More on Saying "I Don't Know"

In our latest podcast, "Why Is 'I Don't Know' So Hard to Say?," Levitt talked about how it is practically forbidden in the business world to say that you don't know the answer to a question, lest you be deemed incompetent or irrelevant.

That idea has generated some reader feedback that I thought was interesting enough to share. First, from Mike Wrubel, an office manager for a medical practice in Elkhart, Indiana:

I would generally agree with the notion that people in business are very much inclined to not say "I don't know." I have worked in the same hospital for 20 years, and while I am very comfortable saying it, not everyone else is. I think people fear being perceived by others as they are not paying attention to their work, or being seen as incompetent, or that it's their job to "know."

Bring Your Freakonomics Questions for a Radio FAQ

Once in a while, we do an FAQ podcast (that's FREAK-quently Asked Questions) whereby you send us questions via the comments section and we answer them in a radio program. We're gearing up to do another FAQ, likely to be released on Jan. 4, so fire away. Given the release date, you might consider asking about New Year's resolutions (and the commitment devices we sometimes employ); the dangers of drunk walking; maybe even the reproductive provenance of your holiday meal. Feel free to ask followup questions on radio stuff we've done in the past too, like the "Prius Effect" (conspicuous conservation), the decline of hitchhiking, and whether expensive wines actually taste better. Thanks in advance.

FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: Nate Silver

Nate Silver is the proprietor of FiveThirtyEight.com, where his statistical wizardry (and common sense) during the recent elections made him the biggest new political star after a certain family named Obama.

He didn't do quite so well on the Oscars but, really, do we care?

FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen loves travel, hates coffee, and believes in blogging like perhaps no other blogger alive. Those are just a few of the things you'll learn in the following FREAK-Quently Asked Questions with Cowen, a professor of economics, author, and world-renowned econoblogger who's also a sucker for ethnic food. Enjoy.

FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: Mario Batali

Mario Batali is one of the best-known chefs/entrepreneurs in the world. During college, at Rutgers, he double majored: Spanish theater (who knew?) and economics. He was good enough to submit to our FREAK-Quently Asked Questions (past entries here).

An FAQ with Mario Batali:

FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: David Levin

Here's the first installment of a new feature we're trying out. It's a simple idea: we wrote up a Freakonomics questionnaire and will now force it on a variety of people.

The first victim is Dave Levin, co-founder of the national charter-school program, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP).