Remember the torture of penmanship class when you were a kid? Now, how often do you take a pen to paper these days? If you’re like the average American, it’s been more than a month since you did. So why do we still bother teaching handwriting in school?
The junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey thinks bipartisanship is right around the corner. Is he just an idealistic newbie or does he see a way forward that everyone else has missed?
The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.
Critics — including President Obama — say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists see them as a useful financial instrument for people who need them. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who’s right?
It’s Self-Improvement Month at Freakonomics Radio. We begin with a topic that seems to be on everyone’s mind: how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive.
What if the thing we call “talent” is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he’s learned.
The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Here’s how.
Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those people. That’s why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game.
Our Self-Improvement Month concludes with a man whose entire life and career are one big pile of self-improvement. Nutrition? Check. Bizarre physical activities? Check. Working less and earning more? Check. Tim Ferriss, creator of the Four-Hour universe, may at first glance look like a charlatan, but it seems more likely that he’s a wizard — and the kind of self-improvement ally we all want on our side.
When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn’t just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It was a sign of changing economics — and that other impossible, wonderful events might be lurking just around the corner.
Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don’t get him started on pilotless planes — or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying.
There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it’s (gasp) entertaining?
Overt discrimination in the labor markets may be on the wane, but women are still subtly penalized by all sorts of societal conventions. How can those penalties be removed without burning down the house?
We Americans may love our democracy — at least in theory — but at the moment our feelings toward the Federal government lie somewhere between disdain and hatred. Which electoral and political ideas should be killed off to make way for a saner system?
Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly tries to predict the future by identifying what’s truly inevitable. How worried should we be? Yes, robots will probably take your job — but the future will still be pretty great.
Season 6, Episode 32 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks to an airline pilot about what really happens up in the air. Just don’t get him started on pilot-less planes — or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying. Plus: why parking is hell. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .
Season 6, Episode 34 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner returns to his alma mater to ask his three favorite professors if colleges make people more productive and happier. Among the discoveries in this episode, here’s a big one: there’s a significant difference between being busy and being productive. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .
Season 6, Episode 36 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what is truly inevitable? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly about why we shouldn’t be afraid of the future and the folly of prediction. Plus: why can’t we predict earthquakes? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary . . .
Season 6, Episode 39 This week on Freakonomics Radio: could it be that cities are humanity’s greatest invention? Is it possible that, despite their reputation as soot-spewing engines of doom, they make us richer, smarter, happier and (gulp) greener? Plus: Stephen Dubner speaks with Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .
Season 6, Episode 43 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a full menu of goodies. First up: a nutrition detective. And then, Stephen J. Dubner explores the war on sugar. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Food + Science = Victory!” and “There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?” You can subscribe to the . . .
Season 6, Episode 45 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, check . . .
Season 7, Episode 20 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, . . .
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