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.

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09 15 2010

Bad News for Me on Two Fronts

A new meta-analysis looks at past research into whether a person's performance on basic physical functions like walking speed or ease in getting out of a chair predicts death. One of the key conclusions:
In 14 studies that included a total of 53,476 people, the death rate was 1.67 times higher for people with the...

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.

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.

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.

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.