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There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer.“ [MUSIC: The Civil Tones, “City Stoopin’” (from City Stoopin’)]   Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. As you may know, Freakonomics Radio is a public-radio project, which means it is supported by you, our listeners. In other words, […] Read More »

Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet): Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet).“ [MUSIC: Jonathan Geer, “Happy Elevator”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Okay, time for a guessing game. I’m thinking of something that only happens every four years and that everyone gets really excited about … MEDIA CLIP: Well, this year’s a leap year! […] Read More »

Italy to Include Prostitution and Illegal Drugs in GDP

Bloomberg reports that Italy will now begin including its shadow economy in the country’s GDP, in an effort to reduce the national deficit:

Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the gross domestic product calculation this year, a boost for its chronically stagnant economy and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s effort to meet deficit targets.

Drugs, prostitution and smuggling will be part of GDP as of 2014 and prior-year figures will be adjusted to reflect the change in methodology, the Istat national statistics office said today. The revision was made to comply with European Union rules, it said.

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Failure Is Your Friend: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Failure Is Your Friend.“ [MUSIC: Phil Symonds, “Spring Delight”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Um, so Levitt, you’re a fairly successful fellow. Steve LEVITT: Thank you. DUBNER: I’m just curious — have you succeeded at everything you’ve ever done? LEVITT: No, I’ve mostly failed at everything I’ve ever […] Read More »

The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of our episode called “The Upside of Quitting.”  (You can subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript.)

You know the saying “a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.” To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure? Sometimes quitting is strategic, and sometimes it can be your best possible plan. To help us understand quitting, we look at a couple of key economic concepts in this episode: sunk costs and opportunity costs. Read More »

Think Like a Child: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Think Like a Child.” [MUSIC: Das Vibenbass, “An Impulsive Behavior” (from Fodakis)] Stephen J. DUBNER: On today’s program, we begin with a magic show … DUBNER: Because if there’s ever a medium that’s made for magic, it’s radio, right? [APPLAUSE] Alex STONE: Hey guys how you doing? […] Read More »

The Three Hardest Words in the English Language: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “The Three Hardest Words in the English Language.” [MUSIC: Spencer Garn, “Thunder Thighs”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey, it’s Stephen Dubner. Our new book is out, Think Like a Freak, and we want to talk about it with you. So we are forming the Think Like a Freak […] Read More »

And the Think Like a Freak Swag Goes to …

Last week, we offered some Think Like a Freak swag to the reader who came up with the best answer to the question “What Are the Three Hardest Words to Say?” Your answers were so good (and plentiful!) that we decided to choose three winners, each of whom can have their pick of a signed copy of our new book or a Think Like a Freak t-shirt. (If you didn’t win, there’s another contest going on right now.)

Winner No. 1 is Kris Fletcher, the first (of many) to provide the same answer we provide in the book: “I don’t know.”

Winner No. 2 is Bob S., who plainly gets the spirit of the Levitt-Dubner collaboration, with “Good point, Dubner.”

And Winner No. 3 is Jake. While a lot of people answered “I was wrong,” Jake had a similar take but opted for “I’ve no excuse,” making a case for why that’s even tougher than “I was wrong”:

“I was wrong” seems to be a common phrase people are mentioning, but I think admitting you are wrong is easy if you don’t have to admit that your inner processes were wrong. All the time, you hear people say something like, “Oh, I was wrong about that, but I didn’t have the data I needed at the time.” Very rarely do you hear someone take full blame for their actions without at least assigning partial blame elsewhere. Admitting that you and you alone were in the wrong is much harder.