Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
  • Title: Freakonomics
  • Subtitle: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
  • Author(s): Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Revised & Expanded
  • Year: 2006-10-05
  • ISBN-10: 0061234001
  • ISBN-13: 9780061234002


“Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt is a captivating non-fiction book that takes readers on a thought-provoking journey into the world of economics and its unexpected intersections with various aspects of our everyday lives. With the help of journalist Stephen J. Dubner, Levitt explores the hidden side of things, challenging conventional wisdom and shedding light on unlikely connections. Through a series of intriguing case studies, the authors delve into diverse topics, such as the economics of drug dealing, the influence of parenting on a child’s success, the impact of cheating in sumo wrestling, and the true causes of the crime drop in the 1990s. Levitt and Dubner’s unique approach, blending economic analysis with real-world stories, creates an engaging and easily accessible book that challenges readers to think differently about their surroundings.

What makes “Freakonomics” stand out is Levitt’s skill in breaking down complex economic principles into digestible and relatable anecdotes. By examining patterns and incentives that drive human behavior, the book provides a fresh lens through which readers can view the world around them. Levitt’s ability to uncover fascinating and often counterintuitive insights forces us to question common assumptions and challenge prevailing beliefs. Moreover, the authors’ engaging writing style and storytelling prowess make “Freakonomics” an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read. Whether you have an interest in economics, social sciences, or simply enjoy exploring unconventional ideas, this book offers a captivating and intellectually stimulating experience.

Book Review

“Freakonomics” is an exceptionally insightful and thought-provoking book that challenges readers to reconsider their understanding of the world through the lens of economics. Co-authored by economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner, this captivating non-fiction work combines Levitt’s data-driven research with Dubner’s engaging storytelling to present a compelling and accessible exploration of the hidden side of human behavior.

Levitt and Dubner set out to explore unconventional connections between economic principles and seemingly unrelated phenomena. They dive into a collection of intriguing case studies that disrupt common assumptions and open doors to new perspectives. For instance, the authors tackle the sensitive topic of drug dealing, revealing surprising insights about the precarious economics behind it. Through statistical analysis, Levitt challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding the profitability of drug dealing and emphasizes that low-level street dealers, commonly perceived as wealthy, often earn close to minimum wage. The authors explain how this economic reality influences the structure of drug gangs and exposes the flaws in government efforts to combat drug-related crimes.

Another engrossing chapter analyzes the influence of parenting on a child’s success. Levitt boldly argues that factors such as socio-economic background or parents’ educational levels don’t contribute significantly to a child’s success. Instead, he uncovers a correlation between the child’s success and the amount of time parents spend engaging in activities with their children, suggesting that parenting practices play a more substantial role than socio-economic factors in shaping a child’s future. Through this contrarian perspective, Levitt encourages parents to reconsider their priorities and rethink the strategies they employ to support their children’s development.

One of the most intriguing studies presented in “Freakonomics” revolves around the world of sumo wrestling, exposing how cheating can permeate even the ranks of respected sports. Levitt and Dubner introduce readers to the intricate network of incentives and pressures present within the sumo wrestling community, highlighting how some wrestlers engage in match-fixing to secure favorable outcomes and maintain their prestigious positions. By examining the data and patterns behind sumo matches, Levitt unveils the hidden truth behind the sport’s integrity, shedding light on the motivations that drive wrestlers to cheat and demonstrating the broader implications of incentive-driven behavior.

What makes “Freakonomics” an exceptional read is Levitt’s knack for distilling complex economic concepts into relatable stories and real-world examples that are accessible to all readers. Whether discussing the impact of legalized abortion on crime rates or dissecting the KKK’s sudden decline, Levitt effortlessly interweaves economic analysis with captivating narratives, making the subject matter engaging and relatable to a wide audience.

Moreover, the authors skillfully stimulate critical thinking, encouraging readers to question assumptions and challenge popular beliefs. Even if one may not agree with every conclusion, “Freakonomics” succeeds in inciting curiosity and fostering a deeper exploration of the invisible forces that mold our lives.

In conclusion, “Freakonomics” is a captivating and intellectually stimulating book that effortlessly combines economic analysis with captivating storytelling. Levitt and Dubner’s ability to expose the unexpected connections between economics and various aspects of our lives is both enlightening and entertaining. This book challenges readers to think differently, provoking important discussions about the complexities behind the world we live in. Whether you have an interest in economics or simply enjoy exploring unconventional ideas, “Freakonomics” is an eye-opening journey that will leave you questioning the assumptions that shape our understanding of the world.

Word Count: 555

Target Audience

The book “Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt is targeted at a diverse audience interested in understanding the hidden workings of the world through an economic lens. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Economics Enthusiasts “Freakonomics” is an ideal choice for those who have a passion for economics or find joy in uncovering the underlying principles behind human behavior and societal patterns. Levitt’s ability to break down complex economic concepts into relatable stories makes this book engaging and accessible to both economics students and casual learners.

  • Social Science Readers Readers interested in social science and its intersections with economics will find “Freakonomics” to be a valuable and thought-provoking resource. Levitt explores a wide range of topics, including crime, education, and parenting, offering fresh perspectives and challenging prevailing beliefs. Those who enjoy exploring unconventional ideas will find this book to be a treasure trove of fascinating insights.

  • Curious Thinkers “Freakonomics” is recommended reading for anyone who enjoys exploring the hidden side of things and delving deeper into the underlying forces that shape our world. Levitt’s knack for presenting counterintuitive ideas and examining the unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena makes this book a captivating read for curious and open-minded individuals.

  • General Readers Even if readers don’t have a specific interest in economics or social sciences, “Freakonomics” still offers an engaging and enjoyable reading experience. Levitt’s storytelling prowess, combined with the authors’ skill in presenting complex ideas in a relatable manner, makes the book accessible to a broader audience seeking to expand their understanding of the world and challenge their own assumptions.

In conclusion, “Freakonomics” is recommended reading for a diverse audience, including economics enthusiasts, social science readers, curious thinkers, and general readers seeking intellectual stimulation and a fresh perspective on the hidden workings of our complex world. Levitt’s ability to present complex economic concepts through engaging stories and his dedication to challenging conventional wisdom make this book a valuable addition to anyone’s reading list.