Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Freaks + Economics

Even though I worked at a Borders and therefore know that all those "sales" and "deals" are just scams it does not mean I'm smart enough to not fall for it. As a result I walked away with Freakanomics by Levitt and Dubner, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson as well as Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I went in there with a 40% coupon looking only to get Neverwhere, make you own judgments.

In my defense I have always wanted to read Freakonomics, but because they decided to reissue it 2340239 times in hardcover form I had decided to pass on it for the past 37 years.

Quick side note on why I prefer paperbacks to hardcover books.

1. Paperbacks are cheaper
2. Paperbacks have art work directly on the cover where as hardcovers tend to be bland and indistinguishable from one to the next.
3. Dust jackets, the bane of my existence.

I may have bent your ear about my hatred for dust jackets before, and if I have feel free to stop me. Dust covers suit one purpose, to look stupid. Why would one cover a perfectly good solid book cover of cardboard and cloth with a flimsy easily rippable piece of paper and think that its going to do anything but fall apart? Let me let you in on a little secret: Hardcovers are a scam and serve very little purpose besides being a collectors item.

And now back to our regularly schedule program

What appealed to me about this book, aside from the fact that I always liked the blog that was based on this book, was that it seemed to a easy way to explain economics to a kid who got a C- in Economics. That and it's full of random facts and as you all know I love random facts, much to the detriment of social situations.

Because this book is just a bunch of random facts and tidbits I am going to give you my observations and points in the same fashion.

- This book brought about an argument between my mother and myself that involved African American women from the South Side of Chicago, crack, and me calling my mother stupid (though I continue to believe the phrase "you do not know what you are talking about" is not an insult as much as a statement of fact).

- My favorite part of the book was when they debunked the theory of broken windows used to fight crime in NYC during the 90's. If you are one of the hundreds of people who have had to listen to me talk about how great broken windows is, I'm sorry and no you can not have that 20 minutes of your life back. No you can not speak to a manager.

- Rudy Giuliani is a fraud.

- I need to start following Sumo, Japans national past-time. Apparently the game of fat men is so important to Japan players cheat, sort of like Baseball in America. For those of you keeping score at home I now need to get into Sumo and Soccer.

- Conventional wisdom is usually wrong.

Overall a very enjoyable read, I had a hard time putting it down. I would recommend it to anyone who like myself has a hard time visualizing economic theory and the day to day effects of social factors on the economy. And no I have no idea what I just said. It was a good book, read it if you get the chance.

The cover of this book has potential and I'm sure when they first made the cover, with just the Orange/Apple on the front it looked great. Then they added the title and the authors, normal enough. Then they added the subtitle, a quote, the lines "New York Times Bestseller" "Finally in Paperback" and "With New Material" and the cover starts to look like every other book in the business section. With all that said I like that they kept with the colors of the Orange/Apple in regards to everything on the cover.


Note to any of you readers who actually borrow books from me. You can't anymore. I'm done sharing with you paper folding bastards. Of course I don't mean that, part of the reason I buy all my books, besides from my capitalistic obsession to own everything I touch, is so I can give the books to other people to enjoy. So to make that easier and to give me a reason to play "Librarian" every once in a while I have started cataloguing all my books.