The first book that I have completed reading this year, is the highly engrossing “Freakanomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
The authors – one a reluctant economist, and the other a journalist, right in the beginning dodge accountability with the disclaimer that the book is not a scholarly work.
To their credit, they have used realms of data to prove their point, and all of it is used in a very non-intimidating way without scaring away the reader.
The authors also deserve credit for making economics an interesting science, and show us that application of pure basic principles of economics could predict many a human behavior. Right from the drug peddlers, to the cheating school teacher, everyone works on the basic rational principles of economics.
The emphasis on the incentive structure and the way it works to make people behave in a particular way is fascinating. It gives the reader a better appreciation of the incentive structure prevailing so sub-consciously in our daily lives. Also, it helps in my day job to think more rationally and design more effective programs.
Overall, this is an entertaining book with a lot of food for thought.
After reading the book, my way of looking at daily mundane things has completely changed. Of late, I am compelled to look at connections, and try providing a rationale to every small happening around me. Even a seemingly mundane thing like why does my cook put a lot of oil in my food?
A must read.