Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet (Ep. 346 Rebroadcast)

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right? 

Sendhil Mullainathan Explains How to Generate an Idea a Minute (Part 2) (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 38)

Steve continues his conversation with his good friend, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and fellow University of Chicago economist. Sendhil breaks down the hypothesis of his book Scarcity, explains why machines aren’t competition for human intelligence, and tells Steve why it’s important to appreciate other people’s good ideas before developing your own.

Should We Just Ignore Our Weaknesses? (NSQ Ep. 61)

Also: why do we like what we like?

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11 30 2009

A New Car or Ten Thousand Lattes?

At Big Think, Dan Ariely discusses ways to think about money so you splurge less -- like equating expensive wine with gallons of milk and making paying hurt a little more. Ariely's advice could have been useful to some people in the Congo, who lament they didn't see their Prada suits as...

Sendhil Mullainathan Thinks Messing Around is the Best Use of Your Time (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 37)

He’s a professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and author. Steve and Sendhil laugh their way through a conversation about the importance of play, the benefits of change, and why we remember so little about the books we’ve read — and how Sendhil’s new app solves this problem.

Introducing “This Won’t Hurt a Bit”

How can a marathon be dangerous even if you don’t run the race? Does your doctor follow medical advice any better than you do? Just how dangerous was it to go to a birthday party at the height of the pandemic? These are the kinds of questions that intrigue Dr. Bapu Jena, a rare double threat — he’s both an M.D. and a Ph.D. economist at Harvard. Each week on This Won’t Hurt a Bit, Jena digs into fascinating research to discover the hidden side of healthcare.

The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism (Ep. 470)

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.

Why Do We Complain? (NSQ Ep. 60)

Also: what do you really mean when you say you “don’t have time”?

How Rahm Emanuel Would Run the World (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 36)

In this interview, first heard on Freakonomics Radio last year, Steve talks with the former top adviser to presidents Clinton and Obama, about his record — and his reputation. And Rahm explains that while he believes in the power of the federal government, as former mayor of Chicago, he says that cities are where problems really get solved.

The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not (Ep. 469)

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?

Do Dreams Actually Mean Anything? (NSQ Ep. 59)

Also: why is music so memorable?

David Epstein Knows Something About Almost Everything (People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 35)

He’s been an Arctic scientist, a sports journalist, and is now a best-selling author of science books. His latest, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, makes the argument that early specialization does not give you a head start in life. David and Steve talk about why frustration is a good sign, and why the 10,000-hour rule is definitely not a rule.