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Introduction & Overview of Freakonomics

Steven Levitt
This Study Guide consists of approximately 71 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Freakonomics.
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Freakonomics Summary & Study Guide Description

Freakonomics Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography and a Free Quiz on Freakonomics by Steven Levitt.

What trait is shared by both Ku Klux Klan members and real-estate agents? In what way do the working worlds of Chicago schoolteachers and Japanese sumo wrestlers intersect? These questions might seem puzzling at first glance, but the answers provided in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything reveal that fundamental notions of economics can be used to interpret just about everything in modern society.

One of the authors, Steven D. Levitt, is an award-winning economist; the other, Stephen J. Dubner, is a former writer and editor for New York Times Magazine. The two met when Dubner was working on a profile of Levitt for the magazine. The article was a huge success, and the two men guessed that a book-length discussion of Levitt's work would prove equally popular. Indeed, Freakonomics reached number two on the New York Times bestseller list, and it was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book for 2005.

The book has generated an astounding amount of interest among mainstream readers, most notably for its controversial assertion that the legalization of abortion in the 1970s led to a significant drop in crime in the United States. The authors also tackle well-worn examples of conventional wisdom—for example, the notion that Head Start preschool programs lead to smarter kids or the idea that guns are a greater threat to young children than swimming pools—and use hard data to show that they are wrong. Instead of offering a book focused on a single theme, the authors say they "opted instead for a sort of treasure-hunt approach" so that they might "follow whatever freakish curiosities may occur to [them]."

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