When the White House Got Into the Nudge Business

Season 7, Episode 6 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a tiny behavioral-sciences startup in the Obama White House tried to improve the way federal agencies did their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, it wasn’t so simple. Plus: a terrorism summit. Stephen Dubner reviews what we do and don’t know about terrorism; what’s […]

The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage

Season 7, Episode 5 This week on Freakonomics Radio: over 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried mothers, and the numbers are especially high among the less-educated. Why? One argument is that the decline in good manufacturing jobs led to a decline in “marriageable” men. Surely the fracking boom reversed that trend, right? Stephen J. Dubner investigates. […]

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Season 7, Episode 4 The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. This week on Freakonomics Radio: how to become your own financial superhero. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner brings you the tale of the $15 tomato. To find out more, […]

The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money

Season 7, Episode 3 This week on Freakonomics Radio: it’s hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns?” Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized. To find out more, check out the podcast […]

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

Season 7, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. also getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Stephen J. Dubner brings you the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions […]

These Shoes Are Killing Me!

Season 7, Episode 1 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in “a coffin” (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves? […]

Do Boycotts Work? (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 52 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the South African divestment campaign, Chick-fil-A! Almost anyone can launch a boycott, and the media loves to cover them. But do boycotts actually produce the change they’re fighting for? Also, we speak with the editors of an unusual book called The Encyclopedia of Ethical […]

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 51 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of success is directly related to their level of stick-to-itiveness. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Plus: Tim Ferriss, a man whose entire life and career constitute one […]

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 50 This week on Freakonomics Radio: 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. For example, you may have heard […]

Who Needs Handwriting? (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 49 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting? A famous economics essay features a pencil (yes, a pencil) arguing that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make […]