Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Selective Perspective

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything 
By Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Data is at the heart of everything. But, when subjected to sufficient statistical torture, data can be made to anything. Therefore, everything is possible. That just about sums up Freakonomics: an interesting though questionable treatise on how economics, rather econometrics, can be applied to answer everyday events. After all, all humans act on incentives and economics is essentially a study of incentives. Well, at a macro-level anyway.

The problem with this book is that it seems to merrily cherry pick data and distract the discerning gaze of readers through interesting - sometimes excessively long - anecdotes. This is OK for sometime, given that every author would like to sell his book, but with far too many instances of it, it becomes monotonous and even irrelevant. Furthermore, although the book does underlines that it does not have one unifying theme, this is hardly an incentive for readers. It just feels like a long, unending maze: which might be good for economists, but not for everyone else.

Overall, a somewhat over-hyped book. 

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