First of all- as many have already mentioned- do not pay $25 for this book. It can be read very quickly at the local Library. I believe that many people would enjoy "Freakonomics" and should read it... but buying it may be a different story.
Now that I have passed on that disclaimer - on to the review!
Freakonomics is more than a little misnomer - There is very little Economics involved (if any?). Almost all of what is discussed is actually Sociology and not Economics. Economics, by definition, is the allocation of scarce resources- you learn that on the first day of econ 101. And while "Freakonomics" does talk extensively about incentives and motivating factors, I still feel that is on the outside of the true Economics. There is, however, a fuzzy line where Sociology and Economics meet- and for the most part this is the area that "Freakonomics" lives.
Others have argued that "Freakonmoics" is just a retelling of older published articles. Well this probably is the case, however, most of us have not read and do not have access to those articles - so compilation is not necessarily a bad (Dave Berry does it all of the time!)
I will also giev Levitt credit for exploring some very taboo subjects. Bot many people have the courage to tie increased incidences in abortion to an overall decrease in violent crimes. While personally - I don't agree with the "Cost/Benefit" of this approach (and to his credit Mr. Levitt does not advocate this approach either) but it is intereting to think about. Also, the topics on race and education are usually very tactfully done in order to be more PC. MR. Levitt doesn't seem to care much about being "PC" only in interepting his data. Other topics include - what makes a good parent, how real estate agents look out for themselves more tan you, why, in fact, most Crack Dealers are poor, the economic benefits of a naming a child, possible cheating in the sport of sumo wrestling and so on.
Again- to call this an Economics text is - in my mind- a misrepresentation. It is also exceedingly short, it defintely lacks a detailed descriptions on how the data was mined... but given even these flaws I found "Freakonomics" fascinating and almost impossible to put down.
This work contains non-conventional answers to important societal questions. The authors are critical of teachers who teach to the test and assist students in achieving inflated grades. This phenomenon is not necessarily the fault of teachers. It is the fault of administrators who live or die by the infamous "Bell Curve". The book calls into question the current statistic for homelessness. The authors believe that homelessness numbers are inflated. … more
Freakonomics is a refreshing, thoroughly enjoyable, easy reading, fast paced, witty and cynical breath of fresh air! Levitt and Dubner offer up a series of pointed, thought provoking essays composed in jargon-free layman's language that are loosely connected through a theme revealed in the book's sub-title - the hidden side of everything! Incentives, or disincentives and deterrents, are examined as to their effectiveness in achieving the outcomes anticipated by those … more
This book gave me alot of insight about things that I never would have thought about. The story about Drug Dealers living with their mothers makes you really think about how things are so superficial on the outside, but if you look closer and examine them you will be very surprised!
At one time, I may have been the world's biggest baseball fan. However, now that I have a family I amin danger of falling out of the top 100. In addition to my beautiful wife and lovely daughter (and … more
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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. InFreakonomics(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 inner-city 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 inThe New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold ...