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Carl

Stamford, CT, United States | Member Since 2005

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  • Freakonomics: Revised Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
    Overall
    (2854)
    Performance
    (1319)
    Story
    (1316)

    Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life, from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, and whose conclusions turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this audiobook: Freakonomics. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

    Shackleton says: "Good, but be careful"
    "Easy read"
    Overall

    This is a compelling book, but it will offend many. Race is dealt with quite a bit, and is pretty hard on blacks. We get mostly conclusions, and little of the data and methodology. Some conclusions are based on assumptions.


    For example, they say that adoption correlates to lower success. If the data proves that, fine. But when they conclude that this must be because "The type of person to give up a baby for adoption tends to have a lower IQ"... I think this is an ASSUMPTION that can't possibly be supported by data, given that most adoptions are closed. How do they know the IQ of the mothers?

    The idea that crime fell off precipitously in the 90's because of abortion is compelling but I see some flaws. They ASSUME that the unwanted, aborted babies were the most likely babies to have become criminals. At the same time they fall heavily on the nature side in the nature vs nurture debate (I agree) and imply that intelligent, successful parents tend to produce the same sort of children. So, who is really having all the abortions? Unintelligent and uneducated women, or upwardly mobile women that don't want impediments to careers and education? If the majority are in the latter group, couldn't it be argued that those kids would have been LESS likely to be criminals? Where is the data on this? I'm sure it's out there but not mentioned in the book. Also, what about all the aborted children that were essentially replaced by the children of immigrants? There has been no precipitous drop in population in America, unlike, say Italy, despite abortion and contraception because of immigration, correct? So, they must be saying that there's not a drop in teenagers, but just a drop in BAD teenagers, and I don;t see how this has been proven.

    They sometimes cite hypothetical and anecdotal cases which are purely imaginary.

    Despite these shortcomings, it was a fun read with interesting ideas. I just wouldn't take some of their conclusions as gospel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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