People I (Mostly) Admire
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. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every show in our network without ads. To sign up, visit our show page on Apple Podcasts or go to freakonomics.com/plus.
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. RESOURCES:The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World, by Michael D. Smith (2023)."Divers
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. RESOURCES:The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and
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. RESOURCES"Not
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. RESOURCES:The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese (2023)."Abraham Verg
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.
115. The Future of Therapy Is Psychedelic
For 37 years, Rick Doblin has been pushing the F.D.A. to approve treating post-traumatic stress disorder with MDMA, better known as Ecstasy. He tells Steve why he persisted for so long, why he doesn’t like calling drug use “recreational,” and what he learned from his pet wolf. RESOURCES:"MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Mo