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Mr. B. J. Myers "Brian Myers" (London UK)

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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Economics made interesting..., 15 Jun 2005
As an economist myself, I'm aware of the notorious inability of 'dismal scientists' to produce text of interest to the average (or even above average!) reader. Levitt, however, (with considerable help from Dubner) manages to do just that.
Winner of the John Bates Clark Medal (awarded biennially to the top US economist under 40), Levitt is no lightweight. His thinking, however, is refreshingly different from most mainstream economists. Simply put, Levitt asks questions, and uses his craft to answer them. Some of the questions are less seemingly 'relevant' (Is there cheating in professional sumo wrestling?) than others (What was the real cause of the drop in crime during the 1990's?), yet all are interesting.
Levitt's topics run the gamut, from racism on 'The Weakest Link' to parallels between the KKK and real estate agents to the reason why drug dealers tend to live with their mothers, and he attacks all of his questions with ingenuity and tremendous skill.
If you'd enjoy a light but engaging read on a wide variety of topics, this one might fit the bill. There's something for everyone here.

Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of Enron
Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of Enron
by Mimi Swartz
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High Flying Corporate Hijinx, 7 Jun 2005
Barings... Worldcom... Global Crossing... Adelphia... of the recent major corporate failures, Enron's was the most egregious of all. An insider's account, this book serves as a case study in aggressive corporate accounting as well as pursuit of profit and an ever-rising stock price in 1990's corporate America. This was capitalism gone horribly wrong.
In places it gets a bit too technical for non-accountants, but overall this was a highly engaging treatment of the factors leading to Enron's late-2001 demise. The character sketches (Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Rebecca Mark, and the infamous Andy Fastow, among others), in particular, help to put more of a human face on the greatest corporate failure of our time. If you want to know the hows and whys of Enron's trip from Hero to Zero, this is the book to get you there.

In the Cherry Tree
In the Cherry Tree
by Dan Pope
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.51

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A trip down memory lane..., 7 Jun 2005
This review is from: In the Cherry Tree (Paperback)
New author Dan Pope recommended his own book to me when I purchased another from him, and I'm glad I took him up on it. Written from the point of view of 12 year old Timmy and set in 1974 Connecticut, one gets the sense this book is heavily autobiographical. Indeed, Pope's photo pegs him as early to mid 40's, and a mini-bio places his residence in Connecticut.
The writing is almost staccato in style, bursts of short sentences which reminded me, in style if not substance, of Hemingway, and works well with a 12-year-old narrator. While far from perfect (Timmy's mother is quite possibly the most irritating character I've ever come across in a novel, and Timmy's father, while noble in all other respects, swallows enough pride to choke a horse), and with occasional silly errors (75 cents for a fudgsicle in 1974?), this book is a special treat for anyone who grew up during the early 70's.
If the 70's were part of your childhood, you'll find much about Timmy and his friends familiar. While Pope's writing could use some polish, I couldn't put it down, finishing in just a few hours. On the strength of this quality, I recommend it to anyone sharing Pope's demographic: males born between 1958 and 1968 in the USA.

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