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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Freakonomics review

I know, I know, I'm quite late to the game (Freakonomics was first published in 2005), but I still feel that this book deserves a review.

What I like about it the most, is the fact that it tries to teach critical thinking, a thing which is lacking these days. The book provides vivid and easy to read descriptions of investigative stories, similar to detective/murder-mystery books, about how seemingly distant events relate to one-another. Each chapter stands on its own and can be read-trough in a short amount of time. Where necessary, the book provides high-level description of the statistical terms (like regression-analysis), without giving the impression of "talking down".

My favorite quote from the book is actually not from the book authors, but non-the-less I find it very fitting (and I'm sure that the authors agree with me, since they included it in the book :-)):

"We Associate truth with convenience," he wrote, "with what closely accords with self-interest and personal well-being or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes the most to self-esteem." Economic and social behaviors, Galbraith continued, "are complex, and to comprehend their character is mentally tiring. Therefore we adhere, as though to a raft, to those ideas which represent our understanding."

I consider this book one worth reading. The only negative was that I got the "extended" version (which is not the one I link to) and I found that the "extension" was just some rehashing of the content from the book and from their blog. So get the real thing.

PS. Wikipedia says (so it must be true :-p) that a sequel is coming. I'm looking forward to it! Even if it will be half of the quality of the original (as sequels usually are), it should still be a great read!

Full disclosure: the links include my Amazon Affiliate ID.


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