Freakonomics | Teen Ink


February 9, 2009
By Anonymous

'Prepare to be dazzled', as printed on the front of this thought-provoking book, written by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, is the most to the point phrase one could say about Freakonomics. The insightful view of economist, Steven Levitt, brings many unthought-of ideas to the table as he links the most ridiculous of subjects, just to name a few, crime to abortion, teachers to sumo wrestlers, and Real-Estate agents to the KKK. In this fascinating nonfiction novel, the two authors articulate how these topics relate and their connection to the economy as a whole.
With this book being true to its name, Freakonomics jumps around from each of its topics. From the subjects presented, Dubner and Levitt like to ask many questions and give you surprising answers. Do teachers really cheat? If so, how and why? Sumo wrestlers are similar because they cheat too? How do we know they're cheating? Why is the KKK like Real-Estate agents? Is it because they're selling houses too? Or is it because of secret jargon that each field learning in their business? All these questions and more are answered with research and interpretation to accurately depict what's really going on in the world around us.
Freakonomics also touches on the idea of conventional wisdom. They find that 'we associate truth with convenience,' suggesting that we find it easier to believe things that relate to us and that we are interested in. This however doesn't mean that everything that we want to believe is true, is true. The chapter goes on to explain that statistics are often exaggerated to get a point across and after these statistics are made, often they are hard to let go of by the public. They don't end it just with statistics, but also carry it on to ideas of people. For instance, is George Bush easier to write about if he's a good old boy, an honest, plainspoken guy? Or do the writers have more to say if he's believed to be a 'phony, silver-spoon baby' who has tendencies of a cowboy? So although conventional wisdom maybe stretching the truth or even just wrong, it's hard to budge the fixed beliefs of the citizens.
Just as the concept of conventional wisdom is brought up in the book, it is expected to be considered while taking information away from it. The authors want the audience to take the ideas presented into thought and make their own conclusions about fantasy and reality of the world and the economics entangled within it.
Freakonomics has given readers a different glance at the world we live in and in about 200 pages of reading, expresses its ideas quickly and concisely. Audiences will find a new twist and turn around every corner of this book and will find themselves entertained by this interesting novel.

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