Wednesday, June 19, 2013

S. D. Levitt, & S. J. Dubner. Freakonomics (2005)

     S. D. Levitt,  & S. J. Dubner. Freakonomics (2005) Saw Levitt on TVO, talking with Allan Gregg, and decided I wanted to read the book. BR Pub Library bought it. The book originated in a profile of Levitt written by Dubner for the NY Times. Dubner is no doubt responsible for the clear style, and in many ways the book is an extended magazine article, but it contains actual data, and many references to original work. IOW, the book may be accessible in style and format, but it’s serious in scholarship. The title is unfortunate: Levitt’s examples aren’t freaky at all, but quite serious.
      In many ways, the book recalls Paulos’s attempts to increase numeracy. The authors claim they have no overarching theme, but do admit a consistent aim, to give the reader some of the tools needed to dissect conventional wisdom and ask the kinds of questions likely to produce good answers. In this they succeed as well as can be expected, considering that such criticism depends more on a change in attitude than on the acquisition of new tools. Good book, worth rereading just to ensure accurate recall of the data. *** (2006)

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