In the summer of 2003, The New York Times Magazine sent Stephen J. Dubner, an author and journalist, to write a profile of Steven D. Levitt, a heralded young economist at the University of Chicago. Levitt was not remotely interested in the things that interest most economists. Instead, he studied the riddles of everyday life—from cheating to crime to child-rearing—and his conclusions turned the conventional wisdom on its head.
Levitt and Dubner then collaborated on Freakonomics, a book that gives full play to Levitt’s most compelling ideas. Through forceful storytelling and sharp insight, it reminds us all that economics is, at its root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Among the questions it answers: Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? If drug dealers make so much money, why do they still live with their mothers? What makes a perfect parent? And, of course: What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? (Answer: they both cheat.)
Now this cultural blockbuster comes to trade paperback with exclusive extras— including a new preface, five Freakonomics columns from The New York Times Magazine, an exclusive author Q & A and a sneak preview of Superfreakonomics.