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Freakonomics REV Ed
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About the Author

Steven D. Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given to the most influential American economist under forty. He is also a founder of The Greatest Good, which applies Freakonomics-style thinking to business and philanthropy. Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning journalist and radio and TV personality, has worked for the New York Times and published three non-Freakonomics books. He is the host of Freakonomics Radio and Tell Me Something I Don't Know. Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He quit his first career--as an almost rock star--to become a writer. He has since taught English at Columbia, worked for The New York Times, and published three non-Freakonomics books.

Reviews

While drug dealers, violent criminals, and the Ku Klux Klan may be outside the purview of most economists, they fit quite comfortably into Levitt's world. The University of Chicago professor and Clark Medal winner (awarded to promising economists under 40) presents the commonplace and examines it more closely. Levitt cleverly shows us that schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have more in common than we think (both have been shown to cheat in various ways to further their interests). And he demonstrates how groups trusted by their constituents, like realtors and even the Ku Klux Klan, take advantage of information asymmetry to manipulate their respective "markets." This is also your best chance to wrestle with such metaphysical questions as why drug dealers still live with their mothers. Levitt has kindly forewarned us that there is no unifying theme behind his thought-he just sees things differently from his peers. Levitt's analysis and Dubner's (Turbulent Souls; Confessions of a Hero-Worshipper) fluid prose make this foray into freakonomics a recommended addition to public and academic library economics collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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.

"The funkiest study of statistical mechanics ever by a world-renowned economist... Eye-opening and sometimes eye-popping"--Entertainment Weekly

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