William Poundstone is the author of fourteen books, including Big Secrets, Prisoner’s Dilemma, Fortune’s Formula, and Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? He has written for The New York Times, Harper’s, Harvard Business Review, and the Village Voice, among other publications, and has adapted several of his books for ABC television. He is on the board of advisors of the Center for Election Science.
Poundstone was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, and studied physics at MIT. His writing often explores the social implications of scientific or philosophic ideas—from voting methods (Gaming the Vote) to competition and cooperation (Prisoner’s Dilemma) to the gambling system known as the Kelly criterion (Fortune’s Formula).
Amazon rated Fortune’s Formula the #1 Editor’s Pick for nonfiction in 2005. Poundstone won the NYSSCPA’s Excellence in Financial Journalism Award in 2011.
[2:15] What the American public knows and what that says about us
[4:40] Why some things are just worth knowing even though you could look them up
[8:35] The correlation between vocabulary and your success in life
[13:00] How many elected officials most people actually know
[16:25] How little we’re teaching kids about sex and what impact that’s having
[18:56] The theory of scientific betting and how to properly use it