Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Ep. 323 Rebroadcast)

It took $10 million and four months to freeze the ground to start building the tunnel that would become the Second Avenue Subway in New York. (Photo: Patrick Cashin/MTA) Whether it’s a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it’ll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That’s because you suffer […]

23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else) (Ep.378)

The MIT Technology Review predicts that by 2021, more than 100 million people will be part of commercial genetic databases. (Photo: Cain/Getty) The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? […]

The $1.5 Trillion Question: How to Fix Student-Loan Debt? (Ep. 377)

Roughly 45 million Americans have student-loan debt. Of those who graduate from a public, four-year university, nearly 60 percent have debt, with an average of more than $27,000. (Photo: Mark Simons/Purdue University) As the cost of college skyrocketed, it created a debt burden that’s putting a drag on the economy. One possible solution: shifting the […]

The Data-Driven Guide to Sane Parenting (Ep. 376)

Sleep-training a baby is controversial, but it has been shown to reduce maternal depression. (Photo: Franklin/Flickr) Humans have been having kids forever, so why are modern parents so bewildered? The economist Emily Oster marshals the evidence on the most contentious topics — breastfeeding and sleep training, vaccines and screen time — and tells her fellow […]

Freakonomics Radio Live: “Would You Eat a Piece of Chocolate Shaped Like Dog Poop?”

Angela Duckworth and Stephen Dubner listen to Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri,” an opera that may owe its remarkable creativity to Napoleon’s invasion of Italy. (Photo: Lucy Sutton) What your disgust level says about your politics, how Napoleon influenced opera, why New York City’s subways may finally run on time, and more. Five compelling guests tell […]

Season 8, Episode 27

Mark Teixeira, the retired Yankee first baseman, hit 409 career home runs — No. 54 on the all-time list. The hardest thing to do in sports, he says: hitting a baseball. (Photo: Elsa/Getty) Great athletes aren’t just great at the physical stuff. They’ve also learned how to handle pressure, overcome fear, and stay focused. Here’s the […]

Where Do Good Ideas Come From? (Ep. 368)

Sometimes ideas depend on technology: “mapping the universe” would have been impossible with standard refracting telescopes — then came solid-state detectors. (Photo: Smithsonian Institution Archives/Wikimedia Commons) Whether you’re mapping the universe, hosting a late-night talk show, or running a meeting, there are a lot of ways to up your idea game. Plus: the truth about […]

This Economist Predicted the Last Crisis. What’s the Next One?

The economist Raghuram Rajan is gravely concerned by the rise of populism around the world — on both the left and the right. (Photo: Ella87/Pixabay) In 2005, Raghuram Rajan said the financial system was at risk “of a catastrophic meltdown.” After stints at the I.M.F. and India’s central bank, he sees another potential crisis — and […]

Extra: Domonique Foxworth Full Interview

Domonique Foxworth began his career in the N.F.L. in 2005 — a torn A.C.L. in 2010 set him on a different path. (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty) Stephen Dubner’s conversation with the former N.F.L. player, union official, and all-around sports thinker, recorded for our “Hidden Side of Sports” series. Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere. Below […]

People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard. (Ep. 340 Rebroadcast)

Richard Thaler, father of behavioral economics, has been an irritant to mainstream economists. His research, about humans’ tendency to make suboptimal decisions, tarnishes their elegant economic models. (Photo: Bengt Nyman/flickr) You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. […]