Levitt and Dubner name their chapters provocatively to reel the reader in: for instance, Chapter 1 is entitled, "What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?"
Levitt and Dubner spend a quarter of the book on parenting and kids. The authors come to some interesting conclusions about what really matters in parenting. Kids tend to get higher test scores if their parents are highly educated: because these parents have higher IQs and IQ is strongly hereditary. Children of mothers over thirty tend to do better in school. These women tend to be better educated or career oriented. Children whose parents speak English at home have better test scores. Conversely, adopted children do worse on tests, because adopted kids are most influenced by their biological parents' IQs; that are likely low. Reading to children doesn't improve test scores. However, children growing up in a house full of books do well in testing. Lots of books, mean high IQ parents.
The final chapter on naming children is the most fun. What's in a name? Nothing really. But, the speed at which children's names change and why is interesting and funny.
Freakonomics has been criticized for its controversial content, its lack of scholarly rigor, trivial subject matter and conclusions, and failure to expose the real economic damage done by government regulations and government granted monopolies. But, despite the flaws, I'm happy that a book of this subject matter is a bestseller.