9 episodes

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable life lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “Messy” and “The Undercover Economist”) brings you stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos. They'll delight you, scare you, but also make you wiser. Featuring original music and an award-winning cast including Alan Cumming and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Toby Stephens (Die Another Day), Russell Tovey (Quantico) – and Malcolm Gladwell.

Cautionary Tales Pushkin Industries

    • History

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable life lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “Messy” and “The Undercover Economist”) brings you stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos. They'll delight you, scare you, but also make you wiser. Featuring original music and an award-winning cast including Alan Cumming and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Toby Stephens (Die Another Day), Russell Tovey (Quantico) – and Malcolm Gladwell.

    You Have Reached Your Destination

    You Have Reached Your Destination

    We may mock our ancestors for seeking the advice of oracles, soothsayers and psychics, but today we rely heavily on computer programs and math formulas to help us navigate our world. If we continue to follow them unthinkingly, should we be surprised when we end up in unexpected and dangerous places?
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
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    • 37 min
    Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano

    Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano

    It was the biggest concert of Keith Jarrett's career - but the pianist was in for a shock when he entered Koln's opera house. The only piano at the venue was a broken-down wreck. Should he risk humiliation and play anyway or simply walk out? The collaboration between pop superstar David Bowie and arch disruptor Brian Eno offers a lesson that staying in your comfort zone isn't always the best option.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 35 min
    How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

    How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

    In 1917, a brilliant British officer developed a way to use an emerging military technology: the tank. The British army promptly squandered the idea – but the Germans did not. Blitzkrieg, the devastating advance of German tanks across Europe in 1940, was invented by the British.
    This is a common story: Sony invented the forerunner of the iPod, Xerox the personal computer, and Kodak the digital camera. In each case they failed to capitalize on the idea. Why?
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
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    • 40 min
    Buried by the Wall Street Crash

    Buried by the Wall Street Crash

    Both of the world’s greatest economists, Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, thought they could see into the future and make a killing on the stock market - and then both were wiped out by the Wall Street Crash. One died a pauper, the other millionaire. What does it take to bounce back from ruin? Oh... and UFOs.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
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    • 41 min
    The Deadly Airship Race

    The Deadly Airship Race

    A British Lord wanted to build the best airship in the world - and so he had two rival design teams battle it out to win the juicy government contract. Competition is supposed to bring the best out of people, but run in the wrong way it can cause people (and the things they produce) to fall apart in the most horrifying ways.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
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    • 42 min
    La La Land: Galileo's Warning

    La La Land: Galileo's Warning

    Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more likely to happen. His basic lesson has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars... all resulting in chaos.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

jessinoz20 ,

Love it!

As a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell, was very excited to find this great podcast in the same vane. Binged the lot, can’t wait for the second season!

Iolaus76 ,

Enthralling

Great series - entertaining and informative. I actually took some ideas to work from one episode (how to be more creative).

The Grahame's ,

Brilliant

Can’t get enough of this. I listen to lots of podcasts and this is one of the best

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