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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the…

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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Title:Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Authors:Steven D. Levitt
Other authors:Stephen J. Dubner
Info:Penguin (2007), Edition: 1, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Popular science

Work details

Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (Author) (2005)

Recently added bybidyarthi, vanessa-c, Kdrews05, j.alice, LopiCake, private library, Lokweesha, LizHD
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» See also 247 mentions

English (347)  Spanish (4)  French (4)  Vietnamese (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (359)
Showing 1-5 of 347 (next | show all)
Very interesting analysis of how some data tells us different answers than we expect to hear. We often see what we look for, this book asks us to look at things from a different perspective. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
Many of Levitt's claims are fantastical, and given the amount of evidence in stark contrast to at least one of Levitt's favorite "can you believe it" topics (abortion and crime) it's hard to believe any of what he says. As others have said, little of what he talks about has anything to do with economics, so from my perspectives he's an economist trying to use his knowledge to inform topics he knows little to nothing about. I'm neither an economist nor a sociologist, but even I am aware of some of the arguments that he very blatantly ignores (for instance, his prison arguments very clearly ignore the fact that crimes that would have been a slap on the wrist or played off as "kids will be kids" years ago now carry stiff prison sentences because the prison-system has been privatized and the government has contracts with these prisons ensuring at least a minimum population.
Levitt's worst sin though is his constant inserting of news clippings tauting his perfection and insight. ( )
  benuathanasia | Feb 5, 2015 |
This is a very fascinating book, which I highly recommend to everyone. Essentially, the authors use economic principles and ideas to analyze several very interesting questions, such as why drug dealers live with their mothers. Trust me when I say that you never knew just how large of a role economics plays in our everyday world. I came away from the book looking at everything in a whole new way, and with a whole new level of appreciation for economics as a field of study. The anecdotes are amusing, the questions explored are relevant and interesting in ways you have never realized, and the entirety is tied together nicely and written in a very approachable fashion. The one downside, if you can call it that, is that not a lot of the data and information used in the analyses was provided or explained, with the authors instead largely falling back on saying what they found, with the reader basically taking their word for it. While this makes the book far more approachable and interesting for an everyday reader, it means that the education in actual economics that is provided is severely limited in scope, and their conclusions cannot be investigated further (based on what is provided in the book alone) if someone wishes to do so. They basically manage to make economics readily approachable for the everyday reader, while also allowing for very little true additional understanding of the field of study itself. This is only a minor weakness overall, as most would not be reading it for those purposes, but it did jump out at me a bit. ( )
  TiffanyAK | Jan 1, 2015 |
Uno dei pochi libri divertenti scritti da un economista. Purtroppo non vi sono altre traduzioni attuali delle opere di Stephen Leavitt e questo è un peccato. I sei capitoli che compongono il libro sono assai interessanti, dando intepretazioni basate sulla obiettività delle analisi regressive e non in base al buon senso comune - che prende sonore e poco metaforiche legnate ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Freakonomics is fast, consistently interesting read and best when it digs in and tackles a question at length, as with the issue of the relationship of legal abortion to crime rates or the section on the socioeconomic trends in baby names. The only real overarching theme of the book, however, is Levitt's own cleverness--every chapter is preceded by a fawning blurb about Levitt from the same New York Times magazine piece.
Rather than just further refining and cashing in on this Steven Levitt "brand" of the impish public affairs gadfly who throws grenades at small hills of conventional wisdom in easy-reading bestsellers, I'd like to see Levitt take on an important subject and make his case so thoroughly that citizens and policymakers can actually turn his insights into action. ( )
  AThurman | Dec 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 347 (next | show all)
Economists can seem a little arrogant at times. They have a set of techniques and habits of thought that they regard as more ''rigorous'' than those of other social scientists. When they are successful -- one thinks of Amartya Sen's important work on the causes of famines, or Gary Becker's theory of marriage and rational behavior -- the result gets called economics. It might appear presumptuous of Steven Levitt to see himself as an all-purpose intellectual detective, fit to take on whatever puzzle of human behavior grabs his fancy. But on the evidence of ''Freakonomics,'' the presumption is earned.
added by Shortride | editThe Economist (pay site) (May 12, 2005)
The book, unfortunately titled Freakonomics, is broken into six chapters, each posing a different social question. Levitt and Dubner answer them using empirical research and statistical analysis. And unlike academics who usually address these matters, they don't clutter the prose with a lot of caveats. They just show you the goods.
added by Shortride | editTime, Amanda Ripley (Apr 24, 2005)
Freakonomics is about unconventional wisdom, using the raw data of economics in imaginative ways to ask clever and diverting questions. Levitt even redefines his definition. If, as he says, economics is essentially about incentives and how people realise them, then economics is a prospecting tool, not a laboratory microscope.

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Levitt, Steven D.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dubner, Stephen J.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Levitt, Steven D.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Lindgren, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seidenfaden, TøgerPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The most brilliant young economist in America -- the one so deemed, at least, by a jury of his elders -- brakes to a stop at a traffic light on Chicago's south side.
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I'm a maverick!
Or just a Drama Queen who's
Good at marketing?


Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061234001, Hardcover)

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. In Freakonomics (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 in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:25 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"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 his conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head... 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, well--everything... If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work."--Book jacket, front flap.… (more)

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