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Join the Think Like a Freak Book Club — and Win an Autographed Copy!

Our new book, Think Like a Freak, has just been published and we’d like to talk about it with you. So we are forming the Think Like a Freak Book Club.

How does it work? You write in your questions/comments/complaints in the comments section below and we’ll respond to some of them in our podcast. For now, we’re planning to do three episodes of the Book Club. (But if you know us even a little bit, you know we won’t be afraid to quit after one if it doesn’t work out!) Since there are nine chapters in the book, let’s start with  questions that pertain to Chapter 1, 2, and 3 of Think. Those are: “What Does It Mean to Think Like a Freak?,” “The Three Hardest Words in the English Language,” and “What’s Your Problem?”

If we choose your question for the podcast, we’ll send you a signed copy of Think Like a Freak or a limited edition Think Like a Freak t-shirt. Thanks! Read More »



And the Think Like a Freak Swag Goes to …

Last week, we offered some Think Like a Freak swag to the reader who came up with the best answer to the question “What Are the Three Hardest Words to Say?” Your answers were so good (and plentiful!) that we decided to choose three winners, each of whom can have their pick of a signed copy of our new book or a Think Like a Freak t-shirt. (If you didn’t win, there’s another contest going on right now.)

Winner No. 1 is Kris Fletcher, the first (of many) to provide the same answer we provide in the book: “I don’t know.”

Winner No. 2 is Bob S., who plainly gets the spirit of the Levitt-Dubner collaboration, with “Good point, Dubner.”

And Winner No. 3 is Jake. While a lot of people answered “I was wrong,” Jake had a similar take but opted for “I’ve no excuse,” making a case for why that’s even tougher than “I was wrong”:

“I was wrong” seems to be a common phrase people are mentioning, but I think admitting you are wrong is easy if you don’t have to admit that your inner processes were wrong. All the time, you hear people say something like, “Oh, I was wrong about that, but I didn’t have the data I needed at the time.” Very rarely do you hear someone take full blame for their actions without at least assigning partial blame elsewhere. Admitting that you and you alone were in the wrong is much harder.



Think Like a Freak Is Out Today — Win a Signed Copy Here!

Today’s the day: Think Like a Freak has just been published. Levitt and I will spend a lot of the next few weeks doing interviews for various TV, radio, print, web, and other media outlets. So how about we spice things up a bit and, at the same time, give you the chance to win a signed copy? (Winners of last week’s giveaway contest will be announced later today.)

Here’s the deal: in the comments section below, enter a word or short phrase that you’d like us to slip into one of our interviews. If we use your secret phrase, you win a signed copy of Think Like a Freak (or, if you prefer, a Think t-shirt). Read More »



Win a Think Like a Freak T-Shirt or Signed Copy: What Are the Three Hardest Words to Say?

In our forthcoming Think Like a Freak, the second chapter is called “The Three Hardest Words in the English Language.”

I’m not going to tell you here what we argue are the three hardest words to say (although you can find out pretty easily by glancing at the Table of Contents). I want to know what you think are the three hardest words for people to say, especially in public. And by “hard,” I am not talking about pronunciation, although I guess I’m not not talking about pronunciation either.

The best answer that is left in the comments — as voted by a secret quorum of Freaks — will win you a signed copy of Think Like a Freak or a new Think t-shirt, your choice. Read More »



Another $1,000 at Stake in the Gneezy-List Book Title Experiment

A couple weeks ago, Uri Gneezy and John List asked our blog readers to come up with titles for their new book.  And our readers did not disappoint!  There were over 400 suggestions, many of them brilliant.

The authors and their editors have now narrowed it down to five choices, and they once again are asking for your help in deciding on the final title.  There is no better way to solicit that input than — you guessed it — a field experiment.  To get you interested, they are putting up another $1,000 in prizes to participants.

The rules are simple: You go here and answer  two simple questions.

First, you will be asked to choose which of the five titles you think will be the most popular among all the respondents.  They don’t want to know your favorite title, they want to know the title you think other people will like best. Read More »



Here’s Your Chance to Name a (Soon-to-Be) Best-Selling Book and Win $1,000

 My close friend, colleague, and frequent co-author John List has written a popular (non-academic) book with another economist, Uri Gneezy.  John and Uri are pioneers in the area of “field experiments” which bring the power of randomized experiments into real-world settings.   In my opinion, field experiments are the future of empirical economics.  We’ve written at length in our books and on our blog about the amazing work these two have been doing. I’ve had the chance to read John and Uri’s book, and I loved it.

The thing they can’t figure out, however, is what to call the book!  If only my sister Linda – the greatest namer of things the world has ever known — were still around, she would figure out a great title for sure.  In her absence, they’ve asked if I could mobilize the collective genius of you, the Freakonomics blog readers.

Okay, so here is the deal.  Below, I’ve provided some information on the book and links to some materials that might prove useful to you in coming up with a name.  You have two days to generate great titles for the book, which you can submit as comments on this blog post. Read More »



Winners of The Knockoff Economy Photo Contest

We are excited to the announce the winner of The Knockoff Economy contest for best photo of a knockoff. In fact, we are excited to announce that we have two winners (we had a lot of great entries, but these two jumped out). And, since they kind of go together in an odd way, we decided to award them both the prize. Winners receive a signed copy of The Knockoff Economy plus a copy of the new album Just Tell Me That You Want Me, featuring covers (i.e., legal knockoffs) of Fleetwood Mac songs by artists like Karen Elson, Lykke Li, and The New Pornographers.

Our congratulations to Donna Ivanisevic for the Louis Vuitton condom (originally created and sold, ever so briefly, for World AIDS Day) and to Terry Stedman (disclosure: a former student of Kal’s) for the Louis Vuitton Virgin Mary: Read More »



A Conservative Wishtory of the United States

My friend Jack Hitt has a funny piece in The New Yorker listing misstatements about American history by conservative politicians, beginning with these doozies: 

1500s: The American Revolutionary War begins: “The reason we fought the revolution in the sixteenth century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown.”—Rick Perry

1607: First welfare state collapses: “Jamestown colony, when it was first founded as a socialist venture, dang near failed with everybody dead and dying in the snow.”—Dick Armey

1619-1808: Africans set sail for America in search of freedom: “Other than Native Americans, who were here, all of us have the same story.”—Michele Bachmann

1775: Paul Revere “warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells and making sure as he was riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”—Sarah Palin

1775: New Hampshire starts the American Revolution: “What I love about New Hampshire… You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world.”—Michele Bachmann

[Ed. note: One of these claims seems much closer to being true: see page 1336-38 of Property in Land].

Freakonomics Nation: can we produce an analogous list of historical misstatements by liberal pols? We’ll give out some Freakonomics swag to a clear winner or two.