Stupid, stupid name.

Just finished reading Freakonomics, which is the dumbest name for a book possible while still retaining some connection to the material in the book. That aside, the book is not at all what I expected it to be. There really wasn’t much to it in terms of hard data and there was lots of sensationalist journo-writing. “Your real estate agent is ripping you off! Teachers are big, fat cheaters! Abortion stops crime!” That kind of thing.

Really, the book would probably have been a popular, but ultimately unremarkable book about some basic, common-sense kinds of questions that people ought to ask themselves when going about their daily lives and an interesting demonstration of how some simple statistical/economic concepts and thinking will enable one to be a bit more savvy if it hadn’t been for that chapter claiming that abortion fights crime. (Which is like that website I linked to many moons ago, and which now apparently tries to eat your computer, so I won’t link to it again, that combines a series of odd-ball characteristics for two people and then adds “They fight crime!” Like “She was a teen-age vampire, social-work graduate student with a large overbite, poor fashion sense and small feet and he was ballet dancer with only one arm, color-blindness and a fear of chickens. They fight crime!”)

And it turns out that their argument for the crime-fighting power of abortion has been vastly overstated. See Steve Sailer’s website for more than you ever wanted to read on the topic. (Some of it is repeated in various sections, but each section has at least something the others don’t.) My advice: wait until the book is available at your library and read it in an afternoon. Then you’ll have gotten the interesting stuff about the sumo wrestling match-fixing and won’t have to keep a book that doesn’t have much else worth reading in it.

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