Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

I listened to this in the car last week. This book made a lot of
waves when it came out a few years back with a few of its
controversial conclusions, but is already a classic introduction to
economics, easily digestible by a non-economist. Steven Levitt is a
rogue economist who is more interested in applying the analytic tools
of economics to social phenomena like crime, school testing, etc, than
he is to markets and money.. his talent is asking interesting
questions. For instance, he looks into how baby names change in
popularity over time, the differences between black and white baby
naming trends and the effects of such naming. He looks into cheating
in Sumo wrestling and compares it to cheating in high stakes US school
testing. He looks into the economics of dealing crack. It is
fascinating stuff. There is stuff in here to offend most people, but
Levitt says that if morality is how the world should work, then
economics is how it does work. So he is simply laying out the facts
as he has discovered them, judgement free in most cases. Anyway,
good stuff, recommended.

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