The Man Who Would Be Everything (Ep. 187)
What is Boris Johnson?
A better question might be: what isn’t Boris Johnson? He is, inter alia, the Mayor of London; a prolific author, journalist and, as of this month, a biographer of Winston Churchill; a once and possibly future Member of Parliament; a potential future Prime Minister himself despite being a “self-styled joke” who occasionally gets stuck on a zip-line; an American by birth (and U.S. passport holder).
He is also, as you’ll hear in our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, a painter of old cheese boxes, a collector of wooden tennis rackets, and a man who would inspire England’s national soccer team by copying how Saddam Hussein’s son Uday reportedly inspired the Iraqi national team: “When they come back next time, we should just, you know, threaten to do something in the changing rooms of those guys unless they sharpen up.”
The episode is called “The Man Who Would Be Everything.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, 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.)
This is our first attempt at bringing a series of FREAK-quently Asked Questions to notable people from various fields. There were far more questions on my list than we had time for — the mayor is a busy fellow, on book tour no less — but we did get to quite a few. You’ll hear about his best investment (financial, educational, or otherwise); his biggest influence; his favorite books; and, though it took some effort, we also find out his favorite brand of shoe. Along the way, we talk politics, economics, Churchill, sport, food, some more Churchill, and what his family calls him (hint: not Boris).
Love him or hate him, Boris Johnson is a political-intellectual swashbuckler with few peers. (Pardon the impartiality, but I admit to quite loving him; I wish we had more U.S. politicians like him. And, given his U.S. passport, it’s not impossible for him to become one!)
Let us know what you think of this new podcast format, and who else you’d like to hear from in the future. Happy listening.