Book Review: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

1.5/10

I listened to an audiobook

I will keep it short and (not so) sweet: I didn’t like this book at all.

Freakonomics is a book about economics. At least, that’s what economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner said. To me, this was simply a book about sociology. There was nothing economic about the various unrelated stories and “research”. They range from corruption in the sumo wrestling industry to baby names to real estate.

First off, as I’ve mentioned, the subjects Levitt and Dubner have nothing to do with economics. I am most certainly not an economics expert, but when I think about economics I’m thinking about, well, money. This was all about sociology, how people behave in certain situations.

Second, I was very annoyed by the fact that they are trying to turn the reader agains experts. Everything they say about experts are bad, and you shouldn’t trust them because they are only trying to make themselves better and you can research everything yourself on the internet anyways. Levitt and Dubner avoid accountability by saying that this is not a scientific work, and that there is no theme that connects the subjects mentioned, but that only makes it more interesting. Alright it may not be scientific, but when you say using data that have been discovered, we can draw a conclusion. I know it isn’t scientific and doesn’t require a full list of works cited, but I would like to know what data he is talking about. Otherwise he could be making up a story for all I know. Levitt and Dubner also do not even care about other research that says something they do not agree with. If there are 100 researchers saying one thing, Levitt goes through great lengths to come up with something else. Of course this is not a bad thing in itself, but just because he found something else he disregards all other research and says that’s all wrong (and most likely corrupt).

Lastly I wanted to draw attention to some smaller issues that annoyed me throughout the book:

  • I can’t be a racist because I am such a nerd! Haha look at the way I dress, racists don’t dress like this!
  • Levitt really loves himself, and Dubner really loves Levitt. We get it, you’re the best economist who has ever lived.
  • Just because the book is not ment to have one theme, does not make it edgy and ok. This was just throwing random facts. Why should I care?
  • “I invented a new form of economy!” No you didn’t, it’s called sociology (I know I’ve mentioned it before but it’s just so annoying to me).
  • Assumes the reader is an idiot. Levitt and Dubner keep repeating what they said 5 pages before. Just because we’re not economists doesn’t make us stupid.
  • The book is also very contradictory: experts are evil and have an agenda, but I back up my arguments with research done by experts.

All in all, this book was simply annoying. The only reason why I gave this book an extra .5/10 is because sometimes I went “oh, that’s pretty interesting”. Sometimes there was a fun fact, mostly it just felt like bollocks.

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