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Episode 58

Why Is Richard Thaler Such a ****ing Optimist?

The Nobel laureate and pioneering behavioral economist spars with Steve over what makes a nudge a nudge, and admits that even economists have plenty of blind spots….

Episode 474

All You Need Is Nudge

When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 with co-author Cass Sunstein, the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up…

Episode 340

People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard. (Replay)

You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. The founder of behavioral economics…

Episode 340

People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard.

You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. The founder of behavioral economics…

Congratulations to Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler!

It should surprise no one, and delight everyone, that Richard Thaler has won this year’s Nobel in economics. Congratulations! Thaler is a big reason I personally got interested in economics….



Episode 207

Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?

One man’s attempt to remake his life in the mold of homo economicus.

Thaler on Soccer

My colleague Richard Thaler writes about his recent experience at economics conferences: Over the last month, one question seemed to be on everyone’s mind at the economic conferences I attended…



Episode 146

Fighting Poverty With Actual Evidence

It’s time to do away with feel-good stories, gut hunches, and magical thinking.

Episode 382

How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?

…and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in Philadelphia with guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich….

Episode 67

How Can You Escape Binary Thinking?

Also: why is it so satisfying to find a bargain?…

Episode 306

How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That’s what a…

Episode 37

Mouse in the Salad

In restaurants and in life, bad things happen. But what happens next is just as important.



Writing for Money

…Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago behavioral economist. (I had hoped that Lowenstein and Thaler might collaborate on a book after that article; I think it would have been fantastic.)…



Episode 64

The Days of Wine and Mouses

Do more expensive wines taste better? And: what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future? This is a “mashupdate” of “Do More Expensive Wines Taste…

Episode 82

Which Is More Powerful: Reward or Punishment?

How is “negative reinforcement” different from punishment? Could positive reinforcement encourage prosocial behavior on a national scale? And what’s the deal with Taiwan’s dog-poop lottery?…

Episode 224

How To Win A Nobel Prize (Replay)

The gist: the Nobel selection process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off, at least a little bit.

Episode 224

How To Win A Nobel Prize

The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.


Why Pay $36.09 for Rancid Chicken?

…plates, she asked again if we wanted complimentary dessert. No, we said, just coffee. As Trilby and I talked, I mentioned that I had not long ago interviewed Richard Thaler,…



The Tax Man Nudgeth (Ep. 121)

…the “Nudge Unit,” after the excellent book Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Thaler regularly consults for the unit; Sunstein, who recently exited government service here in the U.S.,…





Episode 308

How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.

Episode 27

How Should You Ask for Forgiveness?

Also: Why is behavior change so darn hard?…

Episode 59

Who Gives the Worst Advice?

Steve usually asks his guests for advice, whether they’re magicians or Nobel laureates. After nearly 60 episodes, is any of it worth following — or should we just ask listeners…

Episode 37

How Do You Know if People Don’t Like You?

Also: do self-help books really help?…

Episode 281

Big Returns from Thinking Small

By day, two leaders of Britain’s famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to improve their personal lives. They want…

Episode 271

The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution

Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis’s new book The Undoing Project explains…