Freakonomics – A Journey on Challenging Conventional Wisdom Through Economics


Reading a book about economics is probably good for anyone in today's business world or for myself, a small business coach. Yet, the authors, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics provided their readers a lot more than just numbers.

The first hook that I received was how the authors defined morality and economics. Not, I am not going to share those definitions with you. You need to buy the book or check the book out at the local library.

Then the authors proceeded to connect seemingly unrelated events through 6 chapters from What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common? to What Makes a Perfect Parent? using the science of measurement. These are not your standard economic topics by conventional wisdom. Their efforts reminded me of the Connections television series hosted by James Burke (science historian) that debuted in the late 1970's.

What the authors accomplished for me was:

  • To confirm through some unique examples that we as human beings have a tendency to confuse cause and effect
  • To look beyond the accepted conventional wisdom with a different perspective by asking the unasked questions

In far warning, part of this book might be viewed quite negatively by some readers. The authors did their best to balance their findings against anticipated moral outrage.

Again, conventional wisdom many times has us throwing out the baby with the bath water. Levitt and Dubner are asking you to question what you really know against what you have been told. You may not agree with their findings, but the process of open and honest question should be the conventional wisdom within every individual.


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