Freakonomics

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I've been reading the Freakonomics Blog on the New York Times web site for a couple of years now, and although I enjoy immensely the content produced therein, I had never gotten around to reading the eponymous book which, as the saying goes, "started it all." Well, about three months ago, the original authors released the sequel, Super Freakonomics, and I thought, "What better time than now to get caught up?"

But caught up I did not get. A bit before the publication of Super Freakonomics, out came the paperback version of regular Freakonomics. As nice as hardcover books are, it's tough to pass up the monetary and spatial savings paperbacks offer. Furthermore, if I could forgo reading Freakonomics until it came out in paperback, surely I can manage the same for the sequel. Thus I am now caught up to 2005, and I imagine 2009 will come sometime around 2013.

That is, if I can wait that long. Freakonomics is a really entertaining book, so I'm dying to read the next one. It's an easy read, and each of the six chapters are sized in digestible, bedtime reading portions. I finished the book in a week just that way, a chapter a night before going to sleep.

If you didn't follow the above link to the Freakonomics Blog and have instead made it this far wondering what the whole thing is about, the introduction of the book explains "freakonomics" as "the hidden side of everything." Without an obvious common thread to their topics, the authors tackle such issues as rigged sumo matches, unmotivated real estate agents and the effect of legalized abortion on crime rates. Taking an economist's perspective to these issues reveals startlingly obvious relationships that, while not necessarily applicable to everyday life, teach you, the reader, that sound logic sometimes requires exploring a path not presented readily.

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I didn't want to buy the hardcover edition, either, so 2 years ago, I went to the library and borrowed it. It's faster and cheaper than waiting for the paperback edition!

My favorite section of Freakonomics was the story about gang members and the distinction between running the drug trade and being a runner for it.

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