Neil Shubin hunts for fossils in the Arctic and experiments with D.N.A. in the lab, hoping to find out how fish evolved to walk on land. He explains why unlocking these answers could help humans today.
Ecologist Suzanne Simard studies the relationships between trees in a forest: they talk to each other, punish each other, and depend on each other. What can we learn from them?
The mathematician and author sees mathematical patterns everywhere — from DNA to fireflies to social connections.
In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus about finding the profound in the obvious.
When Freakonomics co-authors Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner first met, one of them hated the other. Two decades later, Levitt grills Dubner about asking questions, growing the pie, and what he learned from Bruce Springsteen.
From baseball card conventions to Walmart, John List has always used field experiments to say revolutionary things about economics. He explains the value of an apology, why scaling shouldn’t be an afterthought, and why he moved to the private sector to stay at the forefront of science.
Former professional poker player Annie Duke has a new book on Steve’s favorite subject: quitting. They talk about why quitting is so hard, how to do it sooner, and why we feel shame when we do something that’s good for us.
Author and YouTuber John Green thought his breakout bestseller wouldn’t be a commercial success, wrote 40,000 words for one sentence, and brought Steve to tears.
The ethologist and conservationist discusses the thrill of observing chimpanzees in the wild, the value of challenging orthodoxy, and why dying is her next great adventure.
The philosopher known for his rigorous ethics explains why Steve is leading a morally inconsistent life.
Heeding the warnings of public health officer Charity Dean about Covid-19 could have saved lives. Charity explains why she loves infectious diseases and why she moved to the private sector.
The documentary filmmaker, known for The Civil War, Jazz, and Baseball, turns his attention to the Holocaust, and asks what we can learn from the evils of the past.
Harvard economist Raj Chetty uses tax data to study inequality, kid success, and social mobility. He explains why you should be careful when choosing your grade school teachers — and your friends.
Philosopher Will MacAskill thinks about how to do as much good as possible. But that’s really hard, especially when you’re worried about humans who won’t be born for many generations.
Victoria Groce is one of the best trivia contestants on earth. She explains the structure of a good question, why she knits during competitions, and how to memorize 160,000 flashcards.
The author of Sapiens has a knack for finding the profound in the obvious. He tells Steve why money is fiction, traffic can be mind-blowing, and politicians have a right to say stupid things in private.
When she’s not rescuing chickens from coyotes, Susan Athey uses economics to address real-world challenges — from online ad auctions to carbon capture technology.
Khan Academy founder Sal Khan returns to share his vision for a new way to learn — and the conversation inspires Steve to make a big announcement.
Astronomer Jill Tarter spent her career searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. She explains what civilizations from other planets could teach us about our own future.
Game theorist Barry Nalebuff explains how he used basic economics to build Honest Tea into a multimillion-dollar business, and shares his innovative approach to negotiation.
David Keith has spent his career studying ways to reflect sunlight away from the earth. It could reduce the risks of climate change — but it won’t save us.
Billionaire John Arnold is figuring out how to do as much good as he can with his wealth. It takes hard work, risk tolerance, and a lot of spending.
Many of us hate to think about future crises. Game designer Jane McGonigal wants to make it fun.
Jane McGonigal designed a game to help herself recover from a traumatic brain injury — and she thinks playing games can help us all lead our best lives.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz combs through mountains of information to find advice for everyday life.
Soil scientist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe could soon hold one of the most important jobs in science. She explains why the ground beneath our feet is one of our greatest resources — and, possibly, one of our deadliest threats.
How psychologist Dan Gilbert went from high school dropout to Harvard professor, found the secret of joy, and inspired Steve Levitt’s divorce.
Linguist and social commentator John McWhorter explains how good intentions may be hurting Black America — and where the word “motherf*cker” comes from.
Beatrice Fihn wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons. As Russian aggression raises the prospect of global conflict, can she put disarmament on the world’s agenda?
Nobel Prize winner Joshua Angrist explains how the draft lottery, the Talmud, and West Point let economists ask — and answer — tough questions.
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