Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt tracks down other high achievers for surprising, revealing conversations about their lives and obsessions. Join Levitt as he goes through the most interesting midlife crisis you’ve ever heard — and learn how a renegade sheriff is transforming Chicago's jail, how a biologist is finding the secrets of evolution in the Arctic tundra, and how a trivia champion memorized 160,000 flashcards.
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120. Werner Herzog Thinks His Films Are a Distraction
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.
119. Higher Education Is Broken. Can It Be Fixed?
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.
118. “My God, This Is a Transformative Power”
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.
117. Nate Silver Says We're Bad at Making Predictions
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.
116. Abraham Verghese Thinks Medicine Can Do Better
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.
BONUS: Nobel Laureate Claudia Goldin on "Greedy Work" and the Wage Gap
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.
Steve is such a fun interviewer! He asks great questions and has a great way of looking at issues. The Q&A section is great as well.
What an inspiring interview, and such a great topic! I will listen to this one at a second time.
Thomas Curran (Sep. 15, 2023)
Anyone who actually suffers from perfectionism knows (at least subconsciously!) that Curran’s definition of perfectionism (that is, not simply an adherence to high standards, but an insecurity around one’s one “deficiency” that causes one to chase perfectionism as a feeble attempt to compensate) is incredibly spot-on. And the way the host can’t get that (and therefore concludes that *Curran*, not to mention all the experts who agree with him, has it wrong??!) is a sign that he simply doesn’t get it.