Economics Meets Journalism
Freakonomics is a book that analyzes practical issue of the World as we know it today, through the eyes of a rogue economist and a journalist. Steven D. Levitt, who is the economist, does not necessarily enjoy the math of economics but rather the stories that come from certain data. He loves to pinpoint and analyze unusual data to come up with answers for some of the wildest questions we can think of like What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common? Stephen J. Dubner who is a journalist for New York Times magazine was researching Levitts way of studying economics and wanted him to write a book about it all. Levitt decided that he would only write a book if Dubner joined him, and so together they have a created a book with logical and yet some of the most crazy questions and answers.
When speaking in terms of a theme for the book, it is rather hard to explain the way they have approached the writing of the book. Generally a theme is presented in a book and by the end it is proved and expanded on although Freakonomics takes a whole different approach.
Most books put forth a single theme, crisply expressed in a sentence or two, and then tell the entire story of that theme: the history of salt; the fragility of democracy; and the use and misuse of punctuation. This book boasts no such unifying themewe opted instead for a sort of treasure-hunt approach. Yes, this approach employs the best analytical tools that economics can offer, but it also allows us to follow whatever freakish curiosities may occur to us. Thus our invented field of study: Freakonomics.
Each chapter has its own theme which all connect back to the main idea of the book, that with the use of crazy data, some very interesting stories can be revealed. Levitt and Dubner love to focus on topics that revolve around lying or cheating and to expose it. Due to the fact that the book doesnt necessarily have a central theme is doesnt really flow. Each chapter is like a different story, but all the stories are derived from the very same idea know to the writers as Freakonomics.
As for the facts and opinions in the book, everything written by them is meant to be well researched, unbiased and based fully upon factual data. As an economist, Levitts work must be done properly and accurately. The one thing that makes the stories so outrageous and interesting is that they are true. Opinions are seen occasionally in a sense that the writers are assuming that the readers will appreciate, believe and find the information presented to be amusing but beside that the entire book is fact and the opinions are sparingly seen.
Once again, the main theme and setting all pertain to their own chapters and are not exactly important to the book. There is never really a setting or a storyline for the book to be taking place in. It is merely an analysis of data and worldly issues. It talks of different settings like the classroom or the mothers house of a drug dealer etc. but the story never actually takes place in any one specific place. In terms of a main conflict, Levitt and Dubner are simply after the truth to every question that they come up with. Some of the conflicts that are seen throughout the book are things like Would a Roshanda by any other name smell bad?, What Makes a Perfect Parent? and How is the Klu Klux Klan like a Group of Real Estate Agents?
The essence of the thesis statement in Freakonomics is to reveal unsettling and unexpected truths. The goal of the book is to reveal the World how it really is and not how we want it to be or how common knowledge deems it. Freakonomics tells a lot about the World in the few and simple scenarios that we have a chance to experience and much can be learned from it.
In essence the book is very entertaining and an easy read. I would recommend it to everyone to read especially if you love to know why. So many people go on in their lives doing things because people tell them too. Freakonomics steps outside of that box, analyzes the facts about odd and interesting scenarios and comes up with logical and factual answers.