Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review: Freakonomics

Freakonomics; A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt and Steven J. Dubner

The Least You Need to Know... the book that made economics about more than just math, interest rates, and the stock market.

Reminds me of... Blink, The Tipping Point, and The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

General Thesis...
If morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work.

Pros... Easy to read, engaging, and almost totally devoid of tables, graphs, or yucky math type stuff. Presents eye-opening (and controversial) arguments like "Roe v. Wade was the biggest cause of the crime decline in the 1990s" or "what parents do matters less when it comes to raising their children than who parents essentially are."

Cons... No unifying theme; authors occasionally raise questions without ever providing answers which, when the questions were interesting, was frustrating.

Bottom Line... This is a super well known book (you should at least recognize the term "freakonomics") that you would be wise to have on your radar. If you'd like to get some of their insights and ideas in smaller doses, there's a Freakonomics blog you can check out.


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