Steve Levitt, the iconoclastic University of Chicago economist and co-author of the Freakonomics book series, tracks down other high achievers and asks questions that only he would think to ask. Guests include all-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, WNBA champion Sue Bird, Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui, and neuroscientist/actress Mayim Bialik. People I (Mostly) Admire is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.
Are We Under Threat from a New Kind of Terror? (Replay Ep. 24)
Amaryllis Fox is a former C.I.A. operative and host of the Netflix show The Business of Drugs. She explains why intelligence work requires empathy, and she soothes Steve’s fears about weapons of mass destruction.
59. Who Gives the Worst Advice?
Steve usually asks his guests for advice, whether they’re magicians or Nobel laureates. After nearly 60 episodes, is any of it worth following — or should we just ask listeners instead?
58. Why Is Richard Thaler Such a ****ing Optimist?
The Nobel laureate and pioneering behavioral economist spars with Steve over what makes a nudge a nudge, and admits that even economists have plenty of blind spots.
57. What Makes John Doerr Think He Can Save the Planet?
The legendary venture capitalist believes the same intuition that led him to bet early on Google can help us reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But Steve wonders why his plan doesn’t include a carbon tax.
56. Claudia Goldin: What’s “Greedy Work” and Why Is It a Problem?
Harvard economist Claudia Goldin and Steve talk about how inflexible jobs and family responsibilities make it harder for women to earn wages equal to their male counterparts. But could Covid actually level the playing field?
55. Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations — and His Optimism for Ours
He’s the award-winning author of hugely popular books like Guns, Germs, and Steel; Collapse; and Upheaval. But Jared actually started his varied career as an expert on gallbladders and birds. The physiologist turned geographer talks with Steve about his brushes with death, why the Norse Greenlanders wouldn’t eat fish, and why he has never been invited to a cannibal ceremony.