Recent Read: Freakonomics

About once a month to once every two months I make the beautiful drive to visit my beau in the hills of upper state New York.  Sadly, the only decent radio station is NPR and even that is iffy so I decided to take his advice and listen to a book on tape.  It made the trip seem so much shorter. 
The book of choice: Freakonomics.  Its a book that I’ve been meaning to read but somehow never picked it up at the library.  Essentially its an economist‘s look at how incentives affect an individual’s decisions.  The subjects may seem random but they are all interesting in their own way.  For example: why would a teacher cheat for his/her students on standardized tests.  Or, why does the average drug seller still live with their mother?  And how do we decide what to name our children and why are there cycles of popularity for names?  The authors lay out a solid foundation to explain their conclusions and the thought process to explain how they ended up there. 
Its a fun, light read with some serious repercussions if you start using the authors’ process to evaluate an individual’s motivations for a given action.  The authors aim to increase everyone’s awareness of knowledge craters where one party knows more than the other (ex. real estate agents, especially pre-Zillow) and explain the effects of our desire to ‘be like the Jonses’ (ex. baby’s names – it seems bizarre but makes sense after reading the book) with some pretty interesting examples. I’m looking forward to finding the second book and I think I will be getting the book out a second time to hash out what I missed.  That is the hazard of listening to a book on tap – you need to focus on the road! 

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