The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast)

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won’t say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.

Why Do We Really Follow the News? (Rebroadcast)

There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?

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01 25 2010

Our Daily Bleg: Help Honest Michiganders Get Their Camping Fix

A reader named Gregory Riffe wants the Freakonomics blog readership to help solve a dilemma:

I live in Michigan and like many other Michiganders, I like to go camping in the state parks in the summer. This is such a popular pastime that weekend campsite reservations are in high demand,...

Are We in a Mattress-Store Bubble?

You’ve seen them -- everywhere! -- and often clustered together, as if central planners across America decided that what every city really needs is a Mattress District. There are now dozens of online rivals too. Why are there so many stores selling something we buy so rarely?

Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer

Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don’t get him started on pilotless planes — or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying.

The Longest Long Shot

When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn’t just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It was a sign of changing economics — and that other impossible, wonderful events might be lurking just around the corner.

How to Be Tim Ferriss

Our Self-Improvement Month concludes with a man whose entire life and career are one big pile of self-improvement. Nutrition? Check. Bizarre physical activities? Check. Working less and earning more? Check. Tim Ferriss, creator of the Four-Hour universe, may at first glance look like a charlatan, but it seems more likely that he’s a wizard -- and the kind of self-improvement ally we all want on our side.

How to Win Games and Beat People

Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those people. That’s why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game.

How to Get More Grit in Your Life

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Here’s how.

BONUS EPISODE: Being Malcolm Gladwell

“Books are a pain in the ass,” says Gladwell, who has written some of the most popular, influential, and beloved non-fiction books in recent history. In this wide-ranging and candid conversation, he describes other pains in the ass — as well as his passions, his limits, and why he’ll never take up golf.

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.