Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 29, 2006 2:07 PM

Freakonomics By Steven D. Levitt And Stephen J. Dubner - Montreal Business Book Club April Selection

The April session of The Montreal Business Club will feature Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. This discussion is taking place on Monday, April 24th, 6:30 pm at Twist Image.

Here's how the Freakonomics website describes the book:

"Which 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 moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded young scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life-from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing - and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. He usually begins with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives - how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of, well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a surfeit of obfuscation, complication, and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and - if the right questions are asked - is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to see through all the clutter.

Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: if morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world."

Freakonomics won many literary awards last year and still remains on the non-fiction Best-Seller list. I had the pleasure of meeting both Levitt and Dubner when they spoke at the recent The Power Within events that were across Canada. Freakonomics is a great book with tons of interesting topics to discuss. I hope you'll join me for this session of The Montreal Business Book Club.

As always, everyone is free to join, but please RSVP by email to me and make sure to read this: The Montreal Business Book Club - A Primer.

I also posted a list of all books covered by The Montreal Business Book Club, which you can view here: The Montreal Business Book Club Book List.

Please be sure to check out the Freakonomics Blog... it rocks: Freakonomics Blog.

By Mitch Joel

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