Ken Jennings on How a Midlife Crisis Led Him to Jeopardy! (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 4 Replay)

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

Mayim Bialik on the Surprising Risks of Academia and Stability of Show Biz (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 2 Replay)

This new Jeopardy! host is best known for playing neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, but she has a rich life outside of her acting career too, as a teacher, mother — and a real-life neuroscientist. Steve learns more about this one-time academic and Hollywood non-conformist, who is both very similar to him and also quite his opposite.

Season 11, Episode 6

Do more expensive wines taste better? They should! It’s a cardinal rule: more expensive items are supposed to be qualitatively better than their cheaper versions. But is that true for wine? And: The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — […]

Robert Axelrod on Why Being Nice, Forgiving, and Provokable are the Best Strategies for Life (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 47)

The prisoner’s dilemma is a classic game-theory problem. Robert, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, has spent his career studying it — and the ways humans can cooperate, or betray each other, for their own benefit. He and Steve talk about the best way to play it and how it shows up in real world situations, from war zones to Steve’s own life.

Season 11, Episode 5

The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to policing, as evidenced by more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police each year. But we’re an outlier in other ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism […]

That’s a Great Question! (Ep. 192 Rebroadcast)

Verbal tic or strategic rejoinder? Whatever the case: it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.

Amanda & Lily Levitt Share What It’s Like to be Steve’s Daughters (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 46)

Steve shows a different side of himself in very personal interviews with his two oldest daughters. Amanda talks about growing up with social anxiety and her decision to not go to college, while Lily speaks candidly about her battle with anorexia and the conversation she had with Steve that led her to finally seek treatment.

Leidy Klotz on Why the Best Solutions Involve Less — Not More (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 45)

When we try to improve things, our first thought is often: What can we add to make this better? But Leidy, a professor of engineering, says we tend to overlook the fact that a better solution might be to take something away. He and Steve talk about examples from Leidy’s book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, and from their own lives.

Edward Glaeser Explains Why Some Cities Thrive While Others Fade Away (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 44)

An expert on urban economics and co-author of the new book Survival of the City, Ed says cities have faced far worse than Covid. Steve talks with the Harvard professor about why the slums of Mumbai function so well, high-quality housing in China sits empty, and declining cities hang on for so long.

Arne Duncan Says All Kids Deserve a Chance — and Criminals Deserve a Second One (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 43)

Former U.S. Secretary of Education, 3x3 basketball champion, and leader of an anti-gun violence organization are all on Arne’s resume. He’s also Steve’s neighbor. The two talk about teachers caught cheating in Chicago public schools and Steve shares a story he’s never told Arne, about a defining moment in the educator’s life.