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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (2005)
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner (Author)
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Excellent read - book has no overall topic as explained at beginning by authors. However it forces you to think and look differently at certain topics.
Don't expect this book to be a lesson on economics, nor moral or ethics. As the authors state, moral is about what the world should be like, economics about what the world is like.
Alternately fascinating and frustrating. An economist investigates and examines statistics to answer questions that people don't naturally think of. Why drug dealers live with their mothers? What cocaine and nylons have in common? etc.
Though he takes a broader view and also accesses more data than what is often available, he, like others he is almost mocking, makes grand pronouncements about what the statistics say. Statistics aren't worth much in my opinion and can be read in so many ways, taking various things in to account and leaving others out often in order to get the result you want/expect.
Writing: Each chapter asked a question and the answer often involved many stats. It was a bit complicated to follow in audio format as he began some topics and wouldn't finish them until a later chapter.
It's an interesting read, although the title may be a bit misleading. There's actually very little economics in it, most of which is difficult to verify.
Interesting read, nevertheless.
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.
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.
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.
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Is contained in
Freakonomics Set - Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Signed Edition - Easton Press); Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance; Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt
Has the (non-series) sequel
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt
Has as a student's study guide
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Wikipedia in English (7)
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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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
Astounding indeed. That men are so surprised by that! I mean, just how clueless are you guys? About the power, the influence, of parenting, about the effect of being forced to be pregnant, to be saddled with a squalling baby you do not want, on an income you do not have, because you’ve got a squalling baby you do not want… What did you guys think would happen in situations like that? The women would get “Mother of the Year” awards for raising psychologically healthy adults?
What I find surprising is that access to abortion isn’t related to infanticide. Pity. Given the Freakonomics boys. ( )