Freakonomics – a Book Review

I had read this book called Freakonomics sometimes back and going to review it here today. The book can be purchased from here: or from many such other online book stores. I strongly suggest you to look around in various websites before you buy as there will be varying discounts. The book is written by Steven D. Levitt, who is an Economist Professor and Stephen J. Dubner.

The book is amazing to speak in short and in few words. For those like me who want to read on plain economics without going in deep and without being distracted by calculus and quantitative analysis, the book is the one to read. For them, who know economics but do not know how to apply on our common sorroundings, the book is the one to read and ponder. Though the author takes help of the some of the mathematical tools to analyse, what he does is to apply economics principles in seemingly unrelated topics. For example, no one thinks that there is any economic rationality behind drug dealers staying with their mothers. But, the book demystifies this point says that yes there is. Think of the economic linkages between cheating primary school teachers in USA, sumo wrestlers in Japan. You cannot think of anything unless you read the book. Cheating, I mean, cheating in their profession and not in their personal lives. J

This is the greatness of the book. The Authors, one Economic Professor and other a Journalist after constantly observing, researching and applying minute principles of Economics come to the conclusion that there are economic rationality and relations between various social activities. Let us see another example and this is the first topic covered in the book and I found the most amazing among all. What is the reason of reduction in Crimes lately in US, in the decade of 1990s when there were predictions that crimes go unchecked? There were experts who told that crimes would grow but when crimes did actually reduce, then, he same experts came with various explanations like Gun Control Laws, Rise in Affluence, Population Control, and better Police in US etc. etc. These experts could not see these all when they were predicting that crimes would go unchecked but when actually crime rate got lowered, they started devising reasons for that. That may be so, they may be right but Freakonomists say that these experts are either wrong or even they are right, they are fractionally right. So, what is the main cause of crime reduction? They relate the incident of Roe v. Wade, US Supreme Court judgement which allowed the abortions legally. The Authors say that this judgement made sure that unwanted children were not born in US and mainly, the unwanted children used to get birth in poor black ghettos, and reduction of such numbers ensured that the children which were like likely to get driven to crimes were not actually born. So, US got a relief! No one saw this point before authors make a link between a US Supreme Court judgement and a crime and whose effects were to be seen after 20-25 years as the judgement made sure 20-25 years back that a child was not born who is going to be a criminal once he attains an age of 18-20 years later. What a link and what an observation.

The books keep on revealing those economic secrets that once you start, you cannot stop. I am sure that everyone who read it must have liked it. So, it became a bestseller. The greatest point about the book is the book is very simple, written in a simple language and you need not have even college level economic degree to understand it. Authors make it so simple that it is just like reading stories and nothing about economic principles. Second thins about the book is it covers such a simple topics that we wonder what economics has to do with such a mundane things. But, authors are good and very good to demonstrate us what economic link they are trying to unravel.

But, do not be confused that this is not a standard University textbook on Economics. This is not a book that you read and be economist, as one of the Authors is a Journalist here. This book does not help you to score more marks on your Economics Paper in College. But, certainly makes you wiser and takes you to the world that you start thinking for a while, if not for a longer time period. I say, a MUST Read. Enjoy Reading! And Comment here with your views.

For Official Freakonomics Blog, you can visit here and for other reviews, here, here and here.

(A Short Note: The authors were maintaining a blog with New York Times and later have published another book called Super Freakonomics, I shall review the second book shortly.)


2 thoughts on “Freakonomics – a Book Review

  1. Pingback: Page not found « A little effort to change Myself

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