Cult bestseller, new buzz word...Freakonomics is at the heart of everything we see and do and the subjects that bedevil us daily: from parenting to crime, sport to politics, fat to cheating, fear to traffic jams. Asking provocative and profound questions about human motivation and contemporary living and reaching some astonishing conclusions, ...Read MoreCult bestseller, new buzz word...Freakonomics is at the heart of everything we see and do and the subjects that bedevil us daily: from parenting to crime, sport to politics, fat to cheating, fear to traffic jams. Asking provocative and profound questions about human motivation and contemporary living and reaching some astonishing conclusions, "Freakonomics" will make you see the familiar world through a completely original lens.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2005-03-14 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.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-06-06 Though the idea of listening to an economics text may bring to mind nightmarish visions of incomprehensible facts, figures and graphs, this audiobook is refreshingly accessible and engrossing. Journalist Dubner reads with just the right mix of enthusiasm and awe, revealing juicy morsels of wisdom on everything from what sumo wrestlers and teachers have in common (a propensity to cheat) to whether parents can really push their kids to greatness by buying them Baby Einstein toys and enlisting them in numerous before- and after-school activities (not really). The only section that doesn't translate well to the format is the final one on naming conventions. The lists of "White Girl Names" and "Black Girl Names," and "Low-End" names and "High-End" names can be mind-numbing, though the text that breaks up these lists will intrigue. Overall, however, these unusual investigations by Levitt, the "rogue" of the subtitle, make for meaty-and entertaining-listening. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 14). (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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