7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brain Candy That's Great to Rethink, 19 April 2006
This book is pure brain candy. It's material for cocktail parties. And although I can't say I attend many cocktail parties myself, I enjoyed it quite a bit, found myself telling co-workers about it almost every day. Levitt is the brain here, Dubner the writer (not a comment on Dubner's intelligence). Levitt is a heralded economist at the University of Chicago, but an odd sort of economist. Or, at least, an economist who asks odd questions. The authors promise that the book has no unifying theme. And while it does jump seemingly randomly from question to question, there are some lessons to be learned. The most obvious reason why something happens is not always the real reason. In fact, sometimes the real reason doesn't even make the list of possibilities. Or, as is often true in the case studies given, the cause turns out not to be the cause at all, but the effect. What topics do the authors tackle? Not to give too much away, but the reason for the crime drop in the mid 1990s had more to do with Roe v. Wade than innovative police tactics. Sumo wrestling is rigged. And having an African-American may impact a person's success in life. Like I said, random topics, possibly not that useful to most of us, but they sure make for interesting reading.
I also highly recommend THE BLACK BOOK OF OUTSOURCING (by Brown & Wilson) for anyone looking for an up-to-the minute primer on what is going on in the world economy and how you can teach yourself to succeed under the new rules. Its a great follow up and introduction to Friedman's The World is Flat, also.