No Stupid Questions

Stephen Dubner (co-author of the Freakonomics book series) and research psychologist Angela Duckworth (author of Grit) really like to ask people questions, and came to believe there’s no such thing as a stupid one. So they made a podcast where they can ask each other as many “stupid questions” as they want. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts, or use the R.S.S. feed. Follow No Stupid Questions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And stay tuned to Freakonomics Radio and sign up for our newsletter.

In each episode Stephen and Angela take turns asking each other a question like:

  • Why is it so hard to predict success?
  • Can charisma be taught?
  • Does familiarity really breed contempt?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to have funerals before people die?
  • What’s the best advice for being alone in public?
  • What’s so good about friendship?
  • Are ambitious people inherently selfish?

(Photo: Lucy Sutton)


Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and TV and radio personality. He is co-author of the Freakonomics books, which have sold millions of copies in 40 languages, and host of Freakonomics Radio, which gets 8 million global monthly downloads and is heard by millions more on N.P.R. stations and other radio outlets.

Angela Duckworth is founder and C.E.O. of Character Lab, a nonprofit that uses psychological science to help children thrive. She is also the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics. A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Angela has advised the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s. Angela’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a No. 1 New York Times best seller.

If you have a question you’d like Stephen and Angela to discuss, email us here:

Does Psychotherapy Actually Work? (NSQ Ep. 35)

Also: how many “selves” is it okay to have?

Are Humans Smarter or Stupider Than We Used to Be? (NSQ Ep. 34)

Also: how can you become a more curious person?

Is Optimism a Luxury Good? (NSQ Ep. 33)

Also: why is public speaking so terrifying?

How Much of Your Life Do You Actually Control? (NSQ Ep. 15 Rebroadcast)

Also: why do we procrastinate?

Which Gets You Further: Talent or Effort? (NSQ Ep. 32)

Also: where is the line between acronyms, initialisms, and gibberish?

How Much Do Your Friends Affect Your Future? (NSQ Ep. 31)

Also: which professions have the happiest people?

Why Do We Seek Comfort in the Familiar? (NSQ Ep. 30)

Also: is a little knowledge truly a dangerous thing?

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Quit? (NSQ Ep. 29)

Also: why is it so hard to predict success?

Why Do We Hoard? (NSQ Ep. 28)

Also: do you spend more time thinking about the past, the present, or the future?

How Should You Ask for Forgiveness? (NSQ Ep. 27)

Also: why is behavior change so darn hard?