July 6, 2012. Stephen J. Dubner, a 1984 graduate of Appalachian State University and author of the successful book “Freakonomics,” is the guest on “Appalachian Perspective,” Appalachian State University’s cable television program. Watch the video at today.appstate.edu/ap-dubner. In this episode, Dubner discusses his experiences as an undergraduate at Appalachian, his book “Choosing My Religion,” which was named a Notable Book by the New York Times, the Distinguished Alumni award that he received from Appalachian’s Alumni Association and his take on the current economy. The program is hosted by Kenneth E. Peacock, chancellor of Appalachian State University.
On June 9, Dubner, along with three others were honored by the university’s Alumni Association during the annual Alumni Awards Gala. Many of his friends from his undergraduate years at Appalachian were in attendance.
“The response from my old friends was just overwhelming,” Dubner said on the show. “Not only did everyone we asked to come back, come, but they suggested more and more people. So all of a sudden we’ve got this large contingent of friends and family and a couple my favorite professors, many of whom hadn’t been back in a while.”
Dubner received a scholarship from the university’s honors program, which he said was a deciding factor to attend Appalachian. During his time as an undergraduate, he formed a band called “The Right Profile.” They were signed to Arista Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. “You know, thinking back and coming back to visit, what’s remarkable to think is how incredibly supportive the university was with the band even though it was an extra-curricular activity,” said Dubner.
He stopped playing music in 1988 to focus on writing. He received a Master of Fine Arts in writing at Columbia University in 1990.
Dubner has written four books, a children’s book and many articles for publications such as the New York Times Magazine and Slate.
“Freakonomics,” which he co-authored with Steve Levitt, has been translated into 35 languages. The book received a Quill Award in 2005, a BookSense Book of the Year Award, and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. It was also named a Notable Book by the New York Times. It spawned a follow-up publication called “SuperFreakonomics,” an award-winning blog, a documentary and a public radio program. It also led Dubner to become a regular contributor to ABC News and the NFL Network.
He and Levitt “both love to look around the world and find the things that truly interest us,” he said, “and then pursue them as deeply as we can and then write about them. I think if I had any advice for students generally, I know it’s a cliché, but you really have to try to find something that you love to do because it’s hard to get really good at something if you don’t love it,” said Dubner.
“Appalachian Perspective,” recorded and produced on the Appalachian campus in Boone, airs in Watauga County at the following times: on Charter Communications Channel 21 weekdays at 10:30 a.m., and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.; on Charter Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and on MTN’s Channel 18 Thursdays at 5:30, 6:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. and Fridays at 12:30 p.m.