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August: Freakonomics

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Sorry for delaying this: July's Book Club read was Freakonomics, how did you get on with it?

What did everyone think?

I love the very concept. I admit that when it first came out I avoided it for a long time because I heard extracts out of context from a right-wing colleague who tried to extrapolate the authors' views to suit his own. It's only having read it that I came to believe the authors don't have a political agenda. Thus, some of their conclusions really upset me and others fit right in with me own views!

I don't want to say too much until I've heard from others; what did you think? What stood out? Would you recommend anything as follow-on reading?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was disappointed TBH, I found it hard to connect because it was very American in focus and so I couldn't relate properly to some examples. I also found many of the conclusions to be basically incorrect, but then that's statistics for you.

    On the other hand, I completely agree with their overall premise. The conventional wisdom is that much in life in unpredictable and yet I have use the type of approach that these guys applied to prove that even emergency admissions to hospital are entirely predictable, that there is no such thing as "winter pressures" in hospital and that its actually "elective" surgery that causes most of the problems and this is the aspect where we have the most control.

    I just wish our politicians paid more attention to this sort of thing, evidence based decisions are much more effective that ideological ones.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Personally, I prefer the way the undercover economist looked at all of these issues. Freakonomics was too involved without being... something, it was detailed by not useful. And very american.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    Personally, I prefer the way the undercover economist looked at all of these issues. Freakonomics was too involved without being... something, it was detailed by not useful. And very american.

    I'm inclined to agree. With the benefit of hindsight, and having reread it, I think I wouldn't have understood much of Freakonomics without having read The Undercover Economist (Amazon link). If I could do it again, I'd nominate that or The Logic of Life.

    Other good things to read: The Spirit Level, 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism,
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    On the other hand, I completely agree with their overall premise. The conventional wisdom is that much in life in unpredictable and yet I have use the type of approach that these guys applied to prove that even emergency admissions to hospital are entirely predictable, that there is no such thing as "winter pressures" in hospital and that its actually "elective" surgery that causes most of the problems and this is the aspect where we have the most control.

    I just wish our politicians paid more attention to this sort of thing, evidence based decisions are much more effective that ideological ones.

    I completely agree (I know someone who was been in hospital for weeks with a major infection from elective surgery abroad) - tbh it was these flashes of good insight that I remembered when I nominated it. I linked to The Spirit Level above, that's worth looking at.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    [video]http://f4a.tv/QzPH3M[/video]

    Stephen Leavitt talking about a chapter in Superfreakonomics entitled 'patriotic prostitutes'....
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