This is a tough book to define. What is it? It’s written by an economist, but deals with subjects such as crime, drugs, sumo wrestlers, real-estate agents, the KKK…and the dust jacket describes it as” A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything”. Ohhhh, a rogue economist. That’s scary.
Basically, the two authors, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, try to break down mass amounts of data and try to develop conclusions. Now, in some places, I understood and thought the conclusions were pretty natural.
The first instance was a daycare. When they decided to fine late parents $3, they found the instances of tardiness actually rose. Because parents viewed $3 as inexpensive…but by paying a fine they alleviated their guilt at inconveniencing others.
Other cases, they go from A to B to G. How they got to G doesn’t make sense. Because really, all they are doing is trying to dissect data. They actually aren’t experts in their fields (though it seems they did a ton of research). An example is a community snack box. You know, the ones where you pay by the honour system. Take a snack, pay some money. In this case, they were bagels.
In the bagel case study, the data showed that smaller companies had a higher payment rate than big companies. The authors concluded it was because smaller companies mirror rural areas (where social pressures keep people honest), and the big companies mirrored urban centres.
I disagree with the conclusion. It has nothing to do with social pressures…but rather the ability of the individual to put aside personal responsibilities when in a crowd. In a crowd, we become anonymous — a theft of a bagel is impossible to track. A theft of a bagel in an office of three is pretty obvious.
They do have some interesting theories — but again, these guys are merely drawing interesting conclusions from data. Are they right? Maybe, maybe not. There is no true way to tell.
Another example: Real Estate agents typically sell their house for $10,000 more than their client’s houses. What does that say? That they KNOW they are undervaluing their clients houses? Perhaps (that’s the authors conclusions) or is it that Real Estate Agents know what people value…and thus, can directly influence the sale by applying those values (whereas their clients, perhaps, might not want to renovate a bathroom).
Of course, I do think Real Estate agents are crooks…but that’s just an example of where there is no way to tell — it is just data.
Still, Freakonomics is an entertaining read…the kind of book that you can sit down and read in a night (took me about 2-3 hours).
??? You must be reading a newer version, with perhaps some different case studies (my version isn’t even new enough to mention Apple TV).
This is just a library version (hey, I’m cheap). I’ll have to borrow yours to take a look.
I kid because it’s funny…and because the Apple biters are just so gosh darned CUTE!
I do think it’s a social phenomenon that any company can create such brand loyalty. This isn’t a slam against John, but I can’t believe how many Mac users are total Mac Fanboys to a level that you just don’t see many other places. I mean I like my iPod as much as the next guy, but there are also some serious flaws with it. Please don’t let Steve Jobs hear that though, lest the rounded corners gestapo come to my home and gel up all of my buttons or something.
Brian, you may have missed the point of Apple TV. The TV part of the name references the device you connect your digital content into. Not the content you put on it. Cause well if you really sat down and thought about it, buying a device so that you can put on to it, that very same stuff, which comes out of the coax cable you run into it, which you already pay for well that’s kooky.
Now if someone could make a device that would seamlessly get all that content I have on my laptop, as well as up to 4 other computers on my household network, Mac or PC, be that music, video or pictures (namely content that interests me way more than traditional TV) and have it be accessible to my entertainment unit, and as an added bonus have it link up directly with You Tube there would be a device. Too bad someone hasn’t made that yet er wait.
I am probably a stupid Mac Lemming, but I traded my old Cube which I wasn’t using and had cash left over after buying my Apple TV. And despite living in Canada, I find I am watching way more content from it than I am regular TV.
I loved that book. Did you get to the part of the book titled “Of Apples and Lemmings, how consumers of computer products and suicidal animals are alike”? My favourite part was where he illustrated the guy who bought an Apple TV in Canada, despite the fact that he couldn’t use the Apple TV for…you know TV! Loved it!
John: Yup, you fell for it too. Guess there never has been a section about Apple TV…
When Brian’s eye lit up and he said ‘zing!’ I knew he had me.