In Praise of Maintenance

Season 6, Episode 19 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Our society is obsessed with innovation, which has a pretty high cost. Stephen J. Dubner got obsessed with the notion of maintenance, and talks about why it isn’t the enemy of innovation, but rather the saving grace of American infrastructure. Speaking of things that need taking care of, […]

The Church of ‘Scionology’

Season 6, Episode 18 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: if you’ve built a successful business — be it a bakery, a carmaker or a newspaper — who continues the legacy when you retire? For many Fortune 500 companies, the answer is obvious: one (or more) of your children take the helm. But let’s get beyond the nepotism and silver spoons, […]

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 17 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: we continue last week’s conversation about the economics of sleep. We look at some research suggesting, for instance, that early birds really do get the worm. And then we look into the tactics — physical, mental, and strategic — of  six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru […]

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 16 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: poor sleep can impair our cognitive function; sleep loss has been linked to adverse physical outcomes like weight gain and, increasingly, more serious maladies; and the Centers for Disease Control recently declared insufficient sleep a “public-health epidemic.” So are we treating the problem as […]

Trust Me

Season 6, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: 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? Plus: Some of our most […]

Who Needs Handwriting?

Season 6, Episode 14 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 […]

How to Get More Grit in Your Life

Season 6, Episode 13 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned.  Plus, a man whose entire life and career are […]

Time to Take Back the Toilet (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 12 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe — and what other sub-optimal solutions do we […]

How to Become Great at Just About Anything

Season 6, Episode 11 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. One idea you may have heard […]

Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?

Season 6, Episode 10 When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or the price? Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars. Thanks to the work of some intrepid and wine-obsessed economists (yes, there is an American Association of Wine […]