These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life, from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, and whose conclusions turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this audiobook: Freakonomics.
Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner 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 Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of...well, everything. The inner working of a crack gang....The truth about real-estate agents....The secrets of the Klu Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking, and Freakonomics will redefine the way we view the modern world.
©2006 Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers
"Refreshingly accessible and engrossing." (Publishers Weekly)
lose the music.
No reason to have music in the background, it was distracting and annoying.
Too much time was spent glorifying the authors, and one of the key points (that correlation does not imply causation) was beaten half to death. The concepts were solid, but the delivery was indirect and often tedious.
Interesting points to think about... But I think it would be a mistake to bite too hard on the authors statistics without a bit of skepticism for some of them to consider writers bias.
The narrator was great. He made the entire book sound like his own conversational thoughts which kept the book interesting and stimulating. The book itself was overly shocking at times but otherwise had perspectives worth considering and really creative ideas.
I'm a huge fan of the Freakonomics Radio Podcast and assumed this would be very similar. While the subject matter and narrator were the same, I felt that Dubner didn't have anywhere near the amount of personality (vocal inflections, etc.) that he does on the podcast. Still very informative and overall
a good listen, but a bit on the short side so spend thy credits wisely.
I enjoyed when the young college student went into the projects with his questionnaire, only to be held there for as long as he did. The story that ensued after that was amazing and it was a very enjoyable and informative part of the book.
I would suggest this book to anyone who considers themselves as having a different way of looking at things. I would also suggest that people who want to expand the ways they think about different situations and ideas.
The variety of topics this book covers is impressive. However, each topic is thoroughly researched. I was impressed with the authors ability to uncover and calculate raw statistics from uncommon places. This book makes you see the world differently.
An intriguing book that might get you thinking in ways you haven't before about topics you might not normally think about. This is by far the most compelling reason to pick this up.
The author does an admirable job drawing non-intuitive conclusions from datasets. I get that this is meant to be main stream, but the author does an extremely poor job of explaining the limitations of his methodology to the reader. I can only assume that it was decided either that a lengthy explanation would be too boring or that it would be distracting from the effect the author was going for (to the point of being misleading?) - or some mixture of both. For the highly educated reader the conclusions will probably often lead you to want to know more about the limitations of the data he is using and the methodology involved. The topics he picks (abortion, race) seemed designed to generate/manufacture controversy, although I guess I can't really fault him for that.
The author does a good job narrating; I often find in books like these hearing it from the author is quite a boon and that holds true here. Kutos to him.
A very minor quibble I have with the author is that he claims to be using economic tools in evaluating the various topics he explores. I wish he had provided a little more insight into this - I didn't immediately detect what specific economic tools he was using that are specific to that discipline. Frankly I thought the whole "economic" angle was a gimmick, although why it was used was completely a mystery to me. He seems to use pretty standard research methods evaluating the topics he chooses, with perhaps more imagination than one normally sees (I wouldn't immediately consider imagination to be a defining economic trait).
It is still quite enjoyable and thought-provoking, recommended for anyone looking for such a read.
Report Inappropriate Content