Freakonomics

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Paperback

Freakonomics is a book about economics, particularly how economic theory can discover some rather unexpected realities of human behavior, like that legalized abortion decreases crime, punishing schools with low-performing students encourages cheating, and, despite working on commission, realtors have little incentive to get the best price on the sale or purchase of a home.

The popularity of this book led me to read it.

Status

I do not own this book, but have listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • Over all, the book is interesting and well-written.
  • From an amateur's stand point, the arguments are quite compelling.
  • The stories about incentives, like how the No Child Left Behind laws encouraged teachers to cheat, and putting the KKK's secrets in Superman ruined the Klan, are especially interesting.
  • It was fascinating to learn how a drug dealer's syndicate is very similar to a legal corporation, in that the only large benefits go to those at the very top.
  • Though it's trivial, I like the cover art.

Bad

  • Critics have argued that the book has little to do with economics and much more to do with sociology and criminology, which can never be distilled into such tidy equations because the variables are myriad. Because of this, they argue that many of the results are dubious at best.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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