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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything | [Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner]

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

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?
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Audible Editor Reviews

Statistics shouldn't be this interesting. They should be dry, lifeless, and grey, and they should bring to mind pocket protectors and Econ 101 professors with too much ear hair. Statistics shouldn't be engaging or compelling, but somehow the authors of Freakonomics manage to make them amusing and fascinating.

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner make statistics apply to your life, and they make you see those things in a whole different light. Somehow, they make stats seem...cool. Narrator Dubner pulls off a little miracle, too. At first, he sounds a bit geeky, but it doesn't take long before you are hanging on to his every word, waiting for the next nugget of information, and thinking that this geeky-sounding guy is really pretty smart. And it doesn't take long before you realize that you've read an entire book on economic theory and statistics - and enjoyed every minute of it. Go figure.

Publisher's Summary

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 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 regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: 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 set out to explore the hidden side of...well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The secrets of the Ku 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. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to see through all the clutter.

©2005 Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • 2006 Book Sense Book of the Year, Adult Nonfiction
  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Nonfiction

"An eye-opening, and most interesting, approach to the world." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Prepare to be dazzled." (Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point)
"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 New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (6524 )
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  •  
    Joe west hills, CA, USA 02-14-06
    Joe west hills, CA, USA 02-14-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Expert Heal Thyself"

    The production quality was good. The reader had a good voice and communicated the information relatively well. However, the author's "unconventional" and "expert" interpretations and opinions were neither "unconventional" nor "expert". A straightforward communication of the statistics and relative material would have been far more interesting. In short, "Freakanomics" was really "Pooreconomics." The book was highly speculative, biased, dull and worse yet typical. It reminded me of real estate ads that read: "Charming, spacious, great neighborhood!!!!!"

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy J. Thompson 12-27-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Step back and look at life"

    This was a great book that requires you to step back and look at life and see that maybe stats and numbers aren't all there is to life but maybe they are reflective of life. Or maybe not.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clint Buffalo Grove, IL, USA 11-26-05
    Clint Buffalo Grove, IL, USA 11-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting with just one flaw"

    This is a very interesting listen. It offers fascinating statistics and sheds new light on "everyday" subjects, such as whether or not Sumo wrestlers cheat, the history of the Klan and the Klan's effect on the number of lynchings, etc. The only problem that I have with the book is that the author frequently talks in sweeping generalizations, and this takes away from his credibility.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J 07-25-05
    J 07-25-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best book with worst title in 2005"

    A fascinating insight into the connections between things, and how statistics lie, Levitt and company provide interesting insights into how everyday economics works. My only real complaint was that it was too short--I would have loved to listen to 5 more hours of this.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 07-21-05
    Richard 07-21-05

    Biomedical entrepreneur. Lifelong Libertarian. Yoga enthusiast.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must-read for anyone with a pulse"

    This book should be made mandatory reading for every politician, legislator, United States president, governor, journalist, news editor, professor, teacher, student, lawyer, judge, business executive and -- in sum -- human being with a pulse and an interest in how the world works. It all sounds like common sense but SURPRISE! this sense isn't all that common. You owe it to yourself to read this book and raise your understanding of cause and effect, and the damage caused by truisms that aren't true at all.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 05-18-05
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 05-18-05
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    "Freakonomics"

    Freakishly excellent

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Ewing, NJ, United States 06-08-05
    Thomas Ewing, NJ, United States 06-08-05 Member Since 2013
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    "Sucks"

    This book is not about economics. I'm not sure what it's about.

    I gave it one star, but only because I couldn't rate it zero.

    I grieve for the forests decimated to make the paper to print its original release; such a waste.

    'nuff said.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hondadx8 02-09-09
    hondadx8 02-09-09
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    "The book is a freak"

    The arguments used in this book on "economics" are a freak themselves. They come from left field at best. One book I was sorry I bought.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paige 10-15-08
    Paige 10-15-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Fascinating"

    Not too heavy or terse, but full of well researched and developed information...just fascinating. A great listen for just about anyone; though a couple of topics can be touchy, the authors are careful to approach them purely from a scientific economics perspective with no social agenda.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Ashburnham, MA, USA 09-09-08
    Kathryn Ashburnham, MA, USA 09-09-08
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    "Fascinating"

    Lots of good things to think about. And to think I nearly flunked statistics! :-)

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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