How to Become Great at Just About Anything

What if the thing we call “talent” is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he’s learned.

Calling All (Potential) Peak Performers!

In our recent Freakonomics Radio episode “How to Become Great at Just About Anything," we spoke with K. Anders Ericsson, a research psychologist who has spent more than 30 years studying expert performers in many fields — music, sports, chess, surgery, teaching, writing, and more. Ericsson's recent book is called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of ExpertiseIt has inspired us to try launching a Freakonomics spinoff podcast, called (for now) Peak.

How to Be More Productive

It’s Self-Improvement Month at Freakonomics Radio. We begin with a topic that seems to be on everyone’s mind: how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive.

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05 24 2013

More Evidence on Charter Schools

Writing at Slate, Ray Fisman reviews the latest research on the efficacy of charter schools.  The study focuses on students at six Boston schools that had previously demonstrated an ability to improve students' test scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment...

Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?

A lot of full-time jobs in the modern economy simply don’t pay a living wage. And even those jobs may be obliterated by new technologies. What’s to be done so that financially vulnerable people aren’t just crushed? It may finally be time for an idea that economists have promoted for decades.

Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

Critics — including President Obama — say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists see them as a useful financial instrument for people who need them. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who’s right?

Tracking the Payday-Loan Industry’s Ties to Academic Research

Payday loans trap low-income borrowers in a cycle of debt, according to critics. The payday loan industry disagrees, saying its products are a financial lifeline for many people.

To find out who’s right, we turned to the academic research — and found the payday-loan industry has not only been involved in funding numerous studies, it’s also had a hand in editing them.

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

People who sleep better earn more money. Now all we have to do is teach everyone to sleep better.

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

Could a lack of sleep help explain why some people get much sicker than others?

Yes, the American Economy Is in a Funk — But Not for the Reasons You Think

As sexy as the digital revolution may be, it can’t compare to the Second Industrial Revolution (electricity! the gas engine! antibiotics!), which created the biggest standard-of-living boost in U.S. history. The only problem, argues the economist Robert Gordon, is that the Second Industrial Revolution was a one-time event. So what happens next?

The No-Tipping Point

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

The United States of Cory Booker

The junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey thinks bipartisanship is right around the corner. Is he just an idealistic newbie or does he see a way forward that everyone else has missed?