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Freakonomics Paperback – Aug 17 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Aug. 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554686369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554686360
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America. . . . Prepare to be dazzled."
?Malcom Gladwell ()

From the Back Cover

More Than 4 Million Copies Sold Worldwide
Published in 35 Languages

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.


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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mechanic9 on Nov. 23 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a general interest book- and it certainly is interesting. The book, for anyone looking for an entertaining read, will like it. In a nutshell, the book takes a look at all sorts of things in society, from crack gangs to parenting, and then attempts to make sense of them by applying econonmic principles. According to the book, economics is really the study of incentives, and so using this kind of angle, the book comes up with answers to why things work the way they do.

A book that's hard to put down, I'm sure many readers will enjoy it. Also recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for a more simplistic explanation of what motivates people and gives them incentives to do what they do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jayson Vavrek on Dec 9 2014
Format: Paperback
In Freakonomics, economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner "explore the hidden side of everything"—in a series of mostly unconnected chapters based primarily on Levitt's diverse body of work, the book covers, broadly, hidden incentives and their economic and social consequences. Examples include the link between legalized abortion and falling crime rates, the effect of a child's first name on future success, and the case of teachers—yes, teachers—cheating on high school standardized tests.

Much of the research is presented informally (this is a popular-level book, after all) which makes Freakonomics very easy to read. Given my vast inexperience in the field of economics, this is a welcome style; as I complain about popular-level physics books, however, I imagine Freakonomics suffers at the hands of graduate students across the social sciences for playing to such a wide audience. Speaking of wide audiences, I also found that nearly all the material in Freakonomics was covered by their early podcast episodes, which again are quite popular.

Overall, I give Freakonomics four stars. It's a good read for its particular examples, but anyone with even a basic versing in statistics will find many of the behind-the-scenes explanations (correlation != causation, who knew?) unsurprising.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 3 2012
Format: Paperback
Like Margaret Mead seemed to explain everything through anthropology, Dubner and Levitt seem able to winnow out the real story behind whatever happens, mostly by the power of number crunching economics. At least they can if they get the right troves of data, like all the student test scores in Chicago, or all the kids names in California. The writing is excellent, and the discoveries are usually fascinating. But my favorite chapter concerns how Stetson Kennedy helped make the Klu Klux Klan look silly rather than fearsome, and this is "just" a fine piece of historical journalism. Also, some stories, like the examination of declining American crime rates, are discussed twice. The last section of the book is composed of reprinted articles about the same issues previously covered in the book. It seems a bit padded. Still, I expect this duo will tackle ever bigger questions, and eventually get the goods on corporate corruption, offshore tax havens, and even the global markets in arms, diamonds, and petro dollars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 19 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is very interesting and engaging, however it masquerades as authoritative and non-fictitious which is misleading. This is in fact narrative journalism with economic credibility stapled on. The reader is led to believe through non-detailed citations of studies that he is getting deep insights into the hidden side of everything. In some cases, this may indeed be the case. However we are not given enough information to really know if the authors understand or know as much as they pretend. Indeed, we would do well to take the authors' warnings about experts and apply it to the authors. Much of what they cite here has been challenged or refuted by later studies. So, knowledge is perhaps not as tantalizingly close at hand as we thought.
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Format: Paperback
As of this writing, there have been well over one thousand reviews of this book. I doubt very much that I can add anything new or significant that has not already been mentioned. So, I will simply state my own personal experience in reading it. I found the prose/writing style to be clear, very friendly, quite witty, authoritative, highly accessible and most captivating. The pages just flew by, making it a rather quick read (and I am a slow reader). I have also learned a few interesting and worthwhile facts that I intend to use to my advantage. I am certain that there is something here for one and all. As such, I do believe that this is a book that everyone can enjoy. (I have now started to read the sequel: Superfreakonomics)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By buyer on July 11 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was an interesting read. If you enjoy statistical analysis of stuff, you will enjoy it too. If not, then this book is not for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marc on Dec 29 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Opened my eyes to another world out their, finaces and the simple connections economic has with their your daily life. Amazing book. Worth the read.
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By gabe white on April 25 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read! As soon as I finished i became a walrus and ruled the motion of the ocean. . ,
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