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“Giving to Charity” is another myth we fervently uphold as part of the Great American Religion — just like “own a home” or “send your kids to college.” It’s time we stop blindly believing in mythology. I’m not saying don’t give. I’m not saying don’t be spiritual or don’t be good. But do it with thoughtfulness, with true spirit, with a true desire to help. More harm than good is done when you blindly throw money at most charities.
When the first version of this article came out (“How to Be a Superhero…or Why I Would Never Donate to a Major Charity”), I got a lot of criticism. So I’m going to answer some of the criticisms/questions that arose and I look forward to any comments or further suggestions. Read More »
This is a cross-post from James Altucher‘s blog Altucher Confidential. His previous appearances on the Freakonomics blog can be found here. If you Google “entrepreneur” you get a lot of mindless cliches like “Think Big!” For me, being an “entrepreneur” doesn’t mean starting the next Facebook, or even starting any business at all. It means […] Read More »
As I type these words, the biggest insider-trading trial in years, that of Raj Rajaratnam, has just gone to the jury. I haven’t followed the trial too closely, but the gist is evident: the line between “insider trading” and the legitimate, if sharp-elbowed, acquisition of useful trading information is extremely blurry. This is hardly the only insider case at the moment. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, famously said last fall that “illegal insider trading is rampant and may even be on the rise.” So it seemed a good time to put together a Freakonomics Quorum and ask a couple of straightforward questions. Read More »
James Altucher on his graduate school obsession with the Asian board game Go, and his attempt to enlist Google China founding president Kai-Fu Lee to help him make millions off of it. Read More »
The woman right next to me was alive one second, then a taxi came up on the sidewalk of 42nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue, hit her and veered off, and now the woman was dead. This happened on the first or second day of my job at HBO. I tried to call 911 on the payphone (there were still payphones in August, 1994), and then I had to go. The woman was dead. Read More »
Contributor James Altucher reflects on a career of disparate jobs in corporate America and Wall Street, and offers 10 signs when you know it’s time to quit that corporate job you loathe. Read More »
A few years ago there was a story in the N.Y. Post about a boy who had been locked in a closet almost from the time he was born until he was about fifteen years old. I might not have the exact details right. His parents fed him food but never let him out of the closet. So he never grew properly and he was only about 80 pounds or maybe less. The authorities took him away and put him in some sort of home for abused kids. His parents were arrested and are presumably now in jail. Read More »
Levitt and I just recorded a Q&A session for the Freakonomics Radio podcast, using the questions that all of you recently submitted. You’ll hear the results soon, probably in January. Thanks for the good questions.
One question we didn’t get to, from Tg3:
I have heard Dubner casually mention that he is a backgammon player. Are there ever Levitt vs. Dubner battles? More importantly, why is such a great game not more popular in North America? Read More »