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  03:45:46 am, by Nimble   , 329 words  
Categories: Reviews, Books, Economics


Link: http://www.freakonomics.com/

I really like the cover on this book. Apples to oranges - cute, I get it :) (NOTE: The paperbacks I saw overseas don't have this mutated-fruit cover)

This marks the first time that I've bought a book because I saw the author on The Daily Show. Sosumi; it sounded pretty interesting.

This isn't a book about capital-E dollar-sign-instead-of-an-S ol' boring Economic$, this is a book about the human side of economics, the economies of cheating, incentive, fear and information.

Far and away the most controversial aspect of this book is that the Roe vs Wade decision, effectively legalizing abortion outside of medical emergency, is a major contributor to the 90's drop in crime. They shore this up by eliminating variables, focusing on the differences (different states did not all jump on board the decision at the same time), and considering the alternative possible explanations. It's a fascinating read in and of itself.

This is not a book of "oughts", this is a book of "what is". I'm a staunch empiricist myself (a rant I shall save for a future blog), and I like the application of economic principles to show the differences or similarities between things that "ought" to work versus what actually works.

In the realm of parenting, one thing seems clear from the data: who you are makes far, far more difference than what you do.

My favorite snippet from the book:

...Consider what happened one spring evening at midnight in 1987: seven million children suddenly disappeared. The worst kidnapping wave in history? Hardly. It was the night of April 15, and the Internal Revenue Service had just changed a rule. Instead of merely listing each dependent child, tax filers were now required to provide a Social Security number for each child...

So, if you don't mind a little controversy, and you'd like to know about cheating teachers, lazy real estate agents, parenting and why drug dealers, by and large, still live with their moms, I'd highly recommend the read.

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