When a friend suggested I check out the EconTalk podcast over five years ago, I had no idea how important this weekly show would become to me. Listening to EconTalk each week has become a great source of joy in my life, and I look forward to the hour I spend commuting with Russ Roberts and his guests. EconTalk covers a wide range of issues through the lens of economics, which is often just about decision-making and tradeoffs. Some of the episodes covering traditional economics are over my head, but I enjoy them all, and listen to some of them more than once.
Listening to EconTalk is so valuable to me because I always learn something new. My existing beliefs are challenged. I’m introduced to new perspectives. The hour-long format allows Dr. Roberts and guest to dig deep into a topic and uncover nuance that is often lost in traditional accounts in media or just daily conversations.
Though I’ve never met Dr. Roberts, I consider him to be an intellectual mentor. He has taught me that the world is complex, and we can’t always know or measure the impact of a given action. Correlation is not causation. People not only want to be loved, but be lovely. His careful consideration of each guest’s positions demonstrates great respect for norms of civility. He will often “push back” against ideas he doesn’t agree with, but his aim is not to be right. His aim is to encourage dialog and inquiry by allowing the guest to present his or her views and let the listener ultimately decide.
When you spend as much time as I have listening to EconTalk, you feel as if you actually know the person to whom you are listening. I may not know Dr. Roberts personally, but I feel lucky to have his company on my drive each week. I’m grateful to Russ Roberts for creating such a wonderful medium for inquiry and discussion.