November 2, 2015
One of the best things about being a journalist is getting to ask questions. Stephen Dubner has been doing this for years, accumulating fascinating bits of knowledge, hidden insights, and wild stories. By now he knows at least a little bit about a lot of things.
Dubner has a friend who’s equally curious and who has also absorbed an enormous amount of information over the course of his eclectic career. James Altucher is an entrepreneur, investor and author. James also interviews people who intrigue him, for his James Altucher Show podcast.
Not long ago, Dubner and Altucher started a podcast together called Question of the Day. It’s a continuation of the kind of fast-paced conversation these two smart, unconventional thinkers have been having for years over their long friendship and their long-running game of backgammon.
The topics are wide-ranging but never superficial, deep but never heavy. The episodes are short — usually under 15 minutes — and full of useful information that’s also entertaining. In a single episode you might hear about Anders Ericsson’s 10,000-hour rule, Steven Spielberg’s singular advice about casting a movie and why the key to a good golf game is leg strength. All that from asking the question “What are shortcuts to learning something quickly?”
You can imagine the twists and turns when they ask “What are the secrets of being likable?” “Should you let your kids win at chess?” or “What is the best possible future discovery or invention?”
It’s a safe bet that in no other podcast will you hear references to the business savvy of YouTube make-up artist sensation Michelle Phan, the improbable story of how a podcasting start-up called Odeo morphed into Twitter, and the writing habits of Stephen King.
We like to say that QOD is for people who are long on curiosity and short on time. We’re guessing anyone who’s a fan of Freakonomics would fit into that category. So check out Question of the Day. You can subscribe to it on iTunes and also hear it on Earwolf, Soundcloud and Stitcher. And you can follow QOD on Twitter and Facebook.