Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Freakonomics, one of the best books I’ve read in a while

My brother-in-law got me Freakonomics as a Christmas gift (thanks, Steve!), and I gotta say its one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a very long time. The book claims to have no central theme in favor of exploring several economic/incentive questions about why things are the way they are, but I’d say the book is really about challenging conventional wisdom. For example, authors Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner cite legalized abortion as the reason for the sudden drop in crime since the early 90’s (e.g. according to the book, a majority of women who get abortions are poor, uneducated, and don’t want the child, thus the child that would have been born has a higher chance of becoming a criminal) though mass media and other experts cited innovative policing strategies for the drop.

To give you an idea of how inspiring Freakonomics was for me, I usually jot down a few notes per book. Really, I email myself notes: ideas for further research online, words to look up in the dictionary, blog post ideas, and thoughts for further consideration. For any given book, I generally email myself about 3-5 times over the duration of either the couple of weeks or several months it takes me to complete it. With this book, I emailed myself 19 times over the course of two days which is how long it took me to read the short book. More of my specific thoughts on key ideas to follow.