Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner


Freakonomics tells you there isn’t a universal theme of the book, but rather looks at events in a different perspective. It looks to certain topics then strives to find data that will explain why things are they way they are. It may provide unpopular information, but it strives to provide accurate, data proven information. It covers topics such as abortion, crime, and parenting. It presents that crime dropped significantly in the 1990s in the USA, not due to increased police tactics, but rather by increasing the numbers of police, but more importantly it was the effect of Roe v. Wade. This meant the mothers who had abortions, did so instead of bringing unwanted children into the world. -but on a mere comparison of lives lost, there are far more lost to abortion than from the crime, illustrating that there is no easy answer, even with the data provided conclusion. The book addresses the higher likelihood of pools killing children than guns. It looks at data showing that genetics of parents matters most for children’s test scores. It showed themes in income related to names chosen and even looked at sumo wrestling records to identify what could lead to their records. Overall there are a myriad of topics, but the overall function is to view things differently and look to find data that can explain as best able for what happened.

How it influenced me

This book had been recommended by some entrepreneurs I met with on my 50-state journey in 2017. I had heard good things and found it to be quite interesting. The ending of the book looks to address what the reader will do with the information they have gathered. It suggests that subtle changes will occur, and I don’t see why not. I do know there are some things I have shared with friends as it suggested I might like the importance of pool safety. Overall, I do appreciate anything that gives new light onto a topic. I appreciate the willingness to see something and question it intensely and then seek out information for solutions. This is even more important today in the day of false news being presented and created on social media. I’m also curious to see how the world of big data collection and AI can be used to perhaps make us better at creating solutions as seen in this book. I’m curious if as humans we can overcome our biases and accept these new truths and how we will handle the process of information going forward. I appreciate the book enabling me to have a nice exercise of thought I experienced while reading it and typing these words.


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