Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – Freakonomics (07-002)
I had heard the title before. But it seemed to much like one of those American management titles I’d rather give a miss. But as often, the bookshop at the airport needed to supply me with something readable and most bestsellers are not even worth considering. So when I read the first question on the back: “What do estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?” I was easily convinced.
More interesting was the second question: “Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?” Apparently Steven Levitt is considered one of the best economists in the USA. What I really like about him is the fact that he dares to think outside the box. He is looking for relations that others miss; he asks questions most of us never even thought of. And then even answers them.
Then in the plane I started reading it and was hooked soon. Levitt (Dubner is the journalist who interviewed him and wrote the story) has some great stories to tell. I liked the way he proved that teachers were cheating to get better results for their students. But soon I was a bit annoyed with a lot of stories coming back to the same research. The connection between an abortion-trial in the seventies and the drop of crime in the nineties is his master case it seems. Even though I believe his explanation is much more likely than any other explanation given by politicians, police, journalists or other scientists, it seems that he tries to focus so much on this one particular paper he wrote years back, it almost looks like he feels underrated or ignored.
Luckily, when I read on, some other great questions and answers make me wander away again from that particular idea. This later print has been edited; several later columns and stories from their blog have been included. It is great to see that in a country I do not rate too high, when it comes to great thinkers, someone like Levitt comes up with a great idea like Freakonomics.
Title: Freakonomics. A rogue economist explores the hidden
side of everything
Author: Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Language: English (US)
Year: 2006 (orig. 2005)
# Pages: 335 (463)
Category: Sciene (Economics)