Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Who loved Econ 111 in college? It definitely didn't rank in my top ten favorite courses...and yet, this fresh and well explained book on Economics was a fun and interesting read. Levitt and Dubner have broken down the confusing walls and formulas of economics and asked and answered the questions that many of us have always wished could be answered. Some of his theories are controversial and I assume he likes it that way... I'd definitely recommend this book- it will awaken the Economist in you!

From Publishers Weekly:
Forget your image of an economist as a crusty professor worried about fluctuating interest rates: Levitt focuses his attention on more intimate real-world issues, like whether reading to your baby will make her a better student. Recognition by fellow economists as one of the best young minds in his field led to a profile in the New York Times, written by Dubner, and that original article serves as a broad outline for an expanded look at Levitt's search for the hidden incentives behind all sorts of behavior. There isn't really a grand theory of everything here, except perhaps the suggestion that self-styled experts have a vested interest in promoting conventional wisdom even when it's wrong. Instead, Dubner and Levitt deconstruct everything from the organizational structure of drug-dealing gangs to baby-naming patterns. While some chapters might seem frivolous, others touch on more serious issues, including a detailed look at Levitt's controversial linkage between the legalization of abortion and a reduced crime rate two decades later. Underlying all these research subjects is a belief that complex phenomena can be understood if we find the right perspective. Levitt has a knack for making that principle relevant to our daily lives, which could make this book a hit. Malcolm Gladwell blurbs that Levitt "has the most interesting mind in America," an invitation Gladwell's own substantial fan base will find hard to resist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm so glad to have a personal-recommendation for this book! I have been interested in reading it for several years but never got around to taking a chance on it. Now I will put it on my "must read" list. Thanks!