Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Freakonomics review

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. LevittEdition

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Effusive and engaging, but light on substance, May 23, 2006

"Freakonomics" poses some interesting ideas, like the fall in crime in the 1990s can be attributed to legalized abortion. And even though I'm no economist, I longed for a greater explanation as to how they came to these conclusions.

The authors did not want to bog down readers with the numbers behind their conclusions. But they dumbed down their explanations too much. And the excerpts from the New York Times Magazine article between chapters merely reminds me that this book is just an expansion of that article, and not much of one at that.

Still, I enjoyed the stories of Winner and Loser, two oddly named brothers, explanations of regression analysis and correlation, the chapter about parenting, which tips the nature vs. nurture debate strongly in favor of nature, and how conventional wisdom comes about.

Stephen Levitt is an engaging thinker. And the ideas presented in "Freakonomics" are good food for thought and cocktail party conversation. The book is like Chinese food -- tasty and filling in the short term, but not lasting. It left me longing for more. In no way did I get a glimpse of the hidden side of "everything."

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