Sunday, November 18, 2007

Freakonomics 101

Just picked up and put down the book Freakonomics. I've been wanting to read it for a while, as I consider myself a student of the school of non-linear thinking ;) What I found in the pages were quite interesting. The book claims (of course with economic style evidence) that the single greatest contribution to the drastic decline of crime in the 90's was... Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in the 70's. Can you believe that!? It also tackles the question of "black" names versus "white" names. It proposes that kids/people with uniquely black names, like Jamal or Essence, tend to succeed less than do people with generally white names, such as, Catherine or Benjamin. While that may not surprise many people, the reasoning might. At first glance, one might quickly dismiss such a "gap" to racism or discrimination on the part of businesses or managers in the hiring process. But what Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt go on to show it that, people with uniquely black names, generally come from poor, uneducated single mothers, while those with typically wealthy names, come from wealthy, educated parents.

I would give you some more nuggets, but I feel like this is enough to get your mind rolling or your blood boiling or both...

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Samuel I. Richard said...


I loved that book and enjoy tackling the issues those guys come up with. They write often in the Sunday edition of the New York Times, and when I worked at Starbucks I would read the column every week. Crazy stuff.

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