.S. embassy in Beijing posted a real-time measure of air quality on its website.

Chinese officials, of course, have disputed the American data as propaganda.

So people, mostly Chinese people, have asked for an accurate reading of pollution levels in China. In recent years, environmental groups pressured Beijing to release official data on air pollution.

But the government, notorious for being tight-lipped, secretive and unresponsive, had declined. In fact, few people actually believed that Beijing would ever exceed to their demands.

Well, guess that? Beijing has ordered 15,000 factories to report details about their emissions in public and in real-time. This is a real first in China. An unprecedented mandate for transparency.

Keep in mind that many of these factories are actually run by powerful, state-owned companies with links to politicians in the upper echelons of government.

For the first time, there's a requirement to publicly acknowledge the environmental impact of mass-scale production and to take steps to go green.

If you look at the numbers, perhaps we should have seen this coming. According to the World Bank, the impacts of China's environmental degradation costs the country 9 percent of its gross national income.

Studies by a number of journals show that more than a million Chinese die prematurely every year because of the country's poor air quality.

And, then, there's the public response. In the West, we tend to hear only about the big incidents. For example, this time last year when thousands of dead pigs were found floating in a river near Shanghai or when 39 tons of a deadly chemical leaked into one of China's main rivers, or another "Airpocalypse."

All of these incidents and others have lead to mass outrage and protests. But often unreported, at a smaller level, every day across this vast country, there are hundreds of local protests about the environment.

China's Society of Environmental Sciences reports that protests about the environment have grown by an average of 29 percent every year between 1996 and 2011. There are some reports that a majority of the organized protests in China are about the poor quality of air and water.

The good news for China and the world is that Beijing seems to be listening. China has promised to spend $280 billion cleaning up its air. Look at this chart from the International Energy Agency.

China's carbon emissions per unit of GDP have dropped by half since the 1990s. Massive investments in wind and solar energy mean that China hopes to get 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The next step is to be open and transparent about how it is progressing on these fronts. But this is a big first move and it should send a signal to other developing countries to stop denying their pollution problems and start dealing with them, most of them are actually much worse than China in this regard.

So we have the strange irony that dictatorial China responding to public protest is cleaning up its air faster than democratic India.

Up next, how to defend the United States against cyber-terrorism. I have a great guest whose been sounding the alarm for years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has made the rounds on Capitol Hill recently delivering his sobering assessment of threats against the United States. Behind his briefings is this document, "The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the United States Intelligence Community," the first threat it lays out, the cyber threat. From Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, terrorists and cyber criminals. Threats to government and critical infrastructure, business and health care and threats to your pocketbook and privacy. How to defend against it all? We will ask a man who has been sounding this alarm in books and speeches for at least a decade. Peter Singer is the director of the center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. He's the author of the new book "Cyber Security and Cyber War: What Everyone Needs to Know." So if you look at the national nuclear administration, the civilian, the outfit that oversees our civilian nuclear energy program, our civilian nuclear power plants, they say that they have received in 2012, I think it was the year, 10 million cyber-attacks a day, 3.6 billion a year. That's - that is just mind boggling. So, presumably most of these are coming from foreign countries?

PETER SINGER, DIRECTOR, CENTURY SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE: Well, first we need to demystify what we mean when we say cyber attacks and it's one of these words that gets abused a great deal, whether it's that example or the head of cyber command who's simultaneously the head of the NSA, which is a really - you know, we wouldn't think that's normal in other parts of our government, but somehow it's OK here, he testified that each day the military faces millions of cyber attacks. But to get these numbers what we're doing is combining everything from automated address scans and probes to people trying to carry out pranks, people trying to carry out political protests, people trying to get inside the system to carry out some kind of act of espionage, diplomatic espionage, economic espionage. The problem is we're lumping them altogether solely because they involve the technology of the Internet.

ZAKARIA: But there's no question that there are many foreign governments, particularly China and Russia, that are directing a lot of cyber espionage and cyber attacks on U.S. Internet infrastructure.

SINGER: Absolutely. And it's both real, it's of a massive scale, but here again, we need to disentangle the intent of it. So, for example, while there have been over a half million references in government speeches and in the media to cyber 9/11, cyber Pearl Harbor, you know, we constantly talk about that, we're not paying enough attention to the largest theft in all of human history that's playing out right now, which is this massive campaign of intellectual property theft emanating mostly back to China. And when you think about the real impact of that, as opposed to the fictionalized, you know, "Die Hard 4" scenarios, you know, the power grid going down, this is something real that's happening right now. It's happening in economic security impact by some measures as much as a trillion dollars' worth of value being lost and it also has a national security impact.

ZAKARIA: You've been a consultant to a lot of Hollywood movies. Do you look at something like "Die Hard 4" the idea being that you can take down the critical infrastructure, transportation or energy of the United States, pretty easily?

SINGER: This is one of those areas where it's not just Hollywood that describes it pretty easy and often in Hollywood, of course, it's the one guy breaking into the system and there's the one computer that controls everything, whether it's "Die Hard" or even "Mission Impossible" Tom Cruise, you know, coming from the ceiling whereas the Snowden example shows, you know, he didn't have to break in anything, he was just sitting there, you know, the system doing it. So there are real threats here, but too often both in Hollywood, but also in major government statements, you'll see senior officials saying things like a couple of teenagers sipping red bull in their parents basement could, you know, cause a WMD-style impact. No. Stuxnet, which was the first cyber weapon, we used it to essentially set back Iranian nuclear research, it both shows what you can do in this realm -- you can cause damage. And as we move into the future of more and more reliance on digital systems and the move towards the Internet of things, where we have not just our email that we're using, but smart cars, smart thermostats, smart power grids, so that combination of digital weaponry and greater digital reliance means this is of a greater scale.

So, Stuxnet was something that involved everything from top cyber experts in the world, but also experts in nuclear physics and engineering, intelligence analysts and collection, so this is a realm where yes, the -- there's new actors, nontraditional actors that can play, whether you're talking about anonymous or the Syrian Electronic Army, but the stakes are still the big dogs and that's really what we need to -- when we're doing our threat assessments, measure this in a new 21st century way.

ZAKARIA: So, General Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA and the head of cyber command as you point out, says that the thing people don't understand is that if you want us to protect your bank accounts, your on-line accounts, from cyber attacks, from piracy, we have to have some way of getting into them in the first place. Is that fair?

SINGER: In part. So it's very clear that we need new types of collection and we, frankly, need to update our policies and laws, both in what we can authorize and then you get into the question of what you should authorize. The challenge in this, the way that's portrayed is that many of the things that have been most troubling to people have not been about stopping cyber attacks, it's been about going after traditional terrorism. And some of the collection of data wouldn't aid in this other task. The challenge ...

ZAKARIA: Listening - you're gathering all these phone calls to find the al Qaeda conversation, not to try to find the guys who are trying to hack into Target and Neiman Marcus.

SINGER: Exactly. But the other part of this is, it changes the way we talk about responsibility. So they say look, we need this kind of power and authority to stop attacks on a bank. Let's pull back and think about this for a minute. If a bank was moving cash in an armored car to another bank, and a group of political protesters stood in the street and blocked it for a couple of hours and then they moved aside, no one would say, my goodness, where was the Army? Change that money and those protesters to zeroes and ones, to software, and we say, my goodness, where was the military in this cyber attack? And the reality is, again, whether we're talking about these banking things to threats to critical infrastructure, you name it, there's a collective responsibility here. We can't rely on the man on cyber horseback to come in and save us. And frankly, that is not their sole responsibility. It may be good for the budget of that agency, but if you have that mentality it's going to be bad for our national security in the end.

ZAKARIA: Peter Singer, pleasure to have you on. Up next the secret to becoming a gold medal winning Olympian. My next guest says the secret is actually pretty simple and very accessible. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: What does it take to be a successful Olympian? For those of us watching athletes at the Sochi Games right now we might think it's good genes or innate talent or sheer strength or work. It is all that, but there's one more secret. Good habits. Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and the author of "The Power of Habit." In the book, Duhigg describes how the swimmer Michael Phelps developed a highly structured routine which stood him in good stead to win 22 Olympic medals, the most in history. Charles Duhigg joins me now. So, tell us the story of Phelps, you know, that you focused in on.

CHARLES DUHIGG, AUHTOR, "THE POWER OF HABIT": It's a great story because Michael Phelps kind of represents this public awareness of how important the mental Olympic Games are alongside the physical Olympic Games. When Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps' coach started training him he realized that Phelps could be incredibly strong and great in the pool, but all Olympians are incredibly great in the pool. What he needed to do in order to let Phelps win was make him the strongest mental swimmer, and what that meant was, programming his life, building his habits so that when Phelps was in the middle of a race, it felt just like every other swim he had ever had. It felt like every other practice. And as a result, Phelps could tap into those habitual parts of his personality, of his decision making that would allow him to react faster to make decisions without actually making conscious decision, in a way that would help him win in a sport where people win by milliseconds.

ZAKARIA: So, there's example of this where his goggles at one point in a crucial race fog up to the point where he can't actually see.

DUHIGG: Absolutely right. In his first lap he loses all vision whatsoever. And when you talk to Phelps about this, most people would actually either quit swimming or would lose the race, but what Phelps said is, that this felt like every other practice. That in many ways he doesn't have to see because he's done this so frequently. He can just let the habits take over. And so, he actually said that he did lap after lap and in his final lap he couldn't see anything at all, he couldn't see the markings on the bottom of the pool, he didn't know where the end of the pool was and he got to this point where he needed that final push and it just felt habitually like he needed to give it three more strokes, and so that's what he did, he tapped the wall exactly right, looked up at the clock and he just set a world record, all by kind of relying on this innate instinct of these habits he had developed over years and years.

ZAKARIA: Now, a lot of people talk about this, that at the very highest level, the athletes are all physically in great shape, they all have the talent, but it's the mental game that separates you. So that in tennis people used to say about Federer that when he was down, Roger Federer could play better than normal, he could dig himself out, whereas a lot of people when they're down they get into a funk. You know, that it's that ability to not psych yourself out, but actually let that be a spur.

DUHIGG: Absolutely. And there's a new book coming out. This is called Flo Performance. There's this book coming out called "The Rise of the Superman" that talks about how this occurs. What we know is that you can train yourself to reach a state called flow, where you essentially are behaving instinctually without as much conscious deliberation, and when you achieve that state you seem to be able to tap in to these capacities for performance that otherwise would exceed the grasp of most people. We've seen this in the Olympics again and again, right. We've seen runners who are leading the pack and then all of a sudden they hit a hurdle and they fall down or they suddenly choke and we saw that recently in the Winter Olympics. And when you talk to them afterwards what they'll say is, well, I was doing great and then I started to thinking to myself, I'm in the Olympics, I'm about to win the Olympics and that's when all of a sudden everything fell apart. It's because they get out of that flow.

ZAKARIA: So what happened with Shaun White?

DUHIGG: It's a great example, right? So, Shaun White one of the best snowboarders, multiple gold Olympian, and when he talks about when he -- this recent Olympics, when he came in fourth, he talks about the -- he and his teammates talk about the pressure of the situation, the fact that they felt so uncomfortable they were in a different time zone, their schedules were thrown off, they were thinking about being in the Olympics and then, of course, there's the gold medalist, I-Pod, right, whose name I can't actually pronounce. But he's Russian by birth, speaks Russian. He's in Sochi and afterwards he talks about what it felt like to compete in this Olympics where he won a gold unexpectedly and he said it felt very natural, it felt like I wasn't even working at it. I was speaking my mother language. I felt like I do whenever I go out to just snowboard on my own.

ZAKARIA: So what -- the most interesting thing here is you're saying you can train your mind just like you train your body. If somebody will listen to this and say OK, I want to be a better athlete and there's only so much I can do with the body at this point what can you do to train your mind?

DUHIGG: Absolutely. It's really interesting. What you should do, number one, is you should consciously build habits. Right. What we know about habits is that neurologically they have a cue, a routine and a reward. And if you pay attention to those cues and those rewards you can convince your brain to develop these habits where you essentially kind of mentally disengage with the activity, and as a result, it doesn't hurt as bad. It's not quite as strenuous. So, the key is to identify cues that help you go running in the morning and then give yourself rewards afterwards to train your brain.

ZAKARIA: And set yourself maybe for times and reward yourself more if you get those times.

DUHIGG: Absolutely. Give yourself rewards. When you hit a new milestone, give yourself a reward. But equally, the rest of what we know about how Flo works, it largely comes from people who meditate on a regular basis. We know that you can learn to essentially deliberately quiet your brain and the key is to just practice. As we practice our brain begins to adapt and to learn when we give ourselves rewards, to let go of thoughtfulness, which now called mindfulness in the literature, is an acquired skill.

ZAKARIA: All right. This is -- this is a great lesson. Meditate and you will be a great tennis player. Up next, why the next big tourist sensation in Paris might actually be underground. I'll explain.

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ZAKARIA: This week athletes from around the world celebrated victories, but some of them had a little more to celebrate than others. Many of the winners get a cash prize from their government in addition to their medals, which brings me to my question of the week. Which of the following countries give the largest financial reward for winning a gold medal in the Olympic Games? A, Kazakhstan, B, Latvia, C, the United States or D, Russia. Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's Book of the Week is Paul Brinkley's "War Front to Store Front." I talked about this last week. Brinkley was the Pentagon official who was tasked with getting capitalism going in Iraq and Afghanistan. And here he recounts his fascinating experiences. He did great work there and this is a wonderful account of the lessons he learned that apply well beyond the Middle East.

And now for the last look. This week taxi drivers caused gridlock in the streets of Paris, protesting against competition from mini cabs in the city. Driving in Paris can be tricky at the best of times, almost anarchy at the worst of times. So the 1.5 billion Parisian commuters that ride the metro every year probably have the right idea. The Paris metro opened in 1900 and has grown to 14 different lines and over 300 stations, covering almost 130 miles of track. As is true in many cities some of the stops are no longer in service. Paris has seven phantom stations, many of which were closed as far back as World War II. But these ghost stops could soon be resurrected. A Parisian mayoral contest may give these deserted platforms a new raison-d'etre. One top candidate for mayor has suggested turning on new stops like this one which closed in 1939 into a stunning art gallery. A concert hall. A night club. A restaurant, French I assume. And even a swimming pool. Not to be outdone, another candidate proposed redeveloping old rail tracks into outdoor gardens and green areas. While the French might be having a tough time getting their private sector moving, they remain world class at public projects. We look forward to going underground and swimming in Paris soon.

The correct answer to our "GPS" challenge question is A, Kazakhstan, which awards a gold medal winning athlete $250,000 as a bonus, says the International Sports Press Association, which tracks these things. That's ten times the amount American winners will go home with. Of course, the United States usually has a few more winners to pay. Latvia and Italy are next in line after Kazakhstan. The athletes would certainly say that the medal and the realization of their dreams matters more than the cash, but it must sweeten the victory just a little.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Right now I'm going to send you to CNN headquarters for a check on all the latest news.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield live from the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta with a check of the top stories. There is a search going on today for two skiers who went missing following an avalanche in Colorado. Three other skiers are hospitalized with broken bones and a collapsed lung. The accident happened in Lake County just east of Aspen. Six people have been killed in avalanches in the western U.S. this month alone. And just moments ago, near Johannesburg, South Africa, rescuers were able to free a group of miners who got trapped in an abandoned gold mine. The miners trapped near this half of the shafts told rescuers that more than 200 other miners are stuck further underground. Boulders blocking the miners from exiting the illegal mine have been removed.

And in this country, a jury in the loud music murder case could not reach a verdict on the first-degree murder charge against Michael Dunn, but they did find him guilty of lesser charges including three counts of attempted murder. Dunn admitted to shooting at 17-year-old Jordan Davis, but said it was self-defense. Davis' father spoke after the verdict.

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RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: I thank you all for seeing that we as parents were good parents to Jordan, that he was a good kid. It wasn't allowed to be said in the courtroom, but he's a good kid. And we'll say it, he was a good kid.

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WHITFIELD: And the prosecutor says she will push for a new trial on that first-degree murder charge.

All right. Coming up in a CNN newsroom at 2:00 Eastern Time, a good day for Team USA at the winter Olympic Games and we'll tell you which two alpine skiers made it to the podium.

One set a new American record along the way. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter starts right now.