Freakonomics is a book authored by Steven D. Levitt, a renowned economist at the reputed University of Chicago and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner, Dubner’s role in the creation of this book was obviously to distil the economics and research parlance of Levitt to a layman’s language. Freakonomics is an economics principle and human psychology oriented, as it melds both seemingly distinct areas into one.
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner display the power of data analysis as they relate seemingly random events to each other, identifying cause and effect relationships in society. Among the most daring analysis made in this book is Levitt’s analysis and inference that the cause of crime reduction is owed not to the increase of police officers, or sophisticated crime detection equipment’s, or increased number of criminals behind bars, rather this is owed to the enacting of the abortion law. Levitt also makes some unconventional analysis and conclusion in the “Why drug dealers still live with their moms” chapter. In this chapter, Levitt chronicles the life of “J.T” as documented by Sudhir Venkatesh who was working on a Ph.D in sociology at the University of Chicago.
Levitt and Dubner also make interesting cases on some other topics, in areas such as education, parenting, and names. This book will best be classified as a book on the application of economic-mathematical techniques to real live problems outside the scope of typical economics analysis.
Freakonomics is an economics 101 for anyone looking to delve into the subject of economics, however, scholars in the field of economics may not find the book all too interesting in that the book does not contain much economics terminology. Speaking from an incisive and radical thinking perspective, this book will be a good read for any critical thinker because it utilizes knowledge in a way that is not confined by conventional reasoning; it breaks from the norm. Consequently, the prerequisite for studying this book is an inquisitive and volatile mind as well as interest in the how the modern day society works.
Overall, Freakonomics is a book for everyone whether you have an economics background or not. It is somewhat entertaining and even guides the reader through the process of applying this type of analysis to their own life.