Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Book Review: Freakonomics

At the risk of turning this blog into something resembling a seventh grade English class… I have been doing a lot of reading lately. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, is a rather interesting little book (barely 200 pages) by the prize winning economist, Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubnar, a journalist who nobody really cares about anyway. Levitt, a “rogue” economist known for his unique approaches to problems, attacks such every day issues as comparing the “Ku Klux Klan and real estate agents” and my personal favorite “Why drug dealers live with their mom?”. Although many of his breakthroughs seem rather obvious, and rather full of himself, I still found the book largely entertaining and informative. His main thesis seems to be to look at the way people interact with their world in new ways, not assume connections automatically, and don’t discard options without looking at them. My main question is, if Levitt, a graduate of both Harvard and MIT, is so darn smart, why does he need a journalist to help him write his book?

3 comments:

triticale said...

For the simple reason that "smart" does not automatically equal "articulate", let alone "able to convey ideas to the average reader".

James B. said...

True, but I am old fashioned. I think any professor, especially a distinguished one should be able to write his own book, at least in the social sciences or liberal arts. I suppose a physicist or biologist might have a little excuse. Benjamin Franklin or Adam Smith didn't need a ghost writer! Although hey, he might have just been busy.

Chase Dickinson said...

He needs a jounalist to help him write a book because he is one of those people who has no friends all he can do is write equations and thats what he does for fun. a journalist can put what he says in a way that people can understand.