Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio

United States

In their books "Freakonomics" and "SuperFreakonomics," Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore "the hidden side of everything," with stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.

Episodes

BONUS: “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections.  

Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, sugar, stars and — thanks to fact-checker AJ Jacobs — barf bags.

How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast)  

Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?

Why Is My Life So Hard?  

Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory  

The pizza-and-gaming emporium prides itself on affordability, which means its arcade games are really cheap to play. Does that lead to kids hogging the best games — and parents starting those infamous YouTube brawls?

The Taboo Trifecta  

The serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal loves to talk about the bodily functions that make most people flinch. That's why she's building a business around the three P's: periods, pee, and poop.

No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry  

In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back -- and would it be worth it?

Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal  

What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn't go very well.

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)  

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person's level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn't something you're born with -- it can be learned. Here's how.

An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl  

We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of NFL linemen, including one who's getting a math Ph.D. at MIT; and our resident economist -- to tell you what to watch for, whether you're a football fanatic or a total newbie.

Did China Eat America’s Jobs?  

For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has already lead to a political insurrection -- so what's next?

Is the American Dream Really Dead?  

Just a few decades ago, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds earned more than their parents had earned at the same age. Now it's only about 50 percent. What happened -- and what can be done about it?

Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say  

The Daily Show host grew up as a poor, mixed-race South African kid going to three churches every Sunday. So he has a sui generis view of America -- especially on race, politics, and religion -- and he's not afraid to speak his mind.

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 how the movement they started -- now known as behavioral economics -- has had such a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large.

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)  

What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he's learned.

How to Be More Productive (Rebroadcast)  

In this busy time of year, we could all use some tips on how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference between being busy and being productive.

Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis  

By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations  

How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6  

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

The No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)  

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

How to Make a Bad Decision  

Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler's fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges -- and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.

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