However un-PC my favourite was the link between abortion and falling crime statistics. I research obesity and I wish I had a freakonomic explanation in such a simplistic way.
I also liked that chapter and one of the reasons is that it conflicted with Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point" and his broken windows theory. They had an interesting back and forth via blogs about this.
There is much discussion about the costs of obesity to society - direct ones incurred in treating co-morbidities and indirect ones such as early mortality, lower pay etc due to discrimination and bias etc.
But this early mortality could also mean that they 'free' up resources for other sick people. Their contribution into state pension systems and in the UK, into the public healthcare system, are actually beneficial to others who continue to outlive them.
I would like Levitt to demonstrate this is the case and obesity is not a burden but a blessing. (Of course that would lead my entire PhD thesis to collapse but hey I am beating him to it by early submission and defence and if my examiners like what i say, what does it matter what Levitt says?)
That was definitely thought-provoking -- all the more so because of the comparison to Romania under Ceaucescu(sp?). Violent crime has now been on the rise over the last couple of years. I wonder how that relates to the theory.
I would be interested in the cost/benefit analysis of various responses to global warming (including ethanol, etc.) --- although that's probably beating a dead horse, and wouldn't fit the "fun" feel of the first book.
It is often said that gays spend more money than heterosexuals. Is this really true ? And then what happens to their capital once they die ?
thats awesome! What's the difference in the Expanded edition?
I would also love to see them apply Game Theory to aspects of everyday life.
Of course, the recent rise in violent crime begs the question of the first Freakonomics, so they ought to address that as well, since Roe v. Wade hasn't been changed.
I would love to see him go back and look at the vote in the Gore V Bush election and the Bush V Kerry election to look at probability of vote error, fraud, etc.
I would love to see his take on social security in decades to come and how the younger generation are paying into a system that looks very bleak. A topic like this though is not very sexy and probably will not sell very well to the publishers.
I would also like to hear his view on this topic... I think the good news is that Freakonomics was such a smash hit book that they could probably write about any topic they wanted in the second book, regardless of what the publishers thought.
I had really hoped for a guide to HOW he approached his problems. I ended up with the belief that he was simply gifted. He could tackle almost anything and I would be willing to read it and would probably be fascinated.
I know what you mean. It's like he makes an intuitive leap, but how does he get there?
Having minored in Education, I really enjoyed (and was frightened by) the chapter on what affects educational performance. The implications were very scary.
abortion availability and crime get my vote.
I loved reading the chapter on the drug dealers and the man who lived among the street gang for years....that's dedication to research! I also thought the info on baby names was interesting.
I thought it was quite interesting that one of the criteria for school success was having books in the home, but one that was not was reading to your child.
I really enjoyed the part with the abortion and crime statistics link, and "why drug dealers live with their mothers."
I will never look at a baby name book the same way again!!!!!
I am partial to the chapters on "why drug dealers live with their mother's" and "How are school teachers and sumo wrestlers alike".
So what do you think is the best chapter in this book?
What question would you want Levitt to answer?
There will be a sequal to Freakonomics, which got me thinking about what questions Levitt would try and tackle. If you could select a chapter for them to write on, what would you have them write about?
This book is fun, and I loved its obscure correlations that reveal irreverent and dogma killing facts. It doesn't get to deep, though. The entire book could have been a forward for a meatier book that presents more profound connections or draws some conclusions. Can anyone recommend a good follow up read that takes it to the next level?
I should maybe add it to my shelf !
Well, creative, to say the least. I had wished for a more detailed documentation regarding the statistical methods used though. Don't know, maybe this information is available somewhere to evaltuate (if, so, pls. point me there) - I've created such an amount of heavily, hmm,'biased' statistical output, don't even trust myself, much less anybody else without clear description of what he/she did :-)
I am currently reading this book and find it fascinating. I don't know if I "buy" all of it, but it certainly does open ones eyes and view things from a different perspective.
I have a couple problems with this guy's psychological sleight of hand technique.
He trots out the old saw--- it is safer to travel on a commercial airliner than drive a car. So, he concludes, People are silly to avoid planes & travel over the road.
No matter how you slice it Air Travel, commercial or no, is inherently more dangerous than travel by Automobile. If a plane stops functioning at 30,000 you're all gonna die. Period. A car conks out, you pull over & call the road service.
Not to mention the highway statistics are inflated by single car fatalities caused by circumstances you yourself would avoid such as driving drunk, seeing how fast you can take a turn or trying to beat a train through the crossing etc... or people that are deliberately trying to commit suicide.
That aside, the reason most people have a fear of flying has nothing to do with statistics. It is a phobic reaction.
He may as well compare car travel with public speaking. People are more afraid of speaking in public than driving a car even though cars are much more likely to result in death or injury. Shouldn't people be more afraid the former than the latter?
Why aren't they?
Also during his controversial take on Abortion = Lower Crime he makes an attempt to be even-handed by considering other explanations.
He dismisses the Black Power Movement as a factor by saying, "The last I heard Bobby Seale was selling barbecue sauce." ????
I got news for the author, last you heard don't mean diddly. if you are going to address an issue, address it.
Why your boss scolds you without a reason,? why pran is not a popular name in india ?, this book will not give you the answers , but make you able enough to get the answers by your self.
Truly remarkable work!
Truly remarkable work!
Approached this book with interest-title is curious! WIthin 2 pages this would be a veritable goldmine for party conv!
It is a grossly overrated book. There IS clearly a problem with looking at 'immediate past' events / phenomena to explain events, but these guys take the distant corrlation too far. In favt the further away you look for a causal lionk the more tenuos is the hypothesis. One is reminded of Balzac who said that "if you take a coincidence back far enough, it begins to look inevitable". So the key issue remains how far is right? And by just adding 'onomics' to create a psudo-scientific patina does not mean that the book succeeds in establishing a new analytical approach...it settles for merely collating interesting anecdotal material...
I found it to be one of the most revealing books, excellent insights on how the economics of the world works. I think its a great read for anyone willing to revise his / her world view of what makes the world go round.
A very good non-fiction read, one you will remember for years to come!
A coll and smart book.Stephen is a genius.
understanding anything is more or less gumption and when proof is in the data, you wont have to elaborate much, an up for a grab book
I've read a similar book - Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. Quite intriguing too. Perhaps their classmates back in college.
Overall terrible book. Uses anecdotal evidence to attempt to prove various wild claims, i.e. that real estate agents are similar to the KKK. Authors completely disregard the inherent logic of the free market (which disproves their supposition that a realtor would cheat his/her own client out of tens of thousands of dollars), and make further wild claims without the gumption (or, honestly, the facts) to back them up.
The book is a nice crash course into microeconomics and applied statistics. Levitt's reasoning is very interesting and absolutely contagious. The book does tend to be a little lengthy now and then, especially compared to the original columns that have been included as an appendix in my version.
Nice concepts. Must read book. But the presentation is some what boring
While I questioned some of his theories, I found this book to be overall enlightening and thought prevoking. I liked it a lot and i definetly reccomend reading it.
Fun, but let's call it by its real name, shall we? Praxeology. The science of human action.
People are not numbers to be crunched and unless you have psychic powers, there is no way you can predict what every person is going to do or how they will interact with other people and how those interactions will affect people.
For a better study of this, read "Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises. Don't worry. No charts, graphs, and models.
And here I thought economics was too difficult for me -- you know, that whole numbers thing. I prefer words. But here, Levitt and Dubner have made economic concepts both accessible and interesting. I really enjoyed this book!
all the time i was saying" ohh, ahmm...i didnt think about it... but if i think long enough, it could be this way...
This book was an interesting an easy read. I liked it because of the stories behind the figures. Very cool idea for a book.
Read Nov 2007
i agree, its not a book about economics. but it is a clear demonstration of how raw stats can be used to distort the truth. but its all in the math. like one's child is much more likely to die in a swimming pool accident in a nice neighborhood then being killed by a stray bullet in a bad neighborhood. but to let the news tell it, letting your child go into a bad neighborhood is a d
I've been trying to get going with reading this book, but somehow not finding it a smooth ride. I felt better when I read the other memebrs comments :)
this puts the 'freak' in economics... not to be taken as very serious, but serious enough. Still good to read.
ok..... beg pardon.... that was not a review for freakonomics!!!!! frkenmcs is applied economics to everyday life situation. its a good read.the gr8 thing abt it is that anyone can read and understand it!!!!
My God, this book was just absolutely amazing and clever! Truly made me look at facts in a different way. Well written!
Loved it! How interesting. Definitely in my top 3 non-fiction favorites.
a very interesting book...i had a lot of things to learn from it.
loved very page of this book. Great analysis of data
I am a friend of Suja and Santosh from Chelmsford. In fact I am santosh's best friend (We stuided together) and I now live in Witham. Have heard about you thorugh them but we never got to speak.
Anyways, I got my hands on Freakonomics on a flight but couldnt read much.(I am a voracious reader and tend to read several titles at the same time). What did you think of this one?
I enjoyed it. So much economics is theoretical mathematical modelling which has very little relevance to real life. At least this encouraged people to think in the real world.
I am not big time into economics..dya think someone who is not economics oriented will enjoy it?
I'm not economics oriented and I enjoyed it. It's an interesting study about society, so if you're a people-watcher or intrigued by people's behavior I think you'll like it. Top ten? Probably not. Top 25? Possibly.
this is "freakonomics" ..... it has nothing to do with economics! ..... thats why its a freak! ..... it is an interesting book ...... not a hilarious one but one which makes you turn pages ..... you will finish it if you start! ..... that i can safely say ..... i really cant describe what it is about because i really have no way to describe it ...... the author looks at things which normally cant be judged or measured and comes up with ingenious ways to do it! ..... also it talks about myths we thought were true ...... its just FREAK!
Absolutely! This is about economics, but it's not about money as such. It's a subject I knew nothing about, but it's well written, easy to understand, and a lot of fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Freakonomics and am currently reading a book claiming to be a rebuttal to Freakonomics, called Freedonomics. It is interesting to see how this book is viewed by other Economists. I am led to believe that Freakonomics will have just been a fad.
I cannot believe that Roe v. Wade decision for making abortion legal would make the crime rate go down in the next 5-10 years!
Hehe...I know what you mean!
It makes sense though, doesn't it ?
Unwanted kids often get a bad start in life. So it makes sense that they'd be more likely to turn criminal than average kids. No ?
25 years actually. It makes perfectly logical sense when you look at the social factors that breed criminality.
That's the part of the book I'll never forget, and I always mention to people when recommending the book
I enjoyed reading this book because after i finished reading it helped me understand economics a little better.
This book really opened my eyes to the idea of incentives and how much they really influence our decisions. It's amazing how everyone is out for themselves, whether consciously or subconsciously. Our decisions about everything stem from what's in it for us.
I agree, this book may not be the best book in the world, but it's also not the worst book ever. This book was really dumbed down, but i also think the author's sense of humor kept us reading and enjoying what they had to say.
This shit will turn you on your head! And make you want to stay there! My second favorite book of all time.
Harvard Economics Professor Herman Daly described modern economics as "an excuse for a lot of recreational mathematics". I liked this book because this guy seemed to be interested in the real world, even if it is a slightly esoteric one. Fun to read.
" The book is just MIND BLASTING, no not MIND BLOWING its MIND BLASTING courtesy Russel Peters :) . The arguments put forth in the book are multidimensional and thats exactly the kinda argument i always have fun with. Not be so presumptous to say that i think like Freakonomics, I don't, I wish i did though. :) :) :) Anyways the kinda argument presented in the book kinda portrays the fact that an argument can be turned both ways but its all about balance between the two extremes. "
it's a freaky kind of cool book. I totally love it's 'uniqueness':)
Economics is a social science!