Author: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Page Count/Review Word Count: 320
Freakonomics is a fascinating read, and the sort of book that will open your eyes and help you to look at the world in a different light. In it, the authors use economic techniques to analyse data and to discover what’s really happening in the world around us, answering questions like, “What do estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?” If you’re curious, it’s all to do with a disparity of information – estate agents make more money if they know more about the market than the property owners do, and the Klan were able to maintain their facade largely because their bizarre secret rituals were, well, secret. Once the information was leaked, they became a subject of ridicule.
Other questions that are answered include, “Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?”, and, “How can your name affect how well you do in life?” The answers to these questions are backed up by data, and the two authors interpret it in a lucid manner that helps them to argue their case with clarity. The best thing about the book is not necessarily the information that you receive, but the way that you can learn how to think from Levitt and Dubner. It’s fascinating to see how they see the world, and to start applying that same methodology to your own life.
Really, it’s Levitt who’s the driving force here, as he’s the economist – Dubner acts as his co-writer, and helps to keep him in check to some extent. It’s a unique partnership, and an interesting approach to writing a book, but it works – it’ll be interesting to see what else the two of them get up to. So go out and grab a copy of Freakonomics, especially if you see yourself as a free thinker!