Freakonomics Radio ★★★
You may have heard of the book Freakonomics which was published in 2005 and written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. The Freakonomics website describes it as “a book about cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, self-dealing Realtors, and crack-selling mama’s boys. They figured it would sell about 80 copies. Instead, it took up long-term residency on the Times best-seller list, and went on to sell more than 5 million copies in 40 languages. Then they wrote SuperFreakonomics. It too became a worldwide best-seller. Together, the books have sold 7 million copies worldwide.” Remember those examples? The statistics about how baby names can impact the future of a child? Very cool stuff.
Unfortunately the podcast doesn’t have the same panache as the book or even Dubner and Levitt’s blog. Freakonomics was a great book – fun to read, fast, full of pop culture phenomena and tied in so nicely to economic concepts. It was full of statistics (which I personally love) and challenged conventional thinking. By contrast, the podcast feels slow and the titles of episodes are less than compelling (“The Economics of Sleep,” “How the Belt Won,” “Could the Next Brooklyn be Las Vegas?”) … what about that would make you want to listen?
There’s not enough there for me to listen to this one on a regular basis. I might be interested in some episodes here or there, but the episodes are kind of long (40-50 minutes) and less engaging than Planet Money. Dubner and Levitt are pretty good hosts, I just think maybe if they had a less frequent podcast they could focus on the most interesting topics, instead of trying to put out a weekly show, a blog, new books, movies, etc.
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (5 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (3 / 5)
I think Freakonomics goes a little further than Planet Money in looking at the pop culture link to economics – that’s really the whole point of at least the book – but I don’t think it really translates well on the podcast. I keep waiting for a new creative episode, something like the great analyses in the book,
Host Listen-ability (3 / 5)
Flow (both planned podcast flow and advertisement-impacted) (3 / 5)
Humor (2 / 5)
Investigation (3 / 5)
Storytelling (2 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person (4 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (3 / 5)
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Planet Money, Marketwatch, The Growth Show, What’s the Point