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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Assume nothing, question everything. 

This is the message at the heart of Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner's rule-breaking, iconoclastic book about crack dealers, cheating teachers and bizarre baby names that turned everyone's view of the world upside-down and became an international multi-million-copy-selling phenomenon.  

©2005 Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (P)2005 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Prepare to be dazzled." (Malcolm Gladwell)

"A sensation...you'll be stimulated, provoked and entertained. Of how many books can that be said?" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Has you chuckling one minute and gasping in amazement the next." (Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about Freakonomics

Average customer ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well presented and fun - buy it now!

I've bought 20 or so audiobooks now, and this one is my favourite by a long way. Part of its appeal is the excellent content: yes, it's about economics, but you won't hear complicated algorithms or boring spreadsheets being discussed. Instead, Freakonomics points out problems - 'how can we find out whether teachers fudge the numbers on their students exams?' or 'if drug dealers make so much money, why do most of them with their mothers?' - then discusses how the problem was solved using a mixture of cunning, inspiration and skill.

You find yourself laughing at the weird and wonderful results the authors found, because it's truly fascinating stuff. Of course, it also helps that it's very well-presented (an excellent reading, sparky music, fun chapter breaks that focus on people as well as problems, etc), which means this is one of the very few 'must buy' audiobooks out there. I just hope there'll be a sequel soon!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Micro economics for all

Brings micro economics to life and makes statistical analysis interesting and entertaining plus thought provoking. Very American in its orientation. Although 3 stars, a must.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Extremely enjoyable!

Well-written, pacey account of some of Leavitt's research and interests. A little of everything is here: whether it is uncovering how teachers can (and sometimes do) fiddle test scores, or studying how drug gangs operate internally. Not so much a study of economics as a window on the motivations that drive society at the start of the twenty-first century. Very thought-provoking.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Crazy statistics

Great examples of how statistical analysis can be used in more obscure situations not just macro-economics!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Fun - yes, it's economics......

One of those popular science books that comes along now and again and threatens to change the way you look at life for ever but falls a little short of that. The kids really enjoyed it and perhaps that's where this book really belongs in the 'I was a teenage Noam Chomsky' section - or perhaps that's really where Noam Chomsky belongs.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

an anthology of interesting happenings

There is no central thesis to this book, but a series of very interesting studies

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking and inspiring

This book is like having an in depth debate about the complexities of life with a best mate. The fact that there really insn't a theme apart from getting you to think is even more exciting. A thoroughly enjoyable listen particulary on those long motorway drives.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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surprising

great stories and surprising twists. some long lists of names could have been summarised better as they are not impactful as an audio book, but somewhat confusing!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Mildly interesting, at best

I have no idea why this book has so many good reviews. It is, at best, mildly interesting, using a tedious series of (USA specific) stories to make some obscure point about how ‘people’ are manipulated by experts, suppliers, the markets etc.
All of this is couched in the presumption that statistics are somehow interesting.
Very dull.
Given 2 stars purely because I learned some interesting trivia - presumable not the point of this otherwise drab book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dubner’s use of the N word is very unsettling

I enjoyed listening to the book until I got to the section on why drug dealers still live with their mothers. I think this book requires an update because, despite him reading speech, it is still very unsettling to hear the author feel so comfortable saying the N word aloud.

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  • Stephan
  • 28-01-20

Very Interesting Listening

A quirky and interesting view on how the world works.

I read this book after discovery the treasure trove of hundreds of freakonomics podcasts. And it delivered with more of the same, clever research about arbitrary topics that keeps you interested.