Friday, June 20, 2008

Freakanomics - Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Hi All,

During my early university days, I took Economics course in 1998. The course was boring... boooh.... All those supply/demand curve, GDP and GNP etc didn't make me wanna learn economics any further. That was until I found this audiobook ! Freakanomics. I was wondering why it's not called Economics instead. This is by far the most interesting Economics book I've ever read. This had spur me interest to find out more about macro/micro economics. I have seen listen to few economics title i.e. The Undercover Economist (Someday I may do a review on that), Alan Greenspan - The Age of Turbulence. If only the book was introduced 10 years earlier, I could have put change my idea to become an economist but not an IT analyst :) Anyway, past is past, if I'm really interested, I could have been motivated anyway irregardless of this book anyway.

My point of view on what I learn from the book
1. Economics of Incentives - The whole book revolves around this idea. One had to properly weight in the perks/benefits especially some could cause more harm than good. People are willing to do something that give them the most incentives even it's illegal/cheating etc. This idea is very important, it's imperative that you get this right. You may heard this quote before, "if you pay peanut, you get monkey". Not forgetting

2. Bizarre facts and trivia - Especially the decreasing crime rate in US caused by the abortion law introduced in the 70's, cheating by school teacher in Chicago Public School and sumo wrestler, drug dealer staying with their parents, list of person first names that are considered intellectual and wealthy etc. Good way to impress someone in the party. In addition, the reference of crime rate is in contradiction of the idea in "The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell" that mention the New York crime rate was due to broken window theory but not due to abortion law.

3. People will take initiative to do something if they get incentive to be better. Examples cited certain people change their name to a more favorable one then they have at the moment have statically shown to have better living standards. This is a comparison of people names in the States but not here in Malaysia. So, if you want to know if you name is favorable, successful etc. Someone need to do a survey/research on this.

If you want to explore further, there's Freakanomics official website and Blog to find out further on the current scenario

Plus point (+)
1. Economics trivia and bizarre fact about economics that may be useful to impress your boss/colleagues etc
2. Excellent use of story to explain the key idea in the book

Minus point (-)
1. The book could have outline some solution/steps in how to leverage on those situation

All in all, this book is a very good title to listened too. I give it a 8.5 out of 10.

P.S. : In case anyone wondering why I can churned out new title review everyday and think that I'm not working but instead listened to audiobook everyday. You'll be surprised. Sorry to disappoint you but some of the title here was based on the review that I've written after finished listening to the audiobook. For this one, I finished this title on July 2006.

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