To be completely honest it was extremely difficult for me to find a piece of writing for this topic. I am the epitome of the person who says they have no time to read but spends an hour reading the news or sitting on Facebook. So I dug through some things that I read in prior classes and came across something that I read freshman year and that I absolutely loved. Although I haven’t read the entire book (I just ordered it off Amazon Prime), the chapters of Freakonomics that I have completed are incredible. The chapter referenced from here on out is titled “Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms? (Chapter 3). As Pinker states, “today’s writers are infused by the spirit of scientific skepticism and the ethos of questioning authority.” This line is embedded within the chapter of Freakonomics starting from the beginning, where Levitt philosophically introduces the idea of “conventional wisdom,” and brings up recent examples of political lies and conventional wisdom that individuals have heard or recognize.
The introduction is difficult to read. It took multiple times re-reading and pulling apart what Levitt was trying to convey until I actually understood what he was saying. But it works. Levitt brings up a difficult and important topic that many people fail to understand and he does it in a professional manner. Yet after the introduction the piece changes, it shifts into a mixture of stream of consciousness and research. He begins by talking about homelessness, a topic everyone is aware of and something many people advocate for. Then Levitt brings up the fallacies in the argument of one of the largest supporters of homelesses (Mitch Snyder). The reader, who was left with a headache from the difficulty of reading the entrance, is now forced to realize that the reason homelessness became a highly debated topic in the first place is due to faults in conventional wisdom. Levitt leaves you questioning what knowledge you think you know is actually correct, and in so forces you to be concerned about what the media has spewed to you. This is an amazing entrance. Why? Because he allows you to be open to the story that is told in the remainder of the chapter and to feel for individuals that media and politicians have told us to fear and hate. As the story flows from philosophical to real world situations to a story, Levitt’s writing also flows from professional to scientific to casual. The bulk of the chapter is a story of crack cocaine dealing in the South of Chicago, following the business economics of a growing industry at the time. The story is emotional, interesting, and shows the reader a different side of drug dealing. However Levitt’s chapter is also full of rich history and research, which takes the piece from just a story to a lesson for the reader.
I love Levitt’s writing because it includes research, professionalism, and it questions conventional wisdom that many individuals would never have noticed.