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.

Episodes

WW2: How Britain Ignored the Mother of All Secrets

Cautionary Tales will be LIVE on stage in London this May. Tickets are on sale now: https://www.tegeurope.com/events/cautionary-tales/ Neatly dressed in his suit, Hans Ferdinand Mayer was every inch the unassuming corporate executive. So, when he asked to borrow a typewriter from his hotel in Oslo, nobody could have guessed he would use it for one of the most extraordinary intelligence leaks in history. Mayer's gloved fingers punched out the details of Nazi Germany's most sensitive military operations and, when he had finished, he immediately dispatched his documents to the British  —  who did nothing. Why did the British ignore Mayer? Did they fail to pick out a crucial signal amid the noise of detail — or was something else going on? This episode of Cautionary Tales is based, with permission, on Tom Whipple’s book The Battle of the Beams, which is available from all good booksellers. For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/05/2443m 35s

The Fraudster's Guide to Magic Money

Cautionary Tales will be LIVE on stage in London this May. Tickets are on sale now: https://www.tegeurope.com/events/cautionary-tales/ Sam Israel had a problem. The investors in his hedge fund, Bayou Capital, were expecting spectacular returns. Sam himself had spent years proclaiming the fund's brilliant results. But in reality, Sam had been marking his own homework, publishing fraudulent accounts and using these to lure in new investors.  What to do? Well, the logical thing of course: wait around for an extraordinary profitable streak, and in the meantime keep up the ruse... This episode of Cautionary Tales was recorded live at the Bristol Festival of Economics and studies three incredible investment scams. How do pyramid and ponzi schemes snowball out of control, flattening victim and fraudster alike? For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/04/241h 1m

Blood and Gold (with Dan Snow)

Bonus: When Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru in 1526, it was the beginning of the end for the Inca. Their bloody pursuit of gold, fame and fortune was rife with treachery and deceit. Within a few short years, the once-thriving Inca empire had been decimated. Tim Harford is joined by Dan Snow for a special crossover episode of Cautionary Tales and Dan Snow's History Hit. Tim and Dan first recap the spectacular defeat of the French knights at the Battle of Crécy in 1346, and then draw surprising parallels with the fall of the Inca Empire two centuries later.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23/04/2440m 24s

The Rise and Fall of a Megalomaniac

Nicolae Ceaușescu was not beloved. His regime was vicious and he treated Romania as his personal wallet: while Ceaușescu emptied the coffers to construct a vast, ornate palace, his people starved. He imposed disastrous population control policies on his country, too, which saw hundreds of thousands of unwanted children left to rot in squalid orphanages. Ceaușescu's rule endured for a quarter of a century - then crumbled overnight. How do dictatorships unravel? In a second episode, Tim Harford partners with HBO's new series "The Regime" to investigate real-life dictatorships and the social science that explains them. For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/04/2458m 14s

Inside the Bizarre World of Dictators

Why are so many autocrats germaphobes? Why was the truth so dangerous for Soviet engineers? And what can salami reveal to us about the mind of Vladimir Putin? This is the first of two special episodes in partnership with HBO's new series "The Regime". Tim Harford investigates real-life dictatorships and the social science that explains them, drawing on insights from game theory and psychology. For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/03/2442m 8s

Pushkin Hosts Celebrate World Happiness Day

The Happiness Lab’s Dr. Laurie Santos brings together other Pushkin hosts to mark the International Day of Happiness. Revisionist History’s Malcolm Gladwell talks about the benefits of the misery of running in a Canadian winter. Dr. Maya Shankar from A Slight Change of Plans talks about quieting her mental chatter. And Cautionary Tales host Tim Harford surprises everyone with the happiness lessons to be learned from a colonoscopy. Hear more of The Happiness Lab HERE.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20/03/2448m 5s

Do Nothing, Then Do Less

Chuck Yeager's plane pitched and rolled as it plummeted from the sky. He grappled with the controls inside the cockpit, but to no avail: he couldn't steady the aircraft. The test pilot was known for his nerves of steel but, as the barren Mojave Desert hurtled towards him, even he was afraid. What to do? It's tempting to think that adding to our lives - more action, more work, more possessions - will lead to greater success and happiness. But sometimes doing less is the better option, as Chuck Yeager was to learn the hard way. In their second crossover episode, Tim Harford teams up with Dr Laurie Santos (host of The Happiness Lab) to examine why subtraction can be so challenging and so helpful.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/03/2435m 55s

Buried Evil: V2 Rocket (Part 3)

As US troops approached a Nazi prison camp, they could hear agonized wailing. The stench of rotting flesh filled their nostrils. Moments later they discovered a pile of smoldering corpses, alongside emaciated survivors. Next to the concentration camp they found something else: tunnels filled with tools — and partially assembled rockets. The soldiers had hit upon the evil heart of the V2 manufacturing program: enslaved laborers, imprisoned underground. And the rocket program's director? Wernher von Braun had already fled. He now had just one concern: persuading the Americans to let him switch sides… For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com. Do you have a question for Tim? Send it to tales@pushkin.fm and we'll do our best to answer it in a Q&A episode.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
01/03/2439m 17s

Into the Black Lair: V2 Rocket (Part 2)

In the 1920s, Germany’s Society for Spaceship Travel boasted some of the sharpest scientific minds – like the incandescently brilliant young Wernher von Braun. But it had very little money, and progress was slow. Then, in 1932, the army made a proposal: it would fund more serious research if the enthusiasts at the Society would develop a rocket weapon. Despite a string of failures to launch, von Braun was able to convince key powerbrokers in Nazi Germany that they couldn’t afford to ignore rocket technology. How did he do it? And what happened when the murderous Heinrich Himmler made a play for the rocket program? For a full list of sources for this episode, visit timharford.com. Do you have a question for Tim? Send it to tales@pushkin.fm and we'll do our best to answer it in a Q&A episode.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
16/02/2438m 24s

Supersonic Nazi Vengeance: V2 Rocket (Part 1)

At the height of World War Two, British intelligence began receiving reports that the enemy was developing a rocket weapon. The idea seemed fantastical — resources in Nazi Germany were scarce and a rocket-building program defied economic logic. But one intelligence chief took the reports of a rocket weapon seriously and he managed to convince Winston Churchill to heed the threat too. The British Prime Minister gave the order to bomb Germany’s rocket factory to rubble, and 600 bomber planes embarked on a full-scale attempt to obliterate it. From the air, the damage appeared devastating. The British thought they had succeeded in crushing the rocket-building program. But they were wrong. For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com. Do you have a question for Tim? Send it to tales@pushkin.fm and we'll do our best to answer it in an upcoming Q&A episode.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
02/02/2436m 16s

Tenerife: The Most Deadly Air Disaster

Teaser: In 1977, two planes collided on the runway at Tenerife Airport. Why did the crash happen? And, given that it took place on the ground, why didn't more people escape? In this new two-parter, Tim Harford explores the most deadly aviation accident in history. Both episodes are available now, ad-free, exclusively for subscribers to Pushkin+. If you're not already a subscriber, you can sign up for Pushkin+ on our Apple podcasts show page, or at pushkin.fm/plus. Do you have a question for Tim? Send it to tales@pushkin.fm and we'll do our best to answer it in an upcoming Q&A episode.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
30/01/244m 2s

Martin Luther King, the Jewelry Genius, and the Art of Public Speaking (Classic)

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 American Fiction, Westworld and The Hunger Games) and jewelry store owner Gerald Ratner offer a stark contrast on when you should stick to the script - and when you should take a risk. We're taking a short rest on Cautionary Tales this January. We'll be back again in February, with a treasure chest of gripping, hair-raising tales for your ears. While you wait, we wanted to share some classic episodes from the Cautionary Vault - this is one of our favorites. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/01/2436m 49s

DANGER: Rocks Ahead! (Classic)

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 madness, but the type of thinking that resulted in this risky maneuver is something we're all prone to... We have a treasure chest of Cautionary Tales to bring you in 2024, but first we need to take a short rest. This week we're taking you all the way back to the start, with a classic episode from our Cautionary Tales vault.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
05/01/2434m 19s

When Stalin Killed the Weekend (with The Happiness Lab)

What if you could never have the same day off as your family and friends? Would you quit your job? What if it was the murderous dictator Joseph Stalin giving you the order? The Soviet Union wanted its factories to run every day, all year long. And so, in 1929, Stalin killed the weekend: workers were prevented from all taking the same day off at the same time. In this crossover episode of Cautionary Tales and The Happiness Lab, Tim Harford and Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos tell the story of Stalin's curious, calendar-reshaping experiment. They explore what it can teach us about time off even today, and why the holidays matter so very much. For a full list of sources, visit timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22/12/2336m 29s

How the Radium Girls Fought Back

Cautionary Book Club: Mollie Maggia's dentist planned to remove a painful abscess from her mouth. But to his horror, her jawbone disintegrated at his touch, crumbling and splintering until it resembled ash. Like hundreds of her colleagues, Mollie had been slowly poisoned by her work with glowing radium dust. Eight months after her first toothache, she was dead. In the previous episode, Cautionary Tales told the story of the "Radium Girls". Their employers ignored the horrific side effects of these women's work, resorting to obfuscation and even outright lies to deny their claims that they were getting sick. In this follow-up interview, Tim Harford sits down with Kate Moore, author of The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women. Tim and Kate discuss how the women banded together and worked out what was happening to them, as well as how they fought back against their powerful bosses and their monumental legacy.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
08/12/2340m 46s

Glowing Peril: The Magical Glitter That Poisoned a City

In Goiânia, Brazil, a junk dealer acquires an old medical device from two scrap-metal scavengers. The device itself isn't useful, but it comes with precious lead which will fetch him good money. There's something else inside the device, too: a curious, crystal-like substance that glows bright blue in the dark. At first, the dealer is mesmerized by it: he wants to turn it into jewelry for his wife. But, everyone who comes into contact with the magical glitter seems to get sick. His own family succumbs to nausea and vomiting. A doctor suggests food poisoning - but this isn't like any food poisoning they've ever known before. And soon, the whole city is contaminated. No-one saw this horrifying radiation accident coming. Should they have? For a full list of sources, please see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
24/11/2335m 58s

George Washington's Beard of Beetles (with The Dollop)

Cautionary Conversation: Just before Christmas 1799, President George Washington was riding around his country estate, Mount Vernon, when it began to snow. When he arrived home, guests were waiting for him. Known for his punctuality, he hurried to entertain them -  still clad in his damp clothes. The next morning, Washington had a sore throat and a chesty cough. His family decided to take a fateful step: they summoned a doctor. Tim Harford is joined by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, hosts of the hugely popular history podcast The Dollop. They discuss the parade of doctors that tended to the ailing Washington, and the various remedies they prescribed - from lamb's blood to a collar of beetles. Tim, Dave and Gareth also look at what happened when cars first hit the streets in the early twentieth century: why did so many cars "turn turtle"? Who were the first jaywalkers? And which British inventor rode around in a giant white stiletto?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/11/2328m 5s

Laser Versus Parchment: Doomsday for the Disc

William the Conqueror undertook a remarkably modern project. In 1086, he began compiling and storing a detailed record of his realm: of where everyone lived, what they did and where they came from. 900 years later, the BBC began its own Domesday project, sending school children out to conduct a community survey and collect facts about Britain. This was a people’s database, two decades before Wikipedia. But just a few years later, that interactive digital database was totally unreadable, the information lost. We tend to take archives for granted — but preservation doesn't happen by accident; digitisation doesn’t mean that something will last forever. And the erasure of the historical record can have disastrous consequences for humanity... For a full list of sources, please see the show notes at timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/11/2339m 27s

Cautionary Tales Presents The Dream

On The Dream, host Jane Marie gets to know the life coaches and gurus who claim they know the secret to living our best lives. Is it all in our mindset? Or our privilege? Or are we all under a spell? Tim Harford is joined by Jane Marie to talk about who coaching works least well for. Turns out it’s the exact people who could benefit most from it, according to the industry. Dr. Sherman James and Dr. Arline Geronimus discuss the downsides of positive thinking, bootstrapping, and mindset culture. For some people, striving has negative impacts on health and happiness.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
06/11/2345m 58s

Killers of the Flower Moon: Osage Chief Jim Gray In Conversation

Henry Roan has been shot through the back of his head. The local authorities have found his body slumped over the steering wheel of his car. There's no gun at the scene: this is no suicide - it's brutal murder. And the man who ordered Henry Roan's killing? He claims to be his best friend... Former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation Jim Roan Gray joins Tim Harford to speak about his great-grandfather Henry Roan. They also discuss the Osage Nation today and Jim's take on the new film Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese. This episode of Cautionary Tales was produced in association with Apple Original Films. Killers of the Flower Moon stars William Belleau as Henry Roan, Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. Do you have a question for Tim? Please email any queries you might have, however big or small, to tales@pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27/10/2339m 20s

Oil and Blood: The Osage Murders

Minnie Smith grew sick quite suddenly. She had been young, fit and healthy - and the doctors were baffled when she died. "A peculiar wasting illness," they called it. Then, her sister Anna went missing. Her rotting corpse was found a week later, a bullet hole through her skull. When a third sister, Rita, was blown up in her own bed, a grim pattern was clear: the family was being targeted.Lawman Tom White strode into town to investigate - and uncovered a vicious plot that chilled him to the bone...This episode is based on David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon, and is the first of two cautionary tales produced in association with Apple Original Films. The film of the same title is in movie theaters now. It's directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. Next week, we'll hear more on this story from former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation Jim Roan Gray.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20/10/2341m 25s

DOUBLE BILL: A Monkey For Mayor / A Screw Loose At 17,000 Feet

This week, we've twice the storytelling fun for you: two Cautionary Tales shorts, previously only available to Pushkin+ subscribers. A Monkey for Mayor: It was supposed to be a publicity stunt, but when the man who dressed as Hartlepool United’s monkey mascot stood in a mayoral election... he won. Actual politicians predicted disaster - since thousands of workers and millions of dollars were now in the hands of a complete novice. But H’Angus the Monkey proved to be a more effective leader than anyone had predicted, raising interesting questions about how we select the best people to be our managers and our mayors. And A Screw Loose At 17,000 Feet: Can you tell the difference between an A211-7D bolt and an A211-8C? Well, nor could the tired and stressed engineer fitting a cockpit windshield to Flight 5390. The difference is tiny, but the consequences of muddling them up - which played out at 17,000 ft - were dramatic. Such design flaws are common - and result in far more loose aircraft windows than you would imagine.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
13/10/2334m 25s

"7000 horses are being flown across space..." - Cautionary Questions #2

Why are board games so popular in Germany? What’s Tim Harford’s top tip for productivity? And where do all those sound effects come from? Tim is joined by Cautionary Tales’ very own wizard of sound Pascal Wyse, to read your emails and answer your questions.Do you have a question for Tim? Please email any queries you might have, however big or small, to tales@pushkin.fm.Please note that some emails in this episode have been edited for length.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29/09/2335m 37s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Getting out of Dodge from Revisionist History

The longest running television series of the 20th century was Gunsmoke, a western set in the notorious Dodge City, Kansas. Malcolm sweeps away mountains of legal scholarship to make a bold claim: The simplest explanation for the Supreme’s Court’s puzzling run of gun rights decisions may be that the justices watched too much Gunsmoke when they were growing up. Enjoy this episode from Revisionist History, another Pushkin Industries podcast.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19/09/2344m 39s

A Chorus of Contempt at The Sydney Opera House

1957. Jørn Utzon receives a phone call: he's just won an international competition to design a brand new opera house for the Australian city of Sydney. Utzon is unknown in the field, so this is a triumph. The young architect couldn’t have imagined what a bitter victory it would turn out to be... The Guggenheim in Bilbao; the Burj Khalifa in Dubai; the Shard in London. These days, everyone seems to want an iconic building. But Sydney Opera House was the first, the greatest – and the most painful. It's now fifty years since the Opera House was opened. This is its origin story. For a full list of sources, please see the show notes at timharford.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/09/2340m 27s

The City That Sold Itself To Wall Street

Cautionary Book Club: When Morgan Stanley offered to lease Chicago's parking meters for the princely sum of $1 billion, the City Council were convinced that they had struck gold. They hastily signed the deal. But they soon learnt that they hadn't just traded away parking revenue - they had traded away the streets themselves... In this hybrid episode of Cautionary Tales, Tim Harford first tells the story of the Chicago parking metres fiasco of 2008. In the second half, Tim is joined by Henry Grabar, author of Paved Paradise, to discuss the lessons we can glean from Chicago's deal with Wall Street, and why parking is such an emotive issue for so many.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
01/09/2338m 28s

General Ludd's Rage Against the Machines

1812. A band of "Luddites" is laying siege to a textile mill in the North of England, under cover of night. They plan to destroy the machines that are replacing their jobs. But mill owner William Cartwright is prepared: he's fortified his factory with skilled marksmen, fearsome eighteen-inch metal spikes and barrels of sulphuric acid. Today "Luddite" is a term of mockery — a description for someone who's scared of technology. But in 1812, Luddism was no laughing matter for the likes of Cartwright. And he plans to teach the intruders a lesson. For a full list of sources for this episode, please visit timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
18/08/2336m 20s

Andy Warhol's Factory of Truth

Cautionary Conversation: Andy Warhol’s assistant, Gerard Malanga, is facing a long prison sentence in Italy. He’s forged several Che Guevara portraits and tried to pass them off as genuine Warhols. What happens next is a landmark event in the history of art and authenticity… Tim Harford is joined by Alice Sherwood, author of Authenticity, to discuss truth and fakery in modern times. Today, authenticity seems to matter more than ever — and yet we’re also constantly assailed by people and products that are not what they seem. What’s going on here? And what’s the attention economy got to do with it?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/08/2336m 48s

Poles Apart: How A Journalist Divided A City

Heroic explorer Frederick Cook has just returned from the very roof of the world, the first man to reach the North Pole. Or so he says. Journalist Philip Gibbs has been watching him, and he’s convinced he’s lying. When Gibbs publishes that belief, he stands alone. Cook has a gripping manner and an excellent reputation: his winning tale must be true. Diners boo Gibbs at a restaurant, newspapers publish sly-looking caricatures of him, and he even receives threats of violence. But then, everything changes. We often think of polarisation as a modern problem — but the story of Cook and Gibbs has much to teach us here. For a full list of sources for this episode, please visit timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
04/08/2337m 10s

The Father of Space Travel

Cautionary Conversation: Did a Nazi put America on the moon? To celebrate the launch of his mini-series on the V-2 rocket, Tim Harford sits down with Pushkin’s resident V-2 expert, Ryan Dilley. They discuss the so-called “Father of Space Travel”, Wernher von Braun, and satirist Tom Lehrer’s musical lampooning of him. A three-part mini series on the V-2 rocket is available now for Pushkin+ subscribers. We’ll be back again on August 4th with a brand new episode of Cautionary Tales on the main feed.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28/07/2326m 49s

A Fascination with Failure: Death On The Dancefloor (Classic)

Henry Petroski is one of Tim Harford's favourite fellow nerds. His study of engineering failures has profoundly influenced Tim's own writing, including the classic Cautionary Tales episode Death on the Dance Floor. Petroski passed away in June 2023, at the age of 81. This week, in honour of the late great engineer, Tim looks back at the catastrophic Kansas City Hyatt Regency disaster of 1981. The hotel's space-age sky walks -- 60 tonnes of glass, concrete and steel -- crashed down onto the heads of revellers in the atrium below. 114 people died. What was to blame? For a full list of sources for this episode, please visit timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21/07/2342m 27s

When Parakeets Plundered New York

Cautionary Conversation: An invasive parakeet species began spreading in New York City - and the government decided to kill every last bird. Tim Harford is joined by Ben Naddaff-Hafrey, host of The Last Archive, to talk about the great parakeet panic of the 1970s and a history of anxieties about population growth.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14/07/2336m 12s

The Coup, the Poet and the Secret to Winning Wimbledon

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss..." Those words - from Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" - were based on charismatic nineteenth century doctor, Leander Starr Jameson. In Britain, Jameson was worshipped as a plucky hero: a bastion of courage and mental fortitude. Ironically, he was also responsible for the Jameson Raid, a South African coup that was an unmitigated disaster. Kipling's champion might have spearheaded a fiasco - but could the poem "If" hold clues for triumph in another arena?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
07/07/2335m 58s

The Man Who Played With Hurricanes

Today, the idea of controlling the weather is controversial. Scientists who research geoengineering have even received death threats. But once upon a time, people were optimistic about remaking the climate in entire regions of the world. They approached this science with a touching faith in the power of human creativity. Absent-minded genius Irving Langmuir was one such scientist. He dreamt of making deserts bloom and conjuring rain from an arid sky. He even believed that his experiments with a hurricane had succeeded in redirecting its path. Why did we stop trying to control the weather? And might geoengineering help us solve climate change - or have we missed our chance? For a full list of sources, please visit timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23/06/2338m 2s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Lost Hills - The Dark Prince

Today, we're sharing an episode of the gripping Pushkin series Lost Hills: The Dark Prince. The brand-new season takes a deep dive into the surf world to explore the legacy of Malibu's Dark Prince: Miki Dora. A surfer known for his style, grace and aggression, he ruled Malibu from the 1950s to the 1970s. Celebrated for his rebellious spirit, he was also a conman who led the FBI on a 7-year manhunt around the world. Episodes 1 and 2 are out now: https://apple.co/losthills. And of course, if you'd like to binge all of the season 3 episodes early and ad free, make sure you subscribe to Pushkin+.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
15/06/2342m 32s

Sonic Poison? The Genesis of Havana Syndrome

CIA agents in Havana complaining of mental fog, dizziness and ear pain in 2016. Children in Miami in 1974, hyperventilating and wracked with abdominal pain. A medieval outbreak of the “dancing plague”. A chorus of meowing nuns. These mysterious and seemingly disparate events may have a simple explanation — and one that’s often overlooked when it comes to understanding strange new syndromes. For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
09/06/2337m 4s

Airships, AI and Alan Cumming: Tim Answers Your Questions

Why does economics get a bad rap? How did a small Hungarian airline wreak havoc in the 2000s? What cautionary tales can we glean from Tim’s own life? And what’s his favourite role-playing game? You sent in your questions and now - with the help of podcasting maestro Jacob Goldstein (What’s Your Problem?) - Tim is answering them. Do you have a question for Tim? Please email any queries you might have, however big or small, to tales@pushkin.fm.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26/05/2337m 6s

The Man Who Bet His House on a Pop Song - A Eurovision Tale

You can gamble on horses or on the turn of a card - but Daniel Gould made a living betting on the outcome of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. Daniel made a profit because he studied the voting history of the competition, as well as the cultural and geo-political factors that predict which songs will triumph and which will score "nil point".     In 2018, Daniel was so sure of his system of reducing the risk that he took out a loan on his home and bet it on Israel's song to win...  only to see the entry from Cyprus suddenly rocketing up the leader board. Was Daniel about to lose everything? For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/05/2331m 37s

The Dark Money Behind Mother's Day

Anna Marie Jarvis wanted a national holiday to honor the dedication and sacrifice of America's mothers. She wasn't the first person to propose a Mother's Day - but her campaign caught the imagination of the people and the ears of the politicians. Congress officially recognised Jarvis's Mother's Day in 1914 - but the indefatigable campaigner had allied herself with businessmen with vested interests in such an annual event. Mother's Day soon span out of its creator's control and caused an embittered Jarvis no end of heartache.       For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28/04/2339m 14s

The True Scandal of Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound

It could cure any 'female ailment' - even cancer - said the adverts. But Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound was, in fact, just a concoction of herbs and alcohol of no proven medicinal merit. That didn't stop desperate American women from buying bottles of the stuff - and writing to Lydia Pinkham for medical advice.   Why did her customers shun 'expert' doctors and opt instead for quack medicines? And why, when Lydia Pinkham finally came in for criticism, did no one question the efficacy of her vegetable compound?   For a full list of sources for this episode, go to timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14/04/2337m 2s

What if Terrorists Could Weaponize Covid?

Cautionary Conversation: In 1990, a small extremist group launched a nerve gas attack on passengers riding the Tokyo subway. Thousands of people were hurt, more than a dozen died. At the time, such use of a chemical weapon seemed new and uniquely terrifying. But advances in biology mean that today it's possible such a group could create a virus like Covid... with the potential to kill millions. What are the dangers and what can we do to combat them? Tim Harford talks to writer Michael Specter about his new book Higher Animals: Vaccines, Synthetic Biology and the Future of Life. (Higher Animals: Vaccines, Synthetic Biology and the Future of Life is is available now at Pushkin.fm, Audible, or wherever audiobooks are sold.) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
07/04/2338m 41s

The Vigilante and the Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are meant to stop aircrafts from flying into one another... and if they fail, computer systems are installed to warn pilots of a coming collision. But sometimes these humans and computers give conflicting and confusing advice. Who to believe? When a cargo plane and a Russian airliner collided in just such a situation, the authorities scrambled to work out how to prevent a repeat of the disaster... but a grieving father decided to seek revenge on those he held responsible.  For a full list of sources for this episode, go to timharford.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
31/03/2334m 51s

America's Mata Hari? The Double Life of Esther Reed

Cautionary Conversation: When a small-town detective gets a tip about a missing woman, he believes he's uncovered a highly-trained chameleon: a foreign spy. Soon, Esther Reed is on the Secret Service's Most Wanted list, and a nationwide manhunt has commenced. But all is not as it seems. Jake Halpern joins Tim Harford to talk about the latest season of his Pushkin podcast Deep Cover: Never Seen Again. They discuss the dangers of incrementally increasing lies; how and why certain stories are escalated up the media "food chain"; and what it takes to lead a double life.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
24/03/2336m 59s

Office Hell: the Demise of the Playful Workspace

In the early 90s, cutting-edge advertising agency Chiat/Day announced a radical plan, aimed at giving the company a jolt of creative renewal. They would sweep away corner offices and cubicles and replace them with zany open spaces, as well as innovative portable computers and phones. A brand new era of “hot-desking” had arrived. Problems quickly began. Disgruntled employees found themselves hauling temperamental, clunky laptops and armfuls of paperwork all over the office; some even had to use the trunks of their cars as filing cabinets. Soon, the unhappy nomads had had enough. Bad execution was to blame for the failure of this “playful” workspace. But Chiat/Day had made another mistake here, too – one that was more serious, more fundamental and altogether more common. For a full list of sources for this episode, go to timharford.com. Listener questions Tim is taking your questions. Do you have any queries about one of the stories we've covered? Are you curious about how we make the show? Send in your questions, however big or small, and Tim will do his best to answer them in a special Q&A episode. You can email your question to tales@pushkin.fm or leave a voice note at 914-984-7650. Please be aware that if you're calling from outside the US international rates will apply.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17/03/2338m 51s

La La Land: Galileo’s Warning (Classic)

With the 95th Academy Awards just around the corner, Tim Harford looks back at a basic lesson. 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. This principle has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars... all resulting in chaos. For a full list of sources for this episode, go to timharford.com. Listener questions Tim is taking your questions. Do you have any queries about one of the stories we've covered? Are you curious about how we make the show?  Send in your questions, however big or small, and Tim will do his best to answer them in a special Q&A episode. You can email your question to tales@pushkin.fm or leave a voice note at 914-984-7650. That's a US number, so please be aware that if you're calling from outside the US international rates will apply.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/03/2330m 48s

The Scientist and the Swindler

Cautionary Conversation: Celebrated physicist Professor Paul Frampton was on his way to Brussels to meet the love of his life, swimwear model Denise Milani. Or so he thought. When he found himself in jail, he realized he’d fallen prey to a confidence trickster. Tim Harford is joined by Maria Konnikova - journalist, psychologist and best-selling author - to talk about swindlers: what motivates them; what they look for in their victims; and how to avoid being conned altogether. Listener questions Tim is taking your questions. Do you have any queries about one of the stories we've covered? Are you curious about how we make the show?  Send in your questions, however big or small, and Tim will do his best to answer them in a special Q&A episode. You can email your question to tales@pushkin.fm or leave a voice note at 914-984-7650. That's a US number, so please be aware that if you're calling from outside the US international rates will apply.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
03/03/2337m 10s

The Hero Who Rode His Segway Off a Cliff

Steve Jobs called It “the most amazing piece of technology since the PC.” According to Jeff Bezos It was not only “revolutionary,” but infinitely commercial. It was a fiendishly clever and massively hyped invention. But in the end It — also known as the Segway — was a failure. What makes an invention useful and valuable? Jimi Heselden’s pragmatic brainchild the Concertainer might hold the answers. First used to shore up the collapsing walls of a canal, it ultimately solved problems that Jimi had never even imagined. For a full list of sources for this episode, 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.
17/02/2335m 57s

The Mummy's Curse (Classic)

A hundred years ago, the Tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun was officially opened - despite the widely held belief that disturbing the remains of the Egyptian pharaohs could incur a deadly curse. Why did a team of archeologists risk inciting the wrath of King Tutankhamun by entering his burial chamber? And how many of them met a premature end for their impudence? For a full list of sources for this episode, 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.
10/02/2337m 25s

The Final Illusion of the Great Lafayette

Golden sparks are raining down on the Great Lafayette’s famous vaudeville show, “The Lion’s Bride”. They look like they’re part of the performance. They aren’t — and soon the theater is ablaze. The manager has to figure out how to save the 3000 audience members, now trapped in a burning building. Thirty-five years earlier, the Brooklyn Theatre had gone up in flames too. The terrified spectators became a frantic, trampling mass, and hundreds perished in the flames and smoke. Panic in an emergency can kill. But keeping calm can also be lethal. For a full list of sources for this episode, 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.
03/02/2336m 30s

LIVE: The Myth of the Million Dollar Tulip Bulb

Recorded before an audience at the Bristol Festival of Economics (11/17/2022) The Dutch went so potty over tulip bulbs in the 1600s that many were ruined when the inflated prices they were paying for the plants collapsed - that's the oft-repeated story later promoted by best-selling Scottish writer Charles Mackay. It's actually a gross exaggeration.  Mackay's writings about economic bubbles bursting entertained and informed his Victorian readers - and continue to influence us today - but how did Mackey fare when faced with a stock market mania right before his eyes? The railway-building boom of the 1840s showed he wasn't so insightful after all.  For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20/01/2338m 47s

DOUBLE BILL: When a Plague Struck World of Warcraft/Blood on the Tracks

As a special New Year treat we're presenting two Cautionary Tales Shorts - which have previously only been available to paying Apple and Pushkin+ subscribers.  When a Plague Struck World of Warcraft: The makers of WoW wanted to spice up the fantasy computer game by introducing a virtual disease - "Corrupted Blood". It was supposed to be a fun challenge for expert player - but the illness became a pandemic which wiped out villages, cities and then whole realms. AND Blood on the Tracks: The signalmen running a busy stretch of railroad on the Scottish border had to adhere to strict rules to prevent crashes - but did those regulations fail to take into account human nature? Despite all the logbooks, alarm bells, levers and regulations, the signalmen didn't seem to notice a packed troop train barrelling towards them. For a full list of sources go to timharford.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
06/01/2334m 20s

"Snow Crashing Into The Metaverse" from Imaginary Worlds

This week, we’re sharing an episode of Imaginary Worlds. For the last 30 years, the real world has been catching up to Neal Stephenson’s vision of the future in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, which influenced the creators of Google Earth, Second Life, Oculus Rift and more. Now the centerpiece of the novel, a virtual world called The Metaverse, may become a daily part of our lives thanks to Facebook (renamed Meta) and other big tech companies. In this episode of Imaginary Worlds, host Eric Molinsky explores whether it’s a good idea to use a satirical cyberpunk novel from decades ago as a blueprint for the future.You can hear more episodes of Imaginary Worlds at https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.orgSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
03/01/2329m 19s

The Company That Cancelled Christmas

More than 100,000 families - many of them amongst the poorest in Britain - put money aside for Christmas gifts and other seasonal treats in a savings club called Farepak. It wasn't a bank, and it wasn't great value for money... and it went bust. Kids went without toys, and festive dinner tables were left bare.  Why would someone put their hard-earned money into such a scheme? And what does it tell us about how we often view Christmas as a time for frenzied spending?  For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.com  CAUTIONARY TALES RETURNS 6 JAN, 2023. HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND SEE YOU IN THE NEW YEAR. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
09/12/2235m 36s

The Wild Turkeys of Schleswig

There are eight American turkeys painted on the walls of Schleswig's Cathedral of St Peter - which is odd... since the frescoes were created two centuries before Columbus even crossed the Atlantic.    How did the creatures come to be added to the medieval Biblical scene? Was this proof that the Germans reached the Americas before Columbus? Or do the painted birds tell a different story all together?  For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
25/11/2239m 13s

Cautionary Conversation: The Blitz Spirit and the Blackout Ripper

In a crisis most people respond with decency and solidarity. The bombing of British cities in the Second World War did not cause society to crumble as was expected, but proved instead human resilience. That defiant "Blitz Spirit" is still a source of pride for Britons... but have inconvenient facts about that time been ignored? Alice Fiennes (co-host of the podcast Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper) explains that the chaos and disruption of the bombing allowed some people to commit awful crimes - and especially a trainee RAF pilot who embarked on a vicious killing spree under cover of darkness.    Find Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper wherever you get your podcasts. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
18/11/2232m 51s

The Inventor Who Almost Ended the World

Thomas Midgley's inventions caused his own death, hastened the deaths of millions of people around the world, and very nearly extinguished all life on land.  Midgley and his employers didn't set out to poison the air with leaded gasoline or wreck the ozone layer with CFCs - but while these dire consequences were unintended... could they have been anticipated? For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/11/2236m 47s

The Halloween Poisoner

Candy laced with cyanide and needles in marshmallows, we've long been warned to be suspicious of the sweet treats handed out by strangers at Halloween. But it seems that most stories of "Halloween sadism" are just that, stories. No child seems to have been  killed by adulterated Halloween candy... well... there is one terrible exception. The poisoned Pixy Stix of Pasadena, TX. For a full list of sources used in this episode visit Tim Harford.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28/10/2235m 23s

Cautionary Conversation: The Conspiracy Theorist Who Changed His Mind

Charlie Veitch was certain that 9/11 was an inside job. The attack on the World Trade Center wasn't the work of Al-Qaeda, but an elaborate conspiracy. He became a darling of so-called "9/11 truthers" - until he actually visited Ground Zero to meet architects, engineers and the relatives of the dead. The trip changed his mind... there was no conspiracy.   His fellow "truthers" did not take Charlie's conversion well.  David McRaney (host of You Are Not So Smart and author of How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion) joins Tim Harford to discuss what happened to Charlie Veitch; what it tells us about those who hold strong beliefs even in the face of damning contrary evidence; and why persuasion isn't always the right answer.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21/10/2241m 15s

Cautionary Tales Presents: Warfare, The Life of Anne Frank

This week, it's an episode from Warfare, a podcast from our friends at History Hit. It's 1942. The year Anne Frank and her family went into hiding during the Second World War. It was there that Anne began keeping a diary that would become one of the most recognisable testimonies of the Jewish war-time experiences. But what do we know of her life before the war? Host James Rogers explores the Franks' lives before the outbreak of war, and why this story is still so relevant today. You can find more from Warfare at https://podfollow.com/the-world-wars.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14/10/2241m 1s

The Online Date That's Too Good to be True

Single and looking for love, Dr Robert Epstein found himself chatting with a slim, attractive brunette online. She seemed perfect... perhaps even too good to be true.  Dr Epstein is an expert on artificial conversation - so surely he'd be the last person to fall for a computer? Chatbots fool us more often than we think... especially when they replicate our very worst conversational habits.   To read more on this topic try Brian Christian’s “The Most Human Human”. For a full list of sources go to timharford.com.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
07/10/2237m 13s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 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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