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Check It Out: Freakonomics

Humans are curious creatures, and I’m sure you’ve wondered about the mysteries of the world around you from time to time. Perhaps you’ve wondered if dealing drugs is actually a lucrative job. Or, why did the American crime rate rise in the 1960s and 70s, but drop in the 90s? Does what you name your child affect his or her chance of getting a job someday? Does “eating local” actually help the environment? Why are so many animated movie characters voiced by celebrities? Could we someday prevent hurricanes by floating thousands of inner tubes in the Gulf of Mexico to alter the water temperature? Okay, maybe you haven’t asked yourself that last question specifically.

These subjects and many more are explored in the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, and its sequels: Superfreakonomics, Think Like a Freak, and When to Rob a Bank. Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Dubner, a journalist, use the principles of economics to figure out why things are the way they are, and whether they can be changed. These books are fun, fast-paced, and entertaining, and you’ll soon find yourself telling your friends and family the interesting facts you’ve learned.

If you want to learn more about how economic theory affects our everyday lives, stop by the Sioux City Public Library and check out a Freakonomics book today. You can also check out eBooks from this series at siouxcitylibrary.org. Or if you don’t have time to read an entire book right now, I also recommend checking out the authors’ blog and weekly podcast.

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