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No Stupid Questions

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Research psychologist Angela Duckworth (author of "Grit") and tech and sports executive Mike Maughan really like to ask people questions, and they believe there’s no such thing as a stupid one. So they have a podcast where they can ask each other as many “stupid questions” as they want. New episodes each week. "No Stupid Questions" is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.

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213 Episodes
Why do we tell kids that a fairy will give them cash in exchange for their teeth? How should we talk to them about scary things in the world? And is Mike one of the greatest operatic tenors of all time?  SOURCES:Laura Wheatman Hill, journalist.George Lin, Ph.D. student in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Melinda Wenner Moyer, journalist and author.Luciano Pavarotti, Italian operatic tenor.Amy Stoeber, clinical psychologist.Jacqueline Woolley, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. RESOURCES:"Parenting by Lying," by Peipei Setoh, Petrina Hui Xian Low, Gail D. Heyman, and Kang Lee (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2024)."Should You Always Tell Your Kids the Truth? It Depends," by Laura Wheatman Hill (CNN, 2021)."Parenting by Lying in Childhood Is Associated With Negative Developmental Outcomes in Adulthood," by Peipei Setoh, Siqi Zhao, Rachel Santos, Gail D. Heyman, and Kang Lee (Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2020)."The Santa Lie," by Melinda Wenner Moyer (2012). EXTRAS:"When Is It OK to Tell a Lie?" by No Stupid Questions (2021).How to Raise Kids Who Aren't A*******: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting — from Tots to Teens, by Melinda Wenner Moyer (2021).Life Is Beautiful, film (1997)."Love at the Five and Dime," song by Nanci Griffith (1986).The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom (1971).
WaitWhat C.E.O. Jeff Berman interviews Angela about “grit-scaling” and her unlikely path to academic celebrity.
Is there any upside to negative emotions? What can comedians teach us about dealing with pain? And why did Angela eat off of a stranger’s plate at a sushi bar?  SOURCES:Ludwig van Beethoven, 18th-19th century composer and pianist.Jen Christensen, reporter and producer at CNN.Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, professor of management & organizations at Northwestern University.Sigmund Freud, neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis.Shirley MacLaine, actor.George Vaillant, professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.Ali Wong, comedian. RESOURCES:"The Sad Clown: The Deep Emotions Behind Stand-Up Comedy," by Jen Christensen (CNN, 2018)."Neuroticism," by Jennifer L. Tackett and Benjamin B. Lahey (The Oxford handbook of the Five Factor Model, 2017)."Thinking Too Much: Self-Generated Thought as the Engine of Neuroticism," by Adam M. Perkins, Danilo Arnone, Jonathan Smallwood, and Dean Mobbs (Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2015)."Survivor Mission: Do Those Who Survive Have a Drive to Thrive at Work?" by Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Elizabeth Shulman, and Angela Duckworth (The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2014)."Age Differences in Personality Traits From 10 to 65: Big Five Domains and Facets in a Large Cross-Sectional Sample," by Christopher J. Soto, Oliver P. John, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011)."Adaptive Mental Mechanisms: Their Role in a Positive Psychology," by George Vaillant (American Psychologist, 2000).The Harvard Study of Adult Development. EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024).“Personality: The Big Five,” series by No Stupid Questions (2024).Terms of Endearment, film by James L. Brooks (1983)."Invictus," poem by William Ernest Henley (1888).
Where is the line between a good guy and a doormat? Do people with sharp elbows make more money? And why did Angela’s mother give away her birthday present?Take the Big Five inventory: SOURCES:Kristen Bell, actor.Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman of Amazon.Harry Connick Jr., singer, pianist, and actor.Juli Fraga, psychologist and writer.Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Allison Sweet Grant, writer.Timothy Judge, chair of the department of Management and Human Resources at The Ohio State University.Frank Jacobs, journalist and columnist at Big Think.Beth Livingston, professor of industrial relations at the University of Iowa.Topher Payne, playwright and screenwriter.Dax Shepard, actor and podcast host. RESOURCES:"Are You a Chronic People-Pleaser? Here’s How to Be Kinder to Yourself," by Juli Fraga (The Washington Post, 2023)."Geopsychology: Your Personality Depends on Where You Live," by Frank Jacobs (Big Think, 2023)."We Need to Talk About ‘The Giving Tree,'" by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant (The New York Times, 2020).The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries, by Topher Payne (2020)."Do as You’re Told! Facets of Agreeableness and Early Adult Outcomes for Inner-City Boys," by Margaret Kern, Angela Duckworth, Sergio Urzúa, Rolf Loeber, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, and Donald Lynam (Journal of Research in Personality, 2013).Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant (2013)."Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income," by Timothy Judge and Beth Livingston (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024).“Personality: The Big Five,” series by No Stupid Questions (2024)."Are You Suffering From Burnout?" by No Stupid Questions (2023).
What’s the difference between being introverted and being shy? What are extroverts so cheerful about? And does Angela’s social battery ever run out?Take the Big Five inventory: SOURCES:Susan Cain, author.Will Fleeson, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University.Sigmund Freud, neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis.Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Carl Jung, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.Donald Kamentz, founder and C.E.O. of Contigo Ed.Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.Seth Margolis, professor of biological chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. RESOURCES:"A Crucial Character Trait for Happiness," by Arthur C. Brooks (The Atlantic, 2023)."Experimental Manipulation of Extraverted and Introverted Behavior and Its Effects on Well-Being," by Seth Margolis and Sonja Lyubomirsky (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2020)."Challenges to Capture the Big Five Personality Traits in Non-WEIRD Populations," by Rachid Laajaj, Karen Macours, Daniel Alejandro Pinzon Hernandez, Omar Arias, Samuel D. Gosling, Jeff Potter, Marta Rubio-Codina, and Renos Vakis (Science Advances, 2019)."Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage," by Adam Grant (Psychological Science, 2013)."The Power of Introverts," by Susan Cain (TED Talk, 2012).Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (2012)."Personality Trait Change in Adulthood," by Brent W. Roberts Daniel Mroczek (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2008)."Toward a Structure- and Process-Integrated View of Personality: Traits as Density Distributions of States," by William Fleeson (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024).“Personality: The Big Five,” series by No Stupid Questions (2024).
Is it really that important to make your bed? What’s the benefit of hiring a lazy person? And how many cups of spinach can Mike fit in a red Solo cup?  Take the Big Five inventory: SOURCES:David Barack, philosopher and neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania.Randall Bell, socio-economist and C.E.O. of Landmark Research Group.Julia Cameron, author, poet, songwriter, filmmaker, and playwright.Charles Duhigg, journalist and author.Guy Kawasaki, author and Silicon Valley venture capitalist.William McRaven, professor of national security at the University of Texas at Austin and retired Admiral in the United States Navy. RESOURCES:"Large Studies Reveal How Reference Bias Limits Policy Applications of Self-Report Measures," by Benjamin Lira, Joseph M. O’Brien, Pablo A. Peña, Brian M. Galla, Sidney D’Mello, David S. Yeager, Amy Defnet, Tim Kautz, Kate Munkacsy, and Angela Duckworth (Nature: Scientific Reports, 2022)."Too Much of a Good Thing? Exploring the Inverted-U Relationship Between Self-Control and Happiness," by Christopher Wiese, Louis Tay, Angela Duckworth, Sidney D'Mello, Lauren Kuykendall, Wilhelm Hofmann, Roy Baumeister, and Kathleen Vohs (Journal of Personality, 2018)."7 ‘Rich Habits’ of Highly Successful People, From a Man Who Studied Them for 25 Years," by Kathleen Elkins (CNBC, 2017).Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World, by William McRaven (2017).The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg (2012)."Who Does Well in Life? Conscientious Adults Excel in Both Objective and Subjective Success," by Angela Duckworth, David Weir, Eli Tsukayama, and David Kwok (Frontiers in Psychology, 2012).The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron (1992). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024)."Personality: The Big Five," series by No Stupid Questions (2024)."Angela Duckworth: The Gritty Road to Growth," by Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People (2024)."How to Have Great Conversations," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2024).
What do the most creative people have in common?  How open-minded are you, really? And what’s wrong with ordering eggs Benedict? Take the Big Five inventory: SOURCES:Max Bennett, co-founder and C.E.O. of Alby.David Epstein, author and journalist.Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.Steve Jobs, co-founder and former C.E.O. of Apple.Oliver John, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University.Claude Shannon, 20th century mathematician and computer scientist.Jannik Sinner, professional tennis player.Christopher Soto, professor of psychology at Colby College.Dashun Wang, professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University.Kaitlin Woolley, professor of marketing at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. RESOURCES:A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains, by Max Bennett (2023)."Exploration vs. Exploitation: Adults Are Learning (Once Again) From Children," by Alison Gopnik (Observer, 2023)."Motivating Personal Growth by Seeking Discomfort," by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach (Psychological Science, 2022)."Understanding the Onset of Hot Streaks Across Artistic, Cultural, and Scientific Careers," by Lu Liu, Nima Dehmamy, Jillian Chown, C. Lee Giles, and Dashun Wang (Nature Communications, 2021)."Improv Experience Promotes Divergent Thinking, Uncertainty Tolerance, and Affective Well-Being," by Peter Felsman, Sanuri Gunawardena, and Colleen M. Seifert (Thinking Skills and Creativity, 2020).Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein (2019)."Openness to Experience," by Robert R. McCrae and David M. Greenberg (The Wiley Handbook of Genius, 2014). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024)."David Epstein Knows Something About Almost Everything," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2021).
Are you the same person you were a decade ago? Do we get better as we age? And is your sixth-grade class clown still funny?  SOURCES:Aaron (Tim) Beck, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University.Olga Khazan, staff writer at The Atlantic. Brian Little, professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge.Jordi Quoidbach, professor of people management and organisation at ESADE, University Ramon Llull.Carl Rogers, 20th-century psychologist.Martin Short, actor and comedian.Richard Wiseman, professor of the public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.Timothy Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. RESOURCES:"I Gave Myself Three Months to Change My Personality," by Olga Khazan (The Atlantic, 2022)."You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic," by Olga Khazan (The New York Times, 2021)."The Theory of Modes: Applications to Schizophrenia and Other Psychological Conditions," by Aaron T. Beck, Molly R. Finkel, and Judith S. Beck (Cognitive Therapy and Research, 2020).“Brian Little: Are Human Personalities Hardwired?" by Guy Raz (TED Radio Hour, 2017).I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend, by Martin Short (2014)."The End of History Illusion," by Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Timothy D. Wilson (Science, 2013)."Age Differences in Personality Traits From 10 to 65: Big Five Domains and Facets in a Large Cross-Sectional Sample," by Christopher J. Soto, Oliver P. John, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011)."The Rank-Order Consistency of Personality Traits From Childhood to Old Age: A Guantitative Review of Longitudinal Studies," by Brent W. Roberts and Wendy F. DelVecchio (Psychological Bulletin, 2000). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024).Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, TV series (2012-present).
Is it dangerous to live in the past? Why is Disney remaking all of its classic movies? And why does Angela get sentimental over a cup of soup and a free roll?  SOURCES:Julie Beck, senior editor at The Atlantic.Danielle Campoamor, freelance writer and reporter.Kyle Chayka, staff writer at The New Yorker.Amelia Dennis, research associate in psychology at the University of Bath.Erica Hepper, lecturer in personality/social psychology at the University of Surrey.Lucy Hone, director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience.Imran Rahman-Jones, freelance journalist.Florence Saint-Jean, executive director of Global Trauma Research. RESOURCES:"Pancultural Nostalgia in Action: Prevalence, Triggers, and Psychological Functions of Nostalgia Across Cultures," by Erica Hepper, Constantine Sedikides, Bettina Zengel, et al. (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2024)."From Rosy Past to Happy and Flourishing Present: Nostalgia as a Resource for Hedonic and Eudaimonic Wellbeing," by Erica Hepper and Amelia Dennis (Current Opinion in Psychology, 2023)."Locating Nostalgia Among the Emotions: A Bridge From Loss to Love," by Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg (Current Opinion in Psychology, 2023)."Hindsight is 2022: The Psychology Behind Our Cultural Nostalgia," by Kyle Chayka (Town & Country, 2022)."Why We Reach for Nostalgia in Times of Crisis," by Danielle Campoamor (The New York Times, 2020)."Mulan: Disney Remakes and the Power of Nostalgia During Coronavirus," by Imran Rahman-Jones (BBC, 2020)."The Three Secrets of Resilient People," by Lucy Hone (TEDxChristchurch, 2019)."When Nostalgia Was a Disease," by Julie Beck (The Atlantic, 2013). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024).Zoom, by Istvan Banyai (1995).Peter and Wendy, by J. M. Barrie (1911).
Does instinct trump expertise? Can playing poker improve your intuition? And why did Angela jump off of a moving trolley car? SOURCES:Tom Brady, former quarterback for the New England Patriots.Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University.Gary Klein, cognitive psychologist and pioneer in the field of naturalistic decision making.Brock Purdy, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.Josh Waitzkin, former chess player, martial arts competitor, and author. RESOURCES:"When and How To Sleep Train Your Baby," by Cleveland Clinic (2021)."The ShadowBox Approach to Cognitive Skills Training: An Empirical Evaluation," by Gary Klein and Joseph Borders (Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 2016).Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman (2011)."Conditions for Intuitive Expertise: A Failure to Disagree," by Daniel Kahneman and Gary Klein (American Psychologist, 2009)."Dumb Ways to Die," by Metro Trains Melbourne (2009).The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance, by Josh Waitzkin (2007).Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, by Gary Klein (1998). EXTRAS:"Why Is It So Hard to Make Decisions?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."Daniel Kahneman on Why Our Judgment is Flawed — and What to Do About It," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2021)."How to Make a Bad Decision," by Freakonomics Radio (2016).
Is grade inflation on the rise? How much does your G.P.A. matter in the long run? And when did M.I.T., of all places, become “the cool university”? SOURCES:Scott Hugo, housing justice attorney at Oakland City Attorney’s Office.Bob Ladouceur, former head football coach at De La Salle High School.Jon Marcus, writer at The Hechinger Report.Amelia Nierenberg, Connecticut correspondent for The New York Times. James Pennebaker, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.Stuart Rojstaczer, writer and former professor of geophysics at Duke University. RESOURCES:"Making the (Letter) Grade: The Incentive Effects of Mandatory Pass/Fail Courses," by Kristin Butcher, Patrick J. McEwan, and Akila Weerapana (Education Finance and Policy, 2023)."To Help New Students Adapt, Some Colleges Are Eliminating Grades," by Jon Marcus (NPR from Hechinger Report, 2023)."Grade Inflation Continues to Grow in the Past Decade," by Edgar I. Sanchez and Raeal Moore (ACT Research, 2022)."Why Good Teaching Evaluations May Reward Bad Teaching: On Grade Inflation and Other Unintended Consequences of Student Evaluations," by Wolfgang Stroebe (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2016)."Grade Inflation at American Colleges and Universities," by Stuart Rojstaczer (, 2016).Chasing Perfection: The Principles Behind Winning Football the De La Salle Way, by Bob Ladouceur and Neil Hayes (2015)."Daily Online Testing in Large Classes: Boosting College Performance while Reducing Achievement Gaps," by James W. Pennebaker, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jason D. Ferrell (PLOS One, 2013). EXTRAS:"Higher Education Is Broken. Can It Be Fixed?" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023)."Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School," series by Freakonomics Radio (2022).
How can you summon courage when you’re terrified? Is hiking more dangerous than skiing? And what is the stupidest thing that Mike has ever done? SOURCES:Albert Bandura, professor of psychology at Stanford University.Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine.Lisa Damour, clinical psychologist and senior advisor to the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University.Christopher Peterson, professor of psychology and organizational studies at the University of Michigan.Stanley Rachman, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic alpine skier.Lindsey Vonn, Olympic alpine skier.Shaun White, Olympic snowboarder.Joseph Wolpe, 20th-century South African psychiatrist. RESOURCES:The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents, by Lisa Damour (2023)."What Scares the World’s Most Daring Olympians," by John Branch, Mark Boyer, Larry Buchanan, Emily Rhyne, Bedel Saget, Joe Ward, and Jeremy White (The New York Times, 2022)."The Upside of Anxiety," by Christina Caron (The New York Times, 2022).Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive, by Marc Brackett (2019)."World With No Fear," by Invisibilia (2015).Abū Zayd Al-Balkhī''s Sustenance of the Soul: The Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician, by Malik Badri (2013)."Searching for the Source of a Fountain of Courage," by Natalie Angier (The New York Times, 2011).Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman (2004).Fear and Courage, by Stanley Rachman (1978)."Relative Efficacy of Desensitization and Modeling Approaches for Inducing Behavioral, Affective, and Attitudinal Changes," by Albert Bandura, E. B. Blahard, and B. Ritter (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1969). EXTRAS:"Fear No Mort," S7.E10 of Rick and Morty (2023)."Can Fear Be Good Medicine?" by Freakonomics, M.D. (2022).How We Feel, smartphone app.
Would you be more adventurous if you had more structure? Do you multitask while brushing your teeth? And what would Mike’s perfect brother Peter do?  SOURCES:David Brooks, opinion columnist for The New York Times.Colin Camerer, professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology.James Clear, writer.Mason Currey, author.David Goggins, ultra-endurance athlete and retired U.S. Navy SEAL.Jesse Itzler, entrepreneur and author.Katy Milkman, professor of operations, information and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and host of the Choiceology podcast.Aneesh Rai, professor of management and organization at the University of Maryland.Tony Robbins, author, motivational speaker, and life coach.Sydney Scott, professor of marketing at Washington University in St. Louis.Cass Sunstein, professor and founding director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School.Elanor Williams, professor of marketing at Washington University in St. Louis. RESOURCES:"A Field Experiment on Subgoal Framing to Boost Volunteering: The Trade-Off Between Goal Granularity and Flexibility," by Aneesh Rai, Marissa A. Sharif, Edward H. Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, and Angela L. Duckworth (Journal of Applied Psychology, 2023)."What’s Next? Advances and Challenges in Understanding How Environmental Predictability Shapes the Development of Cognitive Control," by Yuko Munakata, Diego Placido, and Winnie Zhuang (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2023)."A Neural Autopilot Theory of Habit: Evidence From Consumer Purchases and Social Media Use," by Colin Camerer, Yi Xin, and Clarice Zhao (Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2023)."In Goal Pursuit, I Think Flexibility Is the Best Choice for Me but Not for You," by Sydney E. Scott and Elanor F. Williams (Journal of Marketing Research, 2022).Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear (2018).Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (2016).Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, by Jesse Itzler (2015)."The Good Order," by David Brooks (The New York Times, 2014).Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey (2013).
What’s the best way to carry out random acts of kindness? What’s wrong with making an “Irish exit”? And why is Mike secretly buying lottery tickets? SOURCES:Roy Baumeister, social psychologist and visiting scholar at Harvard University.Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University.John Gottman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington.Kurt Lewin, 20th-century German-American psychologist.E. J. Masicampo, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University.Timothy Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.Bluma Zeigarnik, 20th-century Soviet psychologist. RESOURCES:"Life and Work of the Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik," by M. Marco (Neurosciences and History, 2018)."Why We Need Answers," by Maria Konnikova (The New Yorker, 2013)."Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals," by E. J. Masicampo and Roy Baumeister (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011).The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples, by John Gottman (2011)."'Let Me Dream On!' Anticipatory Emotions and Preference for Timing in Lotteries," by Martin Kocher, Michal Krawczyk, and Frans van Winden (Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, 2009)."Explaining Away: A Model of Affective Adaptation," by Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2008)."On Finished and Unfinished Tasks," by Bluma Zeigarnik (A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology, 1938). EXTRAS:Big Five Personality Inventory, by No Stupid Questions (2024)."Can We Disagree Better?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."Would You Be Happier if You Were More Creative?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."How Can You Be Kinder to Yourself?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."What’s Wrong With Holding a Grudge?" by No Stupid Questions (2022).Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli (1991).
How can you strive for excellence without overworking yourself? Why is perfectionism on the rise? And is Angela part of the problem? SOURCES:Kristin Andrus, philanthropist.Aaron (Tim) Beck, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.Thomas Curran, professor of psychological and behavioral science at the London School of Economics.Julia DiGangi, neuropsychologist.Zac Efron, actor.Scott Hugo, housing justice attorney at Oakland City Attorney's Office. RESOURCES:"For Happiness in the New Year, Stop Overdoing Everything," by Julia DiGangi (The Wall Street Journal, 2023)."Good Enough," by Thomas Curran (Character Lab, 2023).The Perfection Trap: Embracing the Power of Good Enough, by Thomas Curran (2023)."Perfectionism Is Not the Secret to Success (and Pursuing It May Guarantee the Opposite)," by Next Big Idea Club (Fast Company, 2023)."Zac Efron Rides Again," by Lauren Larson (Men's Health, 2022)."Tim Beck’s Final Brainstorms," by Stephen Fried (The Philadelphia Gazette, 2022)."Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time: A Meta-Analysis of Birth Cohort Differences From 1989 to 2016," by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill (Psychological Bulletin, 2019)."UCLA Senior From Alamo Among 32 Rhodes Scholars," by Steve Rubenstein (SFGate, 2008). EXTRAS:"What Does Success Look Like?" by No Stupid Questions (2024)."Is Perfectionism Ruining Your Life?" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023)."Are You Suffering From Burnout?" by No Stupid Questions (2023).Happy Days, TV series (1974-1984).The Period Project.
Does anyone have any real agency? What do McDonald’s and Oxford University have in common? And why did Angela give up on philosophy? SOURCESSam Harris, neuroscientist, philosopher, author, and podcast host.Brian Galla, associate professor of health and human development at University of Pittsburgh.Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology at Stanford University.Harry Emerson Fosdick, founding minister of Riverside Church in New York City.Martin E. P. Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Brian Kershisnik, American painter. Plato, ancient Greek philosopher. RESOURCESFree Will, by Sam Harris (2012).Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will, by Robert Sapolsky (2023).“Free Will Beliefs Predict Attitudes Toward Unethical Behavior and Criminal Punishment,” by Nathan D. Martin, Davide Rigoni, and Kathleen D. Vohs (PNAS, 2017).“Learned Helplessness: Theory and Evidence,” by Steven F. Maier and Martin E. P. Seligman (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1976).“Failure to Escape Traumatic Shock,” by Martin E. P. Seligman and Steven F. Maier (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1967). EXTRAS“Final Thoughts on Free Will” by Making Sense with Sam Harris (2021).“Sam Harris: ‘Spirituality is a Loaded Term’” by People I Mostly Admire (2021).
Should you shout your sins from the rooftops? How many skeletons are in the average person’s closet? And what has Angela been hiding? SOURCES:Maya Angelou, memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist.Stephen Baum, postdoctoral researcher at Olin Business School at Washington University.Clayton Critcher, professor of marketing, cognitive science, and psychology at Berkeley Haas School of Business.John Legend, singer-songwriter and pianist.Kareem Abdul Jabbar, former professional basketball player.Michael Slepian, professor of leadership and ethics at Columbia Business School.Jason Sudeikis, actor, writer, and producer.Chrissy Teigen, model and TV personality.Vauhini Vara, journalist and author.Lindsey Vonn, alpine ski racer.John Wooden, men’s basketball coach at the University of California, Los Angeles. RESOURCES:"The Bright Side of Secrecy: The Energizing Effect of Positive Secrets," by Michael Slepian, Katharine Greenaway, Nicholas Camp, and Adam Galinsky (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2023)."Ghosts," by Vauhini Vara (The Believer, 2021)."The Costs of Not Disclosing," by Stephen Baum and Clayton Critcher (Current Opinion in Psychology, 2020)."Why the Secrets You Keep Are Hurting You," by Michael Slepian (Scientific American, 2019)."The Benefits and Burdens of Keeping Others' Secrets," by Michael Slepian and Katharine Greenaway (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2018)."The Experience of Secrecy," by Michael Slepian, Jinseok Chun, and Malia Mason (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2017).Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2017)."Survey Says 1 In 5 People Are Keeping A Major Secret From Their Spouse," by Taryn Hillin (HuffPost, 2014). EXTRAS:Ted Lasso, TV show (2020-2023)."All of Me," song by John Legend (2013).
Do you really deserve the credit for your accomplishments? Should college admissions be determined by lottery? And how did Mike’s contribution to a charity auction change his life?  SOURCES:Warren Buffett, investor and philanthropist.James Flynn, political philosopher at the University of Otago.Robert Frank, professor emeritus of management at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.Rogé Karma, staff writer at The Atlantic.Nicholas Lemann, professor of journalism and dean emeritus at Columbia Journalism School.Daniel Markovits, professor of law at Yale Law School.Charles Munger, investor and philanthropist.John Rawls, 20th-century legal and political philosopher.Guy Raz, creator and host of How I Built This and Wisdom from the Top; founder and C.E.O. of Built-It Productions.Michael Sandel, professor of government at Harvard University.Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Ryan Smith, founder and executive chairman of Qualtrics; owner of the Utah Jazz. RESOURCES:The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? by Michael Sandel (2020).The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite, by Daniel Markovits (2019)."'The Meritocracy Trap,' Explained," by Rogé Karma (Vox, 2019)."Reflections About Intelligence Over 40 Years," by James Flynn (Intelligence, 2018)."Here’s Why Warren Buffett Says That He and Charlie Munger Are Successful," by Emmie Martin (CNBC, 2018).Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, by Robert Frank (2016).The Lottery, film by Madeleine Sackler (2010).The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy, by Nicholas Lemann (1999).“The Psychology of Human Misjudgment,” speech by Charles Munger (1995). EXTRAS:"What’s the Point of I.Q. Testing?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."What’s So Bad About Nepotism?" by No Stupid Questions (2022).
Where does sentimental value come from? Why did Angela throw out her childhood journals? And would Mike wear Hitler’s sweater?  SOURCES:Jeffrey Galak, professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon University.John Irving, author.Marie Kondo, professional organizer and consultant.Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.Yang Yang, research scientist at the Institute of Behavioral Research at Texas Christian University. RESOURCES:"Experiences Endure," by Angela Duckworth (Character Lab, 2022)."Study Finds That THESE Are the Most Valued Family Heirlooms," by SWNS Staff (SWNS, 2021)."Micro Wave: How 'Bout Dem Apple...Seeds," by Thomas Lu, Madeline K. Sofia, and Brit Hanson (Short Wave, 2021)."Sentimental Value and Its Influence on Hedonic Adaptation," by Yang Yang and Jeffrey Galak (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015)The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo (2010)."A Real-Life Version of the Hitler’s Sweater Experiment," by David Berreby (Big Think, 2010)."The Makings of the Magical Mind: The Nature and Function of Sympathetic Magical Thinking," by Carol Nemeroff and Paul Rozin (Imagining the Impossible: Magical, Scientific, and Religious Thinking in Children, 2000)."Operation of the Laws of Sympathetic Magic in Disgust and Other Domains," by Paul Rozin, Linda Millman, and Carol Nemeroff (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1986). EXTRAS:"How Do You Connect With Someone You Just Met?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."Do You Savor or Gobble?" by No Stupid Questions (2022)."Why Do We Hoard?" by No Stupid Questions (2020).The Twilight Saga, by Stephanie Meyer (2005-2020).A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving (1989).
Is there any scientific basis for the law of attraction? Are people who believe in “cosmic collaboration” more successful? And what happens when you write yourself a check for $10 million? SOURCES:Rhonda Byrne, writer and TV producer.Jim Carrey, actor.Christopher Clarey, sports journalist and author.Peter Gollwitzer, professor of psychology at New York University.Dave Levin, co-founder and executive director of KIPP Public Charter Schools.Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at New York University.Wallace Wattles, self-help writer. RESOURCES:"'The Secret' to Success? The Psychology of Belief in Manifestation," by Lucas J. Dixon, Matthew J. Hornsey, and Nicole Hartley (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2023)."Making Dreams Come True: Inside the New Age World of Manifesting," by Stuart McGurk (The Guardian, 2022)."TikTok's ‘Manifesting’ Craze, Explained," by Stuart McGurk (GQ, 2021)."From Feeling Good to Doing Good," by Gabriele Oettingen and Peter M. Gollwitzer (The Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology, 2019)."Self-Regulation of Time Management: Mental Contrasting With Implementation Intentions," by Gabriele Oettingen, Heather Barry Kappes, Katie B. Guttenberg, and Peter M. Gollwitzer (European Journal of Social Psychology, 2015)."Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training," by Christopher Clarey (The New York Times, 2014).“Self-Fulfilling Prophecy,” by R. Rosenthal (Encyclopedia of Human Behavior - Second Edition, 2012).The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne (2006).The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace Wattles (1910)
Comments (85)

so so

after i started my career as a teacher, i think i become more extroverted

May 5th

Joe A. Finley II

You missed a Fact Check: Mike says "ICU units," which is redundant.

Apr 12th


I think you meant 2023 in your fact check lol. Also I think you confused meritocracy with lottery/luck.

Feb 4th

Joe A. Finley II

Kind of a surface argument with little sway either way. It would be nice, for example, to compare the brain of a London cab driver who just got licensed and has driven for a year with that of an Uber/Lyft driver who's been driving for a year. The former had to PROVE a massive knowledge base before driving; the latter just fires up an app and the app tells him/her where to go. But still, for the latter, familiarity DOES come into play with, say, getting from Tower Bridge to Heathrow Airport.

Dec 25th

Mania Ghanbari

i need the text of this speech how can i get?

Dec 15th

Aldo Ojeda

Loved the idea of keeping things you don't want to use outside of your personal space. Applying it from now on.

Nov 29th

Carl D'souza

wow.. this has started to become really bad, with really poor fact checks.. I'm gonna unsubscribe now, thanks 👍🏽

Nov 19th

Mark Perry

Did she barely know that Chicago is in Illinois?!

Oct 16th

Joe A. Finley II

"I realize you're more important in my life than I am in yours." She doesn't recall a single meaningful event from their "great friendship"; meanwhile he's rattling off events like reading from a history book! Perfectly summarizes male-female platonic relationships after college.

Sep 29th

payam kohan

my closest experience of talking to myself is when i repeat the lyrics of music. they unconsciously become relevant most of the time.

Sep 11th


I became envious when you mentioned having more than ten close friends. Even the thought of hiking with ten close friends gives me a good feeling, let alone experiencing it. thank you for this episode 🤍

Aug 27th

Joe Beauchamp

it's pretty hard to take seriously someone who thinks cherry Hill nj is the same as Philadelphia PA. if he can't tell the diff, his ability to judge anything seems awfully suspect, no?

Aug 21st



Aug 18th


Maybe being skinny is just not so important and shouldn’t be emphasized so much?

Jul 24th

Márcia Paiva

The English song is not universal. For example in Portuguese is very different, same melody but different and varied lyrics.

Jul 4th

Joe Beauchamp

2 people, 1 opinion. seems 1 person too many? I miss diverse voices and a discussion deeper than 2 QVC women talking about the wonderful blueness of their product. Sorry.

May 23rd

Patrick Hendry

i was surprised during your 7 Deadly Sins series you didn't mention the story by Frank McCourt, I think in Angela's Ashes, where he gets in trouble at Catholic school for pointing out Sloth is best deadly sin, since if you have the Sloth you can't commit the other deadly sins

Apr 24th

Joe A. Finley II

Big nope with the Qatar example. To paraphrase MLK, Jr., "Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere."

Apr 15th

Biem Ai

I really don't like it when people are this arrogant. You really didn't need to be this much sarcastic. Anyways, I don't like celebrating birthdays too, but for me it's just a reunion with my parents and siblings.

Mar 4th

Joe A. Finley II

Angela is my spirit animal when it comes to understanding Scandinavian socialism. Indeed, despite the need to do post-commentary fact-checking, she presented the case for it without rose-colored glasses: yes, the majority of business is privately owned in a traditional capitalist environment, but the degree to which government social services assist the average citizen cannot be overlooked.

Feb 4th
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