27 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 “The Data Detective” 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. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

Cautionary Tales with Tim Harfor‪d‬ Pushkin Industries

    • History
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

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 “The Data Detective” 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. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

    Number Fever: How Pepsi Nearly Went Pop

    Number Fever: How Pepsi Nearly Went Pop

    Pepsi twice ended up in court after promotions went disastrously wrong. Other big companies have fallen into the same trap - promising customers rewards so generous that to fulfil the promise might mean corporate bankruptcy.
    Businesses and customers alike are sometimes blinded by the big numbers in such PR stunts - but it's usually the customers, not the businesses, who end up losing out.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 40 min
    The Curse of Knowledge Meets The Valley of Death

    The Curse of Knowledge Meets The Valley of Death

    Why were soldiers on horseback told to ride straight into a valley full of enemy cannon? The disastrous "Charge of the Light Brigade" is usually blamed on blundering generals. But the confusing orders issued on that awful day in 1854 reveal a common human trait - we often wrongly assume that everyone knows what we know and can easily comprehend our meaning.
    Starring Helena Bonham Carter as Florence Nightingale.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 38 min
    The Dunning Kruger Hijack (and Other Criminally Stupid Acts)

    The Dunning Kruger Hijack (and Other Criminally Stupid Acts)

    The hijackers of flight 961 wanted its pilot to fly them to Australia - and wouldn't listen to his pleas that there simply wasn't enough fuel for the mammoth trip. What would cause them to totally disregard the advice of an expert when the stakes were so very high? The Dunning Kruger effect.
    But being too stupid to recognise the limits of your knowledge isn't confined to such prize idiots - it's something we are all guilty of at times and has huge implications for society.
    Starring Jeffrey Wright (Hunger Games, Westworld, and the Bond films) as Ethiopian Airlines captain Leul Abate.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 38 min
    Catching a KiIler Doctor

    Catching a KiIler Doctor

    Family doctor Harold Shipman got away with murdering his patients for decades. He was one of the most prolific serial killers in history - but his hundreds of crimes largely went unnoticed despite a vast paper trail of death certificates he himself had signed.
    Why do we sometimes fail to see awful things happening right under our noses? And how can the systems that maintain quality control in cookie factories be employed to prevent another doctor like Shipman killing with impunity?
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 39 min
    The Art Forger, the Nazi, and "The Pope"

    The Art Forger, the Nazi, and "The Pope"

    "The Pope" was a revered Dutch art expert - and yet he fell for a not very convincing forgery of a "lost" Vermeer masterpiece. The forger had duped other art connoisseurs too - including the high ranking Nazi Hermann Göring. But perhaps Han van Meegeren's biggest con was to convince the Dutch public that he was a cheeky resistance hero.
    We assume knowledge and intelligence can protect us from being duped - but often they are not enough to save us from the fraudster's greatest ally - our own wishful thinking.
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 40 min
    Florence Nightingale and Her Geeks Declare War on Death

    Florence Nightingale and Her Geeks Declare War on Death

    Victorian nurse Florence Nightingale (played by her distant cousin Helena Bonham Carter) is a hero of modern medicine - but her greatest contribution to combating disease and death resulted from the vivid graphs she made to back her public health campaigns.
    Her charts convinced the great and the good that deaths due to filth and poor sanitation could be averted - saving countless lives. But did Nightingale open Pandora's Box, showing that graphs persuade, whether or not they depict reality?
    Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 41 min

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5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

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