Question of the Day: What Do You Want to Know About Interesting People?

We are setting up a new series of interviews for Freakonomics Radio in which we’ll identify interesting/accomplished/prominent people and ask them a series of Freakonomics-ish questions, ranging from their professional accomplishments to personal quirks. I am eager to hear your suggestions on both:

  • The people you’d want to hear from; and
  • What kind of questions you’d like to hear them asked.

No idea is too big/small, outlandish/traditional, etc.

Thanks in advance.


One or two spaces after a period?

Saúl madrigal

LOUIS C.K. Ask him about his
Ideas on selling his material, show tickets
On line, and how he uses so little money on producing a Great show


Warren Buffet!

Can anyone (realistically) become like yourself, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. or does it take some degree of intelligence, foresight, imagination or luck?

What's your advice to parents to prepare their children for the future? And how young should they start?

What are some good philosophies or true-isms you live your life by? Have any of those changed as you've gotten older?

Brian Person

Steven Berlin Johnson.

Peer Progressive, Emergent and self organization principles of cities. Where Good Ideas Come From. Seems like he'd fit right in on Freakonomics Radio.

Jimm Simon

I'd like to ask a wide variety of well know and/or successful (what is success by the way.). If they feel interesting, if yes when did they start to feel interesting? Do they consciously try to be interesting I.e. Is it brand management aimed at self promotion or is it tied to something else like their job or social engagement. Is being interesting part of the recipe for success?


Susan Cain. How we can better leverage introverts (like Warren Buffet) and "soft power" in business.


Robert sapolsky!!!! He studies how stress affects behavior in savanna baboons, but what's really interesting is that they are exactly like us! His results translate to office relationships in the developed world to a T. He's also a great storyteller (multiple books and broadcasted talks)


If known primarily for the arts, government or academics, what would you pursue in the business world and why? No fluffy answers please ("Truth, Justice and the American Way" doesn't cut it).

If known for business, what art would you pursue? What attracts you to it?


Nazri Hassan - Cradle Investment Program (Malaysia).
Raj Ridvan Singh - SOL2/47
Ellynita Hazlina Lamin- Social Enterprise Malaysia
Karamjit Singh - Digital News Asia

1. How technology innovation can improve socio-economic of local and the surrounding regions.

Enter your name...

I want to know more about this guy:

What motivates him? What does he think is interesting about himself? What is it like to design software for millions of users at the world's largest non-profit website?


Inventor Dean Kamen and MIT professor Dr. Woodie Flowers

They are pioneers in promoting STEM education through the organization they founded called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). I'd love to hear how their challenge has changed over the years. Has the ubiquity of technology made it easier or harder to inspire young people into STEM fields?

These are two of the most interesting and inspiring people I've ever had the pleasure of speaking with, and I know you guys would love talking to them, too.

Brian Gulino

What did they avoid doing on the way to being successful?


I think it would intresting to see
A) What drove them to start in the first place
B) How much luck was involved with their success
C) What they feel was the impact of there success and what they wished was the impact.

Barrett Palmer

Of all the people I'd love to hear on your show, I think Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg would be the best guests in my opinion. I also think Paul Ryan or Bill O'Reilly would make a good guest, as well as Noam Chomsky, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. I believe that questions regarding their outlook and advice that bucks the conventionally-accepted wisdom/belief trends. I would also ask them what gets them out of bed in the morning. What music they like, what sports or activities they like, and why they like them and do they think these are beneficial to their attitude and overall personal health. Whether they plan to invest in genomics and drone technologies in order to genetically engineer and manufacture an army of ungodly creatures to fulfill their plan of global domination, and other typical interview questions.


Nate Silver


It would be really cool to get some hard science academics and get them to talk about economics, both in terms of its perceived legitimacy as a science, and how they see economics directly in action in their fields of work. By that I mean, for example, the preciousness of scarce resources in something like biology and not so much economics in the form of funding research and salaries and the like.

Inspired by this:


Jeff Skoll

How do you measure your contributions to philanthropy and social sustainability when our world's problems seem insurmountable? How can we most effectively inspire people who have ample resources to contribute but are entirely detached from the world's most pressing issues?

Also, how do we attract the most innovative young minds to pursue careers in social and environmental sustainability when we measure career options based on other factors (i.e. income, lifestyle, interest in location) and not always world impact. Is this a major flaw/obstacle in American society? Can compensation structure be changed? Or can we incentivize in other ways?

Joe j

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Eric M. Jones


In case you haven't noticed, half the comments here are by shills for the people mentioned, or the very people themselves. So I've marked them thumbs-down.

Bill Gates: What is your password?

Susan Prince

"What are you reading right now?"
"What's the best movie you've seen in the last 5 years, and why?"
"Who would you invite to dinner if your meal for six was on the house and you could ask anyone, living or dead."
"Do you play a musical instrument?"