An economist and a writer team up to create a great read. Levitt takes things you see in society and looks at them in a different light.
Chapter list: An Expanatory Note, Introduction:The Hidden Side of Everything, What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers have in Common?, How is the Ku Klux Klan like a Group of Real Estate Agents?, Why do Drug Dealers Still Live with their Moms?, Where have all the Criminals Gone?, What Makes a Perfect Parent?, Perfect Parenting II; or; Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?, Epilogue: Two Paths to Harvard
This was a very good read. Levitt has a long history of applying economic thought and processes to "common" occurances. One of my favorite chapters was the one on Real Estate Agents. What do they have that you don't? Knowledge of the market. And they do not share. This was brought to light by examining real estate transfers among those of us that sold/bought our homes and when real estate agents sold their own homes. Very interesting analysis. The internet has changed the rules a little, but not enough to make a difference. Pricing on term life insurance, on the other hand, was driven down by the internet. Cheating on standardized tests was part of the chapter on Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers. It was amazing to read how Levitt discovered cheating on the tests and what Chicago did to curtail it.
Even if you aren't a economist or read much on the topic, Levitt and Dubner make the topic fresh, topical, and humorous. A great book, especially if you subscribe to "conventional wisdom."
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!
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … 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 ...