Tuesday, July 25, 2006

 

Freakonomics

The full title reads - "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything". The authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have justified the title of the book from prologue to epilogue. This books does exactly that which is generally not expected of many books from this genre - 'interests'. It discusses the subject and keeps the reader entertained at the same time. The economic principles are applied to topics as diverse as 'the art of parenting' and 'sumo wrestling'.

There are many contentions in the book that could be defied in toto by conventional Economists. But, the manner in which the authors have tried to convince their belief demonstrates the intelligent application of the subject to simple but not-so-straightforward everyday situations.

For people who haevn't read the book, here is a question. Do you agree with the adage - "Spare the rod and spoil the child?" The proverb is not to be taken literally, as in corporal punishment. But, if you agree that disciplining the child means giving the child a bright future, then your answer would be 'yes' to the question. If you did answer in the affirmative, then, accordint to the author, you are wrong. While, what the parents are (e.g. their education, socioeconomic status etc.) help their child achieve results, what the parents do (e.g. reading out books to the kid, taking the kids to museums etc.) means very little to the kid's development, claims Levitt with ample research data. There are scores of other arguments to challenge the generally accepted causes for the 'effect' in question. It is interesting to read their out-of-the-box thinking substantiated with adequate reasoning and data.

If you love Economics, you'll love this book anyway. If you hated Economics as a student, I can assure you, you'll still like this book, for you would've never known that Economics could be so much fun. It's freaky Economics, truly. Try it!

Comments:
since when does sadism lead to "bright future"? Asian barbarians.
 
I remember reading the book and enjoying it at that time and being surprised at the way it burst so many of our common beliefs.
But cannot remember the specifics now - perhaps I should go back and re read it!
 
I trust your taste, Iam gonna try this one.
 
heh. I was at a friend's place last weekend and saw this book among other Economics books. Decided to borrow Heilbroner's "Marx: For and Against" and left this one alone. Good book but really hard going though.

Found that its amazon listing has the Search Inside feature, so one can actually read a huge excerpt online before deciding to buy or not.(there are a few books you can read entirely off amazon instead of spending money on them).
 
kandippa worth trying. me too read it and wrote abt it sometime back
 
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