Freakonomics

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Sue Bird: “You Have to Pay the Superstars.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 12)

She is one of the best basketball players ever. She’s won multiple championships, including four Olympic gold medals and four W.N.B.A. titles — the most recent in 2020, just before turning 40. She also helped negotiate a landmark contract for the league’s players. Sue Bird tells Steve Levitt the untold truth about clutch players, her thoughts about...

The Downside of Disgust (Ep. 448)

It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down on some delicious...

Does Psychotherapy Actually Work? (NSQ Ep. 35)

Also: how many “selves” is it okay to have? *      *      * Relevant Research & References Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode: SOURCES Aaron Beck, psychiatrist and professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy....

How Much Do We Really Care About Children? (Ep. 447)

They can’t vote or hire lobbyists. The policies we create to help them aren’t always so helpful. Consider the car seat: parents hate it, the safety data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets. Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere. Below is a transcript...

Are Humans Smarter or Stupider Than We Used to Be? (NSQ Ep. 34)

Also: how can you become a more curious person? *      *      * Relevant Research & References Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode: SOURCES James Flynn, former professor of political science at the University of Otago. Zeynep Tufekci, associate professor of sociology at the University of North...

Paul Romer: “I Figured Out How to Get Myself Fired From the World Bank.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 11)

For many economists — Steve Levitt included — there is perhaps no greater inspiration than Paul Romer, the now-Nobel laureate who at a young age redefined the discipline and has maintained a passion for introducing new ideas to staid debates. Levitt finds out what makes Romer a serial “quitter,” why you can’t manufacture big ideas, and what happened...

“We Get All Our Great Stuff from Europe — Including Witch Hunting.” (Ep. 446)

We’ve collected some of our favorite moments from People I (Mostly) Admire, the latest show from the Freakonomics Radio Network. Host Steve Levitt seeks advice from scientists and inventors, memory wizards and basketball champions — even his fellow economists. He also asks about quitting, witch trials, and whether we need a Manhattan Project for climate...

Is Optimism a Luxury Good? (NSQ Ep. 33)

Also: why is public speaking so terrifying? *      *      * Relevant Research & References Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode: SOURCES Admiral James Stockdale, Medal of Honor recipient. Marty Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Julie Norem, professor of...

Trust Me (Ep. 266 Rebroadcast)

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it? Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere. Below is a transcript of the episode,...

How Much of Your Life Do You Actually Control? (NSQ Ep. 15 Rebroadcast)

Also: why do we procrastinate? *      *      * Relevant Research & References Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode: SOURCES Maria Konnikova, author of The Biggest Bluff. B. F. Skinner, former professor of psychology at Harvard University. Albert Bandura, professor of psychology at Stanford...

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