The Freakonomics guys return with another kooky and counterintuitive compilation of economic analysis that might appear wildly offbeat but just might be surprisingly spot-on.
It’s been a decade since Levitt and Dubner (Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, 2014, etc.) first set the thinking world on end with their provocative investigations into the economics of everyday things. In the intervening years, the uncompromising writers have kept their freak flag flying, penning a series of equally challenging blog posts further aimed at discovering the hidden underpinnings of society. Here, the authors bring together a selection of those posts. The format, however, doesn’t always serve the contents. Careening from the oil apocalypse to the benefits of cheating in sports is lots of fun, but the ride can be jarring without a contemplative break in between. In their original form, Levitt and Dubner’s blog posts went off like tiny literary land mines. But they allowed time to think and regroup. Here, they often leave readers feeling like they’re being repeatedly subjected to a series of head-snapping hit-and-runs. Wait. We should allow folks to vote as many times as they like in elections as long as they pay for it? What? Levitt and Dubner’s latest foray is much more successful when it reflects the lively online interactions 10 years of blogging have brought them—e.g., the time they sought out the best aptonyms on the planet and found a dentist named “Chip Silvertooth” and an undertaker named “Eikenberry.” Equally pleasing is their account of the episode in which the Internet deftly managed to turn the tables on the supersavvy economists when they attempted to find and congratulate their 400,000th Twitter follower.
Opportunistic, to be sure, but the authors provide plenty to revel in if you haven’t been keeping up with 10 years of freaky blog posts.