Freakonomics PDF by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Click Here to Download the Book 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? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an econo-mist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday lifeâ€”from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearingâ€”and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-anddeath issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics.
Reviews I'd been getting recommendations for this book from various sources for a long time and finally got a chance to read it mostly over X-mas break, on the long drive between Boston and New Jersey and late at night at my cousin's house in New Jersey. Needless to say it was a quick read -- simultaneously informative, accessible, and entertaining. The authors admit at the outset that there isn't a central unifying theme, but they manage to tie each study together fairly smoothly and there is definitely a progression. I read the updated and expanded edition where they decided to move the Dubner piece on Levitt to the end, and it seems to work much better than what they said was in the original, where parts of the piece were interspersed between chapters and acted sort of like introductory quotes. Of course, the abortion chapter is probably the most infamous, but I think the book had already started picking up steam in the preceding chapter about crack dealers. Overall it seems like each chapter is a based on a published paper but less academic
When I was studying economics in college and grad school, the presentation was not exactly dismal, but boring mostly. I would have to say that I only really had one good instructor, and he was kind of a rogue genius himself. However, Levitt shows us how really good economics is at explaining the world around us. Instead of empty theorizing, he goes forth into the real world and seeks answers to important--and some very unimportant, but interesting, questions. His writing, unlike that of most academics, is crisp and literate. This is an important book for those who are interested in understanding their world--and for those who wonder why so many studies hyped in the media get it so wrong, so consistently. [Stat geek warning--if you aren't one, you should skip to the next review] I was most impressed by how he used really clever econometric analyses of data to tease out real effects and
not just the standard simple co-relational garbage that so may people use when they present their findings. The debate over the decline in crime rates is a prime example where everyone claimed credit that it was THEIR imitative that caused it all, when a proper examination of the data would clear it all up. It also showed how the politicization of science can lead to bad public policy outcomes. The book makes me glad I paid attention in all those stats classes!
I love a book that makes you think about the way you think. Freakonomics challenges "conventional wisdom" with facts that may or may not serve your previous views on politics, race, and other issues. The book is full of valuable data based on regressive analysis, but it also will change the way that you will look at data from other sources. You might think twice the next time a so-called "expert" presents you with his latest co-relational study. The people who criticize this book for not having a central theme are missing the point. The book is not so much about the conclusions of the analysis as it is about the process. My only criticism is that a lot of what the authors call "economics" I would consider to be statistics. It may be that my perspective on economics gives it a narrower definition than others would give it. That is really just a difference in the interpretation of one word's meaning and doesn't change the outcome of the book. I got so much more out of this book than I had expected! I want to read it again and check out their newer book too.
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