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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (2005)

by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Freakonomics (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
23,765434114 (3.83)288
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? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask--but Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life--from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing--and his conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. The authors 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 this book, they set out to explore the hidden side of everything. If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 182
    Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely (_Zoe_)
  2. 141
    SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: Similar content, same authors. If you liked one you'll like the other.
  3. 70
    The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor--and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car by Tim Harford (waitingtoderail)
    waitingtoderail: A much better book than Freakonomics, as wide-ranging but not as scattershot.
  4. 40
    The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (wendelin39)
    wendelin39: awesome.. economics psych and even some puzzles revealing something about your brain in one
  5. 40
    Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt (Percevan)
  6. 30
    More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics by Steven E. Landsburg (Sandydog1)
  7. 31
    Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) [Audio book] by Tom Vanderbilt (vnovak)
  8. 54
    Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (dste)
    dste: Another interesting book that looks at some ideas we think are right and turns them upside down.
  9. 21
    Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives by Richard Wiseman (edwbaker)
  10. 21
    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (tcarter)
  11. 32
    Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre (Rynooo)
  12. 10
    You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney (Sandydog1)
  13. 11
    Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas by Steven Poole (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Unexpected perspectives on a range of topics
  14. 11
    Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love by Marina Adshade (_Zoe_)
  15. 22
    The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Caplan (mercure)
    mercure: The freakonomics of democracy
  16. 22
    Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler (espertus)
  17. 11
    The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas by Robert H. Frank (ljessen)
  18. 01
    Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Freakonomics for football fans
  19. 12
    Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy by Carl Shapiro (infiniteletters)
  20. 12
    Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz (browner56)
    browner56: Economists use the tools of the "dismal science"--both traditional and behavioral--to explain the pressing issues of the day, such as drug crime, school quality, and the home field advantage in football games.

(see all 22 recommendations)

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» See also 288 mentions

English (419)  Spanish (6)  French (4)  Vietnamese (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (433)
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
I don't really know what I expected but whatever it was, this book didnt match. Its a great book and has some very interesting anecdotes. Key takeaway is that it is ok to challenge conventional wisdom and think about what is really going on. ( )
  CptGoldfish | May 8, 2022 |
I think I picked this up (figuratively) because the description said abortion drastically lowered the crime rate, and I love me some abortion. Mmmm mm.

Written in easy-on-the-eyes, conversational English, the pages just fly by. It's cute.

But it's somewhat repetitive, and then the entire second half is a bunch of essays retelling (or pretelling*) the first half!

* They were written first, and the book was based on them.

What were you thinking, Steves?
  brutalstirfry | May 6, 2022 |
It wasn't quite the book I'd hoped, but I did enjoy it. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
I waited for three months to get my hands on this book and was somewhat disappointed. The author has a way of looking for answers for some uncomfortable and unconventional questions.

He asks questions about drug dealers ... and attributes to the drop in crime (since the 1960's and 1970's) to the legalization of abortion.

Stephen Dubner makes some interesting ideas .... and he would be someone I would like to converse with on a plane. I do hope he pursuses another book because he may be on to something ( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
Somewhat interesting but overall meh ( )
  Alexandro69 | Feb 12, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 419 (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
Steven D. Levittprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dubner, Stephen J.Authormain 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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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? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask--but Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life--from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing--and his conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. The authors 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 this book, they set out to explore the hidden side of everything. If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.--From publisher description.

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I'm a maverick!
Or just a Drama Queen who's
Good at marketing?

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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