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Steven D. Levitt & Stephen Dubner

February 1, 2016

Steven D. Levitt & Stephen Dubner
The Freakonomics Phenomenon

Steven LevittSteven D. Levitt 
Bestselling Author, Co-star of Freakonomics Documentary, Co- Founder of Spin for Good, and William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago 

When mild-mannered economist Steven D. Levitt published a paper linking a rise in abortion to a drop in crime, it set off a firestorm of controversy and had both the conservatives and liberals up in arms. But Levitt has no political agenda and is the last person to be called a moralist. He is a brilliant but uncomplicated man who uses simple questions to reach startling conclusions. The Wall Street Journal has said “If Indiana Jones were an economist, he'd be Steven Levitt,” he has shown other economists just how well their tools can make sense of the real world.

Steven Levitt is a tenured professor in the University of Chicago's economics department (he received tenure after only two years) and is the recipient of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal - given to the country's best economist under 40.

When Stephen Dubner (co-author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics) profiled Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, he was beset by questions, queries, riddles and requests—from General Motors and the New York Yankees and U.S. senators but also from prisoners and parents and a man who sold bagels. A former Tour de France champion called him to ask his help in proving that the current Tour is rife with doping; the Central Intelligence Agency wanted to know how Levitt might use data to catch terrorists.

Originally published in the U.S. in 2005, Freakonomics instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Hailed by critics and readers alike, it went on to spend more than eight years on The New York Times bestseller list, having sold more than 5 million copies around the world, in more than 35 languages. Levitt and Dubner have appeared widely on television and maintain the popular Freakonomics blog, which can be found on The New York Times website. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt shows how economics is, at root, the study of incentives – that is, how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Freakonomics shows that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. 

 


Stephen Dubner

Stephen Dubner
Bestselling Author, Co-star of Freakonomics Documentary, and     Host of Freakonomics Radio
 

Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known as co-author of the books Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, and Think Like a Freak. They have sold more than 7 million copies in more than 40 countries. Dubner is also the host of the Freakonomics Radio podcast, which gets 5 million downloads a month.

Freakonomics, published in 2005, was an instant international best-seller and cultural phenomenon. Hailed by critics and readers alike, it still appears regularly on The New York Times bestseller list. SuperFreakonomics followed in 2009, to similar acclaim, and in 2010 a documentary film version of Freakonomics was chosen as the closing film of the Tribeca Film Festival. The third book in the Freak trilogy, Think Like a Freak, was published in 2014 and immediately took up a long residency near the top of international best-seller lists.

Dubner also maintains the popular Freakonomics blog, which has been called “the most readable economics blog in the universe” (which isn’t saying much). He has appeared widely on television, including as a regular contributor to ABC News and as host of the Emmy-nominated NFL Network program “Football Freakonomics.”

Dubner is also the author of several other books, including Turbulent Souls/Choosing My Religion (1998), Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper (2003), and the children's book The Boy With Two Belly Buttons (2007). His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and others. Turbulent Souls is currently being developed as a film.

The eighth and last child of an upstate New York newspaperman, Dubner has been writing since he was a child. (His first published work appeared in Highlights magazine.) As an undergraduate at Appalachian State University, he started a rock band that was signed to Arista Records, which landed him in New York City. He ultimately quit playing music to earn an M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University, where he also taught in the English Department. He became an editor and writer at New York magazine and The New York Times before quitting to write books. He is happy he did so.

He lives in New York with his wife, the documentary photographer Ellen Binder, and their two children.

 

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