Freakonomics Celebrates Father's Day

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.

From Dubner’s:

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?”

Pause. “White?”

“You’re guessing?”


“True … That lady behind us, what’d she order?”

“Grilled cheese?”

“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.


the question i like asking my children is "and what could be another explanation for that...?"

didnt have much interaction with my father.


how about releasing them in an open format... information should be open, not limited to one device....

Biz Runner

Wait a second. What are those of us who DONT have a Nook supposed to do? Not cool.


I believe Levitt/Dubner are creating an incentive (albeit, a weak one) for us to go buy Nooks.. Do you gents own some B&N stock?


umm either buy one or stop complaining..VIVA LA CAPITALISM!!!!


This is GREAT news!!!!!!

-But then, I own B and N stock. I think everyone else would prefer that you just post the essays here.


The extract of Dubner's essay published here sounds a little too much like the opening scenes from many 'Psych' episodes.
Psych's lead character's father who was a cop, quizzed him in the same way.


My parents used to play a similar game: we would be instructed to look carefully at the table at the restuarant, then close our eyes. while various false clues such as clanking and tinkling of silverware distracted us, they would move or remove certain items. We had to open our eyes and identify the changes. It's a cheap, easy, and useful way to occasionally pass time during dinner.


Near as I can tell, these essays are no longer available, even in the limited Nook format. Any way for an interested but tardy reader to track them down?