Chapter Excerpts

An Explanatory Note
In which the origins of this book are clarified.

Introduction
In which the book’s central idea is set forth: namely, if morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work.

Chapter 1: What Do School Teachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?
In which we explore the beauty of incentives, as well as their dark side: cheating.

Chapter 2: How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents?
In which it is argued that nothing is more powerful than information, especially when its power is abused.

Chapter 3: Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?
In which the conventional wisdom is often found to be a web of fabrication, self-interest, and convenience.

Chapter 4: Where Have All the Criminals Gone?
In which the facts of crime are sorted out from the fictions.

Chapter 5: What Makes a Perfect Parent?
In which we ask, from a variety of angles, a pressing question: do parents really matter?

Chapter 6: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
In which we weigh the importance of a parent’s first official act: naming the baby.