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Episode No.
Date
Length
PLUS

The Magic Behind a Hit Broadway Play

Stephen Dubner talks with three of the people responsible for the Tony-winning play Stereophonic.

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6/21/24
60:14
No. 593

You Can Make a Killing, but Not a Living

Broadway operates on a winner-take-most business model. A runaway hit like Stereophonic — which just won five Tony Awards — will create a few big winners. But even the stars of the show will have to go elsewhere to make real money. (Part two of a two-part series.)

6/19/24
55:39
EXTRA

The Fascinatingly Mundane Secrets of the World’s Most Exclusive Nightclub

The Berlin dance mecca Berghain is known for its eight-hour line and inscrutable door policy. PJ Vogt, host of the podcast Search Engine, joins us to crack the code. It has to do with Cold War rivalries, German tax law, and one very talented bouncer.

6/17/24
50:24
PLUS

Walking Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Stephen Dubner talks with the transportation scholar Kelcie Ralph about why so many pedestrians are killed on America’s roads.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

6/14/24
46:21
No. 592

How to Make the Coolest Show on Broadway

Hit by Covid, runaway costs, and a zillion streams of competition, serious theater is in serious trouble. A new hit play called Stereophonic — the most Tony-nominated play in history — has something to say about that. We speak with the people who make it happen every night. (Part one of a two-part series.)

6/12/24
70:47
PLUS

Kevin Kelly Has Some Advice for You

Revisiting an episode about parenting, travel, luck, and why we should all spend more time on YouTube.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

6/7/24
35:40
No. 591

Signs of Progress, One Year at a Time

Every December, a British man named Tom Whitwell publishes a list of 52 things he’s learned that year. These fascinating facts reveal the spectrum of human behavior, from fraud and hypocrisy to Whitwell’s steadfast belief in progress. Should we also believe?

6/5/24
58:41
EXTRA

The Opioid Tragedy — How We Got Here

An update of our 2020 series, in which we spoke with physicians, researchers, and addicts about the root causes of the crisis — and the tension between abstinence and harm reduction.

6/2/24
45:45
PLUS

How Pfizer Thinks About Responsibility

Stephen Dubner speaks with Pfizer corporate responsibility chief Caroline Roan.

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5/31/24
51:27
No. 590

Can $55 Billion End the Opioid Epidemic?

Thanks to legal settlements with drug makers and distributors, states have plenty of money to boost prevention and treatment. Will it work? (Part two of a two-part series.)

5/29/24
46:47
PLUS

Thinking Differently About Opioid Addiction

Stephen Dubner talks with addiction doctor Stephen Loyd about Loyd’s own experience with addiction, and how we should approach recovery in the U.S.

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5/24/24
50:46
No. 589

Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.)

5/22/24
54:05
EXTRA

Car Colors & Storage Units

Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America.

5/19/24
41:24
PLUS

What Does Glenn Loury Think About Reparations?

Stephen Dubner talked to the economist and social critic in 2020 about whether Black Americans should receive government payments for the lasting damages of slavery.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

5/17/24
42:52
No. 588

Confessions of a Black Conservative

The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why?

5/15/24
62:23
PLUS

“The Ways in Which the Molecules Jiggle”

Stephen Dubner appears on Alan Alda’s podcast Clear + Vivid to discuss their mutual hero Richard Feynman.

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5/10/24
33:52
No. 587

Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing?

5/8/24
52:49
PLUS

What Can We Learn from the German Economy?

How did Germany prevent globalization from destroying its manufacturing sector when so many other countries — including the U.S. — failed? We revisit an episode from the Freakonomics Radio archive to figure out what we might learn from an economic success story.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

5/3/24
57:18
No. 586

How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build.

5/1/24
62:39
EXTRA

Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm’s collapse.

4/28/24
68:58
PLUS

Canada’s Basic Income Experiment

Long before the world knew what a “universal basic income” was, Canada experimented with giving poor households extra money. We dig back into the Freakonomics Radio archive to see what happened — and what it means for the U.B.I. movement.

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4/26/24
37:02
No. 585

A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it’s easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work?

4/24/24
58:46
PLUS

Making Connections, the Esalen Way

Stephen Dubner joins Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern to talk about Richard Feynman.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

4/19/24
32:53
No. 584

How to Pave the Road to Hell

So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace.

4/17/24
50:13
EXTRA

The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence.

4/14/24
40:37
PLUS

What Makes a Good Boss?

Stephen Dubner speaks with the economist Nicholas Bloom about the qualities of successful C.E.O.s.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

4/12/24
41:07
No. 495

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.

4/10/24
54:16
PLUS

Francis Fukuyama Wants You to Change Your Mind

Stephen Dubner talks with the political scientist about liberal democracy, globalization, and the challenges of persuasion.

To get Plus episodes, become a member at Apple Podcasts or at freakonomics.com/plus.

4/5/24
53:26
No. 583

Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy solutions but he does offer some hope.

4/3/24
67:47
EXTRA

How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts. We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so, to wrap up our special series on immigration, we called some Freakonomics Radio listeners and quizzed them.

3/31/24
30:30
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