A Rescue Plan for Black America (Ep. 453)

New York Times columnist Charles Blow argues that white supremacy in America will never fully recede, and that it’s time for Black people to do something radical about it. In The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto, he urges a “reverse migration” to the South to consolidate political power and create a region where it’s safe to be Black. (This is an episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.)

Robert Sapolsky: “I Don’t Think We Have Any Free Will Whatsoever.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 18)

He’s one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, with a focus on the physiological effects of stress. (For years, he spent his summers in Kenya, alone except for the baboons he was observing.) Steve asks Robert why we value human life over animals, why he’s lost faith in the criminal-justice system, and how to look casual when you’re about to blow-dart a very large and potentially unhappy primate.

Why Are We So Attracted to Fame? (NSQ Ep. 41)

Also: do we subconsciously lie about our major influences?

See a random post from our archives:
12 02 2010

How Did the Deaths of Four People Cost the U.S. Government $6.5 Billion?

No, it wasn't because of lawsuits.

No, it wasn't because the four people were buried with trade secrets worth a lot of money.

It was because they happened to die in a year during which the estate/death tax is zero. From a post at ElderLawAnswers.com:
[George] Steinbrenner was worth an estimated $1.5 billion, meaning his heirs could...

Emily Oster: “I Am a Woman Who Is Prominently Discussing Vaginas.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 17)

In addition to publishing best-selling books about pregnancy and child-rearing, Emily Oster is a respected economist at Brown University. Over the course of the pandemic, she’s become the primary collector of data about Covid-19 in schools. Steve and Emily discuss how she became an advocate for school reopening, how economists think differently from the average person, and whether pregnant women really need to avoid coffee.

Am I Boring You? (Ep. 225 Rebroadcast)

Researchers are trying to figure out who gets bored — and why — and what it means for ourselves and the economy. But maybe there’s an upside to boredom?

Have We All Lost Our Ability to Compromise? (NSQ Ep.40)

Also: is it better to be right or “not wrong”?

Joshua Jay: “Humans Are So, So Easy to Fool.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 16)

He’s a world-renowned magician who’s been performing since he was seven years old. But Joshua Jay is also an author, toy maker, and consultant for film and television. Steve Levitt talks to him about how magicians construct tricks, how Joshua’s academic studies of magic have influenced Levitt’s life, and whether Jesus might have been a magician.

Jeff Immelt Knows He Let You Down (Ep. 452)

Not so long ago, G.E. was the most valuable company in the world, a conglomerate that included everything from light bulbs and jet engines to financial services and The Apprentice. Now it’s selling off body parts to survive. What does the C.E.O. who presided over the decline have to say for himself?

Introducing Sudhir Breaks the Internet

Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociologist who has studied crack gangs, sex workers, and gun runners, suddenly found himself working at Facebook, and later at Twitter. Now he’s back from Silicon Valley to explore and explain our overheated digital universe. “Sudhir Breaks the Internet” is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.

Is Everybody Cheating These Days? (NSQ Ep. 39)

Also, what's better: to learn new skills or go deep on what you're good at?

Tim Harford: “If You Can Make Sure You’re Not An Idiot, You’ve Done Well.” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 15)

He’s a former World Bank economist who became a prolific journalist and the author of one of Steve Levitt’s favorite books, The Undercover Economist. Tim Harford lives in England, where he’s made it his mission to help the public understand statistics. In their conversation, Steve gives Tim some feedback on his new book, The Data Detective, contemplates if it’s possible to tell great stories with data, and Tim explains how making mistakes can be fun.