Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Audio book 6 hours 55 minutes
published by Harper Audio in 2006
ISBN-13: 9780061238536

Type: {Impress Your Friends Read: notable; prize-winner or all around intelligent crowd conversation piece.}
Rating: {I’m Lovin’ It: Very entertaining!}

Why You’re Reading It:

  • You are interested in Social Economics
  • You’re looking for a non-fiction book club pick
  • You read the article in the New York Times that started this book, and are interested to learn more
  • You like to investigate and learn about random things

What I Thought:

Why would you be better off letting your child play at a house that has a gun on the premises rather than a pool? What does the abortion rate have to do with the crime rate? How much does a child’s effect their future? How can a business degree help a crack dealer? Find out the answers to all of these random questions and more in Freakonomics.

As you already know, I am one of those people want to know why, why, why. Why do people act this way and not that? Why do people choose one thing over the other? Why does this group have such better luck than that group? In the words of Levitt and Dubner, this is a book for intelligent people who like to investigate things to find our the answers to how things work (paraphrasing is mine… but general idea is theirs). If you, like me, are fascinated by random investigations you will love this book. I listened to it read by the author and found him very easy to listen to. The book is not long and the stories keep rolling, so you never spend too long on one particular anecdote (though they do a fairly thorough job of giving the reader information without writing a tome about the subject). This is an overview of social economics; don’t read it looking for a textbook, because you will be disappointed. This is for those who would like a summary, almost like a survey course, of the subject. It will make for some interesting conversations if you read it with others, and I recommend adding it to a book club list if you have one!

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17 thoughts on “Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

  1. Wallace, I have had this book on my shelf forever! I originally bought it for my sis who mentioned wanting the book since the authors are from the U of Chicago (where she went to undergrad) and she’d gone to a lecture about it – anyhow, she wound up buying the book herself, so I kept the copy I had. I’d always intended to read it, but for some reason it never made it on my TBR pile. Hmmm. I’m thinking I should definitely add it to the list after your post – it sounds like one fascinating read.

  2. I loved this book when I first read it years ago. I still cite its facts frequently. I didn’t enjoy the sequel quite as much, but mostly that was due to my frequent reading of their New York Times blog, so there wasn’t a lot of new stuff in it.

    • That makes sense. They probably turned their blog into the book (number 2), right? I was wondering if I should pick up the sequel or leave well enough alone. I don’t read their blog, though, so maybe the second book would be interesting for me.

  3. The hubby and I just finished watching the movie last night. It was interesting to say the least. One of the things I found most disturbing was the segment where they offer monetary rewards for good grades, and how many of the kids can’t be bothered to make an effort, even for money! What does that say for motivation and the youth of our future? Scary, indeed!

    • I haven’t seen the film yet, but in the book he talks about how people are not necessarily influenced by money alone. That more often than money, people (kids too) are more motivated by their reputations. If you can get it so that they think they would look bad by not doing something (in this case, getting an A), they would be more motivated by that than by $100. In some ways, maybe that’s encouraging?

    • I haven’t, but he references it and I was wondering which book it was (I was listening to it so don’t know if there were references in the back of the book). Thanks, Jill!

  4. I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting your review! I’m glad to hear it was interesting…I love finding out “why”, and topics like social economics fascinate me. I had no idea there was a film/Netflix version, I just might check that out first.

  5. Pingback: Book Review: #32 – Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner | Let's eat Grandpa!

  6. Pingback: Book Review: #32 – Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner | Let's eat Grandpa!

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