EconTalk Host Russ Roberts on Key Economic Concepts for Founders

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Russ Roberts is the host of the podcast EconTalk (
), a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and the author of several books, including How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.

The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon.

Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups (recently 200), twice a year.

Learn more about YC and apply for funding here:


00:00 – Intro
00:15 – What are his thoughts on “meaning, spirituality, or sense of belonging” in regards to creating your own company?
3:20 – Capitalism bearing the burden of human nature
3:50 – Why Russ started EconTalk
7:30 – Key economic concepts for founders after 700 EconTalk episodes
13:35 – Helpful methods for teaching economic concepts
17:55 – “Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely” – Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments
19:25 – Why Russ wrote How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life –
24:00 – How EconTalk has changed since the beginning
26:00 – Steve Adema asks – Russ Roberts has emphasized the limits of “only looking where the light is” when it comes to studying well-being. How can economists incorporate the aspects of well-being that aren’t easily quantified?
34:20 – Warren Buffett’s gift to his son
35:55 – Founders and unintended consequences
39:30 – The emotional aspect of giving your company away
44:05 – Anthony Y. asks – Has a guest on his show ever made him change his mind on a topic?
50:40 – Has Nassim Taleb convinced him to deadlift?
52:45 – Russ often quotes David Foster Wallace’s speech, “This is Water”. Specifically, he quotes the phrase, “everyone worships.” What does Russ worship?

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