Stephen J. Dubner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Stephen Dubner
Stephen J. Dubner by Audrey S. Bernstein wiki.jpg
Dubner in 2012
Born (1963-08-26) August 26, 1963 (age 55)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materAppalachian State University
Columbia University
Known forFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Ellen Binder-Dubner (m. 1998)

Stephen J. Dubner (born August 26, 1963) is an award-winning author, journalist, and podcast and radio host. He is co-author of the popular Freakonomics book series and host of Freakonomics Radio, which gets 15 million global monthly downloads and is heard by millions more on public radio stations throughout the United States.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1963 in Duanesburg, New York to Solomon Dubner and Florence Greenglass, Dubner grew up as the youngest of eight children.[2] His father, who died in 1973 when Dubner was 10 years old, worked as a copy editor at the Troy Record.[3] Dubner grew up in a devout Roman Catholic household, his parents having converted from Judaism to Catholicism before his birth. As an adult, Dubner himself converted to Judaism, an experience he chronicles in his first book, Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family.[4]

In 1984, Dubner graduated from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he studied in the College of Fine and Applied Arts.[5] There, Dubner played in a rock band, The Right Profile, which later signed with Arista Records shortly before he decided against a career in music. In 1990, Dubner earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Columbia University, where he also taught English.[1]


Early work[edit]

Dubner's first published work appeared in Highlights for Children, when was 11 years old. Since then, his journalism has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time, and has been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and elsewhere.[1]

In 1998, Dubner authored his first full-length book, Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, for which Dubner was named a finalist for the Koret Jewish Book Award.[4] Dubner went on write Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper (2003) and a children's book, The Boy With Two Belly Buttons (2007).

Freakonomics book series[edit]

Dubner met Steven Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, when his editor asked him to write a profile on Levitt for The New York Times Magazine. At the time, Dubner was writing a book on the psychology of money and didn't have much interest in meeting the young economist from Chicago who had just won the Clark Medal, a prize given annually by the American Economics Association to the most promising economist under 40. Likewise, Levitt had little interest in the profile, but agreed to a two-hour interview because his Mom liked The New York Times Magazine.[6]

Upon meeting Levitt, Dubner extended the two-hour interview to three days.

After publication of Dubner’s 2003 Times Magazine article, Dubner and Levitt were asked to write a book, which cemented their partnership. In 2005, William Morrow published Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, a book about cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, self-dealing Realtors, and crack-selling mama's boys.[1] Freakonomics would go on to be translated into 40 languages and sell 5 million copies worldwide.[1]

Dubner and Levitt co-authored three other books: SuperFreakonomics (2009), Think Like a Freak (2014), and When to Rob a Bank (2015). In all their books, Dubner and Levitt use economic ideas to explore real-world phenomena, answer perplexing questions, and offer unconventional analysis.

Freakonomics Radio[edit]

In 2010, Dubner launched a weekly podcast, Freakonomics Radio, which now gets 15 million global monthly downloads and is often listed among top podcasts.[1]

Dubner also hosts Freakonomics Radio Live! (formerly Tell Me Something I Don’t Know), a game show version of the podcast in which contestants share incredible, little known facts in front a live audience.

Personal life[edit]

Dubner currently resides in New York City with his wife, the documentary photographer Ellen Binder[7], their two children, and their dog. In a 2017 New York Times profile, Dubner described his ideal Sunday as one in which he walks his dog in Central Park early in the early morning, watches an FC Barcelona game with his son, and spends the afternoon cooking dinner with his daughter.[8]


  • Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family (1998) ISBN 0-380-72930-X)
    • Republished as Choosing My Religion: a Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief (2006) ISBN 0061132993)
  • Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper (2003) (ISBN 0-688-17365-9)
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, co-author with Steven Levitt (2005) (ISBN 0-06-089637-X)
  • The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, (2007) (ISBN 978-0061134029)
  • SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, co-author with Steven Levitt (2009) (ISBN 0-060-88957-8)
  • Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, co-author with Steven Levitt (2014) (ISBN 0-062-21833-6)
  • When to Rob a Bank: ...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants, co-author with Steven Levitt (2015) (ISBN 0-062-38532-1)

Radio and other media[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "About". Freakonomics. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  2. ^ Dubner, Stephen (March 31, 1996). "Choosing My Religion". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  3. ^ "Weddings: Ellen Binder, Stephen Dubner". The New York Times. 1998-09-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  4. ^ a b Dubner, Stephen (1998). Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return To His Jewish Family. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0688151805.
  5. ^ "Alumni Awards 2012: Stephen J. Dubner '84". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  6. ^ Dean, Michelle (2015-05-15). "Freakonomics 10 years on: Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt on what they got right and wrong". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  7. ^ "Ellen Binder, Stephen Dubner". Weddings. The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-18. The bridegroom, 35, is a story editor at The New York Times Magazine...He is a son of Veronica Dubner of Homer, N.Y., and the late S. Paul Dubner, who was a copy editor at The Troy Record in Troy, N.Y. The bridegroom's previous marriage ended in divorce.
  8. ^ Gorce, Tammy La (2017-11-10). "How Stephen J. Dubner, of 'Freakonomics' and 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know,' Spends His Sundays". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-10.