Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

ISBN-10: 0061234001
ISBN-13: 9780061234002
Edition: 2006 (Revised)
List price: $29.99 Buy it from $1.13
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Book details

List price: $29.99
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/17/2006
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.474
Language: English

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an econo-mist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life-;from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing-;and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives-;how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Klu Klux Klan. What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and-;if the right questions are asked-;is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

Steven D. Levitt received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1989 and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1994. He is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago where he has been teaching since 1997. He was awarded the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal, an award that recognizes the most outstanding economist in America under the age of 40. He is the coauthor, with Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It won the inaugural Quill Award for best business book and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. He also wrote SuperFreakonomics and Think Like a Freak with Stephen J. Dubner.

While attending Appalachian State University, Stephen J. Dubner started a rock band that was signed to Arista Records. He eventually stopped playing music to earn an M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University, where he also taught in the English Department. He was an editor and writer at New York magazine and The New York Times before leaving to focus on writing books. He is the coauthor, with Steven D. Levitt, of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It won the inaugural Quill Award for best business book and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. He also wrote SuperFreakonomics and Think Like a Freak with Steven D. Levitt. His other works include Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper, and The Boy with Two Belly Buttons.

An Explanatory Note
In which the origins of this book are clarified.
Introduction: The Hidden Side of Everything
In which the book's central idea is set forth: namely, if morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work.
Why the conventional wisdom is so often wrong
How "experts"-from crimnologists to real-estate agents to political scientists-bend the facts
Why knowing what to measure, and how to measure it, is the key to understanding modern life
What is "freakonomics," anyway?
What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?
In which we explore the beauty of incentives, as well as their dark side-cheating.
Who cheats? Just about everyone
How cheaters, cheat, and how to catch them
Stories from an Israeli day-care center
The sudden disappearance of seven millon American childern
Cheating schoolteachers in Chicago
Why cheating to lose is worse than cheating to win
Could sumo wrestling, the national sport of Japan, be corrupt?
What the Bagel Man saw: mankind may be more honest than we think
How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like A Group of Real-Estate Agents?
In which it is argued that nothing is more powerful than information, especially when its power is abused.
Spilling the Ku Klux Klan's secrets
Why experts of every kind are in the perfect position to exploit you
The antidote to information abuse: the Internet
Why a new car is suddenly sorth so much less the moment it leaves the lot
Breaking the real-estate agent code: what "well maintained" really means
Is Trent Lott more racist than the average Weakest Link contestant?
What do online daters lie about?
Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?
In which the conventional wisdom is often found to be a web of fabrication, self-interest, and convenience.
Why experts routinely make up statistics; the invention of chronic halitosis
How to ask a good question
Sudhir Venkatesh's long, strange trip into the crack den
Why prostitutes earn more than architects
What a drug dealer, a high-school quarterback, and an editorial assistant have in common
How the invention of crack cocaine mirrored the invention of nylon stocking
Was crack the worst thing to bit black Americans since Jim Crow?
Where Have all the Criminals Gone?
In which the facts of crime are sorted out from the fictions.
What Nicolae Ceauşescu learned-the hard way-about abortion
Why the 1960s was a great time to be a criminal
Think the roaring 1990s economy put a crimp on crime? think again
Why capital punishment doesn't deter criminals
Do police actually lower crime rates?
Prisons, prisons everywhere
Seeing through the New York City police "miracle"
What is a gun, really?
Why early crack dealers were like Microsoft millionaires and later crack dealers were like Pets.com
The superpredator versus the senior citizen
Jane Roe, crime stopper: how the legalization of abortion changed every-thing.
What Makes A Perfect Parent?
In which we ask, from a variety of angels, a pressing question: do parents really matter?
The conversion of parenting from an art to a science
Why parenting experts like to scare parents to death
Which is more dangerous: a gun or a swimming pool?
The economics of fear
Obsessive parents and the nature-nurture quagmire
Why a good school isn't as good as you might think
The black-white test gap and "acting white"
Eight things that make a child do better in school and eight that don't
Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?
In which we weigh the importance of a parent's first official act-naming the baby.
A boy named Winner and his brother, Loser
The blackest names and the whitest names
The segregation of culture: why Seinfeld never made the top fifty among black viewers
If you have a really bad banem should you just change it?
High-end names and low-end names (and how one becomes the other)
Britney Spears: a symptom, not a cause
Is Aviva the next Madison?
What your parents were telling the world when they gave you your name.
Epilogue: Two Paths to Harvard
In which the dependability of data meets the randomness of life.
Bonus Matter
"The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent Is Cheating You..."
Selected "Freakonomics" Columns From The New York Times Magazine
A Q&A with the Authors
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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