Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love

Season 7, Episode 7 This week on Freakonomics Radio: he’s been U.S. Treasury Secretary, a chief economist for the Obama White House and the World Bank, and president of Harvard. He’s one of the most brilliant economists of his generation (and perhaps the most irascible). And he thinks the Trump Administration is wrong on just […]

When the White House Got Into the Nudge Business

Season 7, Episode 6 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a tiny behavioral-sciences startup in the Obama White House tried to improve the way federal agencies did their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, it wasn’t so simple. Plus: a terrorism summit. Stephen Dubner reviews what we do and don’t know about terrorism; what’s […]

Time to Take Back the Toilet (Rebroadcast)

Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?

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 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 […]

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

Season 6, Episode 46 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow. But, Stephen J. Dubner asks, is it true? Plus: a lot of ideas about how to successfully raise money — using good old-fashioned guilt, for instance. […]

Rivalry: TMSIDK Episode 17

We kick-off the third season of Tell Me Something I Don't Know with a show on competition of all kinds: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the little-known battle between butter and margarine that landed in the Supreme Court.

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

A series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow — but is it true? A trio of economists set out to test the theory. All it took was a Dutch postal worker’s uniform, some envelopes stuffed with cash, and a slight sense of the absurd.

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 […]