Stephen Dubner’s first book, Turbulent Souls, has been optioned by The Group Entertainment (Variety‘s report here), with writer Larry Gross (48 Hours, True Crime, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) to adapt the memoir for the big screen. Not that we have a say in this, but just for fun we’d like to find out which actor Freakonomics readers think should play the Dubner in the film.
Last week, Freakonomics Radio took to the stage for a live event at the historic Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn. Not only is St. Paul the home of Freakonomics Radio co-producer American Public Media, but Steve Levitt also grew up in the Twin Cities. So the live event had a good deal of “this is your life” stuff in it, including a Quiz Bowl competition between Team Levitt (Steve, his sister Linda Jines, and their father Michael) against the current team from St. Paul Academy, where both Steve and Linda starred on the Quiz Bowl team in their day.
We’ll release a podcast next week drawn from the live event, including the Quiz Bowl competition. In the meantime, who do you think won?
More than any other economist, Nobel laureate Gary Becker has inspired and shaped the work of Steven Levitt. Here’s your chance to submit a question for Stephen Dubner to ask Becker when they sit down for an upcoming video chat. Fire away in the comments section.
The Freakonomics Radio beast never sleeps: if you write in your questions in the comments section below, we will answer them — in our podcast!
This week in reader e-mail brings a note from a 46-year-old man in Rockland County, N.Y., a director in a private company that outsources invoicing for telecommunications companies and newspapers. It turns out that he and I have something in common. Here is a tale of identity theft I am happy to report: Hello Stephen, My name is Steven Dubner. . . .
As of this writing, the CBS News program 60 Minutes is scheduled to run a segment on Sun., Feb. 10 (7 p.m. EST), on the fate of the penny: should it be abolished or not? I was interviewed on the subject, so if the piece isn’t preempted and if I don’t end up on the cutting room floor, you can . . .
The Patriots are playing the Giants in Sunday’s Super Bowl. I thought it would be fun to put together a short Super Bowl preview. I’ll go first (Justin Wolfers): Cheering for: The Patriots. My first four years in the U.S. were spent in Boston, and that’s where I learned to love the sport that you guys call football. If it . . .
We’ve been running lots of Q&As of late, with you, the readers, asking the questions. A fellow named Thomas Whitaker recently wrote us to suggest that we submit to a Q&A ourselves. This seemed like a sensible suggestion. We did a bunch of Q&As back when the book came out (see here and here and here, and these FAQs), but . . .
Video The latest installment of FREAK-TV is an insider look at the making of The Boy With Two Belly Buttons: The Audio Version, read by none other than its author, our own Stephen Dubner (who also provided the voice for the audio version of Freakonomics). To hear a sample of the final product, go to the book’s Amazon page and . . .
A few weeks ago, I gave a bookstore reading for my new kids’ book, The Boy With Two Belly Buttons. I was sitting on the floor, reading to a bunch of kids, when suddenly something seemed wrong with the story — it didn’t track, didn’t make sense to me at all. Befuddled, I stopped reading. I remember thinking, “Wow, has . . .
By the time you read this, the Nobel Prize in economics will likely have been awarded, though as I write this, the winners have yet to be announced. A few random thoughts: 1) I guarantee you that the economist(s) who win it will be much better sports than Doris Lessing, who seemed put off that the award had disturbed her . . .
So this was a nice surprise: after I went on Good Morning America today to talk about The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, the book shot up to the No. 1 slot on Amazon’s list of best-sellers for ages 4-8. By the time you read this post, it may have slunk down the list, but for at least half a . . .
I first became a published writer at age 11, when a poem that I wrote for school (“The Possum”) appeared in Highlights magazine. While I have since written about thieves, terrorists, and even economists, I guess it is fitting that I have finally written a children’s book. It’s called The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, with illustrations by the remarkable . . .
I have blogged now and again about my undergraduate alma mater, Appalachian State University, especially its accomplishments as a Division I-AA football champ. I also accepted a dubious-achievement award on its behalf for creating the “best” college-recruitment video ever — see No. 8 on the Yahoo! link. But never did I dream that the Mountaineers would play the Michigan Wolverines; . . .
In their May 6, 2007, column for the New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt wonder: Why do Americans spend so much time and money performing menial tasks when they don’t have to? What’s with all the knitting, gardening, and – as the Census Bureau dubs it – “cooking for fun”? Why do we fill our hours with leisure activities that look an awful lot like work? Click here to read the article and here to comment. This blog post supplies additional research material.
A few days a week, I bring my daughter to nursery school on the East Side of Manhattan. (On the other days, I bring my son to kindergarten; next year, they will blessedly attend the same school.) We live on the West Side, and usually take the bus across town. It is a busy time of day. At the bus . . .
I’ve just returned from a quick trip to British Columbia (specifically to the ski town of Whistler, to which one can only properly say “wow”), and a couple of things from western Canada caught my eye. The first is this blog post about the use of urinalysis for construction job applicants in Alberta, where the long-standing oil rush is headier . . .
While it is true that Dubner and I sometimes feel that we are held hostage by our blog (in the sense that the constant need to provide new content weighs on us), it has never been our intention to hold reader comments hostage. We had no idea that if a reader comment contained one of hundreds of suspect words (automatically . . .
Well, we took our lumps in the U.K., losing out to “The World Is Flat” in the inaugural Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. But here’s some consolation: it turns out we’re huge in Canada. Having grown up in upstate New York, I’ve got an “accent” that’s often mistaken for Canadian, and friends over the years have . . .
Once again, Levitt is sending me off to an awards ceremony. The last time it was the Quill Awards, which Levitt thought we’d win and I thought we wouldn’t. Happily, Levitt was right. This time, neither of us think we’ll win but since the ceremony is bing held in London, I thought it’d be fun to go. The award is . . .
Stephen Dubner was on Good Morning America this morning to talk about Seth Roberts, self-experimentation, and the Shangri-La Diet. Those of you seeking more information can read the original Times column here, background info here, and Roberts’s own contributions to the Freakonomics blog here and here and here and here and here and here. If you’re seeking full diet instructions, . . .
The playwright August Wilson died a few weeks ago. He was a powerful and unique writer, and a powerfully unique man. Five years ago, I had the chance to interview him for a book I was writing, Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper. I was interested in Wilson because Confessions was about my childhood infatuation with Franco Harris, a football player with . . .
… to come hear me (Dubner) give a non-Freakonomics reading, on Mon., Sept. 26, 7:00 p.m., at the Half King. It’s an event to celebrate the publication of The Best American Crime Writing 2005, an anthology that includes a New Yorker article I wrote about a cunning silver thief. (Oops: I just showed you the free version of the article . . .
My wife is a photographer who once lived and shot in Romania, Russia, Chechnya, Israel, and elsewhere. She often worked in harm’s way and almost always with the sort of reckless abandon a photographer needs in order to document tragedies and farces. So I’ve picked up a little bit about what it means to tell a story with a camera, . . .
Although it may sometimes seem that Dubner and I are attached at the hip, indeed we do have separate lives. And, in his non-Freakonomics existence, Dubner was recently honored by having a piece he wrote for the New Yorker reprinted in a book entitled “The Best American Crime Writing 2005.” The book comes out next week. Just by chance, it . . .
Levitt and I don’t have all that many disagreements, at least not in public. But this one’s a little close to home. It began with this post, in which I wondered aloud if the tour was worth the publisher’s money. Steve followed recently with this post, which detailed why, from his perspective, the tour was a waste of his time. . . .
I know, I know, I know: Wikipedia is one of the wonders of the online world. I hear this regularly, especially from young journalist friends and also in e-mails concerning Freakonomics. A casual mention in our book concerning the derivation of the Chicago Black Sox’ nickname began a debate chronicled here, a debate in which participants regularly cited the Wikipedia . . .
Last week, we went to California. Our publisher, William Morrow/HarperCollins, had determined that Freakonomics wasn’t selling as well there as elsewhere. It may have been a simple case of late adoption — Levitt and I are based in Chicago and New York, respectively, two cities where the book started strong — but Harper was taking no chances. (For the record, . . .