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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Paperback – Large Print, 1 Dec 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: HarperLargePrint; Rev Exp Lr edition (1 Dec. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061245135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061245138
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,377,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Steven Levitt, the man with 'the most interesting mind in America' (Malcolm Gladwell), is the rogue economist whose controversial ideas have caused a sensation on both sidea of the Atlantic. In Freakonomics he joins forces with Stephen Dubner, New York Times and New Yorker journalist and bestselling author of Turbulent Souls and Confessions of a Hero Worshiper, to create a gripping, revolutionary new take on the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE on 30 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I ignored this book when it was first published, but turned to the revised version recently in the hope that it would give me some insight into mainstream economics, (having recently started a course in business economics). It hasn't been a great help for that purpose, but is a great - and easy - read all the same. I found it particularly illuminating to see how an economist looks beyond correlations to seek causation. For example, in what is probably his most controversial chapter, Levitt identifies the effective legalisation of abortion in the US in 1973 as being the cause of a fall in the crime rate 15 - 20 years later. Having established this correlation, and posited an explanation - access to abortion meant that a whole cohort of kids that would have been most likely to grow up to become criminals were not in fact born at all - he searches for ways to test it. He did so by looking at those states where abortion had already been legal, by establishing correlations between abortion rates and the subsequent fall in crime rates and by identifying that the fall in crime happened amongst the late teens rather than older age groups.

Levitt and Dubner were clearly aware of the potential distaste that this deduction might bring, but presented their findings clearly and courageously. Other areas of study include the identification of cheating teachers and Sumo wrestlers, the economics of dealing in crack cocaine and whether (pushy) parents can actively influence the success of their children. In many cases, however, and particularly while reading a chapter on parents' choice of names for their children, I did wonder whether the same conclusions would be made on the British side of the Atlantic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Williamson on 30 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
First must state that this reviewer is not an economist, and usually find such books can often be boring. Must admit that this book kept me up far too late one recent weekend reading it through to the end. It was hard to put down.

Another reader/reviewer emailed me, noting that Malcolm Gladwell had said that Steven Levitt "has the most interesting mind in America," and since I had found Gladwell's "Blink!" hard to put down, I might find "Freakonomics" interesting. This was an understatement.

Then another friend loaned me a copy of the book, so I felt obligated to read it. Now I'll have to get my own copy, for it's worth a second read.

As noted above, the cover says it all. "Freakonomics" is not only humorous in places, it's fascinating, an out of the ordinary way of looking at economics for those who normally don't venture into what is often perceived as a boring subject. Like Gladwell's writing, this reviewer found this book to be a springboard to other ideas.

The authors define economics as "the study of incentives" early in the first chapter, which is not exactly as I remember the conventional definition from college courses. But maybe analyzing how to motivate people to do or not do a particular things is a better way or looking at the reality of economics.

"Freakonomics" was co-written by the noted journalist Stephen Dubner ("Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper"), and seems to have drawn as much criticism as it has received praise from reviewers and other commentators. The authors repeatedly state that there's no consistent theme. Others have noted that it appears to be an assembly of magazine articles and columns, edited and put together in an appealing but not particularly interrelated manner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By maya j on 31 July 2007
Format: Paperback
'Freakonomics' is a witty, irreverent book for individuals who have never been and will never be Economics theorists. It's at once hilarious and serious about applying principles of Economics to real life scenarios, and it's just so much fun to read!

Let's start by saying, don't let the title scare you. I know most people pretty much despise anything to do with Economics, and anyone with a "respectable" connection to Economics would turn a nose up at this book. But with chapters like: The Ku Klux Klan and Real Estate Agents; Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers; and Drug Dealers Living with Their Moms- I mean how awful can it be? Steven D. Levitt teaches Economics at the University of Chicago, so he is absolutely qualified to make the relational comparisons he makes, thus actually giving we Economics neophytes something to chew on. In other words, if my Economics classes in college were like this, I might have actually learned something! But seriously, 'Freaknomics' delves into how things actually are all intertwined, no matter how absurd. It's premise is that conventionally held beliefs may not always be what they seem, and many things that seem wholly apart from each other are inter-related. Other than just laughing and enjoying the witty banter of the authors, I feel like I truly learned some things, and it gave me food for thought on other issues. The chapter entitled "A Roshanda by Any Other Name" was just pitch perfect, and the chapter on parenting makes you realize that we really don't need all those parenting books after all.

'Freakonomics' is deftly written for novices and easy to read, with each chapter being basically a lesson unto itself.
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