Freakonomics is a go-to pick for any teacher looking to satisfy a nonfiction reading requirement with an interesting text that students will truly enjoy. Students will delight in reading about the mysterious, multifaceted topics in this text, and they'll especially like the way authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner make them easier to understand and more relatable to their world.

Freakonomics is perfect for getting students to use critical-thinking skills to examine the evidence for and against an idea or theory — an essential real-world skill, and one they'll need to be prepared for a college or career setting.

Summary of Freakonomics

Key Facts

  • Recommended Grade Band: 9 – 12
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Length: 336 pages
  • Lexile Measure: 1240L

Freakonomics is an award-winning nonfiction text that explores economics in a new and exciting way. Economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner delve into issues such as crime, drugs, sports, and laws and explain them with evidence and a humorous tone.

The authors examine these complex topics from different angles in order to expand their readers' understanding of these subjects as well as the theories behind the study of economics in general.

What Your Students Will Love About Freakonomics

  • The humorous tone Levitt and Dubner employ throughout
  • The way Levitt and Dubner explain difficult topics in easier terms

Potential Student Struggles With Freakonomics

  • Some of the more controversial topics in the book, such as abortion and drug dealing
  • Examining the data, tables, and numbers in the book, which may prove challenging (or boring) for some students

Literary Elements in Freakonomics

  • Point of View
  • Illustrations and Data
  • Intricate Research
  • Applying Economics to Understandable Situations
  • Moral Views vs. Scientific Views

Major Themes in Freakonomics

Incentives and motives — The book repeatedly shows how incentives affect thoughts and actions, especially economically.

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Unexamined conventional wisdom — Although the authors do not directly express that all conventional ways of thinking are wrong, they convey through data and examples that conventional insight is often incorrect or not thoroughly questioned.

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Intense effects from small causes — Steven and Stephen show that one must investigate into the intricacies of events in order to find real causes of effects. These causes are not always obvious or grand.

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Other Resources for Freakonomics

Order Freakonomics Resources from Prestwick House

Resource Format
Freakonomics Paperback Student Edition