Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Book Report - Freakonomics 
Yesterday I finally got my hands on a copy of Freakonomics, that book supposedly about economics that has been all the rage since it came out six months ago or so.  It’s a quick read, I finished it late last night while watching the Cowboys pull one out against the Iggles.  I have to say that I found it to be a disappointing book.  Sure, it’s filled with interesting anecdotes and a different way to think about the world, but I don’t think it makes enough of an impact to actually change the way you think.

The obvious comparison would be to Tipping Point, which I read last year.  TP presented a new framework for thinking about trends and how they catch on, and thus is a really practical and useful way to think about the world.  Freakonomics, on the other hand, is written in somewhat the same style but I would be hard pressed to say the thought approach Levitt takes is novel.  Rather, it reminds me a lot of some of Carl Sagan’s books, which take the same skeptical approach to interesting problems.

All this isn’t to say that Freakonomics isn’t fun to read, because it is.  However, the really interesting stuff is in the anecdotes and not the approach, and you might as well just read a one-paragraph summary of the anecdotes and not 20-25 pages for each one.

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