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Question of the Day

Question of the Day is the show for listeners who are short on time and long on curiosity. It is a fast-paced conversation between author and entrepreneur James Altucher and Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner: two smart, unconventional thinkers who have been talking together for years, often over a long-running backgammon match. Now they are letting you in on the game, too. You will quickly become addicted to their wonderful, wry observations as they ponder each Question of the Day. The answers await you every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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98. How Do You Use Your Time Efficiently?

How do our polymath hosts - including guest Brian Koppelman - use their time efficiently while juggling multiple ventures and family? On today's discussion, you'll hear discourse about forming productive habits, creating appropriate work mindsets, scheduling non-work time, and receive advice that you should tell your friend's uncle that you will not be attending his dog's wedding in Saskatoon.


10 Mar 2016

Rank #1

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59. How Do I Improve My Personal Finances?

Have you taken the time to write down where each and every cent you spend goes to? If not, you may be lacking in one of James and Stephen's "three skills of money".


16 Dec 2015

Rank #2

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12. Should You Let Your Kids Win At Chess?

Today we learn how to impart lessons in perseverance and fair play to your children. Or, how to trounce your kids at games and feel fine about it.


16 Sep 2015

Rank #3

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174. Would Politics Work Better If Everyone Was Informed and Voted?

Two questions in one day? Today, James and Stephen take on questions from two listeners who want to know if a more active and socially engaged electorate would create a better political system. Would the populace actually be better informed by watching cable news on a regular basis and reading their tabloid or broadsheet of choice, or would they just be further cementing the ideological divide that media outlets are polarized to? Our hosts also discuss the potential for compulsory mail-in and internet voting and see if maybe the Swiss are on to something that America's missing.This episode is sponsored by Squarespace.


1 Sep 2016

Rank #4

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71. Early Bird or Night Owl?

James isn't getting the amount of sleep he strives to have on a nightly basis. Will Stephen, who regularly wakes up before 6 AM, have the solution?


13 Jan 2016

Rank #5

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26. Bring Out Your Dead

Is New England slowly becoming one big graveyard? Today we examine where America's prior inhabitants are ending up.


19 Oct 2015

Rank #6

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115. What Are the Keys to Health and Longer Living?

Stephen hasn't been seriously sick in years. James hasn't needed to see a medical doctor since the age of 18. What lessons can they provide from their research, conversations with prominent physicians, and life experience? Today's tips will hopefully make you healthier, if not also wealthier and wiser.


20 Apr 2016

Rank #7

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69. What Are Ways to Train Your Brain to Be Smarter?

Stephen likens his mind to an attic, which shouldn't be filled with 'meaningless crap'. Will he be able to find any tidbits up there which answer a question over 2400 Quora users are wondering?


7 Jan 2016

Rank #8

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134. Why Do We Fabricate Memories?

Have you ever reminisced about a trip you took to Disney World with your family, only to find out it never happened? While this may read like science fiction, it actually happened to our guest co-host A.J. Jacobs! On today's episode, our hosts recount stories of false memories that have happened to them and others, including Stephen misrepresenting the lifetime score of his years-long backgammon match against James, and they try to decipher why our brains are playing tricks on us.This episode is sponsored by Allstate.


1 Jun 2016

Rank #9

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127. What Excuse Do You Want to Stop Making?

James believes that admitting your biggest excuse is the first step towards stopping the action. So today, our hosts get personal about the things they avoid doing, some from lack of interest, others from procrastination. Will coming clean to the listening audience be enough to set them on the straight and narrow path?


17 May 2016

Rank #10

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140. What Do You Wish You Knew About Adult Life as a Teenager? - Pt 1

What revelations about life have come your way in adulthood that never crossed your mind in adolescence? James asks Stephen this question today, after reading a Quora question from a 24 year old who's having trouble finding his place in the world. Stephen gives his advice on today's episode, and they continue the thread tomorrow with James' thoughts on the same topic!This episode is sponsored by Casper Mattresses.


15 Jun 2016

Rank #11

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138. Planes, Trains, and Bus Window Seats

Do you ever find yourself in a place of self-reflection and introspection when looking out the window of a moving vehicle? James and Stephen do, and today they discuss whether or not they tend to find peace in the situation, or if they just end up "inside their own heads". Also, our hosts debate the "internal fictions" of their own significance in the larger world, and why they hold their opposing opinions.


9 Jun 2016

Rank #12

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46. Anonymous Anger Issues

Are you more likely to have an angry outburst when driving a car than walking? How about when commenting on an internet message board? Rage is all the rage on today’s Question of the Day.


17 Nov 2015

Rank #13

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103. What's The Last Thing You Quit?

James quit a business he started with Stephen in 2008. Stephen quit trying to get the upper hand in discussions with his family. Both hosts quit pretending they enjoy the taste of wine. Today, we discuss the upside and downside of quitting, how to gradually unstick yourself from sticky life situations, and why no one has ever watched a play written by Stephen J. Dubner.


23 Mar 2016

Rank #14

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104. How Much Money Do You Need to Quit Everything and Retire?

Whether you live in downtown Manhattan or Schoharie, NY, worrying about having enough money to retire is a common fear for hard-working Americans. Today, Stephen and James examine what "the number" needed for retirement might be for the average person, and discuss whether they've been over-cautious or under-cautious when it comes to preparing their financial futures.


24 Mar 2016

Rank #15

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167. Do Selfies Cause Weight Awareness?

How many selfies do you take with your friends before settling on one that's "social media worthy"? Our guest co-host Marina Franklin thinks whatever the number is, it's a lot higher than what it used to be, and it's because our global level of self-consciousness is rising rapidly. Listen on as Marina, James, and Stephen discuss the difference in perception between looking in a mirror and at your smartphone screen, and why Stephen's happy to have the "Freakonomics apple" as his online avatar.This episode is sponsored by Mott & Bow.


17 Aug 2016

Rank #16

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160. How Can You Shake Up Your Work Life After Age 40?

Do you feel the need to shake up your work life after twenty-plus years in the job market? Professional self re-inventors Stephen and James are here to help. Both hosts have pivoted their careers multiple times, some of which while keeping their former full-time jobs, and today they give advice and examples to what their methods have been to keep them on their toes creatively.This episode is sponsored Mott & Bow.


2 Aug 2016

Rank #17

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50. I Guess This Is Growing Up

Age and maturity level should go hand-in-hand, but that’s not always the case. What does it take to be ‘mature’, and what are some signs that a person is, shall we say, ‘lacking’ in that department?


25 Nov 2015

Rank #18

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72. What Are Some Habits That Have Improved Your Life?

What "stupid, corny habit" does James have which has changed his life completely, and continues to do so even today? Today, Stephen and James list the habits they've adopted which have done the most to improve their lives.


14 Jan 2016

Rank #19

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8. How To Start Conversations with Strangers

Stephen and James share their strategies for talking to strangers. They've tried everything, from photographing people's tattoos to offering them bags of pennies, with mixed results.


7 Sep 2015

Rank #20