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? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?
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 set out to explore the hidden side of just about anything and 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, and the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
“The likelihood of any given person being killed in a terrorist attack are infinitesimally smaller than the likelihood that the same person will clog up his arteries with fatty food and die of heart disease.” (pg. 151)
After packing 5 books for my trip, I found myself sitting in the Philadelphia airport with nothing to read. My mom refused to buy me yet another book and handed me her copy of Levitt and Dubner’s book.
Freakonomics was a great back-up book. It was witty, insightful, and really made me think. Some of their findings were a little weird such forget about college! All I really need to do is head on down to CVS Pharmacy or Walgreen’s in order to get my MRS degree.
“In the world of online dating, a heedful of blond hair on a woman is worth about the same as having a college degree-and, with a $100 dye job versus a $100,000 tuition bill, an awful lot cheaper.” (pg. 83)
So I’m not actually going to my college for my MRS degree, but I am now really interested in economics!
(Note: In 2010, I declared a major in economics. I recommend this book to anyone who asks me why I would want to become an economist.)
- Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rouge Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Marrow, 2005. Print. 242 pgs. ISBN: 006073132X. Source: Library.