Talk:Freakonomics

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Arbitrary section header[edit]

I added the POV tag, as I feel that the passage "However, this can still explained by the fact that, in sumo, wrestlers are required to fight strategically for the entire course of tournament. One may lose a match the next day if he exhausts himself on his not so important match. So the statistical outcome of the match can be explained entirely by such behaviour rather than cheating." is in the article for no other reason than to disparage the book. The user who added these sentences, User:FWBOarticle, states that this counter-argument "appeared in [a] Japanese sumo magazine," but does not mention which magazine, link to said article, quote the article (or, if the article is quoted verbatim, the use of quotation marks), state when the article was written, or note whether or not the article was a direct response to the points made in "Freakonomics." I am not going to delete this section of the Wiki entry for "Freakonomics" myself, but I do not feel that there is a reason for it to exist. Kicking222 22:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)


I do not feel that any of this last part is appropriate for this article. I am pasting it here so that there is a carbon copy, but I feel that it is inappropriate and gives away some of the enjoyment of reading.

One striking example of the authors' creative use of economic theory involves demonstrating the existence of cheating among Sumo wrestlers. In a Sumo tournament, all wrestlers compete in fifteen matches. Those who win a majority of the matches receive preferential treatment; those who don't must perform humiliating duties, such as washing hard-to-reach places on the bodies of their betters. The authors looked at the final match, and considered the case of a 7-7 wrestler fighting against an 8-6 wrestler. Statistically, the 7-7 wrestler should have a slightly below even chance, since the 8-6 wrestler is slightly better. However, the 7-7 wrestler actually wins around 80% of the time.

I removed some of the pro-author slant in this article. Yes I liked the book, but there are some clearly flawed analyses in it as well. And saying 'Levitt's genius lies in...' is clearly POV. And not even generally accepted POV. Baiter 02:55, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


If this is not a 'discussion' page, then why does the tab say 'discussion'? If you must, file this under 'criticisms'.

I haven't read the book, but it occurs to me that the 7-7 wrestler will be much more motivated because he faces elimination, while the 8-6 wrestler does not, and so he will probably wrestle much more aggressively than his opponent. The record after 14 matches is a larger sample size, so it is a more accurate indicator of performance "skill" (or the ability to win), than is the outcome of any one match. Given the records, the two wrestlers are very closely matched, so the difference in skill is most likely small enough to be negligible. Given the nature of the sport, and given that they are both skilled wrestlers, the relative skill level may be less of a winning factor than motivation or aggressiveness.

The 8-6 wrestler is probably exhausted after having wrestled in the previous 14 matches. Also in general it probably requires more energy to win a match and to maintain an above average record. So compared to the 7-7 wrestler, the 8-6 wrestler probably endured a somewhat higher overall level of exertion during the earlier matches of the tournament, particularly since he faced possible elimination in at least 8 of the prior 14 matches. He is also probably relieved that he "made the cut" and that he does not have to "sprint for the finish line" so to speak. He is taking it easy, because given the tournament standings, he has very little to either win or lose.

IMHO, the statistic does not prove the existence of collusion or corruption. Nice try though.

If you read the book, they address that. The next time the same pairs of wrestlers meet, the one who was 8-6 the first time has a significant advantage. In further meetings, it goes back to the predicted 50-50. RogueNinjatalk 01:02, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Question: Is it corrupt to publish false reasoning and take a book commission? Answer: No, not if you put the words 'freak' and 'rogue' in the title. Answer: The book explores "possibilities", if you will. The entire book disects things to the point where you actually wonder if half the stuff is true (set aside the statistical aspects). With the case of the sumo wrestlers' coorelation in win-loss records, it is only providing distinct possibilities as to what incentives would cause a certain wrestler to "throw a match", meaning one wrestler would purposely try to lose in order to gain certain benefits that are a direct representation of his win-loss record. Surrounding this whole chapter is the discussion of why or why not the wrestlers would have to try hard to win, or simply just lose so that they can do things such as help out another opponent who is in need of a win. --Mikiemike 19:41, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

ISBN[edit]

ISBN of Revised edition should be added... I don't have the book. — RevRagnarok Talk Contrib 17:19, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


I've got the revised and expanded edition, and on the back two ISBN numbers are listed. The first is listed as "ISBN-13: 978-0-06-123400-2" and the second is listed as "ISBN-10: 0-06-123400-1". I'm not really sure which should be added to the article.

need clarification...[edit]

The authors attempt to demonstrate the power of data mining. Many of their results emerge from Levitt's analysis of various databases, and his creativity in asking the right questions. For example, cheating in the Chicago school system is implicated by detailed analysis of student's answers to multiple choice questions. But first Levitt asks, "What would the pattern of answers look like if the teacher cheated?" The simple answer - difficult questions at the end of a section will be more correct than easy ones at the beginning.

What exactly does the bolded line mean? Why does that happen? Is the wording just cryptic or am I just too slow to get it... Alveolate 10:43, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

The multiple-choice tests they're talking about have easier questions at the beginning and progressively harder questions toward the end. Since the earlier questions are easier, you would expect that honest results would show a higher number of correct answers near the beginning than they do toward the end. On the other hand, if a teacher is cheating, what you would expect would be a higher number of correct answers near the end, because the teacher is filling in correct answers to questions the students left blank. 76.118.82.108 (talk) 02:14, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Literary Present Tense[edit]

The usual convention is to write about text in the present tense--called literary present tense. If this convention is being followed on Wikipedia, the sentence in this article that reads "In Chapter 2 of Freakonomics, the authors wrote of their visit to folklorist Stetson Kennedy's Florida home where the topic of Kennedy's investigations of the Ku Klux Klan were discussed." should, if this convention is being followed read "In Chapter 2 of Freakonomics, the authors write of their visit to folklorist Stetson Kennedy's Florida home where the topic of Kennedy's investigations of the Ku Klux Klan was discussed." And actually "is discussed" would also be better here, but is not as crucial. I'm not sure if this convention is generally followed in wikipedia, though. Is it?

Jthepp (talk) 19:06, 5 December 2008 (UTC)jthepp

Critical Reception[edit]

I have read much of the book and came to Wikipedia to find a brief, summarized passage on the critical reception of Freakonomics. I will not expand on my own opinions, except to say that I was disappointed that, while most books and movies on this website have such a section, this article has, for some reason, been content to use the book's status as a best-seller to communicate its reception into the academic and critical community. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.107.208.148 (talk) 06:10, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Book is pretty shoddy. And not just cause they messed up some correlation causation and some statistics. I think the book mainly appeals to middlebrows that like the cool cover and how it looks on the bookshelf. It does not genuinely provoke new discussion. And it does not translate important science into the popular sphere. It's style over substance. There are so many better pop science books out there. It's almost as bad as a Gladwell book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.82.35.39 (talk) 03:37, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Actually sociology[edit]

This book is a con. It is almost entirely (some very poor) sociology, with some social psychology and some sprinklings of economics. Just Google "freakonomics sociology" and you'll find corroboration for this. It seems 'sociology' is too scary a label however. Seen as too subversive or irrelevant, but 'economics' and 'economists' are somehow seen as OK. The authors probably even fool themselves. Surely some recognition of this, and some mention of criticism (aside from the Romanian abortion point), should be made in the article? Hsjdg67 (talk) 17:24, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I have found some articles from other economists to this effect and have created a 'Criticism' section to reflect these Hsjdg67 (talk) 17:24, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

This is merely your personal opinion and has little if any place on this page. You could write a review at Amazon incorporating your opinion -- but not here. --Michael K SmithTalk 16:02, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

may require protection[edit]

Someone is serieal vandalizing this page, it might be a good idea to protect it to stop this... Corhen (talk) 03:17, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

The blog?[edit]

Why is there no link on the page to the current location of the Freakonomics blog, especially if it has ceased to appear in the NYT? There's a brief discussion, and a screenshot (outdated, apparently), but no link that I can find. --Michael K SmithTalk 16:03, 9 December 2012 (UTC)