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Look Ma, No Epidural!

The salutary effects of Freakonomics have by now been proven considerable. A reader from upstate New York sent this picture as proof that the right book can actually speed childbirth, and do away with the need for an epidural. (No word if she was merely shopping for a high-end baby name.)

In other news: Levitt and I are writing a monthly “Freakonomics” column in The New York Times Magazine, and it debuts this Sunday, June 5. A few nights ago, the Times threw a launch party, which became a de facto book party as well (we opted long ago not to have a book party, since there is nothing worse than a big party for a book that might bomb, and we had no evidence to suggest that Freakonomics wouldn’t bomb). In the photo below, left to right, are: Gerry Marzorati (editor of the Times Magazine); Claire Wachtel (our book editor, at William Morrow/HarperCollins); Michael Morrison (HarperCollins publisher, and a native of Mechanicville, N.Y., a few tree stumps away from Duanesburg, my hometown); Jane Friedman (HarperCollins CEO); Lisa Gallagher (William Morrow publisher); me; Jyll Holzman (New York Times senior v.p. for advertising); and Levitt. The black poster on the left, which shows a $1 bill being cranked into a $100 bill, is not meant to be a commentary on the adjacent Freakonomics poster; it is in fact the cover image of the June 5 Times Magazine, the annual special issue devoted to money.