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Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: FREAKONOMICS


About six years ago a journalist and an economist wrote a collection of essays of seemingly unrelated topics into a book that claimed to reveal the hidden side of everything. The book became an instant bestseller, a fact that warranted it a sequel, SuperFreakonomics, and a movie adaptation. If you read the book then there is little more you can gain from watching the movie; it is basically an abridged version of the book. If you happen to be one of those who would rather wait until the movie comes out, I suggest you check it out. The facts revealed by Levitt and Dubner in the film (and the books) are amusing, informative, and do reveal a new way to go thinking about certain topics.
Freakonomics
The premise (or theses) presented in Freakonomics suggests that if you take the data of anything and analyze it the way an economist would do you would discover hidden facts you would have otherwise never thought of. It is all in the numbers. I know this sounds seriously nerdy but you are not doing the math, someone already did it for you; you are simply watching the results.
As already stated, the movie is basically the abridged version of the book; it takes 5 out of the six chapters and simply explains it as if it was being read out loud but with animations, reenactments, and new experiments. The topics explored include: The socioeconomic patterns of naming children (or why you should never name you kid Uneek Winner), information control by real estate agents (or why it is your real estate agent does not have your best interest in mind), discovering cheating as applied to teachers (or why you should be looking for patterns in your Scantron sheet when you take a test) and sumo wrestlers.
They cheat just like your teacher.

The film premiered at several festivals and it had a short run in theaters. The DVD just came out so once again if you read the book you know the answers; if you didn’t, check out the movie instead. It does give you a new way of thinking over what you previously through was common knowledge.




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