Freakonomics / Steven D. Leavitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics / Steven D. Leavitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Conventional wisdom is blown out of the water in this masterpiece as economic theory is used to depict correlations (not causality) between various factors in topics as wide ranging as legalization of abortion being the main reason for a drastic drop in crime in the late 20th century, the patterns of cheating in sumo wrestling and teachers and behavior of real estate agents when they sell your house vs. their own house. Other subjects also covered in this treatise (if one may call it such) with “no unifying theme” include how information asymmetry is (mis?)used by folks deemed as experts, e.g. doctors and real agents, to take advantage of those without access to inner workings of their  profession, parallels between the Ku Klux Klan and real estate agents, rubbish theories on the larger influence of parents on their children rather than that of the children’s peers and correlation between the selection of names and the probability of better education. Granted that in the final chapter the authors get a bit long winded, but other than that minor gripe, this is a must-read book.

Verdict: Highly recommended.

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