Cautionary Tales

Latest Episodes

You Have Reached Your Destination

December 27, 2019
We may mock our ancestors for seeking the advice of oracles, soothsayers and psychics, but today we rely heavily on computer programs...

Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano

December 20, 2019
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...

How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

December 13, 2019
In 1917, a brilliant British officer developed a way to use an emerging military technology: the tank. The British army promptly...

About The Show

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.

More Episodes

You Have Reached Your Destination

December 27, 2019
We may mock our ancestors for seeking the advice of oracles, soothsayers and psychics, but today we rely heavily on computer programs...

Bowie, Jazz and the Unplayable Piano

December 20, 2019
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...

How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

December 13, 2019
In 1917, a brilliant British officer developed a way to use an emerging military technology: the tank. The British army promptly...

Buried by the Wall Street Crash

December 6, 2019
Both of the world’s greatest economists, Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, thought they could see into the future and make a...

The Deadly Airship Race

November 29, 2019
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...

La La Land: Galileo's Warning

November 22, 2019
Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more...