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

Season 8, Episode 20 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, […]

How to Be Creative

Season 8, Episode 19 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 […]

Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet

Season 8, Episode 18 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right? To learn more, check out the podcast from […]

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Rebroadcast)

Season 8, Episode 17 This week on Freakonomics Radio, in our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home. Dana Suskind of the Thirty Million Words Initiative works with parents in their homes to teach them the best ways of […]

Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing) (Rebroadcast)

Season 8, Episode 16 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. […]

What Are You Waiting For? (Rebroadcast)

Season 8, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven’t we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) […]

Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

Season 8, Episode 14 After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation money. How should that money be allocated? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with the man who’s done that job after many tragedies, including 9/11. The hard part, it turns […]

How to Be Happy

Season 8, Episode 13 The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them). Also, Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of […]

Are We Running Out of Ideas? (Rebroadcast)

Season 8, Episode 12 Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. This week on Freakonomics Radio, Stephen J. Dubner examines one theory: that true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next? Also, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answers your questions about highway-merging, […]

Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

Season 8, Episode 11 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 […]