If you own a Nook, the new e-reader from Barnes & Noble — and apparently quite a few of you do — you can bring a little Freakonomics to your Father’s Day, for free. Levitt and Dubner have each written an essay about how their fathers influenced them. The essays can be downloaded via Nook at your local B&N starting June 20, and will be available for four weeks.
From Levitt’s essay:
As I look back, I can’t think of anything more valuable in my life than the time my father spent breaking the rules with me. It wasn’t just, or even principally, laws that we violated. He taught me to flout the limits that society imposed. Even though I was just a kid, I was supposed to be able to think like an adult, or better, for that matter.
We’d go to Gibby’s Diner, sit at the counter. I don’t remember what I ate; he got a cup of coffee with a half-scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. Then we’d play the game: Powers of Observation.
“Okay, look around,” he said. “Look hard. Take it all in. Listen, too.”
After a few minutes, he’d tell me to close my eyes.
“The waitress,” he said. “What color is her apron?”
“True … That lady behind us, what’d she order?”
“Nope. Chili. How many people have come in since we started?”
And so it went. The first few rounds, I was terrible. Then I’d get better.