If you haven’t read any of the Freakonomics books or listened to the Freakonomics podcast, you’re wasting your time on this blog. Go read and listen to everything Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have done and then you can come read silly marriage and pop-culture blogs after.
The two Steves write about social and world issues through the lens of economics. One is an economist, the other a journalist, so neither are clouded by emotions. Sometimes there findings can seem rash or a little upsetting but they are always fascinating and data driven. Recently they did a series of writings and podcasts called “The Upside of Quitting.” They found empirical evidence that we often times stay in harmful relationships (whether that is a person, job or habit) because we’re scare to quit when people who quit those harmful relationships are statistically happier and more successful.
My favorite chapter in the new book is about how they have found people are conditioned to never say, “I don’t know.” This conditioning leads to really poor business decisions and a culture of bull-turd in big corporations. It’s also something I’ve noticed more and more in the world around me since reading the chapter.
You never know what you’re going to get next but it’s always fascinating. In their first book, they followed a crack cocaine dealer and studied his rather amazing business model.
If you’re remotely interested in world issues, social experiments, incentive based solutions or economics, read this book. If you haven’t read Freakonomics or Super Freakonomics, read those books first. They also have a weekly podcast that is absolutely fascinating and one of the best produced podcasts out there.