Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)” as Want to Read:
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics #1)

by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  434,594 ratings  ·  11,559 reviews
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 economi
...more
Hardcover, Revised and Expanded Edition, 320 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by William Morrow (first published November 15th 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Freakonomics, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Carlos Tawer Freakonomics an indispensable book in the library of anyone who considers entrepreneur or want to be educated about the roads leading money and…moreFreakonomics an indispensable book in the library of anyone who considers entrepreneur or want to be educated about the roads leading money and possibilities to administer it. Steven D. Levit synthesized in his book as common sense and psychology directly affects the money trail and how we can use these aforementioned tools to generate revenue from an idea. My name is Thomas Joseph Kohen, I manage such sites as http://powerball.center and Freakonomics has given me dozens of ideas to develop and optimize my work on the Internet. Sorry for my English, I speak Spanish.(less)
Eric van Dalen Pankaj, I already listened to the book. Thank-you very much for answering. However, there were a few cuss words such as the "F" word. In the section…morePankaj, I already listened to the book. Thank-you very much for answering. However, there were a few cuss words such as the "F" word. In the section with gang members. The book was awesome otherwise.(less)
The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
2nd out of 3,286 books — 5,286 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
59th out of 4,983 books — 24,612 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jim
This was an interesting book. I say it was interesting because I started liking it (a lot) when I first read it, as time passed I liked it less and less. In that way I call it a candy book, tastes good at first but leaves you worse off for reading it.

In my opinion, there are two problems with the book: First, Stephen Dubner comes across as a sycophant. Way to much of the book is spent praising Levitt. Secondly, I was disappointed in the lack of detail provided about Livitt's hypothesis. I wante
...more
Rachel
Sure, this book was a compelling read that offered us all some great amo for cocktail party conversation. But ultimately I think most of what Leavitt claims is crap.

He dodges accoutability with the disclaimer about his book NOT being a scholarly work, but then goes on to drop statistics, theories and expert opinions. These assertions laid, he doesn't provide readers with enough information to critically examine his perspectives.

Ultimately I have a problem with the unquestioned, unaccoutable rol
...more
Manny
I loved this book, though I think the title is a bit misleading. It's not really about economics. In fact, he's showing you what interesting things you can discover when you apply statistical analysis to problems where you wouldn't normally think of using it. I use statistical methods a fair amount in my own work, so I found it particularly interesting. The most startling and thought-provoking example is definitely the unexpected reduction in US urban crime that occurred towards the end of the 2 ...more
Justin
Jul 17, 2007 Justin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People Who Appreciate the Value of Social Science
I guess some people don't like this book because it's not centered around one theme. Instead, it's more about the seemingly diffuse academic work of one of the authors Steven D. Levitt (the other author is a journalist, Stephen J. Dubner). Levitt is something of an economist but more like a social scientist using the tools of Microeconomics applied to other fields that happen to catch his interest (often having something to do with cheating, corruption, crime, etc.). In the back of the book he m ...more
Bobscopatz
Jul 18, 2007 Bobscopatz added it
Recommends it for: People who know data
Yes, zero stars.

There is one segment of this book that reports use of a dataset I know very well -- the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data. From what details they put into the book, it's fairly clear that the researchers did not research the reliability of the data elements they chose to use from FARS. In particular, their analysis rests on the ability to identify uninjured children in vehicles that were involved in fatal crashes. FARS has data elements for this, but the reliability
...more
Jake
The Basics:

Freakonomics isn’t really about any one thing, which makes it a bit hard to summarize. In essence, it’s economist Steven Levitt playing around with economic principles and basic statistical analysis to examine various cultural trends and phenomena. He tackles a variety of questions, from whether or not sumo wrestlers cheat (they do) to whether or not a child’s name determines his success (it doesn’t). He does this all through examining statistics and data, trying to find facts to back
...more
Aileen
I am indebted to airport bookstores. And I am thus indebted to such an extent, that I can confess to arriving early for any flight departing from an airport with a bookstore for the sole purpose of securing a few additional minutes to browse books. If it were not for the practicalities of travelling, I would probably have bought this book much sooner than I did for I had been securing extra minutes in airport bookstores just to read through another chapter long before I actually bought it.

You se
...more
Elise
Levitt makes the lofty claim that economics is not swayed by moral sensibilities - it's a pure numbers game of course! However, not knowing much about him beyond his affiliation with the University of Chicago and what was written in the book, I can surmise that he is conservative, or at least what today would be inappropriately labeled "moderate." Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily...or at least I don't view it that way. Does it affect his conclusions? Absolutely. Levitt assumes his assertion ...more
Riku Sayuj

As the old joke goes, the questions in economics exams are the same every year; only the answers change.

(re-reading in prep for the super-freaks)
Rowena
I found this book to be really fascinating. Chapter 3- Why do drug dealers still live with their moms, was very illuminating. I like the questions they posed and the connections they came up with. I was quite surprised about the American school system, especially the fact that teachers often used cheating methods to make sure their students scored well in standardized tests.The section about how given names may influence one's future was quite gloomy in some ways, especially as there's evidence ...more
Joe S
Dec 28, 2007 Joe S rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy Resistance while also enjoying their privileged position that allows them to Resist
Shelves: nonfiction
The most interesting part of this book was the introduction. Sad, but true.

Four stars for presentation. The prose is nearly invisible, which I suppose in this genre is preferable to the alternative. And the content is mildly interesting, in a "Huh. Wouldja look at that" sort of way, as though you saw a duck waddling through your back yard with jam on its head.

But insofar as it's meant to be the vehicle for a larger framework for viewing the world, this book is old news. You mean shit's connected
...more
Lyn
Freakonomics explores the hidden side of everything.

If morality describes the ideal world, then economics describes the actual world. Further, Freakonomics studies incentives and how different people in different professions respond.

Some of the case studies include bagel salesmen, sumo wrestlers, public school teachers, crack cocaine dealers and parents. This is a smart, fun book; but it's not for everyone. Through a high nerd prospective, the authors deliver a slide rule and pocket protector
...more
Sean
There are at least two ways you can read Freakanomics – as a fun and interesting little book that uses data to tell us little things about ourselves and the world. Or, you can see it as econometrics gone apeshit and finally taking over the world. I kind of view it as both.

That said, I really enjoyed reading this. I think Levitt has developed some useful tools that can tell us some interesting stuff about the way little corners of our world are organized. I also think it is a little bit batty to
...more
Rob
Jan 31, 2008 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: po-mo armchair economists
Shelves: economics, 2008, own
An engaging read but not necessarily the scintillating, mind-blowing experience it had been hyped as.

Levitt and Dubner present their arguments well and their style makes the at-times daunting subject matter easier to approach and thus easier to digest. I don't read much non-fiction (for example) and even less stuff about economics but I found this book quick to get through and I was able to take away their message without having to labor through it.

That said, a few points:

(1) They make some outr
...more
Lesandre
May 08, 2008 Lesandre rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
Exceeds the hype! Easy breezy to read, a wealth of information that I would never have stopped to contemplate. I had just read the chapter on the KKK and the real estate agent when my car was totaled; it helped me choose a posture with the insurance adjusters that wouldn't result in a total ass-raping. The last chapter about names was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. It is dismaying to confess, now, that I am more judgmental of people's names knowing the societal/economic trends behind t ...more
Trevor
This is a very American book. Not just because all of the examples in it are set in the US, but also the hype about it is terribly American too. It has the tone of self congratulation that has sold a million self-help books. Which is a pity, as what it has to say is terribly interesting and amusing.

The stuff at the end about how the name you are born with affects your life is very interesting. Also the idea, that is clearly true, but I'd never thought of it before, that people give their daughte
...more
Shannon
You know, I really enjoy economics and I used to listen to the Freakonomics podcast so I figured I'd enjoy this book more than I did. I think it's lack of a theme (which the authors clearly warn readers about ahead of time) contributed to my overall "meh" attitude. Additionally, I found myself yearning for more than just Levitt's observations and findings. For example, simply stating that data shows higher abortion rates yield lower crime rates and then not delving too deeply into the reasons th ...more
Carlo
One of the most interesting topics in Freakonomics, is that of bad assumptions in causality. These are made when people consider causality regarding a particular event, and they making assumptions that are affected by factors such as self-interest, prejudice, common sense, etc. The book shows that when the right questions are asked and their answers are searched in a bigger context, some unrelated causes may happen to trigger the original event. An example from the book is how crime rate had fal ...more
Caroline
May 21, 2015 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in psychology, crime, statistics.
Shelves: economics
A fascinating book that taught me a lot of things about myself and other people that were distinctly uncomfortable. Herewith some of the tidbits I picked up.

* About 10% of the population are happy to commit some sort of fraud, even if it just consists of not paying for their lunchtime sandwiches.
* IQ is inherited not nurtured
* On the whole we don't like old people.
* Attractive men are rich, tall and have a full head of hair.
* Attractive women are pretty, blonde and not too successful.
* The intro
...more
David Zhou
This book has an apple on its cover, I like apples because of its good taste. However, the inside of the apple on the cover is an orange's flesh, what's the taste of it, maybe a little sour, or sweet? It is magical and unbelievable, I think it is changed in some technological ways. Anomalous
Christina
Dec 13, 2008 Christina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina by: Mom
After packing 5 books for my trip, I found myself sitting in the Philadelphia airport with nothing to read. My mom, instead of buying me Remember Me? or Change of Heart, handed me her copy of Freakonomics: A rough Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

Freakonomics was a great back-up book. It was witty, insightful, and really made me think. What does the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real-estate agents? Why do drug dealers still live with their
...more
midnightfaerie
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner didn't impress me as much as I thought it would. A book about economics and finding correlations in things you wouldn't necessarily surmise, Levitt and Dubner seem to be really arguing that the defining indicator behind these studies is incentive. Perhaps it's my background in Psychology, but a lot of this seemed common sense to me. There were some parts I really enjoyed though. The two chapters I found to be the most interesting out of the ...more
Joel
This book is not the super-awesome, totally-in-your-facer that, like, "society" or whatever would like you to believe it is.

If pressed, I'd assign this book to a category I'd call "Books That People Who Love Malcolm Gladwell Might Also Enjoy." There's no doubt that Steven D. Levitt is an expert number-cruncher, organizer, and researcher. The conclusions with which he attempts to wow the reader, however, are specious, hyperbolic, and generally lame-o-zoid.*

Here's an example: The author explains
...more
Cher
3 stars - It was good.

The authors make very interesting points and will have you challenging the way you think about different accepted cultural truths. For the most part they also do not repetitively reiterate their points, though the last chapter on names was a bit long in the tooth (otherwise the book would have scored higher).

I'm interested in reading other books by the author duo and hope they continue to keep tackling controversial topics while supporting a new way of looking at old debat
...more
Steve
This was a reread in preparation for a professional development workshop being conducted in my office. I don't remember when I first read it, but it had to have been shortly after the book was originally published in 2005/2006. I'm sticking with my original rating of four stars.

The book is well-written and has all the data you can imagine to back up the authors' claims. One area it fails at, however, is that the areas they are trying to tie together really have no relationship. I mean, Chicago t
...more
Paulius
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Shahid
!!ليس اقتصاداً عجيباً فحسب وإنما اقتصاد ممتع

ستيفن لييفيت الذي يخشى التفاضل والتكامل هو في الوقت نفسه أذكى اقتصادي أمريكي حيث حصل على ميدالية جون بيتس كلارك وهي الميدالية التي تقدم كل سنتين إلى أفضل رجل اقتصاد أمريكي لا يتجاوز عمره الأربعين

"إن الأخلاق تمثل الطريقة التي يجب أن يرى الناس فيها العالم يسير، بينما يمثل الاقتصاد كيف يعمل العالم في الواقع"

هذا ما يعتقده ليفيت حيث يرى أن الاقتصاد بعد كل شيء هو علم القياس ويتألف من مجموعة من أدوات قوية ومرنة يمكن تطبيقها على قضايا مختلفة وقد كانت نتائج تطب
...more
Will Byrnes
Levitt is an original thinker who has an ability to look beneath the obvious, using the tools of his trade, economics. As such he has come up with a diverse range of insights into various social issues, finding connections that are sometimes quite surprising. He shows how many notions taken as common wisdom are anything but.

The unexpected results of the legalization of abortion – crime reduction
Using statistics and logic to show how teachers and sumo wrestlers can be shown to cheat
What is the i
...more
Kathrynn
Disappointed in the wordiness and round about way the authors' presented their data. The chapter introductions were so far away from the chapter contents it was humorous. I did notice how the authors' went around their elbows to get to their thumbs and tried to show a correlation, but I found sifting through the multitude of off-topic data tiresome.

Also, the way they presented their data took forever for them to get to the point. Often, they contradicted or repeated themselves or beat a topic in
...more
Carlos
Superficial, lleno de anécdotas y explicaciones enrevesadas sin ninguna base más allá de la correlación. Este es el nivel de la economía.

Hay un punto que resulta especialmente ofensivo: Levitt repite una y otra vez "ya sé correlación no es causa" y añade sistemáticamente "pero...", y da una explicación causal de libro. El análisis de regresión es llamado "una sofisticada herramienta de los economistas", que "permite controlar variables". Esto es la peor interpretación posible de la regresión, qu
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Undercover Economist
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
  • Outliers: The Story of Success
  • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
  • Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
  • The Worldly Philosophers
  • Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
  • Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life
  • When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
  • Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets
  • Capitalism and Freedom
  • Free: The Future of a Radical Price
  • The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
  • The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life
  • Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
  • Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market
  • Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy
798
Steven David "Steve" Levitt is a prominent American economist best known for his work on crime, in particular on the link between legalized abortion and crime rates. Winner of the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal, he is currently the Alvin H. Baum Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, director of the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Bu ...more
More about Steven D. Levitt...

Other Books in the Series

Freakonomics (5 books)
  • SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
  • Freakonomics + Superfreakonomics
  • Think Like a Freak
  • When to Rob a Bank
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance Think Like a Freak When to Rob a Bank Freakonomics + Superfreakonomics Readings for Foundations of Communication

Share This Book

“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.” 114 likes
“The conventional wisdom is often wrong.” 43 likes
More quotes…