Levitt's Freakonomics: The Law of Unforeseen Consequences

Published on January 13, 2011

Levitt's Freakonomics: The Law of Unforeseen Consequences

    “See the root”
    Kozma Prutkov

    The story of a book thundered around the world - such as “ Frikonomika ” - is supposed to start with a list of regalia. The bestseller of Amazon, excellent reviews in the press, author - professor, winner ...

    Why is this annotation not enough for you to find this book worthy of your attention?



    We all know what these ratings and prizes are worth. Sometimes they are deserved "without fools" - but often all the buns go to the work, which is nothing outstanding, but just turned out at the right time in the right place. Let us recall the sensational opus about “afedron”: how did it happen that an objectively poor-quality novel received a significant literary prize? And is it only in literature that one needs to look for the roots of this phenomenon?

    Stephen Levitt , author of Freakonomics, became famous for discoveries of such non-obvious reasons. He shovels piles of statistics, interviews people; like Sherlock Holmes, analyzes, compares - and gives a brilliant solution to a problem, the very existence of which only he guessed.

    I put it inaccurately. Levitt does not just see the problem where everyone sees it for granted - he sees that its solution is far from obvious. And it is not always convenient for society. That the cause of the decline in juvenile delinquency in the United States is not the growth of the economy and culture, but the legalization of abortion (if in all honesty, most potential criminals are killed even before they are born). What is sometimes more profitable to hack, receiving little and often than to work on conscience and expensively. What the parents did before the birth of the child affects their future even more than their upbringing, and the pool in the yard is much more dangerous than the gun in the closet. That the rich are more prone to petty thefts than middle-income people.

    In general, it is no coincidence that in the very first chapter he warns: the economy has little in common with morality.



    Having released the book, and then the sequel - “Superfriconomics” - Professor Levitt did not leave his research. On a blog on the New York Times website, he is trying to understand why school bus roofs are painted white, predicts the success of one-second commercials, promises iPhone owners more sex than Blackberry and Android owners ... Sometimes I just want to remember the aphorism about a lie, a big lie and statistics - but Stephen confirms his every paradoxical theory with facts.

    “All this is curious,” the skeptic will say, “but what does Habr have to do with it, a site about information technologies ?!” I will answer: "Frikonomika" teaches a method. Explains how to search for answers; seek actively, broadly, impartially. If Levitt was a system administrator, he wouldn’t post a single story on “IT happens” about “capricious” computers and otherworldly phenomena on the network.

    "Frikonomika" teaches to make discoveries. If you need it, I advise you to buy it.

    Book site (in English)
    Russian edition of the book