A collaboration between a Chicago economist (Levitt) and a New York journalist (Dubner) this book takes the subject of economics, and doesn’t so much turn it on its head, as tilt it to see things from a different angle.
They ask such questions as What caused the crime rate to fall dramatically in the 1990s? What do Sumo Wrestlers and Schoolteachers have in common? How much does a child’s name matter? They then attempt to answer such questions with a combination of empirical research and statistics. The book often disputes conventional wisdom and explains things from a different angle.
The narration is lively and fun to read. The subjects covered are all interesting and certainly make the reader think. It doesn’t always go hugely indepth, but it definitely provides enough to make someone want to go and find out more. It also encourages the reader to ask more questions and perhaps not always accept the first and most obvious answer to questions.
Most importantly, it’s fun to read, and never patronising, and if it causes interest in subjects which previously a reader may have thought boring or too complicated, that can only be a good thing.
I would certainly recommend this book, and look forward to reading the follow up, Super-Freakonomics’.
(Authors’ website can be found here.)