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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Revised and Expanded)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

A look at things through the eyes of an economist.

This book is a general interest book- and it certainly is interesting. The book, for anyone looking for an entertaining read, will like it. In a nutshell, the book takes a look at all sorts of things in society, from crack gangs to parenting, and then attempts to make s...
This book is a general interest book- and it certainly is interesting. The book, for anyone looking for an entertaining read, will like it. In a nutshell, the book takes a look at all sorts of things in society, from crack gangs to parenting, and then attempts to make sense of them by applying econonmic principles. According to the book, economics is really the study of incentives, and so using this kind of angle, the book comes up with answers to why things work the way they do.

A book that's hard to put down, I'm sure many readers will enjoy it. Also recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for a more simplistic explanation of what motivates people and gives them incentives to do what they do.

posted by 246828 on October 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A poor man's Outliers

I listened to the audio book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell before I listened to Freakonomics. They are similar in style -- drawing conclusions about modern phenomena based on outlying characteristics. But Gladwell does a better job of telling compelling stories.

Fr...
I listened to the audio book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell before I listened to Freakonomics. They are similar in style -- drawing conclusions about modern phenomena based on outlying characteristics. But Gladwell does a better job of telling compelling stories.

Freakonomics was more negative - discussing cheating teachers, drug gangs, etc. Gladwell found interesting correlations in less cynical subjects.

posted by SSSMN on May 1, 2010

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A poor man's Outliers

    I listened to the audio book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell before I listened to Freakonomics. They are similar in style -- drawing conclusions about modern phenomena based on outlying characteristics. But Gladwell does a better job of telling compelling stories.

    Freakonomics was more negative - discussing cheating teachers, drug gangs, etc. Gladwell found interesting correlations in less cynical subjects.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2009

    Freakonomics

    Personally, the book did not appeal to me. But I have to agree that the book had a lot of interesting facts, and that I did learn a lot. It is an easy to read book and has humor, making the reading exciting to many.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2010

    Easy Read - very imformational

    I found this book to be very interesting. I liked the fact that it had a lot of examples to help support the author's thoughts. I also liked the fact that the stories were about topics that I had enough knowledge about to know what the author was talking about. The only thing that troubled me about this book still is the organization. Throughout all the chapters, and stories for that matter, I had to stop to remind myself what the book was talking about. With all the math, science, and reasoning within every story, I found myself confused and in need of explaining. Overall the book was good and it did help my insight and changed my perspective on how economics work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    Two Basic Messages

    The theme of Freakonomics can be boiled down into two pieces of advice. One is disregard the conventional wisdom. The other is think for yourself.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    Freakonomics: An adventure of thought provoking text

    Freakonomics is a book that explores the hidden side of, mostly everything. From the way teachers relate to corruption in sumo-wrestling, to the way child abortion affects crime rate. This thought provoking book is almost a wake-up call for the average Joe to begin to analyze his world in order to better understand the struggles it faces. Such as when Levitt explores the idea as to why crime suddenly plummeted over the United States in the late 1990s, saying it is because of the legalization of abortion in 1973. The main idea behind many of the arguments is the idea of incentives, that being, as with the point on abortion, less people being born into environments where they had little moral incentive against crimes (moral incentive being that which tells us right from wrong.) In short, the book challenges us to think in ways that allow us to add economic value to people and situations that seem to have no economic connection at all. So, by entitling itself the hidden side of everything, Freakonomics hits home with that point in that it is proposing a new way of thinking about the world. Though many would argue not to think about the world in a form of values, Freakonomics breaks through that barrier by studying incentives as to better understand the world around it. A main focus of this topic is the shattering of conventional wisdom; things that are taken as true, but either have not been proved to be, or are completely false. (Such as 8 glasses of water never being proven to help your health) In short, the book Freakonomics is a provocative book that tries to describe how human desire can have such a grand effect on the world, and in short hopes that maybe by studying this phenomenon, maybe something better can be achieved through this knowledge. Freakonomics is a good read for anyone trying to better understand the world around them.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    good, but not great

    i was a little disappointed given the hype. the main concept is that people do what is in their best interests, which isn't a revelation. i did enjoy reading about the business dealings of the crack industry. who knew they had death benefits?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was one of those books that you pick up and say to yourself,'well this looks like it might be good.' I quit on it next to the last chapter because i just couldn't take it anymore. There were some interesting arguments about crime, abbortion, sumo wrestling and gangs, but if you read between the lines the liberal bias is overwhelming as the authors try to discredit conservative initiatives like school choice, reduced gun control laws,and then celebrate abbortion with it's apparent relationship with the reduction in crime. i appreciated the argument but i question whether the authors are genuine in their findings.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2007

    Interesting, but way too many numbers

    This work is certainly interesting, and the premise makes it sound like a riveting read. But the only interesting parts are the beginning and end of each chapter. Everything in the middle contains way too many numbers that the average person doesn't find interesting. The need for data is obvious, but the authors go way overboard in their use of numerical data.

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