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Freakonomics Reviewed

Updated on July 2, 2011

I recently finished reading Freakonomics , a novel that has been #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the authors take the concept of economics and apply it to subject matter that you wouldn't necessarily expect to reveal the hidden side of everything.

Have you ever wondered why that if drug dealers make so much money, why do they still live with their mothers?  Or have you ever noticed that the Ku Klux Klan is like a group of real-estate agents?  Does legalized abortion lower crime rates?  Are sumo wrestlers and school teachers ethically similar? What effect, if any, does a child's name have on his or her's success in life?  What traits do good parents have? 

If you've ever wondered this, or this perks you're interest, then you should pick up Freakonomics.  The authors have put together a well written and well presented collection of papers that make you think.  The key here is that they make you think , not tell you what to think.  They present the facts and findings they have concluded and made their best analysis.  You can take it or leave, but let's face it, numbers don't lie.

About the Authors

Steven D. Levitt is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. He has been a recipient of the John Bates Clark medal, which is a prestigious award given to the most influential economist under the age of 40.

Stephen J. Dubner, in his early career, worked as a writer and editor at The New York Times Magazine . Along with his work on Freakonomics , he has also authored Turbulent Souls (Choosing my Religion) and Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper . After becoming a father, he also wrote The Boy with Two Belly Buttons , a children's book.

Evaluation

The book is written clearly and it's easy to understand.  Levitt claims that, though he is an economist, he does not fully understand all the theories of economy nor does he have a desire to.  He takes the view of a common man with an inquiring mind.  He doesn't bore you with the bland economist mumble jumble that you might expect.  He simply asks a question, presents the data, and interprets his findings in a down-to-earth manner that anyone can understand. 

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and was exposed to (against my will) several different economy classes.  Though I got relatively good grades in these classes, I despised them with a passion.  This book was nothing like what I had to endure in college, and I found it to be enjoyable to read.  I did not have to force myself to finish this book, once I started reading it I was hooked and couldn't put it down.  I actually was sad when I finished this book because I wanted more.  Luckily, the authors have came together and put together another collections of essays, cleverly titled Superfreakonomics.  I hope to get around to buying this book very soon.  With any look, I'll get it read and write a review of it as well.

Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner
Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner

Tidbits

I picked this book up while at the airport in Antigua on my honeymoon.  We were trying to leave the island, but due to a delay from the Miami flight, we were stuck in the very cramped terminal for hours.  After becoming restless from sitting down for so long, I decided to go shopping.  The magazine selection was terrible, so I moved on to the books.  I picked up a Dan Brown hardcover, but the Antiguan Airport wanted $49.95 US for that.  I put it back down.

Right before calling it quits, I just happened to see Freakonomics sitting on a lower shelf.  I picked it up to make sure it was indeed what I thought it was.  I've heard radio talk shows talking about the book before, and I'm pretty sure I've seen one of the authors on The Colbert Report (though I can't swear to it) so I knew that this book may be of interest to me.  I read the back of the book and several excerpts from the text to verify that this indeed was the book for me.  It was a phenomenal companion for me for the terminal wait, the flight to Miami, and the final leg to Nashville.  I finished it up during my week back from my honeymoon.  It was worth every penny I paid for it (I actually over paid for it because the cashier did not have an American nickel to give me back correct change, but I survived.)

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