Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Wacky and thought-provoking
on 17 October 2010
This is not normally the kind of book I would buy, but as it was recommended to me by the daughter of an economics professor I thought I'd give it a try! I really enjoyed it. The combination of a professional economist, with an obviously divergent mind, aided by a journalist has created a thoroughly readable book that uses the tools of economics to tease apart the factors influencing human actions and behavior. Some of the topics concern things that one wouldn't expect economists to be interested in, such as, does the name you're given at birth affect your likely success in life; are sumo wrestlers fixing their matches; or, more controversially, did the easing of abortion laws in the USA lead to a reduction in the crime-rate nearly 20 years later? As you can see the authors broached a wide range of subjects and weren't afraid to deal with highly contentious issues.
I've got the feeling that there's been a recent trend in the field of economics to try and put values on things like human happiness rather than deal exclusively with hard-nosed business and markets: a change of tack that broadens the appeal of their work to the general public. This book epitomizes this change and certainly had me thinking about a range of issues in a different way.