Physics With a Bang!

My daughter Olivia, who is seven, proudly calls herself a scientist. Mostly what that means is that she likes to break things open and see what’s inside. Seeing a fantastic series of scientific experiments done as part of a holiday lecture put on by the University of Chicago Physics Department more or less confirmed her […]

The Social Science of Raising Happy Kids

We wrote in Freakonomics about our views on parenting. Mostly, we were skeptical of how much parents could do to improve their kids’ futures. One can clearly be a terrible parent through neglect or abuse. The tougher question is whether being an “obsessive” parent who drags children to a never-ending procession of soccer practices, museums, […]

One Little Girl Who Will Never Ask for Another Play Date at the Levitts’

One of my daughters recently had a second-grade friend of hers over to the house for a play date. My wife, Jeannette, was down on the first floor, while the two girls were up in our attic playroom. Suddenly, Jeannette heard screams of terror from the visiting friend. She ran upstairs, fearing the worst. “What […]

Thanks for All Your Kids’ Book Suggestions

A while back, I solicited your suggestions for great children’s books, and you responded mightily, with more than 270 comments. Your answers made me realize how many children’s books we already own, which is probably a good thing, at least according to these guys. But you also suggested a lot of books we’ve never read, […]


I love technological innovations. In my view, we are so lucky to live today rather than 200 years ago. One area that has seen enormous innovation recently, though much of it seems to be underappreciated, is needles. I base this only on my own limited experience as a pin cushion, but I think it is […]

A Good Halloween Costume for Fathers

I hadn’t worn a Halloween costume in many years until last night, when my kids — Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and a man-eating shark, respectively — encouraged me to do so. I tried to think of something that would take almost no time, effort, or money. The idea came to me in a […]

FREAK-TV: Stacking the Deck

Video It is fairly well known by now that Levitt has more than a passing interest in poker, and he’s occasionally shown some promise. (His blackjack skills, meanwhile, are subject to debate.) It is also well-established that, as a parent, he’s less interested in reading a standard bedtime story than in teaching his kids to […]

The Making of a First-Grade Data Hound

My son’s first-grade teacher recently held an open house to tell the parents what their kids will be learning this year, and how they’ll be going about it. I have to say, it was pretty impressive. My favorite part had to do with turning the kids into first-grade (if not first-rate) empiricists. The teacher, a […]

Maybe This Guy Should Be Running Delta Air Lines

I recently blogged about a suboptimal customer service experience with Delta Air Lines. (As a couple of commenters pointed out — see Nos. 28, 36, and 44 — one of my assumptions was probably wrong, but that doesn’t change the thrust of the story very much.) So it’s nice to report a really good customer […]

The Power of TV — or Is It Belly Buttons?

So this was a nice surprise: after I went on Good Morning America today to talk about The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, the book shot up to the No. 1 slot on Amazon’s list of best-sellers for ages 4-8. By the time you read this post, it may have slunk down the list, but […]