- Steven Levitt -
Being a business major in university I really like economics. It was just one of those things that made sense to me. As I took more and more economics classes I got past the basics and into the really interesting questions - I recall a class about tax rates and how they affected the quality of life. I remember using real data. The conclusion was that there were better and fairer ways of taxing to make life better for everyone - increase tax rates to the super rich for eg. So, why were we not doing this? It brought up other question that could not be explained by economics...it was an awesome moment for a bright, young, budding mind that wanted to change the world.
And, that is kind of scenario was what I thought Freakanomics would delve into. And, the book started that way with a look at the crime wave of the 90s and the connection with abortion laws. Wild and wacky questions for an economics book.
Then there was the economics of drug dealers - a look of the distribution of wealth and the motivations and economic realities behind drug dealing. Again, fascinating.
The numbers and data used in those examples used sounded legitimate.
But, then it got murky for me.
The next few topics such as standardized testing in the Chicago school board and proving that teachers were cheating. Boring.
And, the parenting topic. Do parents matter? No answer to that, just a look at the names parents choose. How names change over time and are statistically associated with a different class / income level of people. This struck me as common sense. I guess the point was to prove names matter more than parenting. But, I didn't feel the data was conclusive...it seemed like a picking and choosing kind of data set.
I guess in the end I was dissappointed by the book. It started out ok, but, it quickly lost its appeal to me. And, it was wordy and repetitive. Overly wordy and repetitive. I mean really, really, wordy..and repetitive.
Unless you are stuck at an airport on the way to an economics convention I'd stay clear of this book.
If you doubt me, go ahead and pick up this book on Amazon - FREAKONOMICS