8.5 Freakonomics

A lot tighter than Junk Science, this book targets a few completely random subjects with statistical analysis, most often with unpredictable results. Crime related to abortion rates, the true hazards of daily life (e.g., wet bathroom floors – ala Gavin de Becker), nature vs. nurture, etc. What makes the book resonate is the truth that bubbles up from the clinical statistical approach – any presumption is fair game, resulting in some great insights. I wish Junk Science had felt that true.

P.S. Thanks to Gary, he’s been my source for current popular nonfiction lately. :>

3 thoughts on “8.5 Freakonomics

  1. I heard the author interviewed on NPR about a year ago and then recently on 20/20 with John Stossel. The big story seems to be the crime/abortion theory. I think there’s a danger that it might be used to fuel racism against the black community. Not having read the book, my impression from the 2 news stories is that the book is intended for entertainment purposes rather than to be taken as a serious scientific work.

  2. Yeah, he seems to be having fun in the book, focusing on things that defy conventional wisdom. But he’s definitely not afraid to tackle race issues, and I think that’s great. Of course racist people will take things out of context to defend their ignorant attitudes. Some of the statistical findings in the book are a reflection of the racism still embedded in our culture (like the bias against “black” baby names), which to me is a call to action to continue fighting racism. Other findings, like the fact that crack gangs in poor mostly-black communities are run in a very similar fashion to corporations, could be seen as defying racial stereotypes.

    But there’s no doubt that tackling race issues leads to exposure of racist attitudes! I say, expose and destroy. :>

  3. Dan, you really should read the book. Unfortunately the lack of an open mind will hinder your understanding of it.

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