Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”? (Ep. 407 Rebroadcast)

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.

What’s the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received? (NSQ Ep. 65)

Also: why don’t you need a license to become a parent?

America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 42)

A special episode: Steve reports on a passion of his. Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik era. Steve wants to get rid of the “geometry sandwich” and instead have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency. Originally broadcast on Freakonomics Radio, this episode includes an update from Steve about a project he launched to revamp the education system.

What Do Grocery Store Prices and Heart Surgery Have in Common? (Freakonomics, M.D. Ep. 4)

Humans are hardwired to focus on the left digit in numbers. It’s why products are priced at $3.99 instead of $4.00. But does this left-digit bias also affect medical decisions? Host Bapu Jena is joined by a fellow researcher and a cardiologist to explain how left-digit bias shows up in one of the most important decisions a doctor can make, what it means for patients, and what we can do about it.

These Jobs Were Not Posted on ZipRecruiter (Ep. 473)

In a conversation fresh from the Freakonomics Radio Network’s podcast laboratory, Michèle Flournoy (one of the highest-ranking women in Defense Department history) speaks with Cecil Haney (one of the U.S. Navy’s first Black four-star admirals) about nuclear deterrence, smart leadership, and how to do inclusion right.

Why Do We Buy Things We Never Use? (Rebroadcast From Ep.22)

Also: why do we hoard? (Rebroadcast From Ep. 28)

Dr. Bapu Jena on Why Freakonomics Is the Best Medicine (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 41)

He’s a Harvard physician and economist who just started a third job: host of the new podcast Freakonomics, M.D. He’s also Steve’s former student. The two discuss why medicine should embrace econ-style research, the ethics of human-challenge trials, and Bapu’s role in one of Steve’s, ahem, less-than-successful experiments.

Why Are Kids With Summer Birthdays More Likely to Get the Flu? (Freakonomics, M.D. Ep. 3)

After struggling to schedule a flu shot for his own toddler, host Bapu Jena went down a research rabbit hole. He discovered that the time of year kids are born has an unexpected and dramatic effect on whether they and their families end up getting the flu. Bapu explains his findings and asks a pediatrician and public health expert what could be done about it.

Reasons to Be Cheerful (Ep. 417 Rebroadcast)

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?

Are Women Required to Be Nicer Than Men? (NSQ Ep. 64)

Also: should you feel guilty if you don’t read books?

Harold Pollack on Why Managing Your Money Is as Easy as Taking Out the Garbage (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 40)

He argues that personal finance is so simple all you need to know can fit on an index card. How will he deal with Steve’s suggestion that Harold’s nine rules for managing money are overly complicated? Harold and Steve also talk about gun violence — a topic Harold researches as a public-policy professor at the University of Chicago — and they propose some radical ideas for reducing it.