The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money

Season 7, Episode 3 This week on Freakonomics Radio: it’s hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns?” Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized. To find out more, check out the podcast […]

What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

We explore votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that?

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

Season 7, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. also getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Stephen J. Dubner brings you the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions […]

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

These Shoes Are Killing Me!

Season 7, Episode 1 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in “a coffin” (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves? […]

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Here’s the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 51 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of success is directly related to their level of stick-to-itiveness. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Plus: Tim Ferriss, a man whose entire life and career constitute one […]

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 50 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. For example, you may have heard […]

Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

Who Needs Handwriting? (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 49 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 make […]