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 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 […]

No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry

In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back — and would it be worth it?

Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal

What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn’t go very well.

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.

Did China Eat America’s Jobs?

For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been “traumatic.” This has already led to a political insurrection — so what’s next?

The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution

Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis’s new book The Undoing Project explains how the movement they started — now known as behavioral economics — has had such a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large.

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)

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. He tells us everything he’s learned.

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?