WHY FREAKONOMICS CAUGHT FIRE
Books on economics are seldom bestsellers though the few that were proved to be deeply influential - the last century saw The Road to Serfdom
, Capitalism and Freedom
and The Affluent Society
influence a generation of intellectuals, politicians and journalists. Now along comes a self-proclaimed "book without a theme" Freakonomics
by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner that sits at number # 2 on the NYT bestseller list
and at Amazon.
The book jacket warns " Prepare to be dazzled". I wasn't dazzled primarily because I've evidently caught a lot of Levitt's work as it filtered in to the media over the years, but if you are unfamiliar with his odd research interests and fearlessness in selecting taboo topics you will find Freakonomics captivating. Levitt and Dubner claim themelessness - the book reads well and ranges very widely but there is a hidden theme, despite the protests of the authors to the contrary. Their theme is....Counterintuitive thinking
Dr. Levitt has an eye for scanning a horizon and seeing the missing puzzle piece, the dog-eared corner, the blip and assuming that it is the big picture and not the allegedly "incorrect" piece of data that is in error. This is a very great skill to have as an economist( or any field for that matter) because counterintuitive thinking not only leads you to ask the right questions but the great right questions that enable a field to make a leap of progress.
Prepare to be dazzled.