Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Stephen J. Dubner)


Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (18 Jun. 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0141019018
ISBN-13: 978-0141019017

This is the message at the heart of Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner’s rule-breaking, iconoclastic book about crack dealers, cheating teachers and bizarre baby names that turned everyone’s view of the world upside-down and became an international multi-million-copy-selling phenomenon.

‘Prepare to be dazzled’ Malcolm Gladwell

‘A sensation … you’ll be stimulated, provoked and entertained. Of how many books can that be said?’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Has you chuckling one minute and gasping in amazement the next’ Wall Street Journal

‘Dazzling … a delight’ Economist

‘Made me laugh out loud’ Scotland on Sunday

“Provocative. eye-popping.” — New York Times Book Review: Inside the List

“The trivia alone is worth the cover price.” — New York Times Book Review

“The guy is interesting!” — Washington Post Book World

“Freakonomics was the ‘It’ book of 2005.” — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Levitt is a number cruncher extraordinaire.” — Philadelphia Daily News

“Hard to resist.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Levitt is a number cruncher extraordinaire.”–Philadelphia Daily News

“Levitt dissects complex real-world phenomena, e.g. baby-naming patterns and Sumo wrestling, with an economist’s laser.”–San Diego Union-Tribune

“An eye-opening, and most interesting, approach to the world.”–Kirkus Reviews

“The trivia alone is worth the cover price.”–New York Times Book Review

“A showcase for Levitt’s intriguing explorations into a number of disparate topics…. There’s plenty of fun to be had.”–

“Freakonomics challenges conventional wisdom and makes for fun reading.”–Book Sense Picks and Notables

“Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences…. Steven D. Levitt will change some minds.”–

“One of the decade’s most intelligent and provocative books.”–The Daily Standard

“An unconventional economist defies conventional wisdom.”–Associated Press

“Hard to resist.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America… Prepare to be dazzled.”–Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point

“The funkiest study of statistical mechanics ever by a world-renowned economist… Eye-opening and sometimes eye-popping”–Entertainment Weekly

“The guy is interesting!”–Washington Post Book World

“Levitt is one of the most notorious economists of our age.”–Financial Times

“Freakonomics is politically incorrect in the best, most essential way…. This is bracing fun of the highest order.”–Kurt Andersen, host of public radio’s Studio 360 and author of Turn of the Century

“Principles of economics are used to examine daily life in this fun read.”–People: Great Reads

“Provocative… eye-popping.”–New York Times Book Review: Inside the List

“Freakonomics was the ‘It’ book of 2005.”–Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“If Indiana Jones were an economist, he’d be Steven Levitt… Criticizing Freakonomics would be like criticizing a hot fudge sundae.”–Wall Street Journal

“An easy, funny read. Many unsolvable problems the Americans have could be solved with simple means.”–Business World

If Indiana Jones were an economist, he d be Steven Levitt Criticizing Freakonomics would be like criticizing a hot fudge sundae. –Wall Street Journal”

Provocative eye-popping. –New York Times Book Review: Inside the List”

The guy is interesting! –Washington Post Book World”

The funkiest study of statistical mechanics ever by a world-renowned economist… Eye-opening and sometimes eye-popping –Entertainment Weekly”

Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America… Prepare to be dazzled. –Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point”

Principles of economics are used to examine daily life in this fun read. –People: Great Reads”

Levitt dissects complex real-world phenomena, e.g. baby-naming patterns and Sumo wrestling, with an economist s laser. –San Diego Union-Tribune”

Levitt is a number cruncher extraordinaire. –Philadelphia Daily News”

Levitt is one of the most notorious economists of our age. –Financial Times”

Hard to resist. –Publishers Weekly (starred review)”

Freakonomics is politically incorrect in the best, most essential way…. This is bracing fun of the highest order. –Kurt Andersen, host of public radio’s Studio 360 and author of Turn of the Century”

Freakonomics was the It book of 2005. –Fort Worth Star-Telegram”

An eye-opening, and most interesting, approach to the world. –Kirkus Reviews”

An unconventional economist defies conventional wisdom. –Associated Press”

A showcase for Levitt s intriguing explorations into a number of disparate topics . There s plenty of fun to be had. –”

One of the decade s most intelligent and provocative books. –The Daily Standard”

Freakonomics challenges conventional wisdom and makes for fun reading. –Book Sense Picks and Notables”

The trivia alone is worth the cover price. –New York Times Book Review”

An easy, funny read. Many unsolvable problems the Americans have could be solved with simple means. –Business World”

Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences…. Steven D. Levitt will change some minds.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life from cheating and crime to parenting and sports and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

Never let me go

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (25 Feb. 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0571258093
ISBN-13: 978-0571258093

In one of the most memorable novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

If you enjoyed Never Let Me Go, you might also like Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, now available in Faber Modern Classics.

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s seven published books have won him wide renown and many honours around the world. His work has been translated into over forty languages. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have each sold in excess of 1,000,000 copies in Faber editions alone, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. His latest novel is The Buried Giant.

Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six novels, A Pale View of Hills (1982, Winifred Holtby Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986, Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Primio Scanno, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, winner of the Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995, winner of the Cheltenham Prize), When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go (2005, shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize), and a book of stories, Nocturnes (2009). He received an OBE for Services to Literature in 1995, and the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks)

Man mistook wife hat

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (2 Sept. 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0330523627
ISBN-13: 978-0330523622

‘Oliver Sacks has become the world’s best-known neurologist. His case studies of broken minds offer brilliant insight into the mysteries of consciousness’ Guardian

In his most extraordinary book, Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. These are case studies of people who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people or common objects; whose limbs have become alien; who are afflicted and yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. In Dr Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, each tale is a unique and deeply human study of life struggling against incredible adversity.

‘Populated by a cast as strange as that of the most fantastic fiction . . . Dr Sacks shows the awesome powers of our mind and just how delicately balanced they have to be’ Sunday Times

‘This book is for everybody who has felt from time to time that certain twinge of self-identity and sensed how easily, at any moment, one might lose it’ The Times

‘A gripping journey into the recesses of the human mind’ Daily Mail

Oliver Sacks was born in London and educated in London, Oxford, California and New York. He now lives in America and practices neurology in New York, where he is also a professor of clinical neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is the author of ten books, including the bestselling The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings. His most recent book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain was an international bestseller. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Hawthornden Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes (Stephen Hawking)

brief history of time

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bantam (18 Aug. 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0857501003
ISBN-13: 978-0857501004

Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory. To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to help non-scientists understand fundamental questions of physics and our existence: where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come to an end, and if so, how? Hawking attempts to deal with these questions (and where we might look for answers) using a minimum of technical jargon. Among the topics gracefully covered are gravity, black holes, the Big Bang, the nature of time and physicists’ search for a grand unifying theory. This is deep science; the concepts are so vast (or so tiny) that they cause mental vertigo while reading, and one can’t help but marvel at Hawking’s ability to synthesize this difficult subject for people not used to thinking about things like alternate dimensions. The journey is certainly worth taking for as Hawking says, the reward of understanding the universe may be a glimpse of “the mind of God”.

For anyone looking for a great, comprehensible explanation of the current state of the theories driving today’s physics, this is it. Hawking has taken everything from the early history of thinking about the universe, its laws and composition, to the latest developments on black holes and string theory and placed it in a remarkably lucid set of explanations that detail the concepts behind all the mathematics that is so intimidating to most. This book is written without a single equation or a single statement on the order of “From the above, it is obvious that…” Instead, we proceed from the (comparatively) simple concepts about the everyday observable world of gravity, planets, and stars, travel carefully along the historical path of scientific observations as they modify and enhance the simple theories till we reach the world of quantum mechanics, the big bang, wormholes, and Grand Unified Field Theories. Each concept is fully explained, and with this expanded second edition, many of the concepts are beautifully illustrated with drawings and photographs.

And, possibly surprising to some people, as we enter the rarified air of today’s theories, we see that the line between physics and philosophy is a very thin one, and ruminations about the origin of the Universe lead to discussions about God and fate. Here we see why Hawking is one of the premier physicists of today, as he obviously thinks in same kind of conceptual language that this book is written in, capable of looking at the meaning behind the mathematics and how it relates to us as humans.

Physics students and engineers may not find very much new here, but even they may benefit from the clear thought lines presented here, forcing a look at the meaning behind all the esoteric symbols that are their everyday working fare.

A great elucidation of some of the most complex theories of the day, theories seemingly unrelated to your everyday life, but which are in fact the bedrock upon which today’s technological marvels are based, and with implications that catch the nether regions of religion and the questions we all have about the meaning of life and the universe.

The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Great gatsby

Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (5 May 1992)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 185326041X
ISBN-13: 978-1853260414

Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the “roaring twenties”, and a devastating expose of the “Jazz Age”.

Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

In 1922, F Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new–something extraordinary and beautiful and simple, intricately patterned”. That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned and, above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace be comes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means–and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties and waits for her to appear. When s he does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbour Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

Three weeks before it was published in 1925, the book that is often referred to as the Great American Novel had an alternative title, Trimalchio in West Egg. Fortunately Fitzgerald’s publisher thought The Great Gatsby was better!

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as ‘grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken’.

In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.

Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that ‘He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a “generation” … he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.’

The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson)

The gruffalo

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books; Reprints edition (27 Aug. 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0333710932
ISBN-13: 978-0333710937

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”

Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo . . .

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo has become a bestselling phenomenon across the world. This award-winning rhyming story of a mouse and a monster is now a modern classic, and will enchant children for years to come.

Julia Donaldson is the outrageously talented, prize-winning author of the world’s best-loved picture books, and was the 2011-2013 UK Children’s Laureate. Her books include Room on the Broom, Stick Man, What the Ladybird Heard and the modern classics The Gruffalo, the The Gruffalo’s Child which have sold 17 million copies worldwide and has been translated into seventy languages. Julia also writes fiction as well as poems, plays and songs and her brilliant live children’s shows are always in demand. Julia and her husband Malcolm divide their time between Sussex and Edinburgh.

The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)

book thief

Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Black Swan (1 Jan. 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0552773891
ISBN-13: 978-0552773898

Nine-year-old Liesel lives with her foster family on Himmel Street during the dark days of the Third Reich. Her Communist parents have been transported to a concentration camp, and during the funeral for her brother, she manages to steal a macabre book: it is, in fact, a gravediggers’ instruction manual. This is the first of many books which will pass through her hands as the carnage of the Second World War begins to hungrily claim lives. Both Liesel and her fellow inhabitants of Himmel Street will find themselves changed by both words on the printed page and the horrendous events happening around them.

Despite its grim narrator, The Book Thief is, in fact, a life-affirming book, celebrating the power of words and their ability to provide sustenance to the soul. Interestingly, the Second World War setting of the novel does not limit its relevance: in the 20th century, totalitarian censorship throughout the world is as keen as ever at suppressing books (notably in countries where the suppression of human beings is also par for the course) and that other assault on words represented by the increasing dumbing-down of Western society as cheap celebrity replaces the appeal of books for many people, ensures that the message of Marcus Zusak’s book could not be more timely. It is, in fact, required reading — or should be in any civilised country.

Markus Frank Zusak, is an Australian writer. He is best known for The Book Thief and The Messenger, two novels for young adults which have been international best-sellers.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen)


Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Walker Books; New Ed edition (16 Sept. 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0744523230
ISBN-13: 978-0744523232

Follow and join in the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!

Michael Rosen is one of the most popular contemporary poets and authors of books for children. His titles include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt which was the winner of the Smarties Book Prize (9780744523232), Michael Rosen’s Sad Book (9781406313616) and Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry (9781406305500). The presenter of “Word of Mouth” on BBC Radio 4, he received the Eleanor Farjeon Award for services to children’s literature in 1997.

Lord of the Flies (William Golding)


  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Mar. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571191479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571191475

A plane crashes on an uninhabited island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast.

In this, his first novel, William Golding gave the traditional adventure story an ironic, devastating twist. The boys’ delicate sense of order fades, and their childish fears are transformed into something deeper and more primitive. Their games take on a horrible significance, and before long the well-behaved party of schoolboys has turned into a tribe of faceless, murderous savages.

First published in 1954, Lord of the Flies is now recognized as a classic, one of the most celebrated of all modern novels.

William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before he became a schoolmaster he was an actor, a lecturer, a small-boat sailor and a musician. A now rare volume, Poems, appeared in 1934. In 1940 he joined the Royal Navy and saw action against battleships, submarines and aircraft. He was present at the sinking of the Bismarck. He finished the war as a Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship, which was off the French coast for the D-day invasion, and later at the island of Welcheren. After the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury and was there when his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954. He gave up teaching in 1961.

Lord of the Flies was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. Golding listed his hobbies as music, chess, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself). Many of these subjects appear in his essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. He won the Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage in 1980, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988. He died at his home in the summer of 1993. The Double Tongue, a novel left in draft at his death, was published in June 1995.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr)


  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks; New Ed edition (6 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007215991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007215997


This classic story of Sophie and her extraordinary tea-time guest has been loved by millions of children since it was first published over 30 years ago. Now a new generation will enjoy this beautiful reformatted edition!

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger!

This modern classic picture book is perfect for reading aloud, or for small children to read to themselves time and again. All artwork has been re-originated and a fresh design approach has been used for this reformatted edition.

Judith Kerr was born in Berlin, the daughter of a distinguished German writer. She left Germany with her family in 1933 to escape from the Nazis and they arrived in England in 1936, having spent the intervening years in Switzerland and France. She is best known for her children’s books, both self-illustrated picture titles such as the 17-strong Mog series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, and novels such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and The Other Way Round, which tells the story of the rise of the Nazis in 1930s Germany from a child’s perspective.