The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism (Ep. 470)

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.

Why Do We Complain? (NSQ Ep. 60)

Also: what do you really mean when you say you “don’t have time”?

The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not (Ep. 469)

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?

Do Dreams Actually Mean Anything? (NSQ Ep. 59)

Also: why is music so memorable?

Nap Time for Everyone! (Ep. 468)

The benefits of sleep are by now well established, and yet many people don’t get enough. A new study suggests we should channel our inner toddler and get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution?

How Can You Stop Comparing Yourself With Other People? (NSQ Ep. 13 Rebroadcast)

Also: how can we stop confusing correlation with causation?

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Ep. 289 Rebroadcast)

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

What’s So Gratifying About Gossip? (NSQ Ep. 58)

Also: why do people hate small talk?

Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean? (Ep. 467)

Bren Smith, who grew up fishing and fighting, is now part of a movement that seeks to feed the planet while putting less environmental stress on it. He makes his argument in a book called Eat Like a Fish; his secret ingredient: kelp. But don’t worry, you won’t have to eat it (not much, at least). An installment of The Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

Which Incentives Are Best at Boosting Vaccination, and Why? (NSQ Ep. 57)

Also: what does your desired superpower say about you?