Saturday, September 1, 2007

Freakonomics

Written by by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics is a cavalcade of statistical exploration of things that you'd never imagine, but make perfect sense when all is said and done; Hmmmm.

I met Levitt recently in Boston at a conference after a keynote speech and was instantly intrigued by his work. I knew after hearing him speak I'd need to read the book and was pleased, though not surprised at the four word endorsement on the cover "Prepare to be dazzled." The endorsement was written by one of my favorite non-fiction authors I've read in the last few years, Malcolm Gladwell; who interestingly enough was the keynote speaker at the same conference the previous year.

While the subject of economics for me has both interesting and boring aspects, this book isn't a traditional view of economics but rather uses economic theory to explore socio-economic phenomena. Would you ever have considered that the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion could be linked to crime rate? How about the link between popularity of names and socio-economic status? These and a number of other extremely unique studies had me constantly using the phrase, "Holy Crap!"

I'm a nut for statistics and the fact that Levitt and Dubner have the ability to not only make them interesting, but captivating make this book a hit in my eyes. If you are interested in a preview, click the picture of the book. Incidentally, I mentioned Malcolm Gladwell earlier, he's authored two fascinating books entitled, "The Tipping Point" and "Blink" both of which are amazing reads.

2 comments:

brandy said...

Great review. I've read this, and the two others that you mentioned but this one is my favourite of the three. It packs so much information in, but does so with a lot of humor that the reader never gets bored. It's a definite favourite.

egan said...

I need to read this one. I started the Tipping Point, but haven't finished it. I know how to yell for help now though.