Freakonomics – steven levitt & stephen dubner (4/5)

Another book in the vein of the Tipping Point – converting academic economic knowledge into easily digestible (and readable) tidbits. However where Tipping Point had an overall goal, explaining how things become popular and then not, Freakonomics has no such unifying goal – something the authors happily point out at the start. What you get instead is a series of interesting economic analyses of how what is perceived as common sense is often just not true, and how seemingly unrelated events affect each other. For example the authors assert that by allowing abortions legally in the 80s the crime trend of the 90s was reversed from its expected huge upward trend, based on the simple logic that a potential mother who would normally get an abortion would do so because they believed they could not bring up the child properly. All the observations are interesting and give a good sense of how to understand and not mis-interpret statistics, but overall I was left with the feeling I’d eaten a beautiful but unsatisfying meal and was now gagging for a McDonalds. Read it to have handy observations for parties but don’t expect your world to change.

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