Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Book Review

By now we have all heard an interview or two on NPR with journalist Stephen J. Dubner and economist Stephen D. Levitt. Or perhaps a friend talking at work or school about this fascinating book: Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I was given this book before a weekend trip and I stormed through the 200 pages twice. Once on the plane trip there and again 2 days later on the trip home. It was one of those books that I wanted to talk about with all my friends.

As a student I have taken macro and micro economics but the concept of incentives never hit home until I read this book. The idea that economics is a holistic study of humans and an organizations choices was hard to understand. However, in this book the authors explore some interesting questions that are a far cry from the typical corporate scandal article. For example, there are chapters that discuss:

  • How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
  • What makes a perfect parent?
  • If drug dealers make so much money, why do they still live with their moms?

I recommend this book for anyone who is curious about how the world works. I imagine for an economist there is nothing in this book that is shocking. However, for the average person they will find it full of delight. Perhaps because economics makes so much sense for the first time or perhaps because they feel better about their decision to not become a drug dealer. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and anxiously wait for Dubner and Levitt’s next book Super Freakonomics.