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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

(Freakonomics)

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  797,265 ratings  ·  17,899 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? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? Freakonomics will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

These may not sound like typical questions for an econ
...more
Hardcover, Revised and Expanded Edition (US/CAN), 268 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by William Morrow (first published April 12th 2005)
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Luka Pusic @PeterHarrington - If you say this book is a lie, that's fine. But at least have the decency to back your claim up. …more@PeterHarrington - If you say this book is a lie, that's fine. But at least have the decency to back your claim up. (less)

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Jim
Feb 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economics, candy
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
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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
Rachel
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Emily May
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, nonfiction
I won't deny that this is a very interesting, compelling and thought-provoking book. Even for someone like me whose general response to economics is *snore*. And it's mainly because Freakonomics is not really about economics, but involves applying statistical analysis to many social issues and questions.

Very easy to read. Lots of shocking discoveries that seem weighted in fact - Roe v. Wade is responsible for a huge drop in crime? No wonder some people are pissed off with this book. It's really
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Justin
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Andrew Muckle
Apr 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Jesus H Tittyfucking Christ on a bike! Could these two tossers be any more smarmy and self indulgent? Levitt and Dubner and probably the kind of smart arse nerds who snigger at you because you don't understand linux but sneer at you because you've actually spoken to a woman.

This book is much like the Emperor's New Clothes, people are so scared about being left out if they don't like or understand it because some sandal wearing hippy in the Guardian said it's 'This year's Das Capital' or some su
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Extremely enlightening! Worthy of 15 stars out of 5! This is a book about the world and not about any science in particular. It's about learning to question the given and see beyond the obvious. An extremely useful gift in the misguiding modern world.

Yeah, populistic much too much but neverthless compulsively readable. A definite revisit and reread.

Q:
As Levitt sees it, economics is a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of interesting questions. His particular
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Lyn
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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)
Sofia
Jul 12, 2022 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I lost all faith in this book when it tried to teach you how to be a “perfect parent” and came to the conclusion that “it isn’t so much a matter of what you do as a parent; it’s who you are.” He claims that your socioeconomic status determines whether or not you will be a good parent. One of his biggest points in this chapter is that nothing a parent does (for example, taking their child to museums or reading books to their toddler) matters in the slightest. The only data he uses to draw this co ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything; however, I’m not yet sure if it is simply entertaining or is in any way instructive. Levitt and Dubner explore a diverse range of subjects: from linking Roe v. Wade to violent crime, cheating by teachers and sumo wrestlers to an economic model of drug dealing.

I’d like to think that the stories told by the authors and the way they analyze conventional thinking would put me on a pa
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Jake
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer
May 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology, cl
Yeah, this isn't 'rogue economics'. This is sociology. It's not a new discipline. And this is really spurious sociology that wouldn't pass muster in academia, so Levitt published it for public consumption. ...more
Joe S
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
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Cbzlqxw
Sep 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Well,this is the most terrible book I have ever seen,it was too terrible to read.It’s so terrible that I just want to burn it as fast as I can,and it cost me 58RMB.That was 58RMB,it was to expensive for me to afford.At first.I thought it was a good book,and I spend all my money on this book.And I was pretty annoyed about this I don’t have any other money for my breakfast,lunch,and even dinner.I haven’t drink juice for the whole year.Reading this is a waste of time,no one want to see this book ag ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics), Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is the debut non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. It was published on April 12, 2005, by William Morrow. The book has been described as melding pop culture with economics. By late 2009, the book had sold over 4 million copies wor
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Amit Mishra
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is totally different than ordinary books on this topic. It will bring out those facts that we don't want to eve look or discuss. It has provided many examples with those are unbelievable. It has used to comapre sumo wrestlers and school teachers. IT goona freak you all the time.
May the style of the wrtitng book is different but he delivers the information that is valuable to all. It will change the way you think about the modern world.
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Aileen
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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Elise
Aug 12, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Cwn_annwn_13
May 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
I assumed Freakonomics would be a book that used statistics to debunk various societal hysterias and fearmongering in a semi-humorous way. I quickly realized what I was in for when early in the book when the authors gave their background as Harvard Jews and profiled a guy that infiltrated the KKK for the ADL. The story sounds at least partially made up.

It then jumped into predictable white guilt inducing trash and goes into mental contortions using "data" and sociological explanations for black
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Alena
Mar 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Everything I hate about popular science - alternating between over-simplified, patronising, naive or simply annoying, but worst of all, blatantly refusing to take account of the political and social implications of its findings, and being proud of it.
Trevor
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Rowena
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Nandakishore Mridula
I once read somewhere that statistics can be used to prove anything. This book is evidence for the same.

Steven D. Levitt, a "rogue" economist by his own admission, and who confesses that he is terrible at traditional economics, uses the methods of statistical analysis to look at the unexplored relations between things in society - like the resemblance between Japanese sumo wrestlers and American schoolteachers, why real-estate agents are similar to the Ku Klux Klan, whether parenting has any eff
...more
Michael
Jul 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Verbose, repetitive, contradictory: a book of 200-pages that could be condensed to 3-5 pages.

Titles that vary from scintillating to insulting, yet are followed by a chapter that doesn't support the title bar.

Anecdotal stories, mistaken for data or hypothesis. Interpretations and hypotheses are drawn from data that could still be interpreted in multiple ways.

The book claims that it will link the unexpected, but frankly, links the obvious, with many "well duh" moments.

Needless generations of lis
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Natalie (CuriousReader)
The "experts are evil, have agendas, will trick you" talk got old real fast, especially when points are later being backed up with experts research. There's not enough discussion on the data itself, no distinction between quantitative and qualitative, and not enough discussion on the many flaws of data and how we analyze it. Pretty interesting how much he dislikes criminologists but then (if I remember correctly), only mentions the same one or two names over and over when giving examples of crim ...more
Feli
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
4,5/5 ⭐

“The conventional wisdom is often wrong.”

As an economics student, this really helped me to open my mind to learn how to analyse everyday situations from a economic point of view. And it also showed me a new branch of economics that has become my favourite.

If you want to learn the basics on economics, this book is for you. Some people might find it a little bit basic, but I think it should be taken as an introduction to the topic. More than teaching you how economics work, which is no easy
...more
Baba
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Levitt and Dubner's ground breaking look at the world through the eyes of collated data that tells a story in itself, like their shocking discovery of what caused a huge drop in crime in America in the 1990s. Reading this a decade on I still find this so absorbing and interesting which is just as much as a result of their writing style as their great content.
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Just remember assume nothing... question everything! 8 out of 12.
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NiaDwynwen
Mar 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
I found this audiobook unbearable. I turned it off halfway through and listened to the public radio pledge drive instead.
Caroline
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in psychology, crime, statistics.
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
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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

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