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on 1 November 2011
Very easy to read and definitely one of the most interesting books I have read.
It gives new perspectives on many aspects of everyday life.
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on 18 June 2014
Made me think in a different way altogether. Very clearly explained the in and outs of e.g. welfare payments, educational attainment etc.
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on 4 September 2014
Not the 'hidden side of everything' . It is selective but extremely informative and funny .You can dip in and out at your leisure.Enjoy.
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on 26 June 2013
Presents things in a nice anecdotal manner but I'm always left with the feeling that it's not quite as good as Malcolm Gladwell's books.
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on 13 December 2016
Very inciteful and well written. I particularly enjoy the evidence based approach to conclusions that are drawn! Keep up the good work!
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on 18 February 2016
Some amusing insights through statistical analyses of various phenomena. You will end up quoting and referring to this book for years.
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on 13 December 2006
This is a so-called "international best-seller" (it is written on the book jacket so it must be true) and documents some research done by a "rogue" economist named Steven D. Levitt. He and his co-author, Stephen J.Dubner, argue that economics, properly used, can provide valuable, and sometimes counter-intuitive, insights into how the world works. A quote from the books explanatory note sums up the premise with "economics is a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of questions". The book (240 pages) has a substantial introduction and 6 chapters. Each chapter is introduced by a quote from an article written by Dubner on Levitt's work and published in the New York Times Magazine in 2003. The book is very well written, possibly too well written for its own good in that it incites you to read fast and not spend too much time re-reading and thinking about what is written. If we look at the chapter titles, we are asked important social questions such as "What do schoolteachers and Sumo wrestlers have in common", or "Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?" What I understood to be the most famous question was "Where have all the criminals gone?", where Levitt tells us that abortion is the reason for a substantial reduction in the crime rate. Unwanted children frequently become criminals and abortion gets rid of many unwanted children, therefore abortions reduces the crime rate. This conclusion offends, but it might be well founded. The book does not really offer a detailed analysis, although it does provide a total of 21 pages of notes and references. This is one of my biggest problems with the book - it is written to entertain and possibly shock, but not really to foster debate or justify an open-minded reconsideration of perceived ideas.

The book claims that it has no unifying theme, but I would beg to disagree. The message is that a problem or issue can be studied from many different perspectives and, as in any real science it is good to ask a variety of questions - be they complex, simple or unexpected. A willingness to study a problem and examine different facets as a physicist would study a new set of experimental data appears so bizarre to economics that we need a whole book to demonstrate what a good idea it is. On the other hand I do not side with those who complain that the authors as offering answers based only upon, as one person wrote, "regression analysis". In my opinion many of societies problems need a bit more data and regression analysis because the "traditional" qualitative methods have provide often to be false friends. So I have no problem with economists studying abortion and crime rather the movement of interest rates provided they bring something valuable to the table - conventional wisdom is always worth challenging.

When I read books like this I generally make quite a lot of notes about things that attract my attention - with this book I made no notes at all. So a nice read, but at the end of the day too much trivia, not enough real content, and it did not leave me a new and persistent insight on the world around me.
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on 1 August 2015
Some good concepts and real life examples but a lot of the subjects and questions raised and answered aren't really that interesting.
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on 27 February 2012
I must be reading a different book than everyone else. It's hard work and even the start is incredibly boring which is why I don't want to struggle for another 3 months reaching the end. A whole chapter searching for the similarities between possibly cheating Japanese Sumo wrestlers and teachers definately cheating? Please!
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on 3 December 2012
lose connection between topics, but an nice easy and interesting read. I enjoyed reading and would consider buying the next version
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