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 […]

Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?

Season 6, Episode 9  You have perhaps come across the phrase homo economicus, which describes a model for human behavior as seen through the lens of economics. In this hour, you’ll hear Freakonomics Radio producer Greg Rosalsky embark on a long and tortuous process to live his life like homo economicus. Is this even possible? […]

Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?

Season 6, Episode 8  Sure, we all pay lip service to the Madisonian system of checks and balances. But as one legal scholar argues, presidents have been running roughshod over the system for decades. The result? An accumulation of power that’s turned the presidency into a position the founders wouldn’t have recognized. At the same […]

Think Like A Child (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 7 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful to think like a child. And then, how can we […]

Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 6 First up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not. And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the […]

Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees?

Season 6, Episode 5 This week on Freakonomics Radio:  We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it’s served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense — and is it legal? Host Stephen Dubner speaks with the owners of Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table, which serves “thoughtful […]