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EP 454: Sports Reporter Ben Cohen on the Science of Streaks

Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Cohen tells how a child-hood basketball game first got him interested in the mystery of winning streaks, how his work as a sports writer only further convinced him that there is such a thing as being "in the zone," and what recent science has to say about it. He also describes how streaks can negatively bias everyone from baseball umpires to asylum judges, warns there’s an important corollary to the "Hot Hand" that can cost you big-time, and cautions that there’s a big difference between streaks that can be harnessed and those that can’t. Plus Ben shares a tip from baseball on how to tell if you can capitalize on a streak, some advice from basketball star Steph Curry on when to take more risks, and the story of how Shakespeare wrote some of his greatest works in the most unlikely of times.

Order his book THE HOT HAND: The Mystery and Science of Streaks on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold. Read his reporting regularly in the Wall Street Journal and follow him on Twitter at @bzcohen. Today's episode is sponsored by American Home Shield, the nation's largest home warranty provider. Visit for $50 off ANY plan.

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