February 9, 2009
By Anonymous

As a recent recipient of the John Bates Clark Award, given to the best economist under the age of 40, Steven Levitt has disregarded any conventional wisdom to take any meaningless set of number and recognize how they apply to the real world. Teaming up with journalist Stephan Dubner, Levitt has taken a true maverick road to explain the hidden side of everything in his new book Freakonomics. The book cover every economic rarity from how legalized abortion brought the crime rate down, how real estate agents and KKK members are alike and even how contestants from the TV show The Weakest Link are discriminated against.
Throughout the book, Dubner explains how Freakonomics has no one unifying theme but instead a series of scenarios that help explain that economics is ever changing and based on incentives. The book is not set out to teach the reader Econ 101 but to show that there is a hidden side to everything in economics that are so obscure but at the same time very obvious. One major down side to Freakonomics is that Levitt breaks all morals and disregards conventional wisdom to find the solutions to questions that arise throughout the=2 0book. Levitt goes as far to theorize that legalized abortion has actually led to a lower crime rate in America. His logic goes that most mothers willing to get an abortion are single teenage African-American females, whose children would be unwanted. Then an unwanted child would turn to the streets and crime. But with abortion becoming legal in 1970's Roe vs. Wade case less unwanted babies are born and therefore can not become the crime-prone teenagers they were supposed to be. No conservative wants to acknowledge that abortion has led to anything beneficial and no liberal wants have such racial remarks linked to abortion. Levitt and Dubner push all limits when it comes to explaining the hidden side of economics. They ignore the convenient solution to problems to find the far more controversial correct answer. But once you get past the political aspect of the book it is hard to put down. The thoughts of the authors are like a breath of fresh air to the world of economics. You find yourself reading more and more to find out what a Chicago public school teacher and sumo-wrestler have in common or what name a parent can give their child that will help them be the most successful. The theories teaches us how humans truly are and that conventional wisdom is not always right.
After reading Freakonomics you are inspired to simply ask questions. Levitt and Dubner state that everything economically has and answer and the only way to find it is to ask the right question. In the end we are left with that economics is not defined by the answers that Levitt gives us but that there are more answers to the constantly changing economy and we can find them not by reading a book but by simply asking questions.

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