Freaknomics Discussion Questions

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Ready for book club? Here are some questions to think about from

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner claim there is no unifying theme to Freakonomics. Do you agree? How would you describe the central idea of Freakonomics? What is the purpose of the book?

Why do you think Levitt and Dubner include snippets from the New York Times Magazine article between chapters? What does this add to the book?

Do you buy Levitt and Dubner’s claim that conventional wisdom is often wrong? What is the role of conventional wisdom in society?

Why do you think more parents at the Israeli day care came late after the financial penalty was added? Are their situations in your life where guilt is a better motivator than money?

Do you believe Levitt and Dubner’s findings about Chicago school teachers and sumo wrestlers cheating? Did the findings surprise you?

How do you think the Internet is changing the information advantage of experts and secret societies (like real estate agents and the KKK)?

Were you surprised by how similar the Black Disciples’ organizational structure was to corporations like McDonalds? Why do you think people perceive drug dealers as well off financially?

Do you buy Levitt and Dubner’s argument that the drop in crime in the 1990s was the result of Roe v. Wade? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their argument?

Do you agree that there is little parents can do to influence whether their children are successful? Do you think there are high-end and low-end names?

Rate Freakonomics on a scale of one to five.


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