MK 354 Spring 2010

March 22, 2010

Economics Made Interesting

Filed under: blog #6 — carolinerichov @ 12:51 pm

Looking to strike up a dry, uninteresting conversation? Talk economics: it’s not uncommon for most people to dread the thought of the topic.  Interestingly enough, when economist Steven Levitt and “New York Times” journalist Stephen Dubner paired up to write “Freakonomics,” they were able get people to think of economics in a much different way.

InFreakonomics”, Levitt and Dubner apply economic research and analysis to link the events and problems of everyday life and turn conventional wisdom upside down.   The book is easy to read and understand: addressing interesting and unusual questions in a very accessible way.  Instead of listing off statistics and relationships that are likely to be forgotten, Levitt and Dubner use a balance of economic analysis and stories to answer questions including, “what do teachers and wrestlers have in common?,” “why do drug dealers still live with their moms?” and “what makes a perfect parent?”

In Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick,” they say “a story is powerful because it provides the context missing from abstract prose” (214).  In “Freakonomics,” Levitt and Dubner successfully take economic statistics and create entertaining stories for readers to take interest in and therefore, more easily understand.   By “putting knowledge into a framework that is more lifelike, more true to our day-to-day existence” (214), “Freakonomics” engages the reader by using stories to create a more concrete and unexpected way to view economics.

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