Jacob Goldstein

Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and co-host of the Planet Money podcast.

Jacob's interest in technology and the changing nature of work has led him to stories on UPS, the Luddites, and the history of light. His aversion to paying retail has led him to stories on Costco, Spirit Airlines, and index funds.

He also contributed to the Planet Money T-shirt and oil projects, and to an episode of This American Life that asked: What is money? Ira Glass called it "the most stoner question" ever posed on the show.

Before coming to NPR, Jacob was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine. He has a bachelor's degree in English from Stanford and a master's in journalism from Columbia.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Illmind is a music producer. He isn't famous. He doesn't DJ at festivals in front of huge crowds. He's not best friends with Drake. But the producers who do DJ for huge crowds, who are best friends with Drake — they know Illmind. They use his sounds. They text him when they're working on a song that needs a little something.

Aspiring producers who want to be famous — they also know Illmind. Some of them pay hundreds of dollars and fly across the country just to sit in a room with him and hear what he thinks of their work.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015.

It used to be that if you ran a store, you wanted to make it easy for your customers. But Price Club and Costco went in the opposite direction: They made shopping harder. And people loved it.

Today on the show: How Costco and its imitators changed the way we shop. And how a new company is taking what Costco started to new extremes.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2012.

Earlier this summer, a European official walked into a roomful of reporters and answered a question that some people have been asking for a long time now:
Is Google abusing its power over the Internet?

Google--which is now technically owned by a company called Alphabet — is one of the biggest corporations on the planet. It controls the information billions of people see when they want to know: who was FDR's secretary of state, or where the nearest gas station is, or where to order a Sony Digital Camera.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015.

Sam Cohen's business works like this: He walks into a big retail store and buys a bunch of stuff. Then he sells it on Amazon for more. It's straightforward and surprisingly lucrative.

This is a multimillion-dollar business for Sam — and for lots of other people who do the same thing. It's called retail arbitrage.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2014. Another version was also part of This American Life's Episode 543: Wake Up Now.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2014.

We tend to get obsessed with things that get more expensive over time — college tuition, say, or health care. But lots of things have actually gotten cheaper in real terms. Things made by machines. Things like consumer electronics.

When your life savings gets torched in a house fire or put through a shredder, there is a roomful of people who may be able to help: a team of specialists with the legal authority and technical skills to say whether messed up money lives or dies. They are the people of the Mutilated Currency Division.

On this episode, we go inside the Mutilated Currency Division. We find stories of a cow with an appetite for currency, a hundred thousand dollars stuffed into a mailbox, and a court battle between the government and millions of dollars in mutilated money

It's hard to change your mind: You have to confront the limits of your intellect and concede that your adversaries have a point. It's awkward and embarrassing.

We think it's brave to change your view. So, today's show is in praise of flip-floppers. It's dedicated to those who have looked in the mirror, questioned themselves, and corrected course.

Warning: This episode has explicit language, for unavoidable and soon-to-be obvious reasons.

Growing up in California, Simon Tam had some tough moments. He was Chinese-American, and in middle school, kids called him all kinds of racial slurs.

Those moments stuck with him.

Simon grew up, and eventually started a band that was beginning to take off. He decided on a band name that said something about being Asian. Something that asserted an identity. He picked "The Slants," as a way to own a stereotype and turn it into something completely different.

Here is a thing we hear approximately every day: The world is changing faster than ever before. Robert Gordon doesn't buy it.

He's an economist who has spent decades studying technological change and economic growth in America. He argues that, contrary to popular belief, the world is not changing faster than ever before. In fact, it's not even changing as fast as it was 100 years ago.

Note: Today's show originally ran in June 2012.

A few years ago, Jestina Clayton started a hair braiding business in her home in Centerville, Utah. The business let her stay home with her kids, and in good months, she made enough to pay for groceries. She even put an ad on a local website. Then one day she got an email from a stranger who had seen the ad.

Banks and governments have been fighting each other for hundreds of years, but never more dramatically than during the showdown between President Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle, the president of the Second Bank of the United States.

Jackson was a populist, who rode to victory on promises to wrest control of the country from the East Coast elite. He was angry at the power structure, and he was furious at the banks. To him, they were the phantom controllers of the economy, issuing spurious scripts that often vanished with the banks when they collapsed.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much. But they do seem to agree on one thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: TPP, the trade deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, a horrible deal for our country.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.