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Freakonomics Rhetorical Analysis

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Paige Miller

on 1 June 2015

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Transcript of Freakonomics Rhetorical Analysis

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Although the authors initially claim that there is no "unifying theme" to
, there is. The thesis of the book is not explicitly outlined, but it's there: things are not always as they seem, and conventional wisdom is often full of misinterpretations, which leads to the spread of false "common knowledge," because one often does not look into the motivations or incentives behind a situation to find the reality/truth.
Curious Intelectuals
Levitt and Dubner target intellectual, curious young adults and adults would like to be more informed about the way the world actually works, not how one hopes/thinks it works. This target is evident as the novel very questioning yet informative and includes many words/phrases/ideas of quite higher thinking.

Questions the Book Answers:
How can things seemingly so unrelated be connected?
How do small actions lead to drastic effects?
Are things really always as they seem?
Persuasive Strategies
The novel drops hints about both authors' qualifications and successes everywhere.
"Steven P. Levitt, a heralded young economist at the University of Chicago... he has a PhD from MIT and a stack of awards..." (p. 5)
"Stephen J. Dubner, an author and journalist...composed an article published in

New York Times
..." (p.5)
Rhetorical Analysis

Published April 12, 2005
Paige Miller
Yes. Yes they could.
American Consumers
The novel also seems to be targeted towards Americans specifically as it includes several references to American history and provides a surplus of information that would be beneficial to the average American consumer when dealing with economics.
Rhetorical Questions
has a very questioning nature and the several rhetorical questions asked throughout the book are intended to get the reader to question common conceptions and think about what's
going on in the situation
"... and they (experts in their field) use that advantage to help you, the person who hired them, get exactly what you want for the best price. Right?" (p. 16)
"How is the Klu Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?" (p. 49)
The book is full of statistics/facts/data tables collected from experiments that prove some pieces of conventional wisdom to be incorrect (nothing is ever as it seems).
Data is provided from an ECLS student testing experiment proving that who parents
actually matters more than what parents
(p. 139)
"In a given year, there are 550 deaths by drowning of children... there are 175 deaths of children by gun per year... Risks that scare people and risks that kill people are very different." (p. 119)
Questions the Book Raises:
What other conventional ideals that we accept could actually be false?
Questions For the Authors:
Why do you think people are so quick to believe what everyone else does?
Where did you come up with the idea to use such wild comparisons such as sumo wrestlers to teachers?
Full transcript