Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Levitt, Freakonomics

Seth Levine influenced me to 'read' Freakonomics. I actually used OverDrive to listen to the book while working at night. I didn't retain as much as I would focussed purely on a book but I didn't want to completely waste my nights working.

The best part of the book for me was that they would give some surprising or shocking conclusion to something and then they would describe how it came to be. Chapters 1, 2, and 5 were enlightening to spectacular while 3, 4, and 6 were just interesting to me. Chapter 1 was about incentives and cheating, how incentives can go wrong, who cheats, and how cheaters might be caught. Chapter 2 was about information so they detailed a key time in the bringing down of the KKK and considered real estate agent performance.

Do parents really matter? That is the question in Chapter 5 and data shows that the amount of time kids spend watching TV doesn't positively correlate their standardized test scores. In fact, a list of 16 or so issues are considered and I was surprised at others like regular trips to the museum or parents reading daily to the kids don't positively correlate.

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