How to Respond?

Date: February 14, 2011 2:50:11 PM EST
Subject: Free Book

Hello, i live in brazil and i would like to receive the book Freakonomics at no cost. Its possible?



Second Tom G: "Aski which public library you should donate a copy to"

Travis L

Tell him if he can convince 2 other people to buy the book (and send you the receipt), then you'll send him an electronic version for free.


Hi -

I live in America and I'd like to get a cell phone, my diabetes medicine, food for my children, health care, and internet access at no cost to me. Would this be possible?


As it is impossible to do anything without a cost, it is impossible for you to receive the book at no cost.

Brian Hynes

Work out the cost of your ecision time and weigh against the cost of the free book - Then send me one..

Ian M.

I know this is pedantic, but even if Wagner was to get the book via .pdf it is still not strictly a free (no cost) transaction. Even the data transfer, whilst almost close to zero, is still a cost, and so is the electricity to run the computer. Thus the book can never truly be free.


Tell him that the economics of his question are not logical.


Are you kidding me? You can find the book easily for about than 10 dollars, in English. In Portuguese is about 30.
I would ask first why he wants a free book. Perhaps he would get his copy, if he convinced me that he deserves it.


I like Wagner's panache! He did not demand it of you. He simply ASKED if he could receive it at no cost.

If I was making what YOU were making on the royalties, I would reward him for having the guts to ask.

Besides, it's only one book. You are under no obligation to "do it for everyone else." Just send it...and do it believing that maybe, just maybe, that book may make a wonderful difference in this person's future...and maybe to the world.

Tell you what, if you won't do it, send me his name and address (you have my e-mail from this post), and I'll send him the book. Either "Ask and you shall receive" means something or it doesn't.

I think it means something.


"Hello, i live in brazil and i would like to receive the book Freakonomics at no cost. Its possible?"

Answer: "Not only possible, but likely. Probably a lot of people live in Brazil and would like to receive a free book."

John R.

I vote as well for option #2! If you're going to be charitable, then best to take the most effective path which benefits the greatest number of people. A book on his shelf has the power to help him; but on the library shelf the potential to help many people!


I think donating one to his local library (if there is one in his area) would be a good thing to do. If not, maybe send him a used copy.


Joe... Obama sure is trying...


I live at my home. therefore, all goods and services are free.
this is basic economics. Freakonomics challenges this idea. Therefore, it is not free.

Mark Hammond



I would ask "whose costs" he thinks about? :)

Eric M. Jones

You could ask for something of equal value in exchange. Something that won't be confiscated by the Feds or alert the sniffer dogs.


Ask him to take the first chapter and translate it into Portugese. If he does an accepted job, give him each subsequent chapter for the same treatment. At the end, publish the translation.


Building on a couple of earlier themes:



If you sponsor a child - as many americans do - nobody expects you to sponsor every one else. The argument "if-i-give-you-one-i-have-to-give-one-to-everyone-else?" does not work here. Just send him the book!