How to Create Suspense

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we were inspired by a fascinating research paper called “Suspense and Surprise” by the economists Jeffrey Ely, Alexander Frankel, and Emir Kamenica. We speak with all three of them about what makes a particular sport suspenseful (or boring), what makes a movie thrilling (or, as in the case of M. Night Shyamalan, increasingly not), and why these things are worth discussing within the realm of economics. We'll also hear from practitioners of the art of suspense, including novelist Harlan Coben.

How to Create Suspense (Ep. 214)

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called "How to Create Suspense." (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) In this episode, we try to answer a few questions: Why is soccer the best sport? How has Harlan Coben sold 70 million books? And why does “Apollo 13” keeps you enthralled even when you know the ending?