Freakonomics Added to POP! Hall of Fame

The cover of the brilliant book Freakonomics proves that a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. This book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner not only won the 2005 Quills Book Awards for Business, I’m nominating it for the POP! Hall of Fame for the following reasons.

1. The pithy one-word title is a compelling example of how you can Alphabetize a Core Word, (economics) to coin a new term and a one-of-a-kind brand name that belongs only to you.(This technique is introduced in Chapter 3)

2. The sub-title “A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side of Everything” is purposeful in that it promises to reveal secrets which favorably positions the book with its target audience of executives and business book buyers who have “seen it all.” (Chapter 2)

3. Their ads feature a marvelous “Valley Girl” endorsement from the Wall Street Journal that says, “If Indiana Jones were an economist, he’d be Steven D. Levitt.” That comparison linking the professor/author to movie actor/celebrity Harrison Ford broadens the topic’s appeal, turning it into a cross-over book that’s attracted mainstream readers who wouldn’t normally be interested in this subject. (Chapter 5)

4. The authors pose such fascinating “POP the Question” inquiries as “How is a beauty pageant like a crack dealer? What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?” Aren’t you intrigued? Phrasing these unexpected comparisons into questions engages our curiosity. (Chapter 13.)

5. The book cover “AFLACs” its premise, “Things are often different than they appear” by showing a crisp green apple with a slice cut out and you clearly see the inside of the apple is a juicy . . . orange. This made their abstract concept concrete. This startling image has become an identifiable visual brand that is now associated with their work. (Chapter 8)

6. Furthermore, this visual contradiction is an excellent example of Contra-brand (Chapter 10) in which they challenge a common assumption, in this case, the belief that you can’t compare apples and oranges. They just did! Kudos.

POP! Stand Out in any Crowd will be published by Perigee (Penguin Putnam) in Sept. ’06. You can access these techniques before then by visiting to buy the 3 hour CD series or by calling 805 528-4351 to schedule Sam to deliver her fun and fascintaing keynote on this original topic to your organization.

1 Comment
  1. Sam, you are so right to put “Freakenomics” in the POP! Hall of Fame. Not only does it stand out in the presentation of the ideas, but it is well written and thought provoking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quoted different studies from it in various converstations.

    Thanks for sharing your ongoing insights in this blog. I can’t wait for the POP! book to come out in the Fall.

    Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC

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