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Steven Levitt      

Economist, NY Times Bestselling Author of "Freakonomics," "SuperFreakonomics" & "Think Like a Freak"

Steve Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he directs the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory.

Levitt co-authored "Freakonomics," which spent over 2 years on the New York Times Best Seller list and has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. "SuperFreakonomics," released in 2009, includes brand new research on topics from terrorism to prostitution to global warming. He is also the co-author of the popular Freakonomics Blog. In 2004, Levitt was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the most influential economist under the age of 40. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine's “100 People Who Shape Our World.”

Levitt received his BA from Harvard University in 1989 and his PhD from MIT in 1994. He has taught at Chicago since 1997.

Speech Topics


Think Like A Freak

Taking their successful Freakonomics ideas to the next level, Levitt and Dubner offer an engaging NEW program, based on their highly anticipated new book of the same name, that offers a toolkit to help people gain interesting insights on problem solving in their personal and professional lives. Each idea presented by Levitt and Dubner will be illustrated by a story or example, in their ever-popular counterintuitive style, that will provide your audience with illuminating thoughts for profitable thinking!

Business & Management Lessons from Freakonomics & SuperFreakonomics

In this engaging presentation, Levitt & Dubner address the fact that the old rules of business just don’t apply and therefore the ideas they have presented in Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics make even more sense now than they did a few years ago. It’s a new world, and that demands a new way of thinking. They offer audiences a way of getting beneath the surface of modern business practices. Using humor and first-rate storytelling, they discuss the sort of topics that are on every business person’s mind these days: the ways to create behavior change, the incentives that work and don’t work, and the value of asking unpopular questions. The difference between the Freakonomics presentation and other "economic" presentations is that while most economics presentations present great tools for coming up with answers, they don’t come up with the interesting questions. This presentation offers both. Here is a sample of additional questions that Levitt & Dubner address:

  • Why is behavior change so difficult? How can I change the behavior of my employees? Why are our incentive programs not working?

  • How can I capture more customers from my competitors? How can I influence current customers to increase loyalty?

  • Why am I not getting the project outcomes I expected? How do I keep the tyranny of emotion, opinion and anecdote out of my project plan?

  • Why is consensus building often a waste of time and resources?

Freakonomics and the Power of Incentives

No matter what your program theme, consider bringing Levitt and Dubner to put a unique spin on any topic as incentives are key to all of them. Their presentations are as entertaining as they are illuminating as they offer data-based stories that show audiences how to inspire change in their own company and community. But in order to change aspects of our world, we first have to understand it. Believe it or not, if we can understand the incentives that lead a schoolteacher to cheat, we can understand how the global economic crisis has come to pass.

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