Chic-onomics 101.

How a bunch of wonks made us rethink economics

Who says it's the dismal science? (O.K., so it was Thomas Carlyle.) Right now, there's almost no subject sexier than economics--applied economics, global economics, economic theory or just the science of decision making. Books like Freakonomics (97 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list) and The World Is Flat (3 million copies sold) have turned their authors into rock stars, much to their amazement. "When the publishers agreed to give us a big advance," says Freakonomics' Steven Levitt, "we felt like we had just stolen their money." The key seems to be going easy on the numbers and heavy on...

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