Stephen J. Dubner

Host, Freakonomics Radio

Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known for writing, along with the economist Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics (2005) and SuperFreakonomics (2009), which have sold more than 5 million copies in 35 languages.

Dubner is also the author of Turbulent Souls/Choosing My Religion (1998), Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper (2003), and the children's book The Boy With Two Belly Buttons (2007). His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and others.

Freakonomics, published in April 2005, was an instant international best-seller and cultural phenomenon. It made numerous "books of the year" lists, a few "books of the decade" lists, and won a variety of awards, including the inaugural Quill Award, a BookSense Book of the Year Award, and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. It was also named a Notable Book by the New York Times. SuperFreakonomics, published in 2009, was published to similar acclaim, and also became an international best-seller.

The Freakonomics enterprise also includes an award-winning blog, a high-profile documentary film, and a public-radio project called Freakonomics Radio, which Dubner hosts. He has also appeared widely on television, including a three-year stint on ABC News as a Freakonomics contributor. He also appeared on the reality show Beauty and the Geek. Alas, he played neither beauty nor geek.

Dubner's first book, Turbulent Souls, was also named a Notable Book, and was a finalist for the Koret National Jewish Book Award. It was republished in 2006 under a new title, Choosing My Religion, and is currently being developed as a film.

The eighth and last child of an upstate New York newspaperman, Dubner has been writing since he was a child. (His first published work appeared in Highlights magazine.) As an undergraduate at Appalachian State University, he started a rock band that was signed to Arista Records, which landed him in New York City. He ultimately quit playing music to earn an M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University, where he also taught in the English Department. He was an editor and writer at New York magazine and The New York Times before quitting to write books. He is happy he did so.

He lives in New York with his wife, the documentary photographer Ellen Binder, and their two delicious children.


Stephen J. Dubner appears in the following:

Freakonomics on Feynman

Friday, March 01, 2024

Stephen Dubner talks about their series on Richard Feynman, known for his work in theoretical physics and for his boundless curiosity.

Freakonomics on Failure

Monday, October 30, 2023

Stephen Dubner, host of "Freakonomics Radio" and the co-author of the Freakonomics books talks about what he's learned about failure, including how it is related to success.

When It Comes to Surge Pricing, Who Benefits — You or Uber?

Thursday, September 08, 2016

When you want a car from Uber, but see surge pricing, how likely are you to take the ride anyway? Uber knows what you are likely to do — and how much you’ll be willing to pay.

Comments [8]

Can You Afford to Be Bored?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner discusses boredom as an economic concept, and whether the luxury of leisure time actually makes us happier.

Comments [5]

A Couple of Behavioral Economists

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two behavioral economists explain why so many of the ways we spend our time and money are illogical. 

Comments [14]

When to Rob a Bank

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner discusses the new book he wrote with Steven Levitt, which features head-scratching questions, essays, and rants.

Comments [5]

The Greene Space

Freakonomics Radio Presents: 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know'

Monday, October 6, 2014

7:00 PM

Mon, Oct. 6 | Join Freakonomics Radio as it launches a live game show. With guests Malcolm Gladwell and former New York Governor David Paterson.

Think Like A Freak: The Art of Persuasion

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Logic and facts are no match for ideology - here's how to persuade people who don't want to be persuaded.

Comments [10]

How To Think Like A Freak: Think Like A Child

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, hosts of the Freakonomics podcast and authors of Think Like A Freak, talk about ways to retrain your brain and challenge how you think. Today: why thinking like a child -- thinking small -- can help solve big problems.

Comments [5]

Learn to 'Think Like a Freak' with Stephen Dubner

Monday, May 12, 2014

In his new book, "Think Like a Freak," Stephen Dubner, host of the Freakonomics, breaks down the decision-making process and explains why it’s often important to admit defeat.

Comments [2]

How To Think Like A Freak: Say "I Don't Know"

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stephen Dubner, host of the Freaknomics podcast and co-author (with Steven Levitt) of Think Like A Freak (HarperCollins, 2014), joins The Brian Lehrer Show for a three-part series about retraining your brain to "think like a freak." Today, he'll explain why it's important to admit when you don't know the answer to a question, and the danger of predicting the future.

Comments [19]

A Modest Proposal: Ban Tipping

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Freakonomics radio host Stephen Dubner discusses the recent episode that describes inequities in the way people tip.

Comments [46]

Freakonomics: Brothers

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In the wake of the Boston bombing, Stephen J. Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio, revisits his 1999 interview with the Unabomber and looks at his relationship with his brother, David Kaczynski. 

Comments [11]

Freakonomics: What's in a Name?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The latest episode of Freakonomics explores how much your name is your destiny. Host Stephen Dubner discusses the episode and what he learned. Listeners: Is your name your destiny? Let us know here, or call 212-433-9692!

→ Listen to the Full Freakonomics Episode Below

Comments [44]

Freakonomics: Knowledge is Power?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stephen J. Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio, talks about the program's new season and this week's episode, which explores why being well-informed doesn't necessarily change what we believe.

Comments [4]

The Election's $3 Billion Price Tag

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, independent research group that tracks money in campaigns and elections, Obama and Romney's spending, in conjunction wi...

Comments [6]

Freakonomics: Lottery for Savings

Friday, April 06, 2012

Stephen J. Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio, talks about the latest edition of Freakonomics Radio and whether America's enthusiasm for lotteries can translate into a higher savings rate. 

Comments [23]

Skin in the Game

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What is it about being a fan that causes such intense reactions?

Comments [11]


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Winners, losers, underdogs—what can games tell us about who we really are?

Comments [132]

Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics

Friday, August 12, 2011

How much do parents really matter? And are we sure winners never quit and quitters never win? Stephen J. Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio and co-author, with Steven D. Levitt, of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, talks about the unexpected economics behind issues like parenthood and quitting.

Comments [6]