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Freakonomics

Bored with my commute to and from work, I began listening to a podcast called “Serial.” “Serial” investigated the trial for the murder of Hae Min Lee. The series questioned friends, family and experts involved in the trial and discovered mistakes and inconsistencies of a possibly deficient trial. After “Serial” ended, I was hooked and searched for more stories to listen to.

Podcasts don’t require a screen or a large budget, giving many personalities and stories an audience. The medium reveals interesting life stories from celebrities, answers complex questions, or just discusses the news. My favorite podcasts explore topics that most media sources do not or cannot.

I found Freakonomics Radio after reading the book of the same name. The book explores relationships between seemingly unrelated topics like the impact that the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe vs Wade had on overall crime rate in the United States. After reading, I was hooked on these topics and wanted to learn more.

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Freakonomics authors Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt

That brought me to Freakonomics Radio which “explores the hidden side of everything” with Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner. It includes topics ranging from the economics behind waiting in line to the impact of what name you give your child has on career outlook. Each episode prompts a discussion using data and experts’ analysis. Some episodes make the listener feel satisfied with the newly learned information; others leave listeners feeling hungry to answer a question they never thought to ask.

My favorite episode of Freakonomics explores the culture surrounding suicide, especially within the United States. “The Suicide Paradox” provides expert interviews from academics studying suicide worldwide. The hour-long episode includes data surrounding suicide, which may seem callous. However, Dubner and his guests handle the situation cautiously and leave listeners with a desire to continue the discussion.

Other episodes focus on more light-hearted topics like the economics behind Uber, or the economics of sleep. Listeners with no interest in economics will still enjoy the podcast as many episodes are completely absent of economic concepts. Listeners who already enjoy Freakonomics should try listening to “Planet Money,” which reached the top of my list with their most recent episode.

Image courtesy of www.stitcher.com

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