I just finished reading the popular economics book SuperFreakonomics, the sequel to the book I recently posted about Freakonomics (Part II). The subtitle is "global warming, patriotic prostitutes and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance". You can read their current writings at the Freakonomics blog. Here the first part of my takeaways:
Whether it's books or business, you are battling the lethargy that comes with success.
While there are exceptions to every rule, it's important to understand the rule to understand the exception.
Per mile, drunk walking is 8X more dangerous than drunk driving for the intoxicated person.
In India, over half of men (and women) said domestic abuse against women is justified in some cases. However, in houses that had TV's, women were given more respect. They also had a lower birthrate (important for women's autonomy and health).
In an average year, there are about four fatal shark attacks in the world. Here are some statistics. Is the human fear of sharks our most irrational fear?
Understanding small things is important to understanding big things.
If the government wants to ban something (think prostitution or drugs), perhaps it should focus on buyers, not sellers. If you remove the current suppliers, more will arrive (watch The Wire). If you remove the consumers, the current suppliers will leave.
The price of prostitution has fallen dramatically in the wake of the sexual revolution. To put it plainly, there is more "free" sex to be had.
30% of unpaid sex from prostitutes went to police officers. It's true, in most cases prostitutes are more likely to have sex with a cop then be arrested by them.
The female college conundrum: Get more education to make more money. Yet, now that you have this education, you can marry a man with even more money. Now you are more likely to stay on home with kids. Sounds like a case for missionary dating.
Men and women, Ceteris paribus, perform similarly on most tests. However, if you pay them for right answers, men will outperform women. Does this mean it is efficient to pay men more than women?
Mastery is a result of "deliberate practice", not inherent skill. So do what you love or you'll never enjoy the process of getting good at it (earlier).
Characteristics that predisposes one to be a terrorist are similar to those that predispose one to vote (wealthy, high level of education, desire for political action). And as I shared before, it may be more effective than voting.
Moral norms change from generation to generation more than we like to think. Even life insurance was seen as an uncomfortable profit from the death of a loved one.