What Do Nancy Pelosi, Taylor Swift, and Serena Williams Have in Common? (Ep. 385)

They — along with a great many other high-achieving women — were all once Girl Scouts. So was Sylvia Acevedo. Raised in a poor, immigrant family, she was told that “girls like her” didn’t go to college. But she did, and then became a rocket scientist and tech executive. Now she’s C.E.O. of the very organization she credits with shaping her life. Acevedo tells us how the Girl Scouts are trying to stay relevant, why they’re suing the Boy Scouts, and how they sell so many cookies.

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Ep. 384)

The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.

A Better Way to Eat (Ep. 173 Rebroadcast)

Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?

See a random post from our archives:
06 04 2006

$117 haircut

I got my most expensive haircut ever yesterday: $117.

Actually, the haircut itself was only $17. But, as I walked from the barber to work, I passed by a young couple eating breakfast on their stoop. The woman called out, "Aren't you Steve Levitt?" So I stopped to talk to them. I asked her how...

The Zero-Minute Workout (Ep. 383)

There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution? (Ep. 382)

An all-star team of behavioral scientists discovers that humans are stubborn (and lazy, and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in Philadelphia with guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich.

Long-Term Thinking in a Start-Up Town (Ep. 381)

Recorded live in San Francisco. Guests include the keeper of a 10,000-year clock, the co-founder of Lyft, a pioneer in male birth control, a specialist in water security, and a psychology professor who is also a puppy. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

Notes From an Imperfect Paradise (Ep. 380)

Recorded live in Los Angeles. Guests include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the “Earthquake Lady,” the head of the Port of L.A., and a scientist with NASA’s Planetary Protection team. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the worldwide debut of Luis Guerra and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

How to Change Your Mind (Ep. 379)

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?

Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Ep. 323 Rebroadcast)

Whether it’s a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it’ll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That’s because you suffer from “the planning fallacy.” (You also have an “optimism bias” and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don’t worry: we’ve got the solution.

23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else) (Ep. 378)

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe.

The $1.5 Trillion Question: How to Fix Student-Loan Debt? (Ep. 377)

As the cost of college skyrocketed, it created a debt burden that’s putting a drag on the economy. One possible solution: shifting the risk of debt away from students and onto investors looking for a cut of the graduates’ earning power.