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Episode No.
Date
Length
PLUS

Making Connections, the Esalen Way

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

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
PLUS

Why Is it So Hard to Talk About Immigration?

Stephen Dubner speaks with journalist David Leonhardt about the causes and consequences of the U.S. immigration mess.

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

3/29/24
50:31
No. 582

Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented newcomers every year. Are the Canadians stealing America’s bacon? (Part three of a three-part series.)

3/27/24
55:19
PLUS

“Courage Is the Most Important Thing”

Stephen Dubner speaks with the University of Warwick’s Economics Society.

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

3/22/24
48:22
No. 581

What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step one: Get hold of some actual facts and evidence. (We did this step for you.) (Part two of a three-part series.)

3/20/24
61:42
EXTRA

Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration, nationalism, and borders, from this 2015 interview, are almost strangely appropriate to the present moment.

3/18/24
34:16
PLUS

What Can the Bible Teach Us About Immigration?

Stephen talks with Roger Nam, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University, about how ancient migrations intersect with today.

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

3/15/24
55:34
No. 580

The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and explain why your grandfather was lying about Ellis Island. (Part one of a three-part series.)

3/13/24
59:25
PLUS

The Suddenly Controversial World of Professional Golf

Sportswriter Karen Crouse talks about the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

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

3/8/24
44:06
No. 579

Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean they can escape.

3/6/24
47:07
EXTRA

What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the PGA Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect? Also: why the major U.S. sports leagues are warming up to the idea of foreign investment.

3/4/24
71:59
PLUS

Puzzle Me This

Stephen Dubner sits down with his friend A.J. Jacobs to play some games on his podcast, The Puzzler.

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

3/1/24
25:43
No. 578

Water, Water Everywhere — But You Have to Stop and Think

What surprises lurk in our sewage? How did racist city planners end up saving Black lives? Why does Arizona grow hay for cows in Saudi Arabia? Three strange stories about the most fundamental substance we all take for granted.

2/28/24
52:36
PLUS

The Musical Mr. Guerra

Stephen Dubner talks to composer Luis Guerra about his score for our series on Richard Feynman.

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

2/23/24
49:22
No. 522

Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with Google — or with us? And is Google Search finally facing a real rival, in the form of A.I.-powered “answer engines”?

2/21/24
63:26
EXTRA

Mr. Feynman Takes a Trip — But Doesn’t Fall

A wide-open conversation with three women who guided Richard Feynman through some big adventures at the Esalen Institute. (Part of our Feynman series.)

2/19/24
52:31
PLUS

The Keeper of the Feynman Flame

Ralph Leighton reflects on his decades-long friendship with Richard Feynman.

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

2/16/24
85:03
No. 577

The Vanishing Mr. Feynman

In his final years, Richard Feynman’s curiosity took him to some surprising places. We hear from his companions on the trips he took — and one he wasn’t able to. (Part three of a three-part series.)

2/14/24
68:27
PLUS

“Apply Thinking to Everything”

Stephen Wolfram remembers his mentor Richard Feynman.

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

2/9/24
53:53
No. 576

The Brilliant Mr. Feynman

What happens when an existentially depressed and recently widowed young physicist from Queens gets a fresh start in California? We follow Richard Feynman out west, to explore his long and extremely fruitful second act. (Part two of a three-part series.)

2/7/24
59:36
EXTRA

How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Update)

They’re heading to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. But back in 2018, they were coming off a long losing streak — and that’s the year we sat down with 49ers players, coaches, and executives to hear their turnaround plans. It’s probably time to consider the turnaround a success.

2/5/24
69:16
PLUS

Growing Up Feynman

Michelle Feynman remembers her physicist father as the smartest person in the room, and then some.

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

2/2/24
62:38
No. 575

The Curious Mr. Feynman

From the Manhattan Project to the Challenger investigation, the physicist Richard Feynman loved to shoot down what he called “lousy ideas.” Today, the world is awash in lousy ideas — so maybe it’s time to get some more Feynman in our lives? (Part one of a three-part series.)

1/31/24
62:22
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