Please Submit Your Nominations for a Freakonomics Hall of Fame (and Hall of Shame, Too)

We are working on a Hall of Fame project that will pay tribute to people who have used a “freakonomical” way of thinking to better the world in some way large or small. Since a lot of people have a lot of interpretations of what it means to “think like a Freak,” we will leave the criteria up to you. It may have something to do with a creative use of data, or understanding incentives, or challenging the conventional wisdom.

The person you nominate for this Hall of Fame might be prominent or totally obscure. You may know them personally or perhaps you’ve only read about them. They might work in academia, sports, medicine, philanthropy, entertainment, development — or even politics!

We have tried to feature such people on the blog over the years but now we need your help in coming up with the best pool possible. Please send this request to everyone you know!

You can nominate people in the comments section below or send us an e-mail at

We may also put together a Freakonomics Hall of Shame (here’s an example), so feel free to submit nominees for that too.


Diego Vázquez

I nominate to Hall of Shame... LANCE ARMSTRONG



This is such a nutty thing to say. Why is redistribution of wealth a good thing, and why should this be something that 'students' take to the streets to accomplish? If they are students, shouldn't they be spending their time in college (I assume you mean college students) learning how to earn their own wealth by creating value?

We have people spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars getting a major in 'Gender Studies' or 'Urban Studies' or some other field (which probably includes the word 'Studies'), where the main purpose is to create jobs for college professors who teach that subject, paid for subsidized student loans taken out by people who will never make enough money as a '(Fill-in-the-blank) Studies' graduate to pay back these loans.

The secondary purpose of these useless majors is, of course, to create young, perpetually outraged activists who want to, in your words, redistribute wealth that they didn't earn.

At some point we will run out of other people's money, and then the 'Gender Studies' majors will have nothing left to do except take to the streets and, uh, whatever the Occupy folks are doing these days.

And not to belabor the point, but most notable figure tycoons in our history who amassed truly great wealth have in the aggregate helped more far people and done more good through charitable donations than a million 'students' who want to take their money away.

At some point these aggrieved youths need to use their brains to get a job or start a business and then they can redistribute their own wealth however they see fit.



Oh, and apologies for the few typos. Perhaps these 'students' could redistribute my iPad and get me something I can type on.


Sarah Johnson - the reader who submitted the following query regarding the structure of Ravelry - the online knitting and crocheting social networking site. She's AMAZING.


maybe not hall of fame, but possibly a subject of a freakonomics Q&A are these guys:

in the first few pages they say that the screenwriter's goal is NOT to write a successful script. the screenwriter's goal is to help a studio exec not get fired. when i read that i immediately thought of freakonomics...


Definitely Bill Veeck for thinking outside the box for baseball promotions, from the ill fated Disco Night to Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player to ever bat in a MLB game.


I nominate the fans of Cleveland professional sports. With so many years between this area and a "big win" it is increasingly difficult to field teams that win. Yet, the fans seem just as devoted as ever. Freakonomic question: Is there a point in investment (be it sports fandom or a financial stock) when something has lost SO much that a person figures the odds of a fantastic future comeback win are better than swtiching to a more reliable source of wins? If sports teams were financial stocks, it seems like most fans would be attracted to the bigger market teams with more compelling records. And maybe some are? Not sure.


I'd like to nominate the owner of Kijani Grows:
Here's his website:

There's a great discussion about his project here:


I'm sure the Freakonomics team is well aware of him, but Dan Ariely should definitely be included.

I'd also nominate security researcher and cryptologist Bruce Schneier.


hall of shame for economic predictions...(drumroll/envelope)... goes to david lereah, the chief economist at the national association of realtors and the author of the 2006 best seller, "why the real estate boom will not bust and how you can profit from it"- (ironically, if u change "you" to "i", its just a straightforward money grab)


Mayor Mockus who among other things employed mimes to control Jaywalkers Bogota Colombia.


Weak. Mines would be more effective.

Eric M. Jones.

Reinventing the battery: Donald Sadoway at TED 2012.

Prof. Sadoway says, "If you want to make something dirt-cheap, make it out of dirt." Plus his approach on how to organize a team to develop the his new battery is worth seeing. Sadoway's battery has a good chance of significantly changing our world.

Rolf Dinsmore

I listen to a lot of books on tape, at least an hour every day, and sometimes as much as 4 hours. The book which has had the greatest effect on me, and made me really reconsider how I function, is The Power of Habit, by Charles DuHigg.

His 'Freakanomical' analysis of how habits form, how they control our lives, how companies use them (against us), and how they can be changed, is outstanding.

I searched your blog, but you have never featured him?!? Interview him soon please :)

Eric M. Jones.

I don't recall seeing this on Freakonomics, but “Moneyball,” Billy Beane is surely worthy of tribute.


Billy Beane was just the first (out of financial desperation) to try to execute the Jamesian Sabremetrics through Paul DePodesta (the real life number cruncher upon whom the Jonah Hill character was based).

Bill James should finish first, second and third in this. He took perhaps the most statistically examined American institution and turned it on its ear.

Steve S.

Beane gets the nod for actually executing the theories that he espouses and challenging the conventional wisdom on a tighter budget. Need a number to validate this? $/win

Mike Trout

Tim Harford... is that cheating


Maybe it's too obvious but... Daniel Kahneman?

Maria Hadjiyiakoumi

I would like to recommend Prof. Constantinos Charalambous author of He is really applying the freakonomics concept on everyday weird events which he attempts to explain using economic theories. His blog is one of the most popular of its kind.