Book Review: Freakonomics

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s famous work Freakonomics is nothing extraordinary, other than the simple questions they asked. Levitt and Dubner ask questions that seemingly have simple answers, but their research reveals that there may be other, hidden, answers.

I read this book after having graduated with a specialization (something akin to a minor) in political economy. Additionally, I listened to the podcast Freakonomics for almost a year before reading the book. I have a pedestrian interest in economics and thus was my experience (and mindset) as I entered this work.

I was not disappointed. The book, true to its reputation, was engaging and thought provoking. It was a pleasant respite from the normal works of fiction I spend my time reading. Yet, I was perturbed by how simple the book was. The podcast of the same name is highly more thought provoking and interesting than the book. Of course, this could be because you can do more in a podcast than you can in a book, in that you can present material in multiple ways in a podcast that you can in a book.

Yet, this minor annoyance that the book Freakonomics saddled me with, I enjoyed the book. I am still mulling over the implications of the last parenting chapters (what impact do parents have on children’s success? and what does a name mean?)

Dubner and Levitt created a fun and accessible way for the masses to engage with the field of economics and economic thinking. Well done and must read.



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