A hidden side of Freakonomics is the extraordinary mesh of collaboration that has grown up around the movement. There is no better example of this collaboration than my colleague and good friend John Donohue, who has coauthored with Levitt (on abortion), Ayres (on guns), and Wolfers (on the death penalty). There is simply no finer quantitative empiricist in the legal academy.
So it is greatly deserved that John has just been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. But knowing John, I think he might be prouder of some of his exploits on the basketball or tennis court. In an early draft of Super Crunchers, I used these words to describe him:
Donohue the person is unusual even by academic standards. He is a freakishly good athlete who has retained his wiry frame and his skills, not just in tennis but also in basketball and swimming, well into his late 40’s. He’s the kind of guy who, on the spur of the moment, might go out and win a citywide free-throw competition. I’ve seen John eat prodigious amounts of food at a sitting — 10 pounds of unadorned rice and steamed broccoli. It all seemed to be devoured by an intellectual and physical metabolism that burns brighter than the average human.