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Freakonomics

I just finished reading this one. On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it a nine. However, I’ve got to admit that I don’t necessarily agree with all the correlations, summaries, etc., the authors present. Rather, the thing I like most about this book is the fact that it makes you think. I also liked it because it looks at unusual data from many interesting angles. Examples?

How about the business of real estate? Ever wonder if your real estate agent may have tried to sell your house quickly, at too low a price, just to make a fast buck? The data presented here certainly supports that notion. It also shows how that same real estate agent, when selling their own house in the same neighborhood, will generally wait longer for a better price. Real estate agents get picked on elsewhere in the book as well. The chapter entitled How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents? talks about how information abuse tips the scale in favor of your local agent.

Other highly fascinating observations and claims are made about teachers (do incentives cause them to cheat?) drug dealers (why do most still live with their moms?) and even parents (is it good to obsess over having enough books in the house, putting the kids in the “right” school, etc.?)

I can see why this one is currently a bestseller. The writing style is smooth and engaging, the material is well thought-out and the observations are made from a fresh perspective.

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