Which do you think is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their parents? Which matters more, nature or nurture?
These aren’t the questions you think of when you think of economists. But they are just the type of questions that Steven D. Levitt started asking in his book, “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.”
Levitt began studying the curiosities of everyday life, crime, sports, parenting and more. The conclusions he discovered, and discusses in this book, will make your conventional thoughts go crazy and send your head spinning. These are simply unasked questions or questions that were never asked by the right people.
Economics, at its root, is a study of incentives. “Freakonomics” asks the questions of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing? The book looks at the hidden side of everything: how real estate really works; cheating school teachers; and the secrets of the KKK (just to name a few).
This book shows you that the modern world and the people therein are not unknowable — if you ask the right questions. This book asks the right questions and then shuffles through all the clutter to get the statistics, thoughts, facts and answers.
The premise of “Freakonomics” is unconventional, stating that: “morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.”
If you need some insight and thought-provoking dialogue for your next gathering this is the book for you.