I have recently finished reading 'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Which has now also become a documentary film.
It is one of those books I have seen kicking about for a while and I kept thinking that eventually I would get around to picking it up and reading it in a couple of sittings, like Gladwell's the 'Tipping Point' or 'Blink'. And true to my ideas, I found myself in Battersea library with some spare time and a new library card (Which I found painfully exciting... all those free books) and so decided this was the time. A new start at a new university, a new city, a new interest in economics (heightened by our change in government and the stronghold the economy has in determining the realisation of human rights) and so the time had come for this book.
And I have to admit is it extremely interesting- a little bit too neutral at some points, but able to show a side of data collection and analysis which makes me question every statistic that has ever been quoted before me. There are so many barriers and boundaries, so many correlating factors in the universe that attribute to a certain phenomenon, that it is nigh on impossible for a little left-winged student like myself to begin to grasp the ideas encompassed in this book. They did however, make me laugh out loud on the tube, smiling at the very ideas themselves and their blatancy.
It is very USA orientated, and very data heavy (of course) but the two Steve's have a magical way of explaining things without seeming condescending or over complicated, in a natural, lecturer to student kind of dynamic. They ask you to question what you thought you always new, and present you with a new, different way of looking at the links between different things... causality if you will. Which is very relevant in society today. After all, we are spoon fed things to believe in by the ever more conservative main streem media facets every single day. Why not question their angle?
The content you will have to judge for yourself, but the way in which the information is executed is fantastic and readable. The only problem is, I think it has planted a seed of doubt in my already cynical mind as to the nature of data and statistic gathering... so obscure and so dense, I honestly doubt I could see the trees for the woods.
at 10:49 AM