Sunday, December 04, 2005

Freakonomics

Freakonomics - a much touted book "A rogue economist examines the hidden side of everything" As I walked into a bookstore eager to spend money gifted to me, the cover beckoned. It had the visually appealing image of a cut apple revealing an orange inside. Plus I had read the blog, so expectations were high.

Chapter 1, impressive. Chapter two, less so. Chapter three, well, ok. Then there are flashes of inspiration here and there in the book, but by the end of the book, I am left wondering, is this the everything that the title promised? The answers to the questions on the back of the book existed, but I had hoped for more. The book does not disappoint in answering what it sets out to answer, but I guess my expectation was a bit too high. Then again th books lacks a global perspective (the perspectives seemed very American).

The book does one thing and does this splendidly well. Its explanations challenge and defy conventional thinking and that is one thing that will book will do. Challenge, help, dare and force you to think differently, unconventionally. It also makes one seek unconventional answers to conventional questions. It also, to a lesser extent shows us how we are ready to believe anything that supports our "theories" and how these beliefs may be little more than "superstitions".

I am already thinking contrarian!

1 comment:

Abi said...

I am not quite sure about what your expectations were, but the reviews that I had read had already primed me to expect one thing. "Steve Levitt has put to use some of the statistical (econometric?) tools for studying interesting problems/situations in other social sciences. This book is the result".

I felt that the book certainly delivered on that promise. You have to agree that it was very well written.

I really liked the chapter on parenting, because it cured me of all kinds of neuroses about how to raise my kid. I would still do a whole bunch of things that the book says is useless. I would do them simply because they are fun; but after reading the book, I will at the least not have any misconception that they will be 'good for the kid'.