Freakonomics, A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Levitt & Dubner

Cover ImageFinished audio on 3-20-08, rating 3/5, non-fiction, pub. 2005

 My husband loved this book and thought I would enjoy it too.  The title made me wary (I don’t read books by economists!), but the few things he told me about the book while reading it intrigued me.  This is a book about a guy who likes numbers and who like to be able to explain everything, especially those sometimes silly questions that pop into our head as quickly as they pop out.  Levitt actually tries to answer them.

I think the best way to address the wide range of topics in this book is to list the titles of the six chapters.   1.What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?   2. How is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real Estate Agents?   3. Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?   4. Where Have All the Criminals Gone?   5. What Makes a Perfect Parent?   6. Perfect Parenting, Part II: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?

I was not as interested in some of the topics as others, but overall I was interested enough to keep listening.  I think the way he explained how incentives (economic, social and moral) ruled the world was a new way to look at things for a non-economist like myself.  I was also shocked to learn that TWO US Presidents were Ku Klux Klan members, Harding and Truman.  And his argument that the legalization of abortion was responsible for the reduction of crime on the 1990’s was one I hadn’t heard before.

I would recommend this book.  I listened to the audio read by the author, but I think you’d be better off with the book.  The reading of some charts and lists were not always easy to keep straight when driving 🙂

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