Freakonomics

By: Steven O. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

 

Being passionate about economics, I found this book exceptionally interesting since it was centred around finding economic wonders in our everyday lives and explaining them using soft language and hard statistics. Some of the topics discussed include what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common, why drug dealers live with their parents and how much do parents really matter. These topics are explained using simple economics and data, understanding these concepts uncover some secret and hidden workings of our society that we wouldn’t normally pay attention to. The book refers to this as “Rogue Economics” which is a very suitable name for the main theme throughout the book.

 

One of my favourite topics in the book is what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common. This section of the book analyzes the different ways teachers help their students cheat on standardized tests and how exactly to catch them using data analysis and patterns. This same type of analysis can be used to figure out why Japanese sumo wrestlers sometimes purposely lose matches and how it affects their tournament brackets. Although the two situations are seemingly uncorrelated, a lot is common in their data and incentives. I would recommend this book to anyone who has the slightest interest in economics and wants to dive into the interesting parts of the subject.

 

This book does a good job of explaining how basic economics creeps into our everyday lives and why it is important to understand it. Overall, this book was a light read with an easy to follow common thread that runs through the book’s several stories.

Is this Book for You?

I would recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in statistics and wants to know how we can use numbers to analyze and categorize the many aspects of our life. 

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