Blue field like crop rows and burgundy border, saying "Don't Just Survive - Thrive

Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Thesis: By unraveling your life’s secret codes, you can turn your view of the way things work upside down- and discover a totally new way of seeing the world.
Specific Things to Remember:

  • Don’t try to look at the forest while standing in the trees. Sometimes “unrelated” factors have the biggest impact.
  • Money hardly matters at all with politics – it’s charisma.
  • Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life.
  • The conventional wisdom is often wrong.
  • Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes.
  • “Experts”- from criminologists to real-estate agents – use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda.
  • Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.
  • Financial incentives to “not” do something backfire – people pay for convenience – make sure the cost is painful enough to your specific bracket.
  • If you hold the information and don’t share it – you have power. Mystery = power.
  • Terms related to a higher real estate sale:
    • Granite
    • State-of-the-art
    • Corian
    • Maple
    • Gourmet
  • Terms related to a lower real estate sale:
    • Fantastic
    • Spacious
    • !
    • Charming
    • Great Neighborhood
  • Abortions = lower crime rate.
  • Peer groups matter more than any other parenting choice.
  • Factors that strongly correlate with student test scores:
    • Highly educated parents
    • Parents’ high socioeconomic status
    • Mother was 30 or older at birth
    • Low birthweight
    • Speaking English at home
    • Adopted child
    • Parents involved in PTA
    • Lots of books in the home
  • Irish and Jewish names invoke smart children