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Should We Hope Congestion Gets Worse?

…you. I know this sounds fishy. Don’t drivers complain about traffic in poll over poll? Isn’t congestion a huge drain on our economy? Haven’t Daniel Kahneman (a Nobel laureate) and…

Radio in Progress: One Upside of Aging

We’re working on a Freakonomics Radio episode about pain. One component is the very interesting research by Daniel Kahneman and Donald Redelmeier about how colonoscopy patients remember the pain of…

Episode 483

What’s Wrong With Shortcuts?

You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math…

Episode 13

How Can You Stop Comparing Yourself With Other People?

Also: how can we stop confusing correlation with causation?

Episode 104

How Simple Is Too Simple?

Why are humans so eager for magic-bullet solutions? Can you explain how a pen works? And how does Angela feel about being forever branded “the grit lady”?…

Episode 83

Can You Change Your Mind Without Losing Face?

What is the cost of admitting you’re wrong? How can intellectual humility make you more open minded? And will Stephen finally persuade Angela that rum-raisin is the best flavor of…

Episode 121

How Good Are Your Snap Judgments?

How much can you tell about someone from the first few seconds of a Zoom call? What did Stephen think of Angie when he first met her? And: a special…

Episode 105

Should You Give Kids an Allowance or Make Them Get Jobs?

How do kids learn about money? What’s the big problem with education? And who made Raiders of the Lost Ark?…

Episode 29

Bruce Friedrich Thinks There’s a Better Way to Eat Meat

Levitt rarely interviews advocates, but the founder of the Good Food Institute is different. Once an outspoken — and sometimes outlandish — animal-rights activist, Bruce has come to believe that…

Episode 175

Why Is Astrology So Popular?

Why does your horoscope seem so accurate? Is it possible to believe and not believe in something at the same time? And is Mike a classic Gemini?…

Episode 62

How Biased Is Your Media?

The left and the right blame each other for pretty much everything, including slanted media coverage. Can they both be right?

Episode 55

What Changes Will Stick When the Pandemic Is Gone?

Also: would you take a confirmation-bias vaccine?…

Episode 56

Why Is Academic Writing So Bad?

Also: what does your perfect day look like?…

Episode 80

Is a “Success Hangover” Real?

Why are great accomplishments often followed by disappointment? Is it better to win and feel bummed out than to never have won at all? And where was ping-pong invented?…

Episode 64

Are Women Required to Be Nicer Than Men?

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

Episode 69

How Can You Convince Someone They’re Wrong?

Also: What’s the best way to handle rejection?…

Episode 474

All You Need Is Nudge

When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 with co-author Cass Sunstein, the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up…

Episode 53

What’s the Secret to Making a Great Prediction?

Also: How do you recover from a bad day?…

Episode 171

Where Is the Line Between Exaggeration and Lying?

Why do we use “literally” figuratively? Does conveying an “emotional truth” justify making things up? And are Angela’s kids really starving or just hungry?…

Episode 192

Should You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone?

What do the most creative people have in common? How open-minded are you, really? And what’s wrong with ordering eggs Benedict? Take the Big Five inventory:…

Episode 198

The Maddest Men of All

Advertisers have always been adept at manipulating our emotions. Now they’re using behavioral economics to get even better.

Episode 197

Hacking the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign thus far is just as unorthodox.

Episode 75

Self-Help for Data Nerds

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz combs through mountains of information to find advice for everyday life….

Episode 197

Hacking the World Bank (Update)

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign has been just as unorthodox. He has just announced he’s stepping down, well before…

Episode 82

Which Is More Powerful: Reward or Punishment?

How is “negative reinforcement” different from punishment? Could positive reinforcement encourage prosocial behavior on a national scale? And what’s the deal with Taiwan’s dog-poop lottery?…

Episode 528

Yuval Noah Harari Thinks Life is Meaningless and Amazing

In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus about finding the profound in the obvious….

Episode 95

What’s So Bad About Denial?

Can denial be a healthy way of dealing with the death of a loved one? What do the five stages of grief misrepresent about mourning? And why does Angie cover…

Episode 110

Why Is Angela Stepping Down as C.E.O. of the Nonprofit She Founded?

Are you a problem solver or an opportunity seeker? Why is it so hard to find a good leader these days? And could you be Angela’s next boss?…

Episode 181

What’s So Great About Meritocracy?

Do you really deserve the credit for your accomplishments? Should college admissions be determined by lottery? And how did Mike’s contribution to a charity auction change his life?…

Episode 112

Is It Okay to Hate Highbrow Culture?

Are Europeans more sophisticated than Americans? What’s wrong with preferring Taylor Swift to Puccini? And is Steve Levitt “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”?