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People I (Mostly) Admire

Steve Levitt, the iconoclastic University of Chicago economist and co-author of the Freakonomics book series, tracks down other high achievers and asks questions that only he would think to ask. Guests include all-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker, and top literary agent Suzanne Gluck. People I (Mostly) Admire is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.

10. Suzanne Gluck: “I'm a Person Who Can Convince Other People to Do Things”

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 340 views
  • 6 months ago
  • 37:45

She might not be a household name, but Suzanne Gluck is one of the most powerful people in the book industry. Her slush pile is a key entry point to the biggest publishers in the U.S., and the authors she represents have sold more than 100 million books worldwide. Steve Levitt talks with Gluck — his own agent — about negotiating a deal, advising prospective authors, and convincing him to co-write Freakonomics.

9. Moncef Slaoui: "It’s Unfortunate That It Takes a Crisis for This to Happen"

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 300 views
  • 6 months ago
  • 36:36

Born in Morocco and raised mostly by a single mother, Moncef Slaoui is now one of the world’s most influential scientists. As the head of Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. government’s Covid-19 vaccine program — Slaoui has overseen the development and distribution of a new vaccine at a pace once deemed impossible. Steve Levitt finds out how the latest generation of vaccines improve on their predecessors, why “educated intuition” is important in innovation, and what we can do to be better prepared for future pandemics.

7. Caverly Morgan: "I Am Not This Voice. I Am Not This Narrative."

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 190 views
  • 7 months ago
  • 38:39

She showed up late and confused to her first silent retreat, but Caverly Morgan eventually trained for eight years in silence at a Zen monastery. Now her mindfulness-education program Peace in Schools is part of the high-school curriculum in Portland, Ore.  Steve Levitt finds out what daily life is like in a silent monastery, why teens find it easier than adults to learn meditation, and what happy children can teach their parents. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

6. Nathan Myhrvold: “I Am Interested in Lots of Things, and That's Actually a Bad Strategy”

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 410 views
  • 8 months ago
  • 48:01

He graduated high school at 14, and by 23 had several graduate degrees and was a research assistant with Stephen Hawking. He became the first chief technology officer at Microsoft (without having ever studied computer science) and then started a company focused on big questions — like how to provide the world with clean energy and how to optimize pizza-baking. Find out what makes Nathan Myhrvold’s fertile mind tick, and which of his many ideas Steve Levitt likes the most. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Susan Wojcicki: “Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!”

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 160 views
  • 8 months ago
  • 33:48

She was the sixteenth employee at Google — a company once based in her garage — and now she's the C.E.O. of its best-known subsidiary, YouTube. But despite being one of the most powerful people in the tech industry, few outside of Silicon Valley know the name Susan Wojcicki. Levitt talks with her about the early days of Google, how her background in economics shapes the company's products, and why YouTube's success has created a range of unforeseen and serious issues. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

5. Susan Wojcicki: “Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!”

People I (Mostly) Admire

  • 110 views
  • 8 months ago
  • 30:36

She was the sixteenth employee at Google — a company once based in her garage — and now she's the C.E.O. of its best-known subsidiary, YouTube. But despite being one of the most powerful people in the tech industry, few outside of Silicon Valley know the name Susan Wojcicki. Levitt talks with her about the early days of Google, how her background in economics shapes the company's products, and why YouTube's success has created a range of unforeseen and serious issues. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.