Freakishly Interesting Economic Theory

March 8th, 2010   •   no comments   

My never-ending quest to understand the world around me – and my love of a good story – led me to read the Freakonomics sequel, Super Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.  I liked the first one much better.  I’m not sure if it’s because the first one was actually better or if it was just because the surprise was gone.  I think it was because the second one was trying too hard to make connections between two disparate ideas – that was the “gimmick” of the first one.

Freakonomics made much stronger connections between the different worlds — why Sumo wrestlers and teachers in Chicago cheated.  Super Freakonomics draws a connection between street prostitutes and department store santas in a headline, but the chapter is all about various studies that show how women are short changed around the globe, with an ending comment that street prostitution goes up around holidays, just like employment of santas…but that connection is not made throughout the chapter, just a comment at the end.

While the info on women being short changed in various cultures is very interesting, I just kept waiting for the department store santa connection.  Maybe it’s just a marketing issue.  It’s a good book, but not in a freaky way.

I think books like this are very good to get one’s creative juices flowing.  One of the best books for this is one a former boss (Robert Johnson) gave our staff to read – How to Get Ideas by Jack Foster.  It was an easy read with lots of great tips.  It talks about how great ideas come from merging two good ideas that seem unrelated.  For example, the wine press was created when Gutenberg merged the ideas of a coin punch and a wine press.

If you want to read any of these books – and live in the Dallas area – drop me a line!  You can borrow them.  All three books – the two Freak books and Foster’s idea book — are easy to breeze through and wake up a lot of sleep creative brain cells.  I personally enjoy having them all on hand for inspiration when I am in the writing mood.

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