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Freakonomics

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In Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner combine pop culture with economics. They use the ideas of today's economy to relate to the situations people are put through daily. Levitt and Dubner use 'conventional wisdom' to cover some of the most controversial topics in society. A few topics in the book include cheating teachers, drug dealers, and the infamous Klu Klux Klan. By dissecting these contentious topics the authors show that they can apply basic economics to almost anything.

The book starts off by comparing two opposite lifestyles, sumo wrestling and teaching. The two careers have been accused of cheating. Levitt explains how some teachers are being generous by bumping up students test scores in order to get a bonus or a promotion. The sumo wrestlers on the other hand are being watched over for throwing matches to help others go up in rank. Levitt uses his clever algorithms to find out if the teachers and wrestlers are cheating.
After explaining his method he discusses the pros and cons of using incentives in the workplace, and why people cheat in order to make their goal.

Levitt keeps the reader attracted to the book with fascinating interviews, charts, and articles about the many topics. For example, the twenty white boy names that best signify low-education parents, 1948 radio report about the Klu Klux Klan, most common low-end white girl names. The authors expose the fault of the Klu Klux Klan. Dubner describes how Stetson Kennedy an ex-Klan member crippled the KKK by the dissemination of their secrets to the public. The authors include other economic examples such as information asymmetry and how it can be used properly as an economic weapon. Levitt also shows the sinful practices of a real estate agent, by showing that they just want whats best for them usually not their client.

In the final and most intriguing chapter of the book the author discusses the names of people and how their specific name correlates to the society they live in. Whether they are poor, black, white, high or low education the charts in the book show it all. Levitt describes how names become popular among different cultures by using his economic algorithms. Levitt using his equation shows the link that having a distinctive black name can result to lower education and income.

Levitt uses the world of economics to dig up new ideas and evaluate data from past experiences to come up with a concise and original conclusion. Freakonomics is an original, to the point type of book that can be enjoyed by all adults and high school students.





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