Why do people cheat? Why schoolteachers amplify students’ grades? Why do women get more likes than men on social media? Similarly, why do white men get more likes than their coloured peers?  Why do people behave more honestly on a national holiday than on a festive holiday? Why do people lie about themselves on online dating sites? Do people still have prefernces for racist views?

What was the real reason behind drop in violent crime in 1990s? Does increase in the strength of a police deter crime rate? Is money really as an important a factor in elections as it is amde out to be? Does drinking eight glasses of water actually do a thing or two for your health? Which is more dangerous – a gun or a swimming pool?

What is the correlation between a drop in violent crime and legalisation of abortion?  Why did Ku Klux Klan gaines so much following in US? Why does your real state agent value your house at a lower price than it actually is? Does the name of a child impact his life? What roles do parents actually play in their kids life? Does owning a large number books improve academics?

Freakonomics answers these questions and many more, seemingly alienated from the conventional arena of economic theory, in a very compelling and statistical way. The book has used the excellent tools of economics for gaining answers to interesting questions. The book presents a cascading chain of obviously unrelated events that synthesise into a miraculous inferences.

The authors narrates anecdotes, stories and personal observations that conventional economists fear telling. This book is as much for the for the casual roadside conversationist as it is for the crazy analyst. It transcends ideologies. It thwarts stereotypes. It breaks down the elitist economic thinking into a funny, irresistible and populist narration that appeals to our imagination.

‘How people get what they want’, ‘Why people want certain things more than other ones’ – these are questions thats seem very obvious and generic. If you come to think about it, it isn’t. And that is what the book so excruciatingly dwells upon.

Am I worse off for never having read Freakonomics?

That question, as subjective as it sounds, was asked to the authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner of Freakonomics.  I’ll quote their answer here –

Sadly, yes. Independent testing has shown that people wo reas Freakonomics have sweeter-smelling breath better posture and more interesting dreams. Also, women feel no pain during childbirth, male readers find that their sperm swims faster.

 

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