Nate Silver Says: “Everyone Is Kind of Weird” (Ep. 204)
Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “Nate Silver Says: ‘Everyone Is Kind of Weird” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
Every time we ask you, our readers and listeners, who you might want to hear from on a podcast, one name always makes the list: Nate Silver. Today, your dream becomes reality.
Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of of FiveThirtyEight.com, is America’s favorite statistical guru of the past – well, maybe ever. He has been devilishly accurate in predicting electoral outcomes. Before that, he joined the small but influential fraternity of statheads who work with data in sports, particularly baseball. (As he tells us, Bill James has been the biggest influence on Silver’s professional life.) He has written an excellent book called The Signal and the Noise, which is essentially about the folly of prediction. And this week he is our guest on the latest installment of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, in which we compel a noteworthy person to tell us some important truths.
In earlier FAQ’s, we heard from Boris Johnson (the mayor of London) and Kevin Kelly (the technology maverick). Now it’s Silver’s turn to tell us about his favorite sport, food, and book; to talk about the “hedonistic treadmill”; and of course what he’s thinking about the 2016 U.S. Presidential election — although he isn’t the political junkie that you might imagine:
SILVER: I don’t even always watch the State of the Union, for example. Whereas I very much do enjoy watching and spending income on going to sports games. … I mean, I am a politics geek, but I don’t love politics. I think that’s helpful, potentially. I think in Washington in particular, there’s a lot of reverence for the political system that leads to less criticality in coverage.