Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

The No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

How to Make a Bad Decision

Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler’s fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges — and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.

Trust Me

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades -- in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

BONUS EPISODE: How Much Does the President Really Matter?

This BONUS Freakonomics Radio episode is an old one we thought you might want to hear in light of our very dramatic and surprising Presidential election. It’s called “How Much Does the President Really Matter?” The U.S. president is often called the “leader of the free world.” But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much […]

The White House Gets Into the Nudge Business

A tiny behavioral-sciences startup is trying to improve the way federal agencies do their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, this isn’t so simple. But after a series of early victories -- and a helpful executive order from President Obama -- they are well on their way.

In Praise of Incrementalism

What do Renaissance painting, civil-rights movements, and Olympic cycling have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism.

In Praise of Maintenance

Has our culture’s obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?

This Is Your Brain on Podcasts

Neuroscientists still have a great deal to learn about the human brain. One recent MRI study sheds some light, finding that that a certain kind of storytelling stimulates enormous activity across broad swaths of the brain. The takeaway is obvious: you should be listening to even more podcasts.

How To Win A Nobel Prize (Rebroadcast)

The gist: the Nobel selection process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off, at least a little bit.