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Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner


Freakonomics is about how social and economic factors powerfully influence decisions that people make, and how data can throw light on a phenomenon that is otherwise inexplicable or misinterpreted.

The authors go through a few case studies, among them – economic incentives for teachers to cheat on their students’ exams, the rise and fall of violent crime in the US, manipulation of clients by “experts” like real-estate agents, rise and fall of the Klu Klux Klan etc.

It was quite a decent read though it didn’t quite live up to the hype of “prepare to be dazzled”. What I liked most was the analysis of crime and the drug mafia. A number of the studies are unconventional, and I couldn’t quite agree with them entirely – especially the analysis of the main reason for the fall of the Klu Klux Klan. Won’t spoil it for you here, it’s an interesting story, but not much more (to me).

The book, self-admittedly, has no central theme and is a series of short case-studies, some more interesting than the others. But because of it and the fact that it’s reasonably small – just over 200 pages – makes it an easy and fun read.

Rating 3/5

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