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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.



How to Think Like a Freak — and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “How to Think Like a Freak — and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions.” [MUSIC: Phil Symonds, “Gipsy Jacks”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. We have a new book out next week called Think Like a Freak. You can read an excerpt in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal. […] Read More »



The Perfect Crime: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “The Perfect Crime.” [MUSIC:  Johnny Sangster, “Slowbook”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. As you may have heard, our new book, Think Like a Freak, is out on May 12. On May 4, the CBS show Sunday Morning is scheduled to run a segment on us and […] Read More »



Malcolm Gladwell Reviews Think Like a Freak on Amazon

It can be found here under “Editorial Reviews.” In case you don’t feel like clicking through:

In one of the many wonderful moments in Think Like a Freak, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner ask the question: Who is easier to fool—kids or adults? The obvious answer, of course, is kids. The cliché is about taking candy from a baby, not a grown man. But instead of accepting conventional wisdom as fact, the two sit down with the magician Alex Stone—someone in the business of fooling people—and ask him what he thinks. And his answer? Adults.

Stone gave the example of the staple of magic tricks, the “double lift,” where two cards are presented as one. It’s how a magician can seemingly bury a card that you have selected at random and then miraculously retrieve it. Stone has done the double lift countless times in his career, and he says it is kids—overwhelmingly—who see through it. Why? The magician’s job is to present a series of cues—to guide the attention of his audience—and adults are really good at following cues and paying attention. Kids aren’t. Their gaze wanders. Adults have a set of expectations and assumptions about the way the world works, which makes them vulnerable to a profession that tries to exploit those expectations and assumptions. Kids don’t know enough to be exploited. Kids are more curious. They don’t overthink problems; they’re more likely to understand that the basis of the trick is something really, really simple. And most of all—and this is my favorite—kids are shorter than adults, so they quite literally see the trick from a different and more revealing angle.

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Which Came First, the Chicken or the Avocado? Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Avocado?” [MUSIC: The Diplomats of Solid Sound, “Plenty Nasty” (from Plenty Nasty)] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. Our new book, Think Like a Freak, is out on May 12. Visit Freakonomics.com to learn more or pre-order a copy – […] Read More »