Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!

As CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for over-the-top enthusiasm. Now he’s brought that same passion to the N.B.A. — and to a pet project called USAFacts, which performs a sort of fiscal colonoscopy on the American government.

The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think

Season 6, Episode 36 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what is truly inevitable? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly about why we shouldn’t be afraid of the future and the folly of prediction. Plus: why can’t we predict earthquakes? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The […]

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)

On the Internet, people say all kinds of things they’d never say aloud — about sex and race, about their true wants and fears. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has spent years parsing the data. His conclusion: our online searches are the reflection of our true selves. In the real world, everybody lies.

How to be More Productive

Season 6, Episode 34 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner returns to his alma mater to ask his three favorite professors if colleges make people more productive and happier. Among the discoveries in this episode, here’s a big one: there’s a significant difference between being busy and being productive. To find out more, check out the […]

Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer

Season 6, Episode 32 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks to an airline pilot about what really happens up in the air. Just don’t get him started on pilot-less planes — or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying. Plus: why parking is hell. To find out more, check out the podcasts from […]

Big Returns from Thinking Small

By day, two leaders of Britain’s famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to improve their personal lives. They want to help you do the same.

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)

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. Here’s how.

In Praise of Incrementalism

Season 6, Episode 20  On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: what do the Italian Renaissance, Olympic cycling, and civil rights movements have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, Stephen J. Dubner argues that we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism. […]

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.

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.