Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Freakonomics, by American economist, Steven Levitt, and American journalist, Stephen Dubner explores alternative conclusions that can be drawn from solid data – if you know which questions to ask, where to look and how to crunch the numbers correctly.
For example: How were cheats discovered in relation to teachers, sumo wresters and a bagel business, and what does it tell us about human nature? What role has legalised abortion played in the drop in crime rate? How does information control impact the Klu Klux Klan and real estate agents? How much can good parenting actually effect a child’s education?
This is not a book that has looked for data to support pre-conceived theories. On the contrary.
Each question is dealt with from a number of angles, probed and explored to rule out miscalculations or hasty conclusions. The questions take priority; the answers are based on the findings.
Published in 2005, I was late to the party in discovering this incredibly thought-provoking gem of a book that offers cover-to-cover well, I guess that makes sense sudden insights.
I totally recommend Freakonomics to anyone with an interest in how society actually works and the surprising conclusions behind the figures.
Quotes from Freakonomics:
‘Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work – whereas economics represents how it actually does work.’
‘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.’
‘The Internet has accomplished what even the most fervent consumer advocates usually cannot: it has vastly shrunk the gap between the experts and the public.’
‘…emotion is the enemy of rational argument. And as emotions go, one of them – fear – is more potent than the rest.’
‘“When hazard is high and outrage is low, people under react,” he says. “When hazard is low and outrage is high, they overreact.”’