2007-06-11 7:25 AM

Reading, Writing, and … Freakonomics?

I have only read one book completely over the last week. I’ve been busy re-reading, reviewing notes, and writing. You’ll get a chance to see what I’ve been working on very soon. Until then here is another review.

Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of EverythingFreakonomics by Levitt and Dubner brings together a rouge economist and a journalist to present some random observations on life — with a look at how to answer semi-random questions using economic methodologies. As
(un)exciting as that sounds the authors do a spectacular job of making it interesting, enlightening, and intriguing.

Steven and Stephen explore a number of odd questions such as if drug dealers make so much money why do they still live with their mothers? The power of this book is less in the specific answers to questions than in the act of answering them.

Several “tricks” of Levitt’s methodology in answering these questions involve forming answerable questions and “teasing” answers out of the available data. The former involves causality versus correlation, the latter involves flexibility of thinking. If nothing else this book drives home the fact that truth is stranger than fiction and that you really can do fun things if you’re a mathemagician (sic).

As an arbitrary bonus: this was the second book in the span of a week that used the word gubernatorial — which I though was (intentional) gibberish the first time I saw it.

Stay tuned for the next round of books up for review.

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