Freakonomics – Interesting and Inspiring Read

Finished the book “Freakonomics” last night. Very interesting and inspiring read. The writer is Stephen Dubner, but the soul behind is Steven Levitt, an “alternative” economist, who is reputedly the most talented economist in the world.

What does the book inspire in me? Well, I’ve learnt a few things:

1. Conventional wisdom is most of the time, conventional, but not true. It is conventional because it is easy to understand and is convenient for us. We have to look everything from an unconventinal way, so maybe one day we can become another “Steven Levitt” of sort.

2. Incidents happen and the reasons for their ocurrance are not necessarily linked to what happen now, but what happened before, even 20, 30 years before or even longer.

3. Risks are hidden everywhere, but we tend to believe more risks in something than others because of fear that we don’t know it or we cannot control it. I was discriminated, seriously, when SARS struck Hong Kong. I had scheduled to go to a language school to study in Europe, but was asked to not go there just a day before I got on the flight. Reason? I came from Hong Kong so I might have SARS. At that time the number of people dying from SARS is very skimpy compared to the deaths resulting from other reasons, say, flu. But people were scared because they didn’t know much about SARS and SARS seemed to be out of their control.

4. Behind our behaviours lie motivations and interests. Maybe we can understand more about how the world works by understanding more about our motivations.

5. The experrts who have the informational advantage. Remember that they don’t have your interests at heart. They have their own interests at heart.

6. Our demands for stuff, most of the time, are influecned by marketing and advertising. We don’t need sth, but the TV and media make us demand it and demand more. Don’t forget this. The example in the book is listerin. Hey, bad breath was not sth that we cared much before the product was marketed, was it?

If you have the time, go and get the book for a read. It is not long in length so you would be able to enjoy and finish it in 2 or 3 days.

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