Saturday, May 1, 2010

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Written by: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

First line: Anyone living in the United States in the early 1990s and paying even a whisper of attention to the nightly news or a daily paper could be forgiven for having been scared out of his skin.

Why you should read this book: While some of the most controversial conclusions in this book (e.g. legalizing abortion leads to a drop in crime) have been widely publicized, this entire study of popular beliefs and the actual data that disproves them is eye-opening and frankly fascinating. From a dissection of incentives, to comparisons of disparate groups (sumo wrestlers and public school teachers; real estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan) this book asks you to question your conclusions and examine your reality. When you can use numbers to prove that the most honorable people are cheating or that the most overinvolved parents aren't giving their children a whit of advantage, economics stops being boring and starts describing our world.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't want to know the truth if it means giving up your sacred cows.

No comments: