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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
~Steven Levitt , Stephen J. Dubner
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List price: £20.00
Our price: £14.00
usually dispatched within 24 hours.
Average customer rating: 3.72 out of 5
1 star1 star1 star1 starNo star
Sales rank: 217

Product Information

Media: Hardcover
ISBN/ASIN : 0713998067
Manufacturer : Allen Lane
Release data : 07 July, 2005

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  • A selection of product reviews

    1 star1 star1 star1 starNo star    Not going to change your life, but great dinner table banter

    I read this book in one sitting (couldn't put it down) and the insights have since supplied me with countless evenings of fun challenging friends and family on topics include "Why do drug dealers live at home?", "When dating, what do men and women REALLY look for in a partner?", "How safe is flying in comparison with other forms of transport?", "What explains the recent dramatic crime drop in the USA?", "What qualities make the best parents?" and "Does your name you are born with dictate your success and happiness in later life?".

    Some of the answers are very surprising/shocking, and then after you think about it a bit you're left thinking "well actually that makes complete sense!". What makes this book appealing is the hard data behind the research and what makes this book refreshing are the off-the-wall questions it asks, not just the answers it provides.

    Downsides are few but include US focus rather than UK (though there are many parallels), farcical brown-nosing between the co-authors which makes you feel a little nauseous at times and lack of connection between all the questions into one 'power' conclusion at the end (but then perhaps that is part of this book's charm too).

    Well worth reading. It won't change your life, but it will certainly challenge you to question again and most importantly help you shine at dinner parties with random interesting questions that your friends just HAVE to know the answer to! Enjoy.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Economic analysis on interesting, untypical issues

    Freakonomics is an inspiring book that presents economic analysis on intriguing issues. As you can imagine, these issues are not conventional numb economic questions such as cross elasticity of demand or impact of GDP growth on employment. Instead Freakonomics strives to make sense of and challenge conventional wisdom regarding more down to earth issues such as racism on the Weakest Link TV-show and cheating by schoolteachers and Sumo wrestlers.

    The authors are the economist Steven Levitt and the journalist Stephen Dubner. The content of Freakonomics is based on Levitt's and a number of other authors' mostly peer-reviewed research. However, the technical jargon of the scientific papers is left out, and the end result is a highly readable book that presents the research in an understandable way and complements it with interesting narrative.

    The book derives its peculiar name from the unconventional choice of issues and lack of unifying theme. However, in my opinion it is a bit misleading to call the analyzed issues freaky. For instance, the analysis of the underlying reasons for decline in crime in US the last 10 years is hardly a freaky issue, although some may find the book's conclusions awkward. Rather it seems that the choice of name is an effort to make the book appear more hip.

    While the issues are very different from one another, there are a couple of recurring themes. Levitt is interested in how people respond to incentives, how information asymmetries play-out, and how seemingly trivial events can eventually have dramatic consequences. Blending these ideas with innovative research questions, robust data and rigorous analyses, enables Levitt to answer some really intriguing questions. This book is not here to change the world, but it certainly is recommended reading for anyone interested in an entertaining and unconventional story.

    1 star1 star1 star1 starNo star    Easy to read, plenty to think about

    In a sentence, free thinking economist pulls together diverse information strands to come to startling conclusions, and co-writes easy to read book about it. You'll have seen his more startling claims in the press (legalised abortion reduces crime for eg) but there is plenty of food for thought in this book that hasn't been covered by the media. The investigations of on line dating and exam cheating for example, are both interesting and well presented. And not directly linked, of course!!

    This book deliberately lacks a central theme. It proudly lacks a central theme. And that makes it a slightly disjointed read, but it is sufficiently engaging that this doesn't seem to matter. It is also fairly easy to understand, which means it doesn't have the depth that some might like. The only other criticism that the style is a bit relentless and does grate after a while and this is a common failing with several of the big selling US pop business/lifestyle books recently. 'The b..tard on the Couch' for example.

    You'll never run out of things to talk about over dinner with this book though, and that's enough to make me recommend it.

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