Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

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William Morrow, Aug 25, 2009 - Business & Economics - 315 pages
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask but Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life; from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing-and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner 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. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Klu Klux Klan. What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and-if the right questions are asked-is even more intriguing than we think.

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User Review  - xiaomarlo - www.librarything.com

It's like a Malcolm Gladwell book, but written by economists -- it's definitely got that asshole quality about it where they're like "we're just looking at the numbers! we're the only ones being ... Read full review

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User Review  - cavernism - www.librarything.com

Interesting enough that I got through it pretty quickly, but each chapter was kind of ..unsatisfying. I wasn't shocked or awed by many hypotheses or "revelations" put forth, and I don't know if I came ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Steven D. Levitt received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1989 and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1994. He is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago where he has been teaching since 1997. He was awarded the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal, an award that recognizes the most outstanding economist in America under the age of 40. He is the coauthor, with Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It won the inaugural Quill Award for best business book and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. He also wrote SuperFreakonomics, Think Like a Freak and When to Rob a Bank:...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants with Stephen J. Dubner.

While attending Appalachian State University, Stephen J. Dubner started a rock band that was signed to Arista Records. He eventually stopped playing music to earn an M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University, where he also taught in the English Department. He was an editor and writer at New York magazine and The New York Times before leaving to focus on writing books. He is the coauthor, with Steven D. Levitt, of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It won the inaugural Quill Award for best business book and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. He also wrote SuperFreakonomics and Think Like a Freak with Steven D. Levitt. His other works include Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper, and The Boy with Two Belly Buttons.

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