Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real? (Ep. 360)

In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to prove if he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the Philippines and a clever map-matching trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany.

Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359)

The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit.

There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified? (Ep. 285 Rebroadcast)

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former F.D.A. commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.

See a random post from our archives:
12 28 2010

Year-End Tax Planning To-Do List

A check-list of things to take care of before December 31 to make sure you minimize your tax bill:

Sell stocks that have lost value to offset any capital gains from stocks sold earlier in the year that had appreciated.
Make any last charitable contributions.
Pay any outstanding estimated taxes if...

Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be (Ep. 358)

It began as a post-war dream for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace. It has evolved into a nightmare of noise and discomfort. Can the open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?

Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling? (Ep. 357)

The Ford Motor Company is ditching its legacy sedans, doubling down on trucks, and trying to steer its stock price out of a long skid. But C.E.O. Jim Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past the graveyard, or does he see what others can’t?

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356)

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

Extra: Elvis Costello Full Interview

A conversation with the iconic singer-songwriter, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “How to Be Creative.”

Where Does Creativity Come From (and Why Do Schools Kill It Off)? (Ep. 355)

Family environments and “diversifying experiences” (including the early death of a parent); intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations; schools that value assessments, but don't assess the things we value. All these elements factor into the long, mysterious march towards a creative life. To learn more, we examine the early years of Ai Weiwei, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Maira Kalman, Wynton Marsalis, Jennifer Egan, and others. (Ep. 2 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)

Extra: Jeremy Lin Full Interview

A conversation with veteran N.B.A. point guard Jeremy Lin, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

How to Be Creative (Ep. 354)

There are thousands of books on the subject, but what do we actually know about creativity? In this new series, we talk to the researchers who study it as well as artists, inventors, and pathbreakers who live it every day: Ai Weiwei, James Dyson, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Egan, Rosanne Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Maira Kalman, and more. (Ep. 1 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)

How to Optimize Your Apology (Ep. 353)

You said, “I’m sorry,” but somehow you haven’t been forgiven. Why? Because you’re doing it wrong! A report from the front lines of apology science.