[2006-04-18] “Freakonomics”

I wanted to read “Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner since the time I read a review of the book in The Economist. For some reason or the other I kept postponing it, though I could not help but notice how rapidly popular it was becoming. Now that I have finally read it, I wholeheartedly agree with almost every praise showered on this book.

This book shows how useful Economics and its tools can be in providing us insights into all that is around us. Steven D. Levitt is a maverick economist who does not shy from asking “absurd” questions and then sifting through and analysing lots of data to find out the answers. Some of the answers are quite surprising, if not completely shocking.

If you haven't read this book yet and happen to come across this book in a bookshop or at a friend's place, do read just the first chapter of the book (which is like an overture for the entire book) to get a feel for what is in store for you should you decide to read it. About the only negative thing I would say about this book is that it is a bit too verbose in some places. Note that one of the most surprising results shown by the book - that the recent dramatic fall in the crime rate in the US is really due to the freedom of abortion given to the women in the US via the landmark Roe v/s Wade judgement of the US Supreme Court - was recently challenged by some economists who found faults in the tools used for the analysis of available data. If you like this book, you might want to read some of the books written by J. K. Galbraith for an accessible introduction to Economics which is otherwise labelled as the dismal science.

Other Posts from 2006