Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Wednesday January 23, 2008.

freakonomics Author(s): Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Publisher: William Morrow
ISBN: 0061234001
Amazon | Shelfari
I finished Freakonomics about two weeks ago and finally am getting around to putting up what I thought of it. Actually, I’ve been trying to get through the blog posts they included in the “revised and expanded edition” that I have. I’ve got to say that it was a fantastic book.

I’m game for someone trying to figure out new ways of thinking and exploring issues that seem to be resolved. Moneyball was the first book I read that was in this vein, and it was an instant classic to me. Freakonomics is right up the same alley and couldn’t have been a better addition to my library.

Here is my review from Shelfari

Outstanding. Any book that is based on the premise that conventional wisdom is generally wrong starts off very well with me. The use of economics to distill certain “truths” down into entirely re-thought principles and ideas is innovative and, to be sure, brilliant. I can see the more traditional economics professors hating the influx of Freakonomics disciples at departments nationwide.

The chapter that most resonated with me was the one about real estate agents and the KKK. On the surface, and certainly among some people, the idea that the two are similar is offensive. But as you will see in reading the book, there is something in common among them and perhaps that offensive connection is what actually makes you understand that we’re not dealing with the surface here. The result is the removal of emotion from the critical thinking that goes into the ideas presented in the book, and a return to actual thought. It sure seems simple, but if you take a good look around, we’re devoid of that type of thinking. Like I said, outstanding.

In short, I loved the book. I’m disappointed that it both took me this long to get to it and that it wasn’t included in the curriculum of one of my graduate school classes. The innovative thinking seems like it would have fit right in and given us something to discuss. It was also a simple way to see new ways of thinking—the perfect example of how we wanted to approach our ideas for journalism.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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