No Stupid Questions

Stephen Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio, and Angela Duckworth, author of Grit, have spent decades exploring the weird and wonderful ways in which humans behave — Dubner as a journalist and writer, Duckworth as an academic and researcher — and the two have been asking each other interesting questions ever since they became friends years ago. Now they are turning these conversations into a podcast called No Stupid Questions, which launched on May 18th. You can subscribe now 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?

Dubner and Duckworth’s questions lead to crackling conversations that pull in surprising references to research, literature, philosophy, and history. You never know where their talks will go. More often than not, they lead to more questions, like Russian nesting dolls. And that is what each episode of No Stupid Questions will be — a little matryoshka of a conversation.




(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.

Does “As If” Thinking Really Work? (NSQ Ep. 12)

Also: how effective is the placebo effect?

Are Ambitious People Inherently Selfish? (NSQ Ep. 11)

Also: why do we habituate to life’s greatest pleasures?

Why Are Stories Stickier Than Statistics? (NSQ Ep. 10)

Also: are the most memorable stories less likely to be true?

Why Is It So Hard to Be Alone With Our Thoughts? (NSQ Ep. 9)

Also: how do you avoid screwing up your kids?

Wouldn’t It Be Better to Hear Your Eulogy Before You’re Dead? (NSQ Ep. 8)

Also: how does a comedian cope with tragedy? With Eugene Mirman.

How Do You Handle Criticism? (NSQ Ep. 7)

Also: is it better to send a congratulatory note to someone who deserves it or a condolence note to someone who needs it? 

Is Incompetence a Form of Dishonesty? (NSQ Ep. 6)

Also: should we all have personal mission statements?

Introducing “No Stupid Questions” (Ep. 422)

In this new addition to the Freakonomics Radio Network, co-hosts Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss the relationship between age and happiness. Also: does all creativity come from pain? New episodes of No Stupid Questions are released every Sunday evening — please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

What Do Tom Sawyer and the Founder of Duolingo Have in Common? (NSQ Ep. 5)

Also: is there such a thing as too much science? With special guest Luis von Ahn.

Does All Creativity Come From Pain? (NSQ Ep. 4)

Also: is life precious because it’s finite?