Vacationing on Lake Powell gave me plenty of time to read. One day on the houseboat I sat down and read Freakonomics. Well, it ended up being 2 or 3 sittings throughout the day… but the point is, it was amazingly hard to put down. Freakonomics, as the title suggests, is an exploration of some of the lesser known facts of life. Levitt is the economist who uses the simplest of tools (statistics/probability, incentives, etc) to analyze a number of disjoint subjects (sumo, real estate, parenting). Levitt’s co-author, Stepher Dubner, is a great writer who was just as equally important to the book. Together they produced an excellent read.
This book is easily my favorite. As mentioned, I couldn’t put it down. It’s hardly cohesive but each chapter rolls into the next with more insight and analysis that truly makes you think and wonder. The book poses a number of questions (and answers some, too) but also leaves the reader with a number of stories, histories and facts. With these it becomes easy to come up with your own questions and wonder what the implications are.
The most interesting, in my opinion, is the section on abortion. Certainly the most talked about as well. The facts are just too convenient to suggest anything else: legalized abortion reduced crime in the 1990’s. Doesn’t sound right? Seems slightly immoral? Definitely. Just one reason why I enjoyed this book.
I think the next best section is the detailed analysis of a gang (franchise?). I honestly thought that everything I needed to know about life was buried deep inside Grand Theft Auto. Boy was I wrong…
Simply put: these authors are a powerful combination. The book had some interesting history lessons, practical advice and profound analyses of society. I’d recommend this book to anyone.