"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference" - Robert Frost

May 10, 2014

Book Review: Freakonomics by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

This is my first time reviewing an economic-thingy book. At first I wasn't really interested with this book, the title itself had gotten me feel like "rrr, this is so not me". But then, as I read the synopsis and the earlier pages of the book, I decided to keep reading it.

Stephen D. Levitt is an economist who gives lecture at the University of Chicago. Graduated from MIT (and later Harvard), at the time the book was published he just got a John Bates Clark Medal, that is given to American best economist under the age forty in every two years.

While you might think that this is a book about economic-thing blablabla whatsoever, that you've already prepared yourself to, once again, read a review about a boring book discussing about world-monetary thingy, well, you're absolutely wrong. I myself thought that way, too.

In fact, when reading this book you won't find any confusing economic-sheets. Yes, believe me. As you read more you won't even think that you're reading an economic book.

Levitt, in fact, shows us that economy is actually a study of incentive--how people get what they want/need, when others want/need it too.
Levitt mindblowingly insists us to throw our old points of view and see everything--well, almost everything, with the brand new ones.
While he once said that he didn't want to write any book, but after meeting Dubner, a New York Times journalist, they felt a cliche and decided to write a book together. 

So what is this book all about?
It's all about everything we thought wasn't included`in the economics subject, but it actually is. Levitt, with the help of Dubner in writing it (I think Dubner has this sense of making a boring-to-read writing into an enjoyable-to-be-read one), open hidden weird facts in, well, almost everything.

In every chapter they give us something fresh to our minds, might as well be weird though, but they all still make sense. And we can learn new things here.

Like, in chapter two, they discuss the similarities of the Ku Klux Klan and real estate agents. At first I only knew a little about Ku Klux Klan (KKK), from the novel Gone with the Wind lol, that it's an organization built to scare (and later to kill) the negro slaves. But thanks to this book, now I know more.

Ku Klux Klan was once being registered as a non-profitable and non-political organization. It was Stetson Kennedy who revealed that KKK wasn't that kind of organization at all--it charged $10 for membership card, $10 for annual fee and $15 for uniform fee (at the late 19th century, those amounts of cash were pretty huge deal of cash).

And then KKK had weird rituals, too. They got habit to add the letters KL in some words like "Klonversation" for "Conversation", and "Klavern" for "Cavern".

Levitt and Dubner also discuss other even weirder things, like, why drug dealers are still living with their moms, when they actually are making a huge amount of cash (turns out that drug dealer's career ladder is just as the same as usual corporate ladder (the top earns the biggest)).
And that the name of a baby can determine how educated its parents are.

Yes, they are weird people with such weird thinking. The best sentence written in this book is:

"If morality represents how the world should be working, then economics represents how the world actually works."

Truly true.

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