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March 7, 2013

5 Free Freakonomics Video Talks by Steven Levitt

Today we're featuring 5 free video talks delivered by economist Steven Levitt, who co-authored the bestselling books Freakonomics and the sequel SuperFreakonomics, along with journalist Stephen Dubner:

1. Steven Levitt: Freakonomics and Quirky Economic Stories

In this talk delivered at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in 2011, Steven Levitt explains what "Freakonomics" is and how he came to study the "freaky" underbelly of economics. Since Levitt was terrible at complex mathematics, he took advice from his father and decided to study economic subjects which no one else wanted to touch. In the latter half of this talk Levitt answers questions and provides some economic observations on the country of India.

2. Steven Levitt Analyzes Crack Economics

In this humorous sketch provided by TED Talks, Steven Levitt analyzes what it takes to make a living selling drugs. Taking America's crack epidemic as a template, Levitt discusses how inner city gangs developed a corporate structure that consolidated power, left little room for promotion, and was incredibly dangerous to boot. In the end Levitt argues that selling drugs on the street is about as lucrative as working at McDonald's, but this fact hasn't diluted its mystique.

3. Beyond Freakonomics: New Musings on the Economics of Everyday Life

In this lecture from Princeton's University Channel, economist and author of Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt lectures on his unique methods of economic research. Through entertaining stories Levitt discusses the economics of prostitution, whether or not people are generally altruistic, and many other interesting topics. This lecture was recorded at Princeton University and is available on streaming video through YouTube.

4. Steve Levitt & Stephen Dubner on SuperFreakonomics

In this talk economist Steve Levitt & journalist Stephen Dubner discuss their follow up book to Freakonomics called SuperFreakonomics. Levitt & Dubner describe how they met and ultimately came to write Freakonomics. They discuss their unique approach of applied microeconomics to make "freaky" observations about "the hidden side of everything". They address the financial crisis, but conclude that the macroeconomics of it are a little beyond their comprehension. And they tell many tales from their SuperFreakonomics book.

5. Are Children's Carseats Necessary?

In this TED talk Steve Levitt tells the story of children's carseats and how they became mandatory and created a $300 million industry. Levitt then looks at the data for children over 2 years of age and concludes that children's carseats are no safer than adult seat belts when it comes to protecting children. Levitt even conducted crash tests of child dummies to further prove his point and he shows these tests in the video. He suggests a new solution for children's safety belts when they are over 2 years of age. It's an interesting talk that uses data to challenge the status quo of safety.

And if you want even more Freakonomics, check out the popular NPR podcast:

Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner has been hosting the audio podcast since 2010 and there are now over 100 podcasts on the feed that you can listen to. Most of the podcasts are 30 minutes long as Dubner goes into the economics and statistics of a topic, and comes up with often unexpected results. On certain podcast episodes co-author Steve Levitt joins him. Dubner also hosts short 5-minute podcasts where he converses with Kai Ryssdal, host and senior editor of Marketplace. In most of the podcasts the economic topics are often related to current events to give you a unique point of view that goes beneath the headlines. Listen to the "freaky" ideas on this wildly popular and highly rated podcast!

We also sell the Freakonomics audio book now. If you've never read it you're in for a treat:

Freakonomics on MP3 Audio Download

Here's a blog post we made on the book way back in 2005:

Freakonomics Reviewed in a 2005 Blog Post


March 4, 2013

Forks Over Knives Talk by Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Dr. T. Colin Campbell is a professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University who led a massive study of nutrition in rural China in the 1980s. He published his findings in the now bestselling book The China Study and he was featured prominently in the popular 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives.

Resolving the Health Care Crisis

In this 20-minute TEDx talk, Dr. T. Colin Campbell summarizes many of his findings from his over 40 years of experience at the forefront of nutrition research. He prescribes changes in nutrition instead of prescription drugs for resolving our current health care crisis. Through a plant-based diet that cuts out excess sugar, fat, and salt, along with cutting out excessive consumption of animal protein and dairy products, Dr. Campbell argues that we can prevent and cure many of the diseases that haunt consumers of the Western affluent diet. This talk is available on streaming video along with a visual slide show that Dr. Campbell presents.

And if you're interested in learning more about Dr. Campbell's ideas along with nutritional advice from many other doctors, then watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. It will definitely get you thinking about what you eat!