Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


Freakonomics is probably the most hyped and most superficial and dumb book I have read in recent times. How it qualifies to be an economic stuff is beyond my understanding. It is like you give two different sets of statistical data to a kid and then ask him to relate them by any damn logic. All the chapters in the book are totally unrelated as if it is not a book but a collection of randomly written articles.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Half the book is filled with vague lists like lists for black names and lists for white names.

And it appears that the author or the publisher is just trying to add some more pages to the book. The best part of the book is the titles that he has chosen for his chapters. They almost make you feel as if you are going to learn the greatest mystery of economics.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

The author’s bias for Blacks comes out very prominently in the book Freakonomics. I think if you are not biased you do not think on the basis of differences between the two options always. People who always think in terms of two options, whatever it may be, have a deep bias embedded within their systems. Which may be unconscious most of the time. The author is talking about Blacks throughout the book. Right from them being drug dealers and how they name their kids. To me, this is displaying his bias.

All the book is about Steven Levitt, wonder what was Stephen Dubner doing, or if it was a part of their contract that all the publicity would be in the name of Levitt. The only interesting thing is the profile of the author, which you seriously doubt after reading the book. A perfectly avoidable book… wonder how the bestseller list funda works…

You may buy this book – Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, and Stephen J. Dubner at Amazon India.

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  1. Maybe you should read it again. At a superficial glance, this book will only be superficial.

    As for the lack of a common thread among the chapters, maybe you should read those few pages at the start of the book. It comes under the title ‘Preface’ and talks about the author not needing a common theme at all. I wonder if anyone promised your money back if you couldn’t locate a common theme.

  2. You gave me a reason to read this book. A classmate of mine praised the book and you said it’s crap … I need to know who is wrong 🙂 I would love to prove my ‘top-MBA’ classmate wrong 🙂

  3. Anuradha;
    I agree with you that the book was marketed too well…
    I dont have much of a problem with lack of a common theme. Also Levitt is surely not biased since he is merely quoting facts on the ground which most people will also validate. Also Dubner is more like the person meant to add literary qualities to Levitt’s economic work; therefore his role being subdued.
    The only problem with the book is that it promises the world while delivers a fist of sand. But then, thats what airport books are meant to be. Anyways, hats off to the publishers for making such a big and thick book with so little material.

  4. Yeah I agree with u….

    Yeah! Its a pretty frivilous book. But then almost all books which have to be mass marketed are frivolous/easy reads.

    I am reading your blog after a long time.


  5. Vijay, saw your reading list on your blog, am sorry but I find most of the books you read superficial and dumb, and incidentally all of them American.

    Me, Let me know what you find out.

    Shivaji, I agree with you

    Pranav, Yes you ate visiting after a long time, do visit more often.


  6. its a different way of loking at the same set of data…thats the beauty of this book…liking or disliking is purely personal. 😀

  7. Um, I read blink (Malcolm gladwell) and tipping point. Malcolm wrote a pretty good intro to Freakonomics – so I went and read that. I like Malcolm’s writing a lot – but still am unable to decide on freakonomics. The part that I did like on freakonomics was the reluctance to rely on “experts who quote in greek”Here’s gladwell’s site and his blog.

  8. I thought the book was rather interesting and entertaining, although not very practical.

    At the very least, this book will let you tell a few “stories” at the dinner table!

  9. Strangely, I thought this was one of the most brilliant books Ive ever read.

    I particularly enjoyed the way he used to control variables and then perform regression. Thereby ruling out different extraneous possibilities.

    Dubner was a writer for teh new yorker I think. He just contributed to compiling the book. It is all in the preface.

    In summary, I think its a wonderful book. Pathbreaking, I must say. You are, however, entitled to your own opinion.


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