Monday, November 21, 2005

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt, Stephen Dubner

There's a reason this book has been on the NY Times Bestseller list for such a long time. It's interesting. It takes things that are completely familiar to us and makes us look at them in an entirely different way - from the framwork of economic theory. If this was music, it would definitely be on the Billboard Pop Chart. This book was developed for mass consumption and it hits the bullseye in style, substance and accessibility. It was the pefect pairing of the "Rogue Economist" of the subtitle and a New York Times Magazine writer who understands what the greater public wants to read. It's not a brain drain, but engaging in every sense of the word. I thought Chapter 2, "How the Ku Klux Klan is like a Group of Real Estate Agents" was a bit of a stretch. Coming from that particular industry, I have specific issues with how they positioned some of their theories. Nevertheless, one can't dismiss it completely.

In many ways, I found this to be an enjoyable read in much the same way as Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point and Blink. Those are two other books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but fit into almost a separate genre in which Freakonomics also belongs. It seems to be hip these days for people to read books that actually make them think (but not too hard.) I think it could become an actual trend. We'll have to keep an eye on the NY Times Bestseller List to see if that can be verified.

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