Introducing “Question of the Day,” a New Dubner Podcast

One of the best things about being a journalist is getting to ask questions. Stephen Dubner has been doing this for years, accumulating fascinating bits of knowledge, hidden insights, and wild stories. By now he knows at least a little bit about a lot of things.

What Are My Chances of Making the Champions Tour (Or at Least Hitting the Golf Ball Really Far)?

Photo: Sands Beach Lanzarote Despite the fact that I am not very good at golf, my secret fantasy is to someday play on the Champions Tour, the professional golf tour for fifty-somethings. As I approach my 44th birthday, I realize that it is time to get serious in this endeavor.

The Economics of Tiger Parenting

When my daughter Anna was 7, she told me she desperately wanted a dog. I looked her in the eye and said, "You can have a dog if you publish an article in an academic peer-reviewed journal." I wasn't kidding. I really, really didn't want a dog because I thought it would disrupt our family routine, which included large dollops of what Amy Chua's controversial new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, refers to as Tiger parenting.

Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Mahajan! The "Street-Fighting Mathematician" Answers Your Questions

Sanjoy Mahajan answers your questions.

The Science of Genius: A Q&A With Author David Shenk

Practice makes genius?

A Nice Article About Anders Ericsson

The Australian has an excellent profile of Anders Ericsson, a psychology professor and Freakonomics favorite who has done seminal research on talent. I had the pleasure of getting to know Ericsson well when we both spent a year visiting Stanford’s Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences six or seven years ago. His research […]

How ‘Talented’ Is This Kid?

A while ago, we wrote a New York Times Magazine column about talent — what it is, how it’s acquired, etc. The gist of the column was that “raw talent,” as it’s often called, is vastly overrated, and that people who become very good at something, whether it’s sports, music, or medicine, generally do so […]

Experimenting with milkshakes?

I have been on a mission to convince firms to do simple experiments that will give them feedback regarding the decisions that they make. Just as with people (as Anders Ericsson studies), firms cannot learn without feedback. It turns out, however, that it is not easy for people in companies to see the wisdom in […]

Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: A Star Is Made

The May 7, 2006, Freakonomics column in the New York Times Magazine asks a fundamental -- but very hard -- question: When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good? This blog post supplies additional research material.

Do You Know Why You Are Good at What You Do?

Our new “Freakonomics” column in the New York Times Magazine asks a fundamental — but very hard – question: When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good? To find the answer to this question, we turned to Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State […]