The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 13 November 2005]

Review: Freakonomics

Freakonomics is an exploration of using the tools of economics on questions that often aren’t seen as within the purview of the science itself, such as, Does standardized testing make teachers cheat?; Why do drug dealers live with their parents? and several others.

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner do an excellent job of making the questions and especially the answers interesting and accessible, illuminating the need to look at what the data really shows instead of accepting the muddle that is often “conventional wisdom.” Apart from how interesting even seemingly mundane questions can be when put under the loupe of science, it is in beseeching us to throw away our preconceptions and use the tools that exist to really look at the problems of society and how they can be solved that the book really succeeds.

On the downside, Freakonomics is very brief and could do with both more cases and with more meat on each case—while accessibility is all well and good, and successfully achieved, it would be nice to have deeper looks into the techniques used.

Freakonomics is interesting and enlightening, and leaves the reader wanting more.

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