Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

By Pushkin Industries

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “The Data Detective”) brings you stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, and hilarious fiascos. They'll delight you, scare you, but also make you wiser. New episodes every other Friday. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

Episodes

A Leap of Faith From the Eiffel Tower

Inventor Franz Reichelt wants to test his novel "parachute suit" from as tall a structure as possible - and the Eiffel Tower seems ideal. Previous trial runs used a mannequin strapped to the chute and have not ended well. Despite this, his plan is to make the Eiffel Tower jump himself. Can he be persuaded to see sense? Self-experimentation - particularly in the field of medicine - has a long and checkered history. Can we learn anything useful from such unorthodox experiments, or are they reckless acts of egotism and hubris?  For a full list of sources go to timharford.com.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23/09/2233m 0s

Cautionary Conversation: Flying on Empty

A meter is longer than a yard. An ounce is heavier than a gram. We harmlessly mix them up sometimes, but a "unit conversion error" when you're filling up the fuel tanks of an airliner can be fatal. Which is exactly what happened to Air Canada Flight 143.  Tim Harford talks to mathematician and comedian Matt Parker about how the aircraft came to take off without the proper fuel load, how no one noticed until it was too late, and why such errors give us an insight into just how important maths is to keeping our complex world working as it should.  For more "unit conversion errors"  check out Matt's book Humble Pi.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
09/09/2232m 6s

Tim Talks Bicycles with Patented

Invented in the mid-1800s, bicycles have had enduring popularity. Across cultures, they have been embraced, promising freedom and mobility at a lower price point.  Tim joins Dallas Campbell on Patented: History of Inventions, to discuss the history of the bicycle, from the invention story through to bicycle booms, the C5 Sinclair and the rise of dockless bike sharing schemes.  If you're interested in the stories behind the world's greatest inventions - from the mighty steam train to the humble condom - subscribe to Patented: History of Inventions today.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
02/09/2238m 37s

"You’re Not Howard Hughes!"

By the 1970s Howard Hughes was the "invisible billionaire”. A business tycoon, a daring aviator and Hollywood Lothario, Hughes had an amazing life story... but hiding away in luxury hotels he wasn't sharing his memories with anyone. Then the recluse told a respected publishing house - via intermediaries - that he was working on an autobiography. The book would be a blockbuster... only it was all a lie. For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/08/2235m 44s

"Who would you dine with Scott or Amundsen?" Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Harford in Discussion.

Malcolm Gladwell joins Tim Harford to discuss our recent three-part tale about the race to reach the South Pole. There's talk of imperial decline; the power of the underdog; why getting everything you want is actually a handicap; and limes... lots and lots of limes.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/08/2225m 14s

South Pole Race: When the Limeys Get Scurvy

Polar exploration is dangerous... but trudging hundreds of miles in subzero temperatures isn't made any easier if you're suffering from scurvy. The deadly vitamin deficiency destroys the body and will of even the strongest and most determined adventurer - and it seems that scurvy stuck down the ill-fated expedition of Captain Scott.  But scurvy... in 1912? Hadn't the Royal Navy to which Scott belonged famously cracked the problem of scurvy a century before, with a daily dose of lime juice? How did the 'Limeys' seemingly unlearn that lesson?  For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/08/2233m 48s

The Bowery Boys and the Black Tom Explosion

Cautionary Tales returns next week, but in the meantime enjoy a story of disaster from The Bowery Boys Podcast.  It's July 30th 1916, just after 2am, and a massive explosion rips apart the munitions depot on Black Tom, an island off Jersey City. Tons of debris and jagged shrapnel pepper neighboring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Thousands of windows across New York are shattered, and millions of residents are awoken wondering what had just happened. Was it an accident or German sabotage?  The Bowery Boys is show about the people and events that have shaped the history of New York City, and really, shaped America. Listen to more episodes of The Bowery Boys at https://www.boweryboyshistory.com/bowery-boys-first/bowery-boys-podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
05/08/2245m 29s

South Pole Race: “Mummy, is Amundsen a good man?”

Roald Amundsen beat Captain Scott to the South Pole. The Norwegian - using dog sleds and skis - made it look easy... fun, even. He was heading home to safety, while the British party - hauling sleds by hand - were struggling to survive out on the ice. In this case, to the victor went a spoiled reputation. The British grumbled that Amundsen had somehow cheated, or had at least behaved in an underhand manner. These stinging accusations would haunt the adventurer until the day he died in the polar wastes. For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/07/2235m 33s

South Pole Race: David and Goliath on Ice

1910: Two men are racing to be the first to reach the South Pole. Captain Robert Falcon Scott heads a well-financed, technologically-advanced expedition - aiming to reach the pole in the "proper" and heroic way... on foot. Roald Amundsen's effort is more modest, relying on cheap sled dogs to carry him to victory.  Scott - for all his money, for all his fancy equipment, for all his backing from the mighty Royal Navy - is doomed to failure in the icy wastes of Antarctica. Why? For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/07/2233m 20s

Gladwell on Doctors' Prescriptions, Carbon Copies and the Opioid Crisis.

What if a little bit of extra paperwork could saves lives and perhaps end an epidemic? Enjoy a cautionary tale from our friend and fellow Pushkin host, Malcolm Gladwell. The new season of Revisionist History begins with a half-baked idea of an obscure bureaucrat in the 1930’s and ends with one of the worst public health disasters in American history - the opioid crisis.  Stick around to hear Tim and Malcolm discuss the episode and the importance of admitting you're wrong.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
08/07/2248m 8s

Chicago When It Sizzles

July 1995: A deadly heatwave gripped Chicago - bridges buckled; the power grids failed; and the morgue ran out of space - but some neighbourhoods saw more deaths than others. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wanted to know why. So he headed to the hardest hit districts and found that social isolation and loneliness played an unsettling role in their heavy deaths tolls.    Does the Chicago heatwave teach us that in dealing with climate change we need to consider not just physical infrastructure, but social infrastructure too?   Eric Klinenberg's classic text on the topic is called Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. For a full list of other sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
01/07/2238m 22s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Hot Money

This week, we're sharing an episode from a new podcast brought to you by Pushkin Industries and the Financial Times. The series is hosted by Tim’s colleagues, reporter Patricia Nilsson and editor Alex Barker.   In this episode, Patricia and Alex wonder how it's legal for porn sites to host millions of videos uploaded by uses. The answer is in the story of an Ohio family in the early 1990s. Stick around until the end to hear Tim interview Alex and Patricia on their reporting on the shadowy power structure that includes billionaires, tech geniuses and the most power finance companies in the world.  Listen to more Hot Money episodes at: http://link.chtbl.com/dbhotmoneySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
24/06/2255m 0s

The French Knight’s Guide to Corporate Culture

France 1346: The army of King Philip VI is Europe's pre-eminent killing machine. It's accustomed to crushing any force stupid enough to oppose it, and now fully expects to annihilate a motley band of English invaders in a field near the village of Crecy.    Except as night falls, it is Philip's army that lies broken and bleeding in the mud. What went wrong? The French knights, it seems, had failed to update their corporate culture.    For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/06/2236m 16s

A Corvair Cautionary Tale from Car Show

Cautionary Tales will be back with a new original story next week, but in the meantime, check out one of Pushkin's newest shows, Car Show! With Eddie Alterman. The Chevrolet Corvair was unusual. And it was a Cautionary Tales on four wheels. It was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1960, yet the car hit bottom just three years later. In this episode, you'll hear how battles over safety shaped the future of the Corvair, the car industry, and America itself. Listen to more Car Show episodes at https://link.chtbl.com/cautionarycarshowSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/06/2238m 25s

Frankenstein Versus the Volcano

When Mount Tambora erupted it spewed ash across the globe; blotting out the sun; poisoning crops; and bringing starvation, illness and death to millions. It may also have helped inspire great scientific and cultural advances - including the horror masterpiece Frankenstein. How well do we adapt to catastrophe and what are the limits of our ability to weather even the worst circumstances?  For a full list of sources go to timharford.com If you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
03/06/2234m 59s

Bless the Coal-black Hearts of the Broadway Critics

When Billy Joel agreed to let dance legend Twyla Tharp turn his songs into a Broadway musical it seemed like a surefire hit. But in previews, Movin’ Out was panned by the critics. It was soon headed for Broadway and was set to be an expensive and embarrassing failure.So how could Twyla turn things around and avert disaster before opening night? For a full list of sources go to timharford.com If you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20/05/2233m 57s

Respect the Polygon from Against the Rules

This week, we're sharing an episode of Against the Rules, hosted by perhaps the greatest non-fiction writer on the planet, Michael Lewis. On the show, Michael explores what’s happened to fairness in modern life. He’s looked at referees and at coaches. Now, he’s looking at experts—the kind who transform people’s lives for the better, and get absolutely no credit whatsoever. Tim shares his favorite episode so far, about the ways better data has revolutionized our understanding of life-and-death issues. Armed with data, experts are now way more accurate—and way more likely to save your life.  You can listen to more Against the Rules episodes at https://link.chtbl.com/cautionaryrules.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/05/2234m 59s

Monkey for Mayor from This Day in Esoteric Political History

What happens when a monkey gets elected mayor? Well, not really a monkey, but a monkey mascot for a town’s football games. Tim Harford joins This Day in Esoteric Political History to discuss a weird moment from UK history in 2002, when the northeastern English town of Hartlepool was gearing up for a mayoral election and ended up voting in…the local football club’s monkey mascot to run their government. They discuss how H’Angus the Monkey got elected, and how the man inside the suit, Stuart Drummond, went on to be a very effective administrator.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
13/05/2228m 46s

When the Autopilot Switched Off

An airline captain thought he was giving his children a harmless thrill by letting them "fly" his packed airplane - the young cockpit visitors weren't really in control... the autopilot was doing the real flying. Until it wasn't.  Do safety features actually lull us into a false sense of security - tempting us to take greater risks than we otherwise would? For a full list of sources go to timharford.com If you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
06/05/2233m 6s

Cautionary Tales Presents: World's Greatest Con

We'll be back with another story of human error next week, but today we're sharing another podcast you might like. On World's Greatest Con, Brian Brushwood talks about the most audacious con jobs, swindles, and heists in history. In this episode of World's Greatest Con, Brian tells the story of how a game show producer was tempted into upping the ante on his own program by feeding answers to the contestants. Those contestants become rich, famous, and admired...until the scheme is discovered and all they are left with is shame. You can hear more episodes by searching for World's Greatest Con wherever you get podcasts.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/04/221h 12m

Photographing Fairies

Sherlock Holmes is known for approaching all mysteries with cool logic - and yet when his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saw photographs taken by two young girls purporting to show real life fairies at play... he unwisely declared them genuine. How did Elsie and Frances fool so many people with their photography... and why did they keep the hoax going for decades? For a full list of sources go to timharford.com If you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22/04/2237m 7s

Tim Joins ‘No Such Thing As A Fish'

‘No Such Thing as a Fish’ is one of Tim Harford’s favorite podcasts and he was recently invited on as a guest. So here’s a chance to listen to the host of Cautionary Tales chat vital vitamins, stinging schemes, and the practice of pyrography.Listen to more episodes from No Such Thing as a Fish wherever you get podcasts.Cautionary Tales will return with the story the greatest photographic hoax in history next Friday. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/04/2257m 18s

The False Dawn of the Electric Car

Sir Clive Sinclair was a computer whizz and business mogul to rival Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. He was a visionary who could do no wrong... until he tried to launch an electric vehicle.The C5 “electrically assisted pedal cycle" doesn't seem so outlandish to us now... but 1985 just wasn't ready for the "aerodynamic bathtub" on wheels. Sir Clive was ridiculed and his business ruined. How did it all go so wrong?For a full list of sources go to timharford.comIf you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
08/04/2237m 7s

The Balloons That Ate Cleveland (A Cautionary Tales Short)

When Disneyland released one million helium balloons to set a new world record, Cleveland, Ohio looked on in envy. Could it top the Magic Kingdom? What did citizens hope to gain from getting into the record books... and at what cost?This is a special Cautionary Tales Short - a bitesize warning for history. To hear FOUR more Cautionary Tales Shorts (plus other exclusive and ad-free Pushkin content) join Pushkin+ in Apple Podcasts or at https://www.pushkin.fm/plus/ .For a full list of sources go to timharford.comIf you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
25/03/2218m 55s

Death on the Dance Floor

With its splendid modern architecture, the Hyatt Regency was the place to be seen in Kansas City in 1981. Beneath space-age walkways, guests drank, laughed and danced... not realizing that the 60 tons of of glass, concrete and steel hanging above their heads was about to come crashing down.One hundred and fourteen people died. But why? Was it cheap materials? Shoddy construction? Or a tiny error that seemed so insignificant that no one paid it any attention?For a full list of sources go to timharford.comIf you’d like to keep up with the most recent news from this and other Pushkin podcasts be sure to sign up for our email list at Pushkin.fm. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
25/03/2236m 44s

The Future of Drones from What’s Your Problem

While we're getting ready to premiere our new season next week, check out Pushkin's newest show, What's Your Problem? In this preview, Tim talks to former Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein about the entrepreneurs interviewed on the show, the future they’re trying to build—and the problems they have to solve to get there.Since Tim is obsessed with problems, he delights in hearing about the ones really smart people are trying to solve right now. Jacob shares a story of the founder of a drone company called Zipline. The company makes hundreds of drone deliveries a day in Rwanda and Ghana. Now they're trying to solve a surprisingly hard problem: How do they make drone delivery work in the United States?You can hear more episodes of What’s Your Problem at https://link.chtbl.com/ctwhatsyourproblem Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/03/2228m 59s

Cautionary Tales Returns Every Other Friday from March 25th

The greatest mistakes, disasters and fiascos of the past aren't just gripping stories... they're also warnings from which we all can learn.Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford returns EVERY OTHER FRIDAY FROM MARCH 25th to chronicle the defeats of mighty armies, the destruction of business empires and the deadly eruptions of fearsome volcanoes. And from amongst the wrecked lives and wrecked egos, Tim finds the simple lessons we can apply in our daily lives.Tim's also created some special Cautionary Tales Shorts, available exclusively to Pushkin+ subscribers. To hear them, sign up for Pushkin+ on the show page in Apple Podcasts or at pushkin.fm/plus.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/03/223m 4s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Endless Thread

While we're working away on new episodes for Season 3, check out Endless Thread, a podcast from WBUR. Endless Thread reveals untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other wild stories from the internet. They recently did a whole series on internet memes. In this episode, we hear the little-known origin story of the "Woman Yelling at a Cat" meme -- straight from the Woman herself -- that might make you think twice about ever using the meme again. They also explore why a loss of context is crucial for the spread of memes, but often problematic. You can listen to the rest of the meme series, and more great Endless Thread episodes at https://www.wbur.org/podcasts/endlessthread Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/01/2242m 48s

Cautionary Tales Presents: The New Bazaar

This week, we're sharing a podcast you might like. The New Bazaar is made by our friends over at Bazaar Audio. In each episode, the brilliant host Cardiff Garcia talks to a guest about the way the economy shapes our lives, and how our choices are reflected back onto the economy.  In this episode, Cardiff interviews Tim Hartford about how he works, the craft of storytelling, the process of creating Cautionary Tales, and ideas from his new book, The Data Detective – which, by the way, is out in paperback in early February. You’ll also hear his take on fellow podcast host, and Pushkin co-founder, Malcolm Gladwell. You can hear more episodes by searching for The New Bazaar on your podcast app of choice.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
05/01/2256m 5s

Lost Hills Season 2: Dead in the Water

This week, we're sharing a special preview of the new season of Pushkin's show Lost Hills: Dead in the Water. Lost Hills investigates the dark side of Malibu, California. Beneath a seductive facade, this city of billionaires, celebrities, and surf bums is hiding something menacing. Season 2 takes place in the early ‘80s, as Malibu was changing from a low-profile beach town into a celebrity haven, full of new money and hard drugs. When a woman and her son mysteriously drowned, her husband was arrested for their murders—and ultimately convicted. But to this day, many people—including the victim's family—claim he’s innocent. You can hear the first two episodes right now at https://link.chtbl.com/cautionarytaleslosthills Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
01/12/219m 22s

Cautionary Tales Presents Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon

Presenting: An Excerpt from Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon by Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam. Download the audiobook today at miracleaudiobook.com and receive an exclusive listener's guide pdf featuring additional commentary from Bruce, the producers and editors of Miracle and Wonder. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
19/11/2139m 36s

The Mummy’s Curse

Disturbing the remains of the Egyptian pharaohs is known to incur a deadly curse, so why did a team of archeologists still risk inciting the wrath of King Tutankhamun by entering his burial chamber? And how many of them met a premature end for their impudence? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/10/2136m 51s

The Truth About Hansel and Gretel

Was the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel - the story of a woodcutter’s children abandoned in the woods and left at the mercy of a witch - in fact, early true crime? A hit book - The Truth About Hansel and Gretel - said that historical records pointed to the story being based on fact. Are we too quick to dismiss the truth behind tall stories? Or are we always falling for tales that are too good to be true?The first of two special Halloween editions of Cautionary Tales. Next up... The Mummy's Curse. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22/10/2136m 48s

The Ripper Retold: A Cautionary Tale

The story of Jack the Ripper we all know... is wrong. Tim Harford talks to historian Hallie Rubenhold (host of Bad Women: The Ripper Retold) about her research that dispels many of the myths about the awful murders that terrified London in 1888 - and how she's putting the victims center stage. You'll also get to hear an episode of Bad Women: The Ripper Retold - which transports you back to the slums of Whitechapel as the killer's bloody spree is about to begin and introduces you to the women who will soon become his victims. Subscribe to Bad Women: The Ripper Retold wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
05/10/2155m 35s

A Cautionary Tale of Kubrick and the Pain of Rejection

Being shunned by a lover, a school or an employer hurts - but we're only just beginning to understand how real this pain is and how we can administer a bit of emotional first aid to stop the hurt. Dr. Laurie Santos of The Happiness Lab podcast talks to leading experts in the science of rejection... and to actor Tim Colceri about one of the most extreme real life stories of humiliation and dashed hopes you're ever likely to hear. You can hear more Happiness Lab episodes at http://podcasts.pushkin.fm/cautionaryhappinesslab, Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
23/08/2140m 25s

Malcolm Gladwell is All Riled Up

We’re excited to share with you the new season of Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast that re-examines something from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. We’ve got to warn you, the new season is completely unbound. Malcolm Gladwell is finally out of the house, and taking you into the streets, and even under the sea. All in the name of continuing his journey through the overlooked and misunderstood. He plays chicken with cars. An Oscar winner helps him remake fairy tale history. He dives into your dirty laundry. I haven’t quite decided who he riles up most. College elitists? Nine year old girls? You’ll have to hear it for yourself to find out.  Find the new season of Revisionist History at http://podcasts.pushkin.fm/rhcautionary. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
01/07/215m 1s

Cautionary Tales presents: I Spy

Here's a great podcast you might like. It’s called I Spy and it’s made by our friends over at Foreign Policy. On each episode they get a former spy to tell the story of one operation. The show we're bringing you is called The Cassandra. Frank Snepp, a CIA analyst based in Saigon, explains how he discovered that Communist forces were preparing to attack the city. His superiors refused to heed his warnings - resulting in a frenzied, bloody and humiliating evacuation as his predictions came true. If you like it, you can hear part two over at I Spy (https://foreignpolicy.com/podcasts/ispy/) Enjoy the show. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
04/06/2129m 44s

Do NOT Pass GO!

Lizzie J. Magie (played by Helena Bonham Carter) should be celebrated as the inventor of what would become Monopoly - but her role in creating the smash hit board game was cynically ignored, even though she had a patent.Discrimination has marred the careers of many inventors and shut others out from the innovation economy entirely. Could crediting forgotten figures such as Lizzie Magie help address continuing disparities in the patenting of new inventions?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28/05/2135m 0s

Wrong Tools Cost Lives

The British Government promised to create a "world-beating" system to track deadly Covid 19 infections - but it included an outdated version of the off-the-shelf spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel. The result was disastrous.When under pressure or lacking in expertise we can all be tempted to use a tool unsuitable for the job in hand. But whether fitting shelves or trying to halt a pandemic, we need to accept that cutting corners comes at a cost.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21/05/2133m 49s

The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell devoted four episodes of his podcast Revisionist History to the rise of air power during the Second World War. Listeners met Air Force general Curtis LeMay and heard about the birth of napalm and the firebombing of Tokyo. Malcolm couldn't get that story out of his mind, and so he built an entirely new audiobook around it, The Bomber Mafia. The Bomber Mafia features more archival footage, new writing, and enhanced scoring. It's a totally new experience. Purchase the audiobook at www.bombermafia.com, and you'll receive a free Listener's Guide featuring new commentary from Malcolm. Print and ebook editions available wherever books are sold. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
17/05/2113m 19s

Fritterin’ Away Genius

Claude Shannon was brilliant. He was the Einstein of computer science... only he loved "fritterin' away" his time building machines to play chess, solve Rubik's cubes and beat the house at roulette.If Shannon had worked more diligently - instead of juggling, riding a unicycle and abandoning project after project - would he have made an even greater contribution to human knowledge? Maybe... and maybe not. Are restlessness and "fritterin'" important parts of a rich and creative life?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14/05/2136m 41s

The Fan Who Infected a Movie Star

German measles is a minor illness for most people - but for unborn children it can be devastating. In 1943 - when the link was only just becoming clear - a young US marine decided to break rubella quarantine to meet the movie star Gene Tierney (played by Mircea Monroe). The marine was sick... and Gene was pregnant.The appalling consequences of that meeting tell us much about how our thoughtlessness can harm those around us - but the kind of tragedy that befell Tierney and her daughter can be averted if we appeal to the better parts of human nature.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
07/05/2131m 44s

Whistleblower on the 28th Floor

Financial expert Ray Dirks (played by Jeffrey Wright) exposed one of the biggest corporate crimes of all time - and yet he was the one who ended up in front of the Supreme Court.Whistleblowers often face intimidation from those they bring to justice, but also face hostility from their co-workers, new employers, the authorities and even the public. Why are we suspicious of "tattletales" and what can we do to make vital whistleblowing easier?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
30/04/2131m 46s

Masterly Inactivity Versus Micromanaging

Lady Sale (played by Helena Bonham Carter) was part of a bloody and ignominious British retreat from Afghanistan in 1842. The arrogant colonial invaders had thought intervening in Afghan affairs and dominating the country would be easy - they were wrong. Lady Sale was among the lucky few to escape with her life.Wiser heads later recommended "masterly inactivity" as a better course of action. In politics, parenting and even medicine - avoiding the temptation to act is a sadly neglected art form.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23/04/2132m 8s

Demonizing Dungeons & Dragons

When James Dallas Egbert III was reported missing from his college dorm - one of America's most flamboyant private detectives was summoned to solve the case. "Dallas" had many of the same problems that most teenagers face - but P.I. William Dear stoked fears that he might have fallen under the evil spell of a mysterious and sinister game.... Dungeons & Dragons.The global panic about the dangers the role-playing game posed to impressionable young minds may seem quaint 40 years on - but again and again we show how fearful we are of creative endeavours we don't quite understand.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
16/04/2136m 59s

Number Fever: How Pepsi Nearly Went Pop

Pepsi twice ended up in court after promotions went disastrously wrong. Other big companies have fallen into the same trap - promising customers rewards so generous that to fulfil the promise might mean corporate bankruptcy. Businesses and customers alike are sometimes blinded by the big numbers in such PR stunts - but it's usually the customers, not the businesses, who end up losing out. Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
09/04/2135m 2s

The Curse of Knowledge Meets The Valley of Death

Why were soldiers on horseback told to ride straight into a valley full of enemy cannon? The disastrous "Charge of the Light Brigade" is usually blamed on blundering generals. But the confusing orders issued on that awful day in 1854 reveal a common human trait - we often wrongly assume that everyone knows what we know and can easily comprehend our meaning.Starring Helena Bonham Carter as Florence Nightingale.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
02/04/2133m 36s

The Dunning Kruger Hijack (and Other Criminally Stupid Acts)

The hijackers of flight 961 wanted its pilot to fly them to Australia - and wouldn't listen to his pleas that there simply wasn't enough fuel for the mammoth trip. What would cause them to totally disregard the advice of an expert when the stakes were so very high? The Dunning Kruger effect.But being too stupid to recognise the limits of your knowledge isn't confined to such prize idiots - it's something we are all guilty of at times and has huge implications for society.Starring Jeffrey Wright (Hunger Games, Westworld, and the Bond films) as Ethiopian Airlines captain Leul Abate.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/03/2133m 12s

Catching a KiIler Doctor

Family doctor Harold Shipman got away with murdering his patients for decades. He was one of the most prolific serial killers in history - but his hundreds of crimes largely went unnoticed despite a vast paper trail of death certificates he himself had signed.Why do we sometimes fail to see awful things happening right under our noses? And how can the systems that maintain quality control in cookie factories be employed to prevent another doctor like Shipman killing with impunity?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/03/2133m 40s

The Art Forger, the Nazi, and "The Pope"

"The Pope" was a revered Dutch art expert - and yet he fell for a not very convincing forgery of a "lost" Vermeer masterpiece. The forger had duped other art connoisseurs too - including the high ranking Nazi Hermann Göring. But perhaps Han van Meegeren's biggest con was to convince the Dutch public that he was a cheeky resistance hero.We assume knowledge and intelligence can protect us from being duped - but often they are not enough to save us from the fraudster's greatest ally - our own wishful thinking.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/03/2135m 16s

Florence Nightingale and Her Geeks Declare War on Death

Victorian nurse Florence Nightingale (played by her distant cousin Helena Bonham Carter) is a hero of modern medicine - but her greatest contribution to combating disease and death resulted from the vivid graphs she made to back her public health campaigns.Her charts convinced the great and the good that deaths due to filth and poor sanitation could be averted - saving countless lives. But did Nightingale open Pandora's Box, showing that graphs persuade, whether or not they depict reality?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
05/03/2136m 0s

Martin Luther King Jr, the Jewelry Genius, and the Art of Public Speaking

One speechmaker inspired millions with his words, the other utterly destroyed his own multi-million-dollar business with just a few phrases.Civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr (played by Jeffrey Wright of Westworld, The Hunger Games, and the James Bond films) and jewelry store owner Gerald Ratner offer starkly contrasting stories on when you should stick to the script and when you should take a risk.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/02/2135m 24s

Cautionary Tales returns February 26th

We shouldn't just gawk at the misfortune and stupidity of others - we should try to learn lessons to save us from enduring the same pain. Economist and writer Tim Harford returns with a new season of Cautionary Tales introducing us to idiotic hijackers, murderous doctors and brazen art forgers - as well as heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr and Florence Nightingale. This season includes the acting talents of Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown, Fight Club, Howard's End) and Jeffrey Wright (Westworld, The Hunger Games, and the James Bond films). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
19/02/212m 34s

Bonus: Why We Believe What Isn't True (with Axios Today)

We're no stranger to stories about misinformation or deliberate disinformation. We live in a world where now more than ever, you have to be skeptical. That skepticism can be healthy, but it also can be used to cast more doubt and misinformation on data and statistics that are very real. Tim Harford talks to Niala Boodhoo, from the news podcast Axios Today, about why people believe things that aren't true.Check out Axios Today, where Niala delivers the news every weekday - in just 10 minutes.Subscribe to Axios Today wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/02/2114m 8s

The Data Detective

Cautionary Tales' host Tim Harford has a new book - The Data Detective - setting out ten commandments for understanding the numbers, charts, graphs and statistics that bombard us every day. In this free extract, Tim explains his extra "golden" rule that allows us to observe all his other commandments - be curious. Enjoy.Cautionary Tales returns February 26.The Data Detective (Riverhead Books) is published in the US and Canada on February 2. The same book is available elsewhere under the title How to Make the World Add Up.(Audio excerpted courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio from The Data Detective by Tim Harford, narrated by the author.) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
02/02/2134m 7s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Hasta la Vista, America

The news is overwhelming right now. Maybe we all need a laugh. Here's an excerpt from Hasta la Vista, America: Trump’s Farewell Address, an original audiobook parody written by Kurt Andersen and performed by Alec Baldwin. The book imagines Trump holed up in the White House with only advisor Hope Hicks there to run the recording session. It's available exclusively from Pushkin Industries at ATrumpFarewell.com. And it's just $0.99. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
21/01/212m 56s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Brave New Planet

Introducing Brave New Planet, a seven-part series that delves deep into powerful technologies changing our world. They have amazing potential upsides, but we can’t ignore the serious risks. Hosted by Dr. Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. This episode examines deep fakes. It’s getting easy to create convincing—but false —videos through artificial intelligence. These “deepfakes” can have interesting applications in art and education, but they can also cause great harm — from ruining the reputation of an ex-partner to provoking international conflicts or swinging elections. When seeing is not believing, who can we trust, and can democracy and truth survive?  For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.   Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
12/10/201h 13m

BONUS: Storks, Smoking and the Power of Doubt

It's easy to mock statistics or cast doubt on them... but we do so at our peril. Undermining our trust in facts and figures can cause great harm, and even death. We should guard against it.Tim Harford looks at how the seeds of doubt are planted in this mini-episode of Cautionary Tales to celebrate the release of his latest book.“How To Make The World Add Up” is out now in much of the world, while listeners in US/Canada can pre-order it under the title "The Data Detective" - ahead of its release in early 2021. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
16/09/2010m 14s

How To End A Pandemic

The eradication of smallpox is one of humanity's great achievements - but the battle against the virus was fought by the most unlikely of alliances. How did the breakthrough happen - and can we guarantee that the world is still safe from smallpox?This episode owes a debt to Stephen Coss’s book The Fever of 1721, Ibram X. Kendi’s book Stamped From the Beginning, and to an article about Dark Winter written by Tara O’Toole, Michael Mair and Tomas Inglesby.For a full list of our sources please see the shownotes at http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/07/2025m 5s

That Turn To Pascagoula

For years, people had warned that New Orleans was vulnerable - but when a hurricane came close to destroying the city, the reaction was muted. Some people took the near miss as a warning - others, as confirmation that there was nothing to worry about.So why do we struggle to prepare for disasters? And why don't we draw the obvious lessons from clear warnings?Sources for this episode include Amanda Ripley's The Unthinkable, The Ostrich Paradox by Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer, Margaret Heffernan's Willful Blindness, and Predictable Surprises by Max Bazerman and Michael Watkins. For a full list of sources see http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/07/2024m 16s

The Village of Heroes

It looked like any ordinary roll of cloth, but it brought the dreaded plague to the village of Eyam. First it killed the tailor, then resident after resident succumbed. To stop the spread of the disease to neighbouring towns the people of Eyam agreed to isolate themselves and let the plague run its deadly course. This terrible act of sacrifice is still remembered centuries later - but what does it tell us about how far people will go to save the lives of strangers?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
03/07/2021m 58s

The Spreadsheet of Life and Death

Clive had a deadly form of cancer, but fortunately there was a new drug to treat it. Imagine his anger when he was told the treatment was too expensive. He’d entered a world where unique human lives are given a value in a mathematical formula. So how much should we spend to extend or save a life? And are some lives worth more than others?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/06/2024m 4s

A Tsunami of Misery

A monstrous wave and then a nuclear disaster forced Mikio and Hamako Watanabe from their home. But being saved from the potential dangers of a radiation leak destroyed their lives in a different way. Why do we overlook the fact that taking action against an urgent danger can also cause longer term ills?WARNING: This episode discusses death by suicide. If you are suffering emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts, support is available - for example, from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/06/2021m 7s

Fire at The Beverly Hills Supper Club

Flames are spreading through a Cincinnati hotel. The staff know it, the fire department is coming, and the people in the packed cabaret bar have been told to evacuate… and yet they hesitate to leave. Why don’t we react to some warnings until it’s too late?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/Tim's latest books 'Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy' and 'The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' are available now. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/06/2021m 0s

Cautionary Tales Presents: The Last Archive

This week we're featuring the second episode of The Last Archive, a new podcast hosted by Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore. When a young black man is charged with murder under unusual circumstances in 1922, he trusts his fate to a strange new machine: A lie detector. It was invented by the man who went on to create Wonder Woman, and whose whole life was a strange blur of fact and fiction. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
21/05/2051m 2s

Cautionary Tales presents: Against the Rules Season 2

Tim Harford presents the first episode of the new season of Michael Lewis's Against the Rules. It wasn’t that long ago that coaches were confined to sports. Now they’re everywhere. Who’s getting all this coaching, and who isn’t? Credit card companies are making billions of dollars off of people who don't understand the rules of the money game. Can a good coach help level the playing field? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
12/05/2045m 20s

Cautionary Tales Presents: TED Talk Daily

In this special episode of Cautionary Tales, we feature Cautionary Tales host Tim Harford's TED Talk Daily from 2018. What can we learn from the world's most enduringly creative people? They "slow-motion multitask," actively juggling multiple projects and moving between topics as the mood strikes -- without feeling hurried. Tim Harford shares how innovators like Einstein, Darwin, Twyla Tharp and Michael Crichton found their inspiration and productivity through cross-training their minds. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
31/01/2018m 11s

You Have Reached Your Destination

We may mock our ancestors for seeking the advice of oracles, soothsayers and psychics, but today we rely heavily on computer programs and math formulas to help us navigate our world. If we continue to follow them unthinkingly, should we be surprised when we end up in unexpected and dangerous places?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27/12/1932m 59s

Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano

It was the biggest concert of Keith Jarrett's career - but the pianist was in for a shock when he entered Koln's opera house. The only piano at the venue was a broken-down wreck. Should he risk humiliation and play anyway or simply walk out? The collaboration between pop superstar David Bowie and arch disruptor Brian Eno offers a lesson that staying in your comfort zone isn't always the best option.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20/12/1930m 32s

How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

In 1917, a brilliant British officer developed a way to use an emerging military technology: the tank. The British army promptly squandered the idea – but the Germans did not. Blitzkrieg, the devastating advance of German tanks across Europe in 1940, was invented by the British.This is a common story: Sony invented the forerunner of the iPod, Xerox the personal computer, and Kodak the digital camera. In each case they failed to capitalize on the idea. Why?Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
13/12/1936m 18s

Buried by the Wall Street Crash

Both of the world’s greatest economists, Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, thought they could see into the future and make a killing on the stock market - and then both were wiped out by the Wall Street Crash. One died a pauper, the other millionaire. What does it take to bounce back from ruin? Oh... and UFOs.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
06/12/1936m 1s

The Deadly Airship Race

A British Lord wanted to build the best airship in the world - and so he had two rival design teams battle it out to win the juicy government contract. Competition is supposed to bring the best out of people, but run in the wrong way it can cause people (and the things they produce) to fall apart in the most horrifying ways.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/11/1937m 45s

La La Land: Galileo's Warning

Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more likely to happen. His basic lesson has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars... all resulting in chaos.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22/11/1931m 2s

The Rogue Dressed as a Captain

One crisp morning in Berlin, in 1906, a small group of soldiers were led on an extraordinary heist by a man they believed to be a Captain. So how did an ageing nobody in a fake uniform trick them into aiding him in the crime of the century? Some say we humans will obey orders from anyone who dresses the part... but the real reason why we fall for tricksters time and again is far more interesting. Fraudsters and charlatans reel us in slowly by using psychology against us.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/11/1933m 16s

DANGER: Rocks Ahead!

Torrey Canyon was one of the biggest and best ships in the world - but its captain and crew still needlessly steered it towards a deadly reef known as The Seven Stones. This course seemed like utter madness, but the thinking that resulted in such a risky manoeuvre is something we are all prone to do when we fixate on a goal and a plan to get us there.Read more about Tim's work at http://timharford.com/ Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/11/1935m 12s

Introducing: Cautionary Tales

Coming November 15 from Tim Harford and Pushkin Industries, Cautionary Tales relates a true story of a time when something did not go according to plan. Some of these true stories are tragic, some are comic, but like the great fables and parables, each of them has a moral. Equipped with the latest research from psychology, economics and the social sciences, Harford explains why things went so awry – and teaches us lessons that we won’t forget. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22/10/192m 57s
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