AuthorsDen.com   Join | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Alan Brenham, iSandy Lender, iT. Cline, iGisele Vincent-Page, iSteve Coltman, iKathleen Morris, iRobin Leigh Miller, i

  Home > Sociology > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Leland Waldrip

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Success story
· Books
· Articles
· Poetry
· Stories
· Blog
· 399 Titles
· 4,260 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Aug, 2001

Leland Waldrip, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
The Man Who Saved Christmas
by Jeff Ovall

Christmas - only days away; plastic snowmen and glowing reindeer adorn the lawns of neighborhoods all across America. All is calm, all is bright, and yet there is someth..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
Albert Russo: a poetic biography, volume 2-texts & photos
by Albert Russo

a photographic and poetic itinerary of Albert Russo's life (he has resided on three continents) and literary production (in English and in French)..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members



   Recent articles by
Leland Waldrip

Heaven In An Alder Swamp
Heaven in An Alder Swamp (Continued - 2)
Heaven In An Alder Swamp (Continued - 3)
Heaven In An Alder Swamp (Continued - 4 )
Heaven In An Alder Swamp (Continued - 5 )
Heaven
Katy Walsvik's Obituary
Free Listing on New Book Promotion SIte
The Opari
Growth Mania
Optimism Rides A Strange Vehicle
The French Connection
           >> View all

Book Review - Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of
by Leland Waldrip   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, March 31, 2008
Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007

Share    Print   Save    Become a Fan


Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner William Morrow

191 pages, hardcover + 120 pages of bonus material including columns from New York Times Magazine, and excerpts from the Freakonomics Blog, Notes and Index.


 


 


 

This collaboration between a rogue economist, Levitt, and an award winning journalist, Dubner, has produced a book that will make you think about things in a different way. They show (per the inside front flap) that “… economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing”. But “There’s nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction.” And they believe that “no subject, however offbeat, need be beyond the reach of the science of economics.”

 

Levitt is apparently what some would call a nerd, someone who has an interest in sifting through and teasing out otherwise unknown nuggets of information from mountains of data. For a nerd, he is apparently fearless, however, for he seems not to be concerned upon whose toes he treads with his findings. He asserts that “Morality represents the way people would like the world to work—whereas economics represents how it does work,” and “Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life. And understanding them—or often ferreting them out—is the key to solving just about any riddle, from violent crime to sports cheating to online dating.” He believes that conventional wisdom is often wrong and dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes.

 

He asks and answers questions like:

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?

Would a real estate agent hold out for more money selling her own house than when selling yours?

Would schoolteachers cheat when administering exams to students?

Would Japanese Sumo wrestlers fix their matches in their most honored sport?

Why do (most) drug dealers live with their moms?

How much do parents really matter?

What was the real cause of the major reduction in crime statistics across the country during the 1990s?

Does money buy elections?

What is the real cost of campaign finance?

What are the reasons an honor system sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t?

What happened to the seven million children who disappeared from the United States in April of 1987?

 

The authors claim to have no central theme for the book, yet one can detect a common thread: there is a knowledge gap between the public and the “experts” and in far too many cases, the “experts” use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda. I think the power of this book, however, is the ability of the authors to relate what would normally be a boring process of data analysis into an intensely exciting story as they reveal their exploration tactics and progression through the mystery to a solution that many are unwilling or are afraid to contemplate.   

 

Probably the most controversial issues discussed are the findings concerning the almost precipitous drop in crime that occurred in the 1990s. The dramatic turnaround from the growing menace of the crime wave of the 1970s and 1980s was “explained” by a number of mostly big city mayors (think Gulliani, etc.) touting such influences as better policing, more police, cocaine market collapse, aging population, etc.

 

Levitt “normalized” all these factors (organized the data to isolate the influence of each) and concluded that only in the case of cities where extra police were added in direct response to crime did any of the touted factors have a substantial impact. What did have an overwhelming impact was something that had happened over twenty years earlier: Roe v. Wade.

 

Unwanted, unloved children tend to be neglected and abused. Study after study has shown that children born into this type of environment are disproportionately predisposed to retaliate against society for their pain and become criminals. Across the country, after Roe was decided, young, poor single women suddenly found an avenue to avoid having unwanted babies and for whatever reason, took advantage of the opportunity to terminate their pregnancies. As a result, children were not born who as a group would have tended to provide a substantial portion of the criminal population fifteen or twenty years or so later and would continue the trend from there. So the crime wave collapsed in the 1990s for want of perpetrators.

 

One can imagine the uproar that publication of this finding caused among certain moralists in the country. However, the authors have examined all contrary claims and in their supplemental material in this updated version of the book show how their conclusion, rather than being weakened by these attacks, is bolstered by the data purporting to contradict their finding.

 

This is an interesting book. It will make you aware of the asymmetry of information between “normal” folks and “experts” and will make you glad you now have the World Wide Web as a tool to check out the way things are, as opposed to the way some of the “experts” say they are.

 

I highly recommend this book for its utility and reading pleasure. My only complaint is that it seems chopped up, almost a book of short stories, due, I suppose, to the lack of a unifying theme. But, then, the authors told me that when I began reading it, so I suppose I have no complaint. The common thread of exposing the agendas of particular selfish “experts” will have to do. 
 

 
© 2007 R. Leland Waldrip   
 


 


 
 

 

Web Site: Rappahannock Books


Reader Reviews for "Book Review - Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of"


Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!


Reviewed by C. J. Stevens 2/27/2007
If the book is half as fascinating as this review, it is well worth reading.
CJ
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 2/27/2007
Sounds Interesting enough I guess!!

Great review Leland!!

Love Tinka

Books by
Leland Waldrip



Vigilante Virus

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Satin Verses

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




100 Sensible Reflections

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




The Last Grizzly

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




GRIZ Nightmare

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Anasazi Harvest

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Russells In The Leaves

Buy Options
Signed copy!






Free Download - The Labor Divide by Sam Vaknin

Modern labour theories and practice. Covers issues like employment, unemployment, migration, brain drain, entrepreneurship, workaholism, and trade unions. ..  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


The Angel of Luxury and Sadness, Volume One by Ian Irvine (Hobson)

A detailed study of the origins of the New Alienation. The author labels it normative or postmodern ennui and traces its rise to cultural power over the last two centuries...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.