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I’m reading a book so provocative and amazing that it is challenging many of the “self evident” truths that I’ve held for quite some time now.
For example, did you ever consider that the late-90s precipitous drop in crime rates in large American cities, including NYC, could very well be a delayed effect of Roe vs. Wade decision? WOW!
Steven Levitt (Univ of Chicago and MIT) is obviously not your typical economist since he asks questions like “what are the similarities between the way sumo wrestlers and school teachers act?”
Here are the 5 tenets on which “Freakonomics” rests:
1) Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life.
2) The conventional wisdom is often wrong.
3) Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes.
4) “Experts” — from criminologists to real-estate agents — use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda.
5) Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.
When we write and design information, isn’t that what we all are trying to achieve — to make a complicated world less so?
Even in sales, you won’t sell anything unless you can reduce a list of complicated features into a few solid benefits, correct?
I recommend this book to all my readers who would like to understand not how the modern world SHOULD work, but how it really DOES.
If you like a “tuneup from the neckup” (as Zig Ziglar used to say) you’ll enjoy this gem of a book.
(Do you have a book that needs review? Please send a note through the Comment box.)