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Sudhir Venkatesh

Sudhir Venkatesh is an award-winning author, a noted expert on American cities, whose contribution to the internationally bestselling book Freakonomics is well known. Of all the stories told in Freakonomics, the most popular was the section on the economics of crack cocaine and how street gangs ran their drug trade like a corporation. That story was born from Venkatesh’s daring life researching a crack gang in Chicago over several years.

Venkatesh’s research focuses on cities in the United States (New York, Chicago) and Paris, France. He has published his writings and stories in The American Prospect, Chicago Tribune, This American Life, The Source, and many academic journals.

Venkatesh has made several documentaries, including Dislocation, which gave an insider’s look at the social conditions in a Chicago public housing project. The film aired on PBS in 2005 and gave an un-flinching portrait on the ways in which families coped with the demolition of their community and the relocation to new neighborhoods in the city.

Venkatesh’s fascinating life and daring exploits are now the subject of his new memoir, Gang Leader for a Day (Penguin Press, 2008), which is based on his life studying gangs and poor communities in Chicago. A movie based on his life story is also in production at Paramount– to be directed by, Craig Brewer, the acclaimed director of Hustle & Flow.

Sudhir Venkatesh is Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. He has written extensively about gangs and crime, housing, underground economies, philanthropy and government policy. He established his public presence with Off the Books, a bestselling study of illegal economies, that was awarded a Best Book prize (2007) by Slate.com, and he is currently working on a study of illegal economies with Freakonomics author, Steven Levitt.


  • Freakonomics


manager meeting europe 2010 – Frankfurt am Main