A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
The author offers his view of how the economy really works, examining issues from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, offering a very different view on what drives the economy.


Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner offer the long-awaited paperback edition of Freakonomics, the runaway bestseller, including six Freakonomics columns from the New York Times Magazine and a Q & A with the authors.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life&;from cheating and crime to parenting and sports&;and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they 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.

Book News
In this paperback edition of the 2005 bestseller, Levitt (economics, U. of Chicago) and Dubner (former New York Times Magazine writer/editor) present unconventional ideas about how economic, social, and moral incentives affect real situations. These include what motivates teachers as well as sumo wrestlers to cheat, an association between abortions and reduced crime, and whether good parenting or genetics contributes more to child outcomes. This edition includes a Q&A section with the authors. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Takes an unconventional look at how the economy really works, from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, offering a very different view on what really matters and what really drives the economy, in an edition than includes a new preface, additional material, and a Q&A with the author and Stephen Dubner. 500,000 first printing. Original.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, 2009
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial ed
ISBN: 9780060731335
Characteristics: xxvi, 315 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Dubner, Stephen J.


From the critics

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Oct 07, 2020

NOT a particularly FUN read, yet it indeed filled with fun facts but not even close to what it stated on the cover"everything".

The book certainly provided a lot of observations of bizarre facts and connected the dots usually goes unnoticed by many.But, it doesn't provide much of insight or provoke any more understanding of ECONOMICS besides the conclusions that provided by the author after his long story telling(usually it is the chapter title itself).

Page after page, I thought I learnt so much, so dazzling of a world that i don't know...
But when I close the book I realize that was not true.

Mar 29, 2020

This book isn't really about Economics. Instead, it's about how applying statistical analysis tools to various social science problems can reveal interesting patterns. I think there is some truth to the conclusions, but not always absolute truth. Apart from that, the writing is well done. It's a fun read, and you'll learn something.

Mar 23, 2020

Freakonomics is a fantastic read for someone looking for a casual and fun yet somewhat educational work of non-fiction. The way of thinking described in this book is something that most everyone should try, because inefficiency and unthinking convictions are two of the greatest enemies to modern society. Whether its sumo wrestlers or schoolteachers, crack or parenting, authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make just about everything more interesting and digestible. The book includes six chapters, each with an overarching theme. This format allows the authors to run wild with their anecdotal storytelling, yet their ideas always come together for a satisfying conclusion at the end of the chapter. I particularly enjoyed chapters 1 and 6, but the quality is great across the board. All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Freakonomics and would highly recommend it to just about anyone.

Feb 04, 2019

Easy to read, if a little voluminous, popular rather than rigorous. The author's comparison of risk traveling by aircraft vs car per hour is indefensible, otherwise okay.

SPPL_János Mar 19, 2018

Levitt and other economists apply the tools of their field to illuminate a variety of astonishing truths. According to their number-crunching, it's safer to have a gun in your household than a swimming pool, legal abortions lower the crime rate, and late fees encourage lateness. You'll also learn how drug dealers make money and what names are ethnically whitest and blackest. A fast, easy read full of surprises.

Aug 03, 2017

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a book written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner in 2006, and published in 2009. It has received a lot of praise when it was first released. Some of the awards include: Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year, Quill Award for Business Book of the Year, Best Book of the Year by Economist, etc. And to be honest, the book deserved it. Most of the time that I was reading it, my head was exploding with eye-opening ideas and realization. The authors' conclusions hit me like: "Oh. I never thought about why this or that could be true. But now that I do, it makes perfect sense." So what are those eye-opening ideas?
Each chapter describes a new topic, as an example: “Why do we cheat? Mankind is more honest than we think it is, why there are far less criminals now then there were in the 1980s, what impact the names have on our lives, and etc.”. Some of the questions are pretty controversial and daring. For example, chapter 2 talks about how the KKK is similar to a group of real-estate agents. (the answer is much simpler than you think it is!)
The most surprising finding for me in the book is Chapter 4 where the book describes all the events that led up to crime rates dropping dramatically in the US in the 1990s. While most of us, even to this day, would think that it was the police and economics that prevented the majority of crimes from happening and lowered the rates of crimes, these factors actually didn’t play such a huge part in crime rates dropping. Now, what did play the part was abortions. If the criminals aren’t born, then there is no one there to commit the crime, right? Before the 1970s, it was illegal to abort fetuses. And because of that, these kids grew up neglected and (often times) poor. That is why they would turn to crime.
Freakonomics is a pretty awesome book. Even if you aren’t into economics, Freakonomics is still a good book to consider reading because it explains these super-interesting ideas simply and in a way that anyone can understand it.
Rating: 5/5
@readermariacom of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything was a book that was both interesting as well as humourous. If you’re looking for a fascinating read that uses statistical analysis to connect what are seemingly unrelated topics, then this is the book to read. They answer unusual questions such as “Why do drug dealers still live with their mothers” and “What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?”. It is a quick read that makes users think outside of the box and use data to answer these questions. However, the book mainly deals with sociology. Some of the data used is not very reliable and despite the authors preaching about reliable and thorough statistical analysis, they still use the data. The book presents the statistics as accurate and that the conclusions are reliable, but in reality it is not. If you are looking for a pop science and fun read, then this is a great read. However, do not be misled by the content of the book as it seems to be presented as fact when in reality a lot of the analysis and conclusions can be questioned. I would rate it 3/5 stars.
@SuperSilk of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

CarleeMcDot Jul 24, 2017

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I actually graduated with a degree in Economics. I enjoyed this book so much the first time I read it that I actually got a signed copy. (I took a class in school on the economics of crime and it was very similar to the thinking in this book and it was one of my favorite econ classes ever.) Although I may be a nerd, this is a book that I think many folks would enjoy. It isn't about the stock market or supply and demand, but is about real life situations (drug dealers, cheating in school, parents influence, etc) that are looked at from a different perspective. I hear there is a great podcast by Dubner (with Levitt as a regular guest), but have yet to check it out. As far as this book, I would give it a 9 out of 10.

Sep 17, 2016

Freakonomics. --- by. --- Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner.
First off, I'm not sure that Levitt & Dubner's credentials as economists, rogue or otherwise, has anything of substance to do with the contents of this book.
Having said that, however, L&D have written a book that is both amusing and insightful at the same time.
Why do drug pushers still live at home with mother? L&D have the answer --- and one that sounds pretty logical too.
And how do you get students' marks at school to improve? Get their teachers to cheat.
The two guys are great statisticians. Give them the numbers and they can ferret out the truth while keeping you entertained at the same time.
And to think, they call themselves economists.

cloux1107 Sep 08, 2016

I don't know why but when I opened it to read on overdrive, I got "Fragile Things" by Neil Gaiman. Is there an issue with this ebook?

Jun 18, 2016

eye opener

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Aug 03, 2014

"This book has been written from a very specific worldview, based on a few fundamental ideas:
- Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life...
- The conventional wisdom is often wrong...
- Dramatic effects often have a distant, even subtle, causes...
- Experts use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda...
- Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes it complicated world much less so..."


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