- This edition of Freakonomics is out of print. See the current revised and expanded edition of this title here.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything Hardcover – Mar 31 2005
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Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: They could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from innercity Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe
Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner Answer The Amazon.com Significant Seven
Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, author and co-author of this season's bestselling quirky hit, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, graciously answered the Amazon.com Significant Seven questions that we like to run by every author.
Levitt and Dubner answer the Amazon.com Significant Seven questions
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Forget your image of an economist as a crusty professor worried about fluctuating interest rates: Levitt focuses his attention on more intimate real-world issues, like whether reading to your baby will make her a better student. Recognition by fellow economists as one of the best young minds in his field led to a profile in the New York Times, written by Dubner, and that original article serves as a broad outline for an expanded look at Levitt's search for the hidden incentives behind all sorts of behavior. There isn't really a grand theory of everything here, except perhaps the suggestion that self-styled experts have a vested interest in promoting conventional wisdom even when it's wrong. Instead, Dubner and Levitt deconstruct everything from the organizational structure of drug-dealing gangs to baby-naming patterns. While some chapters might seem frivolous, others touch on more serious issues, including a detailed look at Levitt's controversial linkage between the legalization of abortion and a reduced crime rate two decades later. Underlying all these research subjects is a belief that complex phenomena can be understood if we find the right perspective. Levitt has a knack for making that principle relevant to our daily lives, which could make this book a hit. Malcolm Gladwell blurbs that Levitt "has the most interesting mind in America," an invitation Gladwell's own substantial fan base will find hard to resist. 50-city radio campaign. (May 1)
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Top Customer Reviews
Freakonomics is an interesting collection of observations, never conceding to any agenda whatsoever. It's entertaining, but never really takes you anywhere. Personally, I would have hoped that it would at least attempt to spur interest in economics and econometric methods, but in the end it reads more like an episode of Seinfeld - a book about, well, nothing.
It's an easy read, achievable on a single rainy day, and certainly not challenging for the average reader with no economics background. But I would encourage folks who do pick it up to consider the usefulness of the correlation/causality distinction and the methods of analysis beyond the description here. Not many of you will pick up an economics or statistics text because of this, but maybe if there were more books like this which make it interesting and applicable in our daily lives, we would all have a better understanding and appreciation for our strange little world at large.
Anyone could have written a book based on personal conspiracy-theories and illustrations of specific government propaganda. For instance, I failed to be convinced that the drop in crime in the year 2000 was based on legallizing abortion 20 years prior. I believe the real reason for crime reduction was FEAR of being caught, brought about by the induction of DNA tesing and various forensic technologies. Technologies that became WELL known to the public via news and TV shows like Cold Case Files and CSI (which 1st aired in 2000)!!!!! Don't you think maybe crime is decreasing because tecnology is INcreasing?!!! What makes MY theory any less believable than the authors? Hey, maybe I'll write a book about my theories and sell it to nieve victims of crime!!!
This books publication is another example of a "Shock Doctrine" (which IS a great book by Naomi Klein?), that is specifically preying on consumers when they are vulnerable and thirsty for change and answers. I also thought the book was written arrogant and poorly, with alot of mindless babble lacking originating sources. Simply another unwanted gift of Media Mind Control, wrapped in fancy paper, only the agenda (which, in this case is book sales) changes!
Read this book with the same state of mind you would watch TV...it's just entertainment. And for those of you who don't already think beyond what you're told by the media (hopefully VERY few of you), this book may inspire some sort of out-of-the-box, new-age thinking beyond the surface.
I don't think you should necesarilly agree with every opinion therein. For example, he makes a strong argument that the reduction in crime was largely due to legalized abortion. He might be right but there always can be every factor.
If you come out from the book memorizing his conclusions, you've probably lost the point. The analysis is more important than the conclusions although the conclusions.
Some questions he deals with?
1) Why do drug dealers live with their moms? Is a drug francise like McDonalds in some ways?
2) Do real estate agents really have your interest at heart or do they use their "information advantage" to maximize their own profit at some cost to you. Why and how.
3) Are most people honest? The honour system bagel company study.
4) The "innovation" of crack and its impact on society.
5) How one man fought the KKK by using a cartoon on television.
6) Do professionals such as teachers, sumo wrestlers and doctors cheat when the system makes it in their favor to do so? Is it possible to prove it using numbers?
7) Why is violent crime DOWN these days?
8) Does your name have any effect on your success in life?
9) Does money buy votes or does money follow the successful candidates?
Must also recommend the books: ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY and POST OFFICE for "Fiction" books to read. Hey, you don't want to just read the practial stuff, now do you?
Most recent customer reviews
Dubious reasoning and conclusions of limited value
Not saying it is all wrong but a large parts of it are either obvious, or oblivious in equal measure
Great book! Very interesting and informative. Must get the sequel as well.Published 11 months ago by David Pham
Loved this! A fun way to look at how choices affect/change our lives.Published 15 months ago by Maxine Ranger
Bought this book, thinking it would have the case around it-it didn't. Looks old and used
Book itself is a great read. Definitely recommend reading it.
This is some fun book to read. I enjoyed every page of it, although not as much the grim statistics for the probability of dying in a road accident for a driver versus a... Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2010 by Anastasia Prozorova
I ordered this book as a gift. It arrived in good condition and within a reasonable period of time. I would order from this supplier again.Published on Oct. 18 2010 by Don
I got this book b/c of the hype and reviews. Unfortunatly it was a big disappointment. The book kept making statistical conlusions between things that really don't matter. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2006 by Pashpoops
so i picked up this book after all the rave reviews and read it as i do most books in one sitting. Unfortunately, it didnt deliver..... Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2006 by J. Bhaiji
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