Freakonomics | Teen Ink


February 9, 2009
By Brandon Nguyen BRONZE, Plano, Texas
Brandon Nguyen BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner gave an innovative look to the inner workings of why we see certain things happen in the world. They start off with a question, then cleverly work their way through the chapter explaining the history of the subject. After setting surprising textual data, the authors explain the reasons or how that question can be answered. It's quite astounding how they interpret the everyday life and modern economy through a different perspective, quite unlike any other economists. Through their insightful and engaging explanations accumulated from every question, key points are at the basis of each. However, as well written and explored as the book is, there are still a few strengths and weaknesses of the work.

With historical details, engaging work, full of insight and ideas, the 2 authors fulfill their purpose in 'showing 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'exploring the hidden side of'well, everything (Freakonomics). From the realm of school teachers to the world of gang members, Mr. Levitt and Mr. Dubner proves that the one key to the book is that all these stories have a hidden side behind what we see and are, most of the time, proving conventional wisdom is unreliable. He can also compare two very different things and how they are related, or he can answer a simple question with legitimate data in a way no one would ever imagine to see. No matter what question, he implies the key point that everything happening in the modern world is because economy plays a role in purpose, or incentives. For example, the authors clearly shine in their work where they explain economically 'Where have all the criminals gone?' For some readers, you may be wondering, 'Criminal activities decreased?' but for many, they stare at the title wondering, 'How in the world are they going to prove this?' To everyone's fullest expectations, Mr. Levitt and Mr. Dubner find the most unexpected notations in explaining the crime drop: innovative policing strategies, increased reliance on prisons, changes in crack and other drug markets, tougher gun-control laws, increased number of police, and many more. As they have done to these reasons, the authors further explain to a more in-depth analysis in the other chapters to express their key points. Consequently, because of their wide use of data, it's proven to be strength of the nonfiction novel. The novel is very believable due to the overwhelming evidential support of data and trends. It's also important, style-wise, that the authors portrayed a sense of humor to the stories. Some readers tend to be uninterested after the first few pages/chapters because the novel is, literally, a book over economy- containing nothing more than just statements and facts. Without the sarcastically and thoughtful comments to everyday problems, Freakonomics wouldn't have 'you chuckling one minute and gasping in amazement the next' and truly engaging (Wall Street Journal). Weaknesses were very hard to come by for this book but I notice there are not many chapters to expand the possibilities of how 'freakonomics' relates to other things.

While Freakonomics may not be a conventional book, it receives an A+ overall. It's boldly written to express that conventional wisdom is inadequate and about everything or everybody is influenced by their own incentives.

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