Episodes
Published 02/17/24
Cat Bohannon’s new book puts female anatomy at the center of human evolution. She tells Steve why it takes us so long to give birth, what breast milk is really for, and why the human reproductive system is a flaming pile of garbage.
Published 02/17/24
Economist Daron Acemoglu likes to tackle big questions. He tells Steve how colonialism still affects us today, who benefits from new technology, and why democracy wasn’t always a sure thing.
Published 02/03/24
Journalist Walt Hickey uses data to understand how culture works. He and Steve talk about why China hasn’t produced any hit movies yet and how he got his own avatar in the Madden NFL video game.
Published 01/20/24
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a bodybuilder, an actor, a governor, and, now, an author. He tells Steve how he’s managed to succeed in so many fields — and what to do when people throw eggs at you.
Published 01/06/24
Physicist Helen Czerski loves to explain how the world works. She talks with Steve about studying bubbles, setting off explosives, and how ocean waves have changed the course of history.
Published 12/23/23
The filmmaker doesn’t want to be known only for his movies. He tells Steve why he considers himself a writer first, how it feels to be recognized for his role in "The Mandalorian," and why he once worked as a rodeo clown.
Published 12/09/23
Economist Michael D. Smith says universities are scrambling to protect a status quo that deserves to die. He tells Steve why the current system is unsustainable, and what’s at stake if nothing changes.
Published 11/25/23
Computer scientist Fei-Fei Li had a wild idea: download one billion images from the internet and teach a computer to recognize them. She ended up advancing the state of artificial intelligence — and she hopes that will turn out to be a good thing for humanity.
Published 11/11/23
Data scientist Nate Silver gained attention for his election predictions. But even the best prognosticators get it wrong sometimes. He talks to Steve about making good decisions with data, why he’d rather write a newsletter than an academic paper, and how online poker led him to the world of politics.
Published 10/28/23
Abraham Verghese is a physician and a best-selling author — in that order, he says. He explains the difference between curing and healing, and tells Steve why doctors should spend more time with patients and less with electronic health records.
Published 10/14/23
Claudia Goldin is the newest winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Steve spoke to her in 2021 about how inflexible jobs and family responsibilities make it harder for women to earn wages equal to their male counterparts.
Published 10/09/23
For 37 years, Rick Doblin has been pushing the F.D.A. to approve treating post-traumatic stress disorder with MDMA, better known as Ecstasy. He tells Steve why he persisted for so long, why he doesn’t like calling drug use “recreational,” and what he learned from his pet wolf.
Published 09/30/23
Psychologist Thomas Curran argues that perfectionism isn’t about high standards — it’s about never being enough. He explains how the drive to be perfect is harming education, the economy, and our mental health.
Published 09/16/23
Avi Loeb is a Harvard astronomer who argues that we’ve already encountered extraterrestrial technology. His approach to the search for interstellar objects is scientific, but how plausible is his argument?
Published 09/02/23
Reginald Dwayne Betts spent more than eight years in prison. Today he's a Yale Law graduate, a MacArthur Fellow, and a poet. His nonprofit works to build libraries in prisons so that more incarcerated people can find hope.
Published 08/19/23
Obi Felten used to launch projects for X, Google’s innovation lab, but she’s now tackling mental health. She explains why Steve’s dream job was soul-destroying for her, and how peer support could transform the therapeutic industry.
Published 08/05/23
Artist Wendy MacNaughton knows the difficulty of sitting in silence and the power of having fun. She explains to Steve the lessons she’s gleaned from drawing hospice residents, working in Rwanda, and reporting from Guantanamo Bay.
Published 07/22/23
Sal Khan returns to discuss his innovative online high school’s first year — and Steve grills a member of the school’s class of 2026 about what it’s really like.
Published 07/15/23
The creator of "The Wire", "The Deuce", and other shows is leading the Writers Guild on the picket lines. He and Steve break down the economics of TV writing, how A.I. could change television, and why he’s taking a stand even though he’s at the top of the game.
Published 07/08/23
In the newest show from the Freakonomics Radio Network, host Zachary Crockett explores the hidden side of the things around us. This week: How do dinosaur bones emerge from the Upper Cretaceous period to end up in natural-history museums and private collections?
Published 07/01/23
Robert Solow is 98 years old and a giant among economists. He tells Steve about cracking German codes in World War II, why it’s so hard to reduce inequality, and how his field lost its way.
Published 06/24/23
Talithia Williams thinks you should rigorously track your body's data. She and Steve Levitt trade birth stories and bemoan the state of STEM education.
Published 06/10/23
Kevin Kelly believes A.I. will create more problems for humanity — and help us solve them. He talks to Steve about embracing complexity, staying enthusiastic, and taking the 10,000-year view.
Published 05/27/23
Clementine Jacoby went from performing in a circus to founding a nonprofit that works to shrink the prison population.
Published 05/13/23