Stephen J. Dubner (co-author of the Freakonomics books) and research psychologist Angela Duckworth (author of Grit) really like to ask people questions, and came to believe there’s no such thing as a stupid one. So they made a podcast where they can ask each other as many “stupid questions” as they want.
Listen here or follow No Stupid Questions on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also provide transcripts, show notes, and links to research for each episode.
Are those travelers on their laptops just showing off? Why does V8 taste better at 35,000 feet? And why won’t Angela chat with her seatmate?
Are things as dire as they seem? How big is your moral circle? And should Angela spend time with her kids or answer her emails?
Is sobbing a survival tactic? What happened when Angela wept in front of her boss? And what do sauerkraut and sadness have in common?
Why are people so inconsistent? Is there such a thing as character? And did Stephen once have the world’s longest chain of gum wrappers?
Is there such a thing as a victimless crime? In an unfair system, is dishonesty okay? And are adolescent vandals out of ideas?
How do you know when it’s the right time to retire? What does a “good” retirement look like? And will Stephen and Angela ever really hang up their hats?
How many bottles of wine are regifted? What’s wrong with giving cash? And should Angela give her husband a subscription to the Sausage of the Month Club?
How do you express yourself when you’re not sure what you want to say? What’s the number one way to get people to listen to you? And why are letters to advice columns always well-written? Plus: An update to the NSQ drinking game.
When are negative emotions enjoyable? Are we all a little masochistic? And do pigs like hot sauce?
What do gamblers and referees have in common? When do machines make better decisions than people? And has Stephen been replaced by a computer?
How can you break a bad habit if you’re not aware that you’re doing it? Does Barack Obama grind his teeth? And is Angela’s dentist a crook?
What’s the difference between schadenfreude and sadism? Can envy be put to good use? And how do you teach a kid to punch a clown?
Can a little dishonesty be a good thing? How many fibs does Angela tell every day? And why does Stephen have a forehead?
If you’re frustrated with your family, should you cut ties with them? Who’s more likely to break with relatives over politics, liberals or conservatives? And what would it take for Stephen to buy a baby elephant?
How much can you tell about someone from the first few seconds of a Zoom call? What did Stephen think of Angie when he first met her? And: a special message to babies from the future.
How does comparing yourself to others affect your well-being? What do you do when there’s no one left to blame? And should we all just move to Finland?
What’s the purpose of profanity? Why is cursing on the rise? And will Angela finally swear off swearing?
How should you treat Seasonal Affective Disorder? Would we all be happier if we hibernated? And why does Stephen think football fans have an easier time?
How do you let go of resentment? Do apologies even work? And what grievances have Stephen and Angela been nursing for years?
Do highway warnings save lives or cost lives? How do you keep men from peeing on the floor? And what’s Angela’s plan to get more people washing their hands?
How is aging different today than it was in the past? What do young people get wrong about happiness? And what does it mean if you impulsively decide to get your ear pierced in an unusual place?
Can exercising your body boost your brain’s stamina? Are some people just born lazy? And why did Angela stop reading “Us Weekly”?
Why do some activities tire your brain more than others? How exhausting is poverty? And could most of the world’s problems be solved with a sandwich?
Are Europeans more sophisticated than Americans? What’s wrong with preferring Taylor Swift to Puccini? And is Steve Levitt “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”?
Will Angela finally break up with Philadelphia? Is New York really the unhappiest city in the U.S.? And are there trash tornadoes in the metaverse?
Are you a problem solver or an opportunity seeker? Why is it so hard to find a good leader these days? And could you be Angela’s next boss?
What risks are worth taking? When should you ignore feedback and go with your gut? And what did Stephen learn on a fishing trip with the town barber?
What’s worse: shame, guilt, or humiliation? Does Angela have psychopathic tendencies? And where’s the worst place to sit at a magic show?
What is the purpose of negative emotions? Why do we engage with things we know will upset us? And how does Angie deal with rejection?
Is it O.K. to bother people for a good cause? Why do people donate to charity in the first place? And do those personalized address labels actually make people get out their checkbooks?
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