People I (Mostly) Admire
Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
Nov 28, 2020 38 min
8. Peter Attia: “I Definitely Lost a Lot of IQ Points That Day”
He’s been an engineer, a surgeon, a management consultant, and even a boxer. Now he’s a physician focused on the science of longevity. Peter Attia talks with Steve Levitt about the problem with immortality, what’s missing from our Covid response, and why nicotine is underrated.
Nov 14, 2020 38 min
7. Caverly Morgan: "I Am Not This Voice. I Am Not This Narrative."
She showed up late and confused to her first silent retreat, but Caverly Morgan eventually trained for eight years in silence at a Zen monastery. Now her mindfulness-education program Peace in Schools is part of the high-school curriculum in Portland, Ore. Steve Levitt finds out what daily life is like in a silent monastery, why teens find it easier than adults to learn meditation, and what happy children can teach their parents.
Oct 31, 2020 47 min
6. Nathan Myhrvold: “I Am Interested in Lots of Things, and That's Actually a Bad Strategy”
He graduated high school at 14, and by 23 had several graduate degrees and was a research assistant with Stephen Hawking. He became the first chief technology officer at Microsoft (without having ever studied computer science) and then started a company focused on big questions — like how to provide the world with clean energy and how to optimize pizza-baking. Find out what makes Nathan Myhrvold’s fertile mind tick, and which of his many ideas Steve Levitt likes the most.
Oct 17, 2020 30 min
5. Susan Wojcicki: “Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!”
She was the sixteenth employee at Google — a company once based in her garage — and now she's the C.E.O. of its best-known subsidiary, YouTube. But despite being one of the most powerful people in the tech industry, few outside of Silicon Valley know the name Susan Wojcicki. Levitt talks with her about the early days of Google, how her background in economics shapes the company's products, and why YouTube's success has created a range of unforeseen and serious issues.
Oct 10, 2020 38 min
Steve Levitt: “I'm Not as Childlike as I'd Like to Be” (Bonus Episode)
Steve Levitt has so far occupied the interviewer chair on this show, but in a special live event — recorded over Zoom and presented by WNYC and the Greene Space — the microphone is turned toward him. His Freakonomics friend and co-author Stephen Dubner checks in on the wisdom Levitt has extracted from his interviews, finds out why Levitt is happiest when angering everyone across the political spectrum, and asks Levitt why he ends every interview with the same question.
Oct 03, 2020 42 min
4. Ken Jennings: “Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird”
It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Now he holds the “Greatest of All Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.
Sep 19, 2020 39 min
3. Kerwin Charles: “One Does Not Know Where an Insight Will Come From”
The dean of Yale’s School of Management grew up in a small village in Guyana. During his unlikely journey, he has researched video-gaming habits, communicable disease, and why so many African-Americans haven’t had the kind of success he’s had. Steve Levitt talks to Charles about his parents’ encouragement, his love of Sports Illustrated, and how he talks to his American-born kids about the complicated history of Blackness in America.
Sep 05, 2020 45 min
2. Mayim Bialik: “I Started Crying When I Realized How Beautiful the Universe Is”
She’s best known for playing neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, but the award-winning actress has a rich life outside of her acting career, as a teacher, mother — and a real-life neuroscientist. Steve Levitt tries to learn more about this one-time academic and Hollywood non-conformist, who is both very similar to him and also quite his opposite.
Aug 22, 2020 42 min
1. Steven Pinker: "I Manage My Controversy Portfolio Carefully”
By cataloging the steady march of human progress, the Harvard psychologist and linguist has become a very public intellectual. But the self-declared “polite Canadian” has managed to enrage people on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Steve Levitt tries to understand why.
Jul 31, 2020 4 min
Introducing “People I (Mostly) Admire”
Steve Levitt has spent decades as an academic economist, “studying strange phenomena and human behavior in weird circumstances.” Now he’s turning his curiosity to something new: interviewing some of the most interesting, unorthodox people around — from actresses to athletes, authors to inventors. Here is a preview of Levitt’s new podcast, which premieres August 21st. New episodes every two weeks. “People I (Mostly) Admire” is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.