Freakonomics – A Rouge Scientist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything

Author : Steven D Levitt (Economist) and Stephen Dubner (Journalist)
Genre : Economics, Management

I absolutely loved this book! Levitt is a bright young economist (Harvard, MIT, recognized as one of the most influential economists under 40), who tries to solve every day riddles as a curious explorer wanting to know how the world really works. He is not your typical academic who often make economics a ‘dismal’, boring science with only theory and numbers. But instead brings alive the central tenet of this discipline: If morality is about how humans should behave, economics tells how they actually behave. Moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of data to generate new, surprising insights. Levitt co-authors with a New York Times journalist (Dubner) to deliver these deep insights in an engaging and fun story.

So what are these insights?

First, it’s all about incentives. The right incentive will make hallowed professionals like teachers and sumo wrestlers cheat. Levitt runs data on school tests results through a computer aided correlation analysis, and clearly shows that teachers had indeed cheated and given higher scores than students deserved. Just to put the class academic standard in good light. And sumo wrestlers regularly collude and throw away crucial matches to maintain their elite position.