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Freakonomics
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About the Author

Steven D. Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given to the most influential American economist under forty. He is also a founder of The Greatest Good, which applies Freakonomics-style thinking to business and philanthropy. Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning journalist and radio and TV personality, has worked for the New York Times and published three non-Freakonomics books. He is the host of Freakonomics Radio and Tell Me Something I Don't Know. Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He quit his first career--as an almost rock star--to become a writer. He has since taught English at Columbia, worked for The New York Times, and published three non-Freakonomics books.

Reviews

Economist Levitt and Dubner (Turbulent Souls) team up in this intriguing, quirky look at life and how to understand better the world in a new way. In 2003, the New York Times Magazine sent Dubner to do a profile of Levitt, and the idea for this book was born. Levitt looks at a variety of data, including KKK membership rolls, online dating services, and names for children, and finds in the math underlying answers to difficult questions that have a freakish quality. The quirky chapters include the commonality between schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers, why drug dealers still live with their mothers, and what makes a perfect parent. The crisp, bright narration by Dubner enlivens this title, which will appeal to fans of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point as well as to economists. Recommended for university libraries supporting a business and economics curriculum and larger public libraries.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Forget your image of an economist as a crusty professor worried about fluctuating interest rates: Levitt focuses his attention on more intimate real-world issues, like whether reading to your baby will make her a better student. Recognition by fellow economists as one of the best young minds in his field led to a profile in the New York Times, written by Dubner, and that original article serves as a broad outline for an expanded look at Levitt's search for the hidden incentives behind all sorts of behavior. There isn't really a grand theory of everything here, except perhaps the suggestion that self-styled experts have a vested interest in promoting conventional wisdom even when it's wrong. Instead, Dubner and Levitt deconstruct everything from the organizational structure of drug-dealing gangs to baby-naming patterns. While some chapters might seem frivolous, others touch on more serious issues, including a detailed look at Levitt's controversial linkage between the legalization of abortion and a reduced crime rate two decades later. Underlying all these research subjects is a belief that complex phenomena can be understood if we find the right perspective. Levitt has a knack for making that principle relevant to our daily lives, which could make this book a hit. Malcolm Gladwell blurbs that Levitt has the most interesting mind in America, an invitation Gladwell's own substantial fan base will find hard to resist. 50-city radio campaign. (May 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A showcase for Levitt's intriguing explorations into a number of disparate topics.... There's plenty of fun to be had."--Salon.com
"An easy, funny read. Many unsolvable problems the Americans have could be solved with simple means."--Business World
"An eye-opening, and most interesting, approach to the world."--Kirkus Reviews
"An unconventional economist defies conventional wisdom."--Associated Press
"Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences.... Steven D. Levitt will change some minds."--Amazon.com
"Freakonomics challenges conventional wisdom and makes for fun reading."--Book Sense Picks and Notables
"Freakonomics is politically incorrect in the best, most essential way.... This is bracing fun of the highest order."--Kurt Andersen, host of public radio's Studio 360 and author of Turn of the Century
"Freakonomics was the 'It' book of 2005."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Hard to resist."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"If Indiana Jones were an economist, he'd be Steven Levitt... Criticizing Freakonomics would be like criticizing a hot fudge sundae."--Wall Street Journal
"Levitt dissects complex real-world phenomena, e.g. baby-naming patterns and Sumo wrestling, with an economist's laser."--San Diego Union-Tribune
"Levitt is a number cruncher extraordinaire."--Philadelphia Daily News
"Levitt is one of the most notorious economists of our age."--Financial Times
"One of the decade's most intelligent and provocative books."--The Daily Standard
"Principles of economics are used to examine daily life in this fun read."--People: Great Reads
"Provocative... eye-popping."--New York Times Book Review: Inside the List
"Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America... Prepare to be dazzled."--Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point
"The funkiest study of statistical mechanics ever by a world-renowned economist... Eye-opening and sometimes eye-popping"--Entertainment Weekly
"The guy is interesting!"--Washington Post Book World
"The trivia alone is worth the cover price."--New York Times Book Review

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