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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Kindle Edition
|Length: 254 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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From the Inside Flap
More Than 4 Million Copies Sold Worldwide
Published in 35 Languages
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How much do parents really matter?
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life--from cheating and crime to parenting and sports--and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives--how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.--Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B002RPCOH8
- Publisher : Penguin; 1st edition (5 October 2006)
- Language : English
- File size : 2445 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 254 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 51,675 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Top reviews from Australia
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I learned how to strive for a satisfyingly robust response and keep asking questions in the face of seemingly definite outcomes; to scratch away at the surface and look deeper for the real influencers of the variables you're chasing and identifying the difference between those influencing factors and the mere symptoms or responses.
The other ones are on the list!
Top reviews from other countries
Interesting and sensible way of gathering data
Pleasant style of reading very 'digestible'
Incredibly repetitive - the case of decreasing number of criminals is covered at least 3 times! Pretty much every case is covered at least twice.
Authors touch upon 10 or so subjects that I did not find particularly interesting- many are related to race which to me shows how US orientated it is.
The layout is bizarre, seems like an amateurish self-publish booked - someone who decided 'let's make a collage of the materials and add all of them into the book' it start of like a regular book, then it goes through the research published, then articles, then it seems it back to 'a book', then FAQ - very weird and inconsistent.
Trivial matters like the name of babies are killed to death. I am only impressed by the shear determination someone had to go through this data and arrive at conclusion which is 'the trends of names change over time'.
I wanted to like it, the topic is fascinating but it does seem to me that the reputation of the professor is based on his controversial findings that are predominantly race related. Found it more of a sensationalistic than an empirical read.
Rather read Dan Ariely.
Two issues that I find when reading a non-fiction book are firstly the purely academic eye with which an author writes and secondly how much prior knowledge is needed to enjoy the novel. Fortunately, Freakonomics does not have either issue in the slightest. A person does not need to be an economist to enjoy Freakonomics and will find the novel intellectual but fun. The chapter titles, I found to be intriguing and amusing, for example, ‘What do school teachers and Sumo wrestlers have in common?’ and made the reader genuinely curious about the novel. Furthermore, the majority of the novel then proceeded to live up to chapters’ interesting titles and kept the reader turning the page. The content was, overall, superb. The arguments themselves were cleverly written with thought experiments as well as actually facts and figures to support them and the novel also included the experiences of two separate men, one of whom infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and the other which got a close up, inside eye of how a gang works. These chapters were among my favourites.
However, like every novel, Freakonomics is not perfect. Towards the end, the topics began to interest me less as they were discussed in far too much detail and, although it may have been necessary for proving the authors’ theory, I wasn’t that interested in the topic to start off with. Furthermore, the authors omit necessary information in at least one point during the novel. When discussing guns, they state that ‘On a per capita basis, Switzerland has more firearms than just about any other country, and yet is one of the safest’ to support their argument that guns do not cause violence. What they fail to mention are the strict laws about purchasing ammunition for guns in Switzerland, which essentially equates to the guns being unusable without the government’s permission. The exclusion of this information suggests that perhaps they are slightly changing the facts to benefit their arguments elsewhere in the novel. Finally, as a young British girl, parts of this book, whilst incredibly interesting, did not feel highly relevant to me because it was largely based around America. For example, I did not particularly relate to discussions around the Ku Klux Klan and real estate doesn’t interest me much; that said, it probably wasn’t written for my age group anyway. In spite of these shortcomings, Freakonomics is, overall, incredibly good, and the informative and interactive insight that it gives you in to certain aspects of the modern world is well worth the few issues.
I was convinced by their argument and their data that liberalizing abortion reduced crime 20 or so years later. It is an eye-opening observation, that seems responsive to subtle changes in the timing of when abortion was legalized on a state by state case. But changes in death sentence rates would be a better comparator than the actual execution rates on dr8ving down serious crime stats. They also think crimes with an obvious money motive (eg mugging) are distinct from car-theft - which some of us would also consider financially motivated. They blame some of the decline in attractiveness of drug-dealing on an increase in the supply of cheap, high quality cocaine: commoditization in other words - which many think increases, not decreases competition. Such selectiveness is deliberate (they're not stupid, right?), unappealing and undermines their better considered cases.
They also make some silly mistakes - comparing dangers of driving and flying by the number of hours spent in cars and planes: and conclude on a per hour basis flying isn't much safer than driving. Now if they had looked at miles or kilometers driven vs flown, the clear-cut answer is flying is much safer (highly trained pilots, mostly sober and drug free pilots, properly maintained aircraft, strictly enforced separations, weather restrictions, well understood and controlled flight paths etc etc).
Elsewhere they claim most of IQ is genetic, which is a such an old and thoroughly debunked idea I was surprised to see it included uncritically.
If the book does no more than make people question the usual assumptions in newspapers or pub conversations, that is solid success.
But the writers, whilst clever and funny, are not as clever as they are funny. Read this with a big bag of salt beside you...
Not sure if I had ever really tried to understand what economics was or meant or what purpose it served. The book makes a point of the fact that this book has no unifying theme. But all of it makes sense in a way that you can relate to and often marvel at.
I didn't want to finish this book - aka, I didn't want it to finish. I honestly savoured some of the insights that were revealed. It makes you look at motivations behind actions - particularly in these COVID times. What piqued my interest is when the author said he didn't know what made markets go up or go down - he has no clue. And if that was economics then I didn't know anything about economics but then neither did the author and he certainly knows economics. If you said 'incentives' then I think many incentives are misplaced and misguided and when your incentives are material, social, moral and that sums up economics then now I am interested. It helps you understand - or at least gives you the tools to understand - social issues that we as a species suffer from (or inflict on ourselves).
This truly expands the mind. I ended up buying two copies and gave on to my son (an avid reader and Economics Graduate) and have bought a few more economics books that appear to be in a similar vein. Time and reading will tell quite how similar.