February 9, 2009
Are people aware of the phrase 'there is more to a person than meets the eye?'

Well, in the book Freakonomics, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore

a similar concept: 'there is more to any thing than meets the eye.' And they do that by

simply using the basic economic concept of incentives and motives to look at the hidden

side of every situation. (Or, as the title of the book states, A Rouge Economist Explores

the hidden side of everything.)

So, what do real estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common? Or, how do

teachers and sumo wrestlers get categorized into the same section? Well, this is a book

about human nature. And human nature is what they analyze, with the use of the many

charts and facts. They take the two most unordinary subjects and make them ordinary.

Filling in the blanks of what causes both of those two subjects, why they are so similar,

and what this says and affects about our society today. This formula creates success for

the novel, for it entertains readers, as well as informs readers. It was a major hit for

critics, such as the wall street Journals Steven E. Landsborg. Landsborg, who praised

Levitt (the economist) stated that, ''Mr. Levitt is famous not as a master of dry

technical arcana but as a maverick treasure hunter who relies for success on his wit, pluck

and disregard for conventional wisdom. Mr. Levitt's typical quarry is hidden not in some

exotic locale but in a pile of data. His genius is to take a seemingly meaningless set of

numbers, ferret out the telltale pattern and recognize what it means'Mr. Levitt relies on

his instinct for analyzing data.' Proving a one to many point about the book: it's another

way of life.

It clues out what we, the readers, have taken a turn to learn about. For example, the

analysis of the correlation between abortion and crime (what Levitt is known and famous

for). With the use of the numbers from all over the years: a 50 percent decrease in crime

rate. Starting 1990's and beyond the crime rate, instead of increasing dramatically as

planned, dropped dramatically. And this is how the authors explain the dramatic

unpredicted surprise: ' Norma McCorvey'[or] Ms. Roe.' (Levitt and Dubner 4) Yes

Roe, as in Roe Vs. Wade. Which, in result, allowed granted legalized abortion. Levitt

believes that, thanks to this court case: ''millions of women most likely to have a

abortion in the wake of Roe Vs. Wade ['unmarried teenage or poor mothers'] whose

children would've been more likely to become criminals [weren't being born]'[years

later] when these children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime

began to plummet.' ( Levitt and Dubner 4)

That is the core of Freakonomics, an entertaining analysis of why things happen.

So if one happens to pass by this book, and is looking for a good and thoughtful read to

relax, Freakonomics is for that person. As a regular average joe off the street says, ' this

is a type of book you have to read before you die.'

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