Book Review – Freakonomics

Thanks to my recent experiments in travel on public transport, I managed to read a good book – Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, a University of Chicago Economics professor and Steven Dubner, a NYT journalist . This book is all about statistics and data and how the author manages to bring out hidden facts that could be the actual cause of a few incidents that have happened in the past. Instead of I providing a book review, I am quoting an excerpt from the Amazon Editorial review:

For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald’s, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don’t really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun.

I really enjoyed reading this book – it offers a fresh perspective on a lot of known issues. Most importantly, from now on, I hope I will be more willing to question some incident or event and depend on data to make any conclusions or correlation or causality.

Have you guys read it? – if yes, what did you feel about it?

— Thyaga

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