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Author: EconTalk: Russ Roberts, Library of Economics and Liberty

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EconTalk is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 750+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.
759 Episodes
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Author, lawyer, and poet Dwayne Betts talks about his time in prison and the power of reading with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Betts is the founder of the Million Book Project, which aims to put a small library of great books in 1,000 U.S. prisons. Betts discusses his plans for the project and how reading helped him transform himself.
Journalist and author Anne Applebaum talks about her book, Twilight of Democracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Applebaum discusses the rise of populist and nationalist movements in Eastern Europe as well as in the West, and the appeal of these movements even when they begin to erode or destroy democracy.
Zena Hitz on Lost in Thought

Zena Hitz on Lost in Thought

2020-10-0501:29:502

Philosopher and author Zena Hitz of St. John's College talks about her book, Lost in Thought, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hitz defends learning for its own sake--learning that has nothing to do with passing an exam or preparing for a career. For Hitz, learning is a refuge and an essential part of what makes us human.
Agnes Callard on Aspiration

Agnes Callard on Aspiration

2020-09-2801:23:311

Where do our deepest personal values come from? Can we choose those values? Philosopher and author Agnes Callard of the University of Chicago talks about her book, Aspiration, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Callard explores the challenge of aspiration--who we are versus who we would like to become. How does aspiration work? How can we transform ourselves when we cannot know how it will feel to be transformed? Callard discusses these questions and more in this provocative episode.
How much has racism held back the U.S. economy? What would the country look like today if Black entrepreneurs and inventors had been welcomed and encouraged over the past century and a half? Economist Lisa Cook of Michigan State University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research into the impact of racism, lynching, and segregation on Black inventors and entrepreneurs.
Once upon a time, a man had an idea for a documentary on free-market ideas. Then that man was introduced to Milton Friedman. The result of their collaboration was a wildly successful book and PBS series, Free to Choose, capturing Friedman's view of the world, how markets work, and the role of individual liberty in free-market economies. The man behind that documentary, Robert Chitester, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how that documentary came about and Chitester's long-time friendship and work with Milton and Rose Friedman.
How do we prepare for a future that is unpredictable? That's the question at the heart of Margaret Heffernan's new book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. Heffernan is a professor at the University of Bath, but she is also a serial entrepreneur, a former CEO, and the author of five books on leadership, innovation, and the challenge of unleashing talent and creativity in large organizations. In this wide-ranging conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Heffernan discusses the central thesis of her book: The future may be unpredictable, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare for it. And smart organizations and people can learn how to do it.
What's the difference between invention and innovation? Could it be that innovation--the process of making a breakthrough invention available, affordable, and reliable--is actually the hard part? In this week's EconTalk episode, author Matt Ridley talks about his book How Innovation Works with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Ridley argues that we give too much credit to inventors and not enough to innovators--those who refine and improve an invention to make it valuable to users. Along the way, he emphasizes the power of trial and error and the importance of permissionless innovation.
Franklin Zimring's 2017 book, When Police Kill, starts with an alarming statistic: Roughly 1,000 Americans die each year at the hands of police. Zimring, criminologist and law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, talks about his book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Zimring argues that better policing practices can reduce the number of citizens killed by the police. He also discusses the barriers that stand in the way of more effective and safer policing.
In this 750th (!) episode, Duke University's Michael Munger talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the pandemic might create an opportunity for colleges and universities to experiment and innovate. Munger is Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy at Duke. He believes "top" schools can emerge from the current period of uncertainty to thrive in the long run. The path for "second-tier" institutions could be more difficult. They will still face the challenges that existed before the pandemic: competition from online classes and a shrinking pool of new applicants ready to pay high tuition bills.
Ben Cohen on the Hot Hand

Ben Cohen on the Hot Hand

2020-08-1001:08:532

Journalist and author Ben Cohen talks about his book, The Hot Hand, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. At times in sports and elsewhere in life, a person seems to be "on fire," playing at an unusually high level. Is this real or an illusion? Cohen takes the listener through the scientific literature on this question and spreads a very wide net to look at the phenomenon of being in the zone outside of sports. Topics include Shakespeare, investing, Stephen Curry, and asylum judges.
John Kay and Mervyn King talk about their book, Radical Uncertainty, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging discussion based on the book looking at rationality, decision-making under uncertainty, and the economists' view of the world.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics discussed include how to handle the rest of this pandemic and the next one, the power of the mask, geronticide, and soul in the game.
Economist and author Glenn Loury of Brown University talks about race in America with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.
Josh Williams, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain gaming company Forte, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of online gaming and the potential of a blockchain-based gaming platform to create market economies with property rights within online games.
Economist Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute talks about apprenticeships with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lerman argues that apprenticeships--a combination of work experience and classroom learning--have the potential to expand opportunities for young people who don't want to attend college.
Vivian Lee on The Long Fix

Vivian Lee on The Long Fix

2020-06-2901:04:365

Physician and author Vivian Lee talks about her book The Long Fix with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lee argues that we can transform health care in the United States, though it may take a while. She argues that the current fee-for-service system incentivizes doctors to provide services rather than keep patients healthy and that these are not the same thing. Topics explored include innovations in Medicare and in technology that might change treatment incentives as well as the weird world of health care pricing.
Philosopher and author Agnes Callard talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of philosophy, the power of philosophy, and the search for wisdom and truth. This is a wide-ranging conversation related to the question of how we learn, how to behave ethically, and the role of religion and philosophy in encouraging good behavior.
Author and historian Diane Ravitch of New York University talks about her book, Slaying Goliath, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Ravitch argues that the charter school movement is a failure and that it drains needed money from public schools.
Author and economist Rebecca Henderson of the Harvard Business School talks about her book Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Henderson argues that the focus on shareholder value threatens to destroy capitalism from within. Henderson argues that business leaders need to manage their companies differently in order to create a more humane and stable capitalism.
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Comments (85)

Simon H

Loury got the best of this discussion I think. Really good podcast

Aug 15th
Reply

Atanas Kotov

Idealistically very wholesome, but she contradicts herself a lot on her stance on government-private sector partnership.

Aug 5th
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Jeremy J. Moran

x22222211

Aug 3rd
Reply

rick silverman

Listen to this woman parlay her political ideals (leftist) by attacking charter school, when I look at the rich administrators that live in the wealthy suburbs. I think that her husband being a principal in a public school system is a conflict of interest. Listen, my wife, in her 50s, has had an impossible time getting her bachelors and certification in teaching. It is ridiculous that my wife had 20 years teaching in preschools, but can't teach in the public school system. This is pure fascism versus freedom of choice, school choice, she blames the failure of the public school system on religion, freedom and lack of educated teachers. Black parents are the biggest proponent of charter schools. This Diane Ravotch is all about a godless agenda to protect her high paying union jobs where school administrators are destroying inner city public schools. Her and her ilk need to be cancelled. https://youtu.be/PyBUlSrIOh4

Jul 16th
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Alan

Listening to Russ try to learn about video games sincerely made me happy. He seemed excited to learn about how gaming worked and in game economics and compare them to real world!

Jul 15th
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L Jenkins

Wow, he’s a great interviewer

Jun 29th
Reply

stinky rex

if i had played the drinking game i would be hammered right now. Russ definitely pushed back!! it's good to hear a different perspective on the school choice issue. and a welcome distraction from the pandemic news!

Jun 22nd
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Michael

Love Econtalk...and not sure if Russ is helping to stimulate the conversation by playing the other side - if he is he is doing a very convincing job

Jun 21st
Reply

stinky rex

Russ mentioned the prairie! drink!!! beautiful episode. added the book to my library wish list.

Jun 8th
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stinky rex

very good episode, I'll be reading the e-book as soon as it becomes available at my library!

Jun 8th
Reply

Joel Kosmos

I would love to hear an Econ Talk interview with Physicist Lee Smolin! Have you you rean him Russ?

Apr 30th
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William Vaughn

I agree with Romer's assessment that mainstream macroeconomics modeling explanations have deviated from science and are now like plogiston

Apr 26th
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Tom Rooney

Yeah, those idiotic, incompetent, nazi-commie libtards are always demonizing conservatives :)

Apr 7th
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Simon H

I would really like to read this book but at £24 for the paperback version (Amazon, 27 March 2020) it's a no. Really good podcast

Mar 27th
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Gordon Caylor

You have to have been jesting by permitting this author any of your time. His only frame of reference or response to your repeated probing is himself whom he repeatedly cites as the sole authority for wanting to order my life's choices. If this episode was not intended to be released in the spirit of April Fool's Day, then the few minutes I spent listening to it was very high on the list of "How I Wasted My Life's Time".

Mar 8th
Reply

Atanas Kotov

I feel like the talk wasn't really moving in any direction. It was quite vague, as all of philosophy can be, but it questioned some things not that well. For example, saying you could hurt people in Africa by giving to charity if you don't know much about them. You don't have to know every detail about something to make a decision to support or not support it. We would end up never helping anyone and being indecisive all the time. I think the theme had more potential than that!

Feb 1st
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ZB Fasih

That ending was entertaining.

Jan 31st
Reply

ZB Fasih

What a thought-provoking talk! Controversial but brilliant.

Jan 28th
Reply

stinky rex

another excellent episode on a topic I would've never even thought about before now. i might actually pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice!

Jan 21st
Reply (4)

Ingrid Linbohm

Great conversation.

Jan 13th
Reply
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