“Storytelling has a power that goes well beyond the sum of its parts.”
– Stephen Dubner
Stephen J. Dubner (@Freakonomics) returns to the show. He is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known for writing, along with the economist Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics (2005), SuperFreakonomics (2009), and Think Like a Freak (2014), which have sold more than five million copies in 35 languages. He is the creator of the top-ranked Freakonomics Radio podcast.
His brand-new podcast, produced in collaboration with The New York Times, is Tell Me Something I Don’t Know It is equal parts game show, talk show, and brain-tease. I had a chance to experiment with this format as a “panelist” alongside Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a blast.
In this episode, we cover such diverse topics as:
- Why cats wiggle their butts before they pounce
- How to grow a podcast
- If he thinks he could take Malcolm Gladwell in a fist fight
- Economics and the President’s actual influence over the economy
- How virtual reality might affect education
- And much, much more
Please enjoy this round two with Stephen J. Dubner!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast featuring Stephen J. Dubner? — Listen to this early episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. In this episode, we discuss the craft of brainstorming, narrative storytelling, and how to avoid wasting mental energy on meaningless nonsense (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.
Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you for free the exact portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.
This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.
I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Stephen Dubner:
- The Tim Ferriss Show, Episode 7: Stephen Dubner, Co-Author of Freakonomics (Stephen’s first appearance on this show)
- How to Be Tim Ferriss — Featuring Freakonomics (that time Stephen interviewed me)
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
- SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
- Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
- Question of the Day Episode 107 with Special Guest Tim Ferriss: Does Altruism Actually Exist?
- LMGTFY (Let Me Google That for You)
- Holy Bible, King James Version
- The Brady Bunch
- The Epic of Gilgamesh
- The Odyssey by Homer
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- This Is Your Brain on Podcasts, Freakonomics Radio
- Dubno Jewish History Tour, Jewish Virtual Library
- Choosing My Religion: A Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief by Stephen J. Dubner
- Missing Ingredient to Lower Scores Is Something Called Deliberate Practice, Golf Magazine
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- Ring: A Biography of Ring Lardner by Jonathan Yardley
- The Right Profile Live (Stephen’s old band)
- Trading Rock ‘n’ Roll for Economics: Stephen J. Dubner Thinks Like a Freak by Mack Hayden, Paste Monthly
- SuperFreakonomics Co-Author Describes the Intersection of Good and Bad versus Wrong and Right interview with Tavis Smiley
- Why Are We Still Using Cash?, Freakonomics Radio
- How Much Does the President Really Matter?, Freakonomics Radio
- Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?, Freakonomics Radio
- New Classrooms
- Footy for Two
- On stamp collecting: A Hobby for Everyone, American Philatelic Society
- Why do cats wiggle their butts before they pounce? [08:48]
- How might storytelling improve the way lessons of hard sciences and other traditionally “boring” subjects are conveyed? [09:28]
- Top tips for editing your podcasts to make them shorter without losing too much valuable information. [19:33]
- Suggestions for growing the reach of a podcast. [23:15]
- The origin of Stephen’s last name. [26:07]
- What’s happening with the golf book Stephen and Steven were working on? [28:57]
- What are the three books that had the biggest impact on Stephen? [31:26]
- Stephen talks about why he chose a career in writing over one in sports or music (his other two passions). [33:07]
- How did Stephen meet James Altucher and what makes James a good interviewer? [40:50]
- Does Stephen think he could take Malcolm Gladwell in a fist fight? [42:24]
- How will South Korea’s entry into the cryptocurrency game affect the dynamic of the market? [43:17]
- What actual influence does a US president have on the economy? [46:13]
- How will technology such as VR (virtual reality) affect education? [51:48]
- What’s the best way to teach kids how to develop critical thinking and ask unusual questions? [56:55]
- What Stephen learned from stamp collecting. [1:01:32]
- Steven D. Levitt
- Malcolm Gladwell
- James Altucher
- Adam and Eve
- William Shakespeare
- Pauly Shore
- Jack Gallant
- Jonathan Yardley
- Ring Lardner
- Tavis Smiley
- Eric Posner
- Richard Posner
- James Madison
- Joel Rose
- Solomon Dubner
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.