Cautionary Tales

Cautionary Tales

www.pushkin.fm
We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable life lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “Messy” and “The Undercover Economist”) brings you stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos. They’ll delight you, scare you, but also make you wiser. Featuring original music and an award-winning cast including Alan Cumming and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Toby Stephens (Die Another Day), Russell Tovey (Quantico) – and Malcolm Gladwell.


Cautionary Tales Presents: The Last Archive
May 21 • 51 min
This week we’re featuring the second episode of The Last Archive, a new podcast hosted by Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore. When a young black man is charged with murder under unusual circumstances in 1922, he trusts his fate to a…
Cautionary Tales presents: Against the Rules Season 2
May 12 • 45 min
Tim Harford presents the first episode of the new season of Michael Lewis’s Against the Rules. It wasn’t that long ago that coaches were confined to sports. Now they’re everywhere. Who’s getting all this coaching, and who isn’t? Credit card companies are…
Cautionary Tales Presents: TED Talk Daily
Jan 31 • 18 min
In this special episode of Cautionary Tales, we feature Cautionary Tales host Tim Harford’s TED Talk Daily from 2018. What can we learn from the world’s most enduringly creative people? They “slow-motion multitask,” actively juggling multiple projects and…
You Have Reached Your Destination
Dec 27, 2019 • 37 min
We may mock our ancestors for seeking the advice of oracles, soothsayers and psychics, but today we rely heavily on computer programs and math formulas to help us navigate our world. If we continue to follow them unthinkingly, should we be surprised when…
Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano
Dec 20, 2019 • 35 min
It was the biggest concert of Keith Jarrett’s career - but the pianist was in for a shock when he entered Koln’s opera house. The only piano at the venue was a broken-down wreck. Should he risk humiliation and play anyway or simply walk out? The…
How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg
Dec 13, 2019 • 40 min
In 1917, a brilliant British officer developed a way to use an emerging military technology: the tank. The British army promptly squandered the idea – but the Germans did not. Blitzkrieg, the devastating advance of German tanks across Europe in 1940, was…
Buried by the Wall Street Crash
Dec 6, 2019 • 41 min
Both of the world’s greatest economists, Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, thought they could see into the future and make a killing on the stock market - and then both were wiped out by the Wall Street Crash. One died a pauper, the other…
The Deadly Airship Race
Nov 29, 2019 • 42 min
A British Lord wanted to build the best airship in the world - and so he had two rival design teams battle it out to win the juicy government contract. Competition is supposed to bring the best out of people, but run in the wrong way it can cause people…
La La Land: Galileo’s Warning
Nov 22, 2019 • 35 min
Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more likely to happen. His basic lesson has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars… all…
The Rogue Dressed as a Captain
Nov 15, 2019 • 37 min
One crisp morning in Berlin, in 1906, a small group of soldiers were led on an extraordinary heist by a man they believed to be a Captain. So how did an ageing nobody in a fake uniform trick them into aiding him in the crime of the century? Some say we…
DANGER: Rocks Ahead!
Nov 15, 2019 • 39 min
Torrey Canyon was one of the biggest and best ships in the world - but its captain and crew still needlessly steered it towards a deadly reef known as The Seven Stones. This course seemed like utter madness, but the thinking that resulted in such a risky…
Introducing: Cautionary Tales
Oct 22, 2019 • 2 min
Coming November 15 from Tim Harford and Pushkin Industries, Cautionary Tales relates a true story of a time when something did not go according to plan. Some of these true stories are tragic, some are comic, but like the great fables and parables, each of…