Freakonomics is one crazy eye-opening book. I recently got it as a present from my old roommate. I really can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book. It’s a potent mix of history, policy, economics, and some statistics and how they all interact in very surprising ways. Told in an approachable, fresh, fun to read (or listen to) voice.
The part on glamor professions really hits a point. Thousands of people in lower positions competing for a very few spots. Those that make it, do very well, those are the ones seen, but most people don’t make it. If instead people went for a different goal, they could significantly increase their chances for success, or at the very least increase their standard of living while they try to achieve it. I also like how many events could be equally well or better “explained” by influences completely different than those that come to mind. Crime rate drops in a city with new police policies. Everyone cheers the mayor. Crime drops across the nation, regardless of policies. Was it because of the new policies? Was it due to some other event? Interesting question is how can we test these explanations.