Steven Levitt quotes

  • The conventional wisdom is often wrong.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Conventional Wisdom

  • Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #People #World #Way

  • Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent--all depending on who wields it and how.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Information #Olives #Olive Branches

  • I do think that the standard media is controlled by the conventional wisdom about global warming. We've come to believe - from reading a lot of articles and talking to a lot of scientists - that there's another side to be heard.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Wisdom #Reading #Believe

  • No matter how expert you may be, well-designed checklists can improve outcomes.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #May #Outcomes #Matter

  • Many of life's decisions are hard. What kind of career should you pursue? Does your ailing mother need to be put in a nursing home? You and your spouse already have two kids; should you have a third?such decisions are hard for a number of reasons. For one the stakes are high. There's also a great deal of uncertainty involved. Above all, decisions like these are rare, which means you don't get much practice making them. You've probably gotten good at buying groceries, since you do it so often, but buying your first house is another thing entirely.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Mother #Mean #Kids

  • The data don't lie: a Chicago street prostitute is more likely to have sex with a cop than to be arrested by one.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Sex #Lying #Data

  • Purity is a good mask for corruption because it discourages inquiry.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Inquiry #Corruption #Purity

  • If you own a gun and have a swimming pool in the yard, the swimming pool is almost 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Children #Swimming #Gun

  • Scarcity is a captivating book, overflowing with new ideas, fantastic stories, and simple suggestions that just might change the way you live.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Book #Simple #Ideas

  • The gulf between the information we proclaim & the information we know to be true is vast. In other words: we say one thing & do another.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Information #Being True

  • When people don’t pay the true cost of something, they tend to consume it inefficiently.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #People #Pay #Cost

  • The key to learning is feedback. It is nearly impossible to learn anything without it.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Keys #Impossible #Feedback

  • An expert must be BOLD if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into conventional wisdom.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Experts #Theory #Conventional Wisdom

  • Levitt admits to having the reading interests of a tweener girl, the Twilight series and Harry Potter in particular.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Girl #Reading #Twilight

  • And knowing what happens on average is a good place to start. By so doing, we insulate ourselves from the tendency to build our thinking - our daily decisions, our laws, our governance - on exceptions and anomalies rather than on reality
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Reality #Thinking #Law

  • In the United States especially, politics and economics don’t mix well. Politicians have all sorts of reasons to pass all sorts of laws that, as well-meaning as they may be, fail to account for the way real people respond to real-world incentives.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Real #Law #People

  • As W.C. Fields once said: a thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Cheating #Fields #Said

  • An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Keys #Bullets #Tiny

  • Data, I think, is one of the most powerful mechanisms for telling stories. I take a huge pile of data and I try to get it to tell stories.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Powerful #Thinking #Data

  • After all, your chances of winning a lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar. From a financial perspective, playing the lottery is a bad investment. But it's fun and relatively cheap: for the price of a ticket, you buy the right to fantasize how you'd spend the winnings - much as you get to fantasize that your vote will have some impact on policy.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Fun #Winning #Impact

  • Solving a problem is hard enough; it gets that much harder if you’ve decided beforehand it can’t be done.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #Done #Problem #Enough

  • People who buy annuities, it turns out, live longer than people who don't, and not because the people who buy annuities are healthier to start with. The evidence suggests that an annuity's steady payout provides a little extra incentive to keep chugging along.
    -- Steven Levitt

    #People #Incentives #Littles