Feb 12, 2020
To Tim Harford, mistakes are fascinating. “We often only understand how something works when it breaks,” he says, explaining why there’s such an emphasis on errors throughout his work. They also tend to make great stories, which can stoke the curiosity necessary to change minds. A former persuasive speaking champion, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire “for services to improving economic understanding,” which he’s achieved through appearances on the BBC, columns for the Financial Times, several TED Talks and books, and now his latest podcast series Cautionary Tales.
Tim joined Tyler to discuss the role
of popular economics in a politicized world, the puzzling
polarization behind Brexit, why
good feedback is necessary (and
rare), the limits of
fact-checking, the “tremendously
British” encouragement he received from Prince Charles,
playing poker with Steve Levitt, messiness in
underrated aspect of
are better at
public speaking, the three things he
without, and more.
Note: This conversation was recorded in November 2019 and thus took place before the UK’s general election in December, which secured Boris Johnson a Conservative majority and ensured the passage of his Brexit deal in January 2020.
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