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Chuck Yeager’s plane pitched and rolled as it plummeted from the sky. He grappled with the controls inside the cockpit, but to no avail: he couldn’t steady the aircraft. The test pilot was known for his nerves of steel but, as the barren Mojave Desert hurtled towards him, even he was afraid. What to do?

It’s tempting to think that adding to our lives – more action, more work, more possessions – will lead to greater success and happiness. But sometimes doing less is the better option, as Chuck Yeager was to learn the hard way.

In their second crossover episode, Tim Harford teams up with Dr Laurie Santos (host of The Happiness Lab) to examine why subtraction can be so challenging and so helpful.

The Host

Tim Harford

Tim Harford’s long-running column in the Financial Times, “The Undercover Economist,” reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His first book, The Undercover Economist, was published in 30 languages and sold…