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Book Review- Freakonomics

Freakonomics was one book which was quite hyped even during my college days. I wasn’t much of a reader back then except for reading chetan bhagat and sheldon or fan brown. I started reading voraciously only a few years ago.

I had heard great things about this book – the unique way to present facts with data and to ask questions we never even thought of asking before.

Did the book disappoint me? Definitely no.


This was the first book I picked up this year and finished in 2 weeks despite the long vacation I took in between. For a book this interesting, 2 week is actually quite long.

The part about what’s in it for real estate agents or the incentives for day care centre was a great read personally. However what was a revelation for me was the first chapter on what makes ideal parents. We had several hypothesis or myths that we can call now. Some of them I personally believed in too but the research proved them all wrong. The only regret here is that the topic itself is too large and so obscure that the authors could only present the results out of the statistical data. However the explanations to some of them have been left open.

While it was made clear that genetics play a much larger role than inculcated habits that parents try to develop on early years, it still is misleading. Ex the comparison of a child being born with many books at home and the one who reads a lot and still scores poor.

The answer given was that the child with many books at home is more intelligent due to genes – fact that his parents read a lot and hence have a higher IQ. But even if we assume the child who reads a lot has weak genes or parents with lower IQ, how can he score lower just with this attribute. It is like challenging the learning ability itself. Expecting the authors to answer is also not fair as they have written with an intention to answer common myths with the help of research and data.

Overall, the book was enriching. It makes you think differently and even after finishing it, it leaves you with a lot of questions you would want to find answers for.

It isn’t just economics and it is not just philosophy. It is an interesting mix of both science and common sense which was really great. A must read!