Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t. (Ep. 437)

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?

Why Do We Forget So Much of What We’ve Read? (NSQ Ep. 24)

Also: do we overestimate or underestimate our significance in other people’s lives?

Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog (Ep. 436)

As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz.

Is It Wrong to Crave Praise? (NSQ Ep. 23)

Also: should everyone have their own trauma score?

“Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!” | People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 5: Susan Wojcicki

She was the sixteenth employee at Google — a company once based in her garage — and now she's the C.E.O. of its best-known subsidiary, YouTube. But despite being one of the most powerful people in the tech industry, few outside of Silicon Valley know the name Susan Wojcicki. Levitt talks with her about the early days of Google, how her background in economics shapes the company's products, and why YouTube's success has created a range of unforeseen and serious issues.

Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive? (Ep. 435)

It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!).

Why Do We Buy Things We’ll Never Use? (NSQ Ep. 22)

Also: how is social media like a knife?

“I’m Not as Childlike as I’d Like to Be” | People I Mostly Admire Bonus Episode: Steve Levitt

Steve Levitt has so far occupied the interviewer chair on this show, but in a special live event — recorded over Zoom and presented by WNYC and the Greene Space — the microphone is turned toward him. His Freakonomics friend and co-author Stephen Dubner checks in on the wisdom Levitt has extracted from his interviews, finds out why Levitt is happiest when angering everyone across the political spectrum, and asks Levitt why he ends every interview with the same question.

Is New York City Over? (Ep. 434)

The pandemic has hit America's biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.

How Can You Identify Hidden Talent? With Eric Schmidt (NSQ Ep. 21)

Also: is there a downside to billionaire philanthropy?

“Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird” | People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 4: Ken Jennings

It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Now he holds the “Greatest of All Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.