Monday, April 29, 2013

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner


My skill with numbers has always been faulty, at best, and so I have rarely even considered reading books about economics. This one, however, seemed like fun - possibly because of its raunchy cover - and indeed turned out to be.

Admittedly, it can be described as much as social studies as economics.
Levitt applies data to various everyday items (drug dealers, dog poop, real estate agents, teachers...) and comes up with entertaining and rational conclusions.

His pièce de résistance is his theory that the legalization of abortion in 1973 20 years later led to a decrease in crime. It sounds far-flung at first, but as Levitt explicits his theories and bolsters them with ample studies he refers to in 20 pages of footnotes, it ultimately seems plausible!

And yet... A Swedish proverb claims there are three sorts of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics. The one thing I do consider as absolutely unquestionable is the inherently flimsy nature of statistics.

Bonus : Revised second edition of the book : 100 additional pages of interest!

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