Freakonomics. Book review by: Shekhar Ruparelia. 1 st March 2006. Institute of Management, Nirma University. Peer review.
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Book review by: Shekhar Ruparelia
1st March 2006
Institute of Management, Nirma University
"Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America, and reading Freakonomics is like going for a leisurely walk with him on a sunny summer day, as he waves his fingers in the air and turns everything you once thought to be true inside out. Prepare to be dazzled."
Economics is above all a science of measurement. It comprises an extraordinarily powerful and flexible set of tools that can reliably assess a thicket of information to determine the effect of any one factor, or even the whole effect.
…but it can be done.
Q. What is an incentive?
Economics is, at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Economists love incentives. They love to dream them up and enact them, study them and tinker with them.
A wrestler’s ranking is based on his performance in the elite tournaments that are held six times a year. Each wrestler has fifteen bouts per tournament, one per day over fifteen consecutive days. If he finishes the tournament with a winning record (eight victories or better), his ranking will rise. If he has a losing record, his ranking falls. If it falls far enough, he is booted from the elite rank entirely. The eighth victory in any tournament is therefore critical, the difference between promotion and demotion.
Statistics when a 7–7 wrestler faced an
8–6 wrestler on a tournament’s final day
The Klan’s power was its hoarded information. Once that fell into wrong (?) hands, it was all over.
5 terms correlated to a Higher Sales Price:
Granite, State-of-the-Art, Corian, Maple, Gourmet
5 terms correlated to a Lower Sales Price:
Fantastic, Spacious, !, Charming, Great Neighbourhood
Think about how you describe yourself during a job interview versus how you might describe yourself on a first date.
For even more fun, compare that first date conversation to a conversation with the same person during your tenth year of marriage.
Roughly 50% of white women on a dating site and 80% of white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. Response data? White men who said race didn’t matter sent 90% of their email queries to white women. White women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97% of their e-mail queries to white men.
Mitch Snyder and the American homeless
Women rights’ advocates and rape / attempted rape victims
You might become more skeptical of the conventional wisdom; you may begin looking for hints as to how things aren’t quite what they seem; perhaps you will seek out some trove of data and sift through it, balancing your intelligence and your intuition to arrive at a glimmering new idea. Some of these ideas might make you uncomfortable, even unpopular.
The most likely result of having read this book is a simple one: you may find yourself asking a lot of questions. Many of them will lead to nothing. But some will produce answers that are interesting, even surprising.