In 1974, two very significant things happened, if you are a fan of 99% invisible. Number one is that 99pi host Roman Mars was born. And number two, The Power Broker by Robert Caro was published. Roman learned about the power broker when he first started to cover cities and infrastructure on the radio. This massive book is about 1200 pages long and is perhaps the most important and complete explanation of how cities are formed, how neighborhoods are destroyed, bridges are erected, roads are laid down, parks are designed. fortunes are made, lives are ruined, and power is amassed.

The Power Broker is a biography of Robert Moses, who built more structures and moved more earth than anyone in human history. And he did it without ever holding elected office.

Outside of New York City, Robert Moses wasn’t exceptionally well known. Inside of New York, he was mostly accepted by the media as simply the man who built all those nice parks. But The Power Broker, which is subtitled Robert Moses and The Fall of New York, changed all that. It is a tour de force of journalism, history, and biography. Roman also argues it’s really fun to read and is strongly in contention for the best book ever written.

So we’re going to spend 2024 reading it together. We’re going to study it. We’re going to break it down. We’re going to revel in the genius of its author, Robert Caro. We’re going to shake our fists in the sky at Robert Moses. It is going to be amazing. And Roman will be joined in this endeavor by Elliott Kalan, co-host of the pioneering (and very funny) Flop House podcast as well as former head writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He owns a signed copy of The Power Broker. So if you have it already, go ahead and pull it off the shelf; and if you don’t: go out and grab your very own copy of The Power Broker. Then bookmark this page, where new episodes will appear each week!


  • EP 1 — Jan 19 — Intro through Chapter 5
  • EP 2 — Feb 16 — Chapters 6 through 10
  • EP 3 — Mar 15 — Chapters 11 through 15
  • EP 4 — Apr 19 — Chapters 16 through 20
  • EP 5 — May 17 — Chapters 21 through 24
  • EP 6 — Jun 21 — Chapters 25 through 26
  • EP 7 — Jul 19 — Chapters 27 through 32
  • EP 8 — Aug 16 — Chapters 33 through 34
  • EP 9 — Sep 20 — Chapters 35 through 38
  • EP 10 — Oct 18 — Chapters 39 through 41
  • EP 11 — Nov 15 — Chapters 42 through 46
  • EP 12 — Dec 20 — Chapters 47 through 50