Freakonomics

By: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Author's Purpose

The whole purpose behind Levitt and Dubner writing this book is to "[strip] a layer or two from the surface of modern life and [see] what is happening underneath" (pg. 12). They have a different comparison for each of the 6 chapters contained in this book so their intent is made very clear with extremely vivid examples and personal experiences - their own or close companions.

but Is there any proof?

#1: The Real-Estate Agent

"Using the data of those 100,000 Chicago homes . . . it turns out the real-estate agent keeps her own home on he market an average of 10 days longer and sells it for an extra 3-plus percent, or $10,000 on a $300,000 house. When she sells her own house, an agent holds out for the best offer; when she sells yours, she pushes you to take the first decent offer that comes along" (pg. 90).

#2: The Senate Member

"The white supremacist, David Duke, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990 . . . [used] most of the money he raised from his supporters . . . to satisfy [his] gambling habit. It was a sweet little scam he was running - until he was arrested and sebt to federal prison in Big Spring, Texas" (pg. 85).

#3: The Homeless Advocate

"In the early 1980s, an advocate for the homeless named Mitch Snyder took to saying that there were about 3 million homeless Americans. . . . More than 1 of every 100 people were homeless? That sure seemed high, but . . . well, if the expert said it. . . . He also reportedly told a college audience that 45 homeless people die each second - which would mean a whopping 1.4 billion dead homeless every year. (The U.S. population at the time was about 225 million)" (pg. 90).

#4: The Government and its Police

"Crime-Drop Explanation

  1. Innovative policing strategies
  2. Increased reliance on prisons
  3. Changes in crack and other drug markets
  4. Aging of the population
  5. Tougher gun control laws
  6. Strong economy
  7. Increased number of police
  8. All other explanations (increased use of capital punishment, concealed-weapons laws, gun buybacks, and others)" (pg. 121). By this chart, it makes it look like our government is doing such a good job at keeping our country from turning into criminals; however, the crime major crime drop of the 1990s was due to something across the nation. In 1973 a woman named Norma McCorvey, or better known as Jane Roe, was involved in the legalization of abortion in the United States in the court case of Roe vs. Wade. As a result, the troubled girls who would have been just as insufficient mothers were no longer having the children who grow up to be those 'troubled teens who robs the grocery stores'. No criminals being born means no crime happening later, which just so happened to be the era of the crime-drop. Therefore, the people taking all the credit (the police and other government officials) had hardly anything to do with it (pg. 6).

so what's this book all about?

Synopsis of 'Freakonomics'

As previously stated, the authors’ purpose is to show the reader all the hidden tricks that the people who handle your money use on you. Levitt and Dubner use different real-life comparisons and examples for each chapter. This allows the reader to grasp the deepness of their thoughts much easier. By using real-life examples, one can also pick up and notice these rising issues on their own accord. These range from sumo wrestlers and schoolteachers, to the Ku Klux Klan and real estate agents, to drug dealers and on through the crime-drop in the 1990s. However, this book does not only argue the points where people rip you off with their distortions of money realities. Towards the end of the book, they begin to discuss the relevance of the names parents give their children in correlation to their economic standing – without even the slightest knowledge of doing so – as well as the other odd myths of being a ‘perfect parent’. Freakonomics could be described as a mash-up of the vast illustrations of mind play whether an outside force, the persuasion or fear factor of someone else, or even yourself cause it. This bestselling book is well worth the read; it is interesting, informative, relatable (depending on certain aspects of one’s life), and all around a truly stimulating read.