Sunday, March 14, 2010

Social Psychology - Outliers and Freakonomics

I recently read a couple of social psychology best-sellers that were a combination of trivia, statistics, and commentary on American culture --- Outliers and Freakonomics

Outliers - The Story of Success by Malcomb Gladwell

I had read Malcomb Gladwell’s first two offerings – Blink and Tipping Point – which were interesting but tedious. Outliers was different. In Outliers he moves from point to point sharing intriguing fact about everything from sports stars to school systems. Anyone who has ever studied statistics knows what an outlier is, something that lies outside the norm, either positive or negative. In this book Gladwell tries to define cause and effect on many thought provoking topics.

Freakonomics - A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner

Freakonomics, much like Outliers, deals with cause and effect of social problems and conditions. Most interesting was the correlation between Roe v Wade with the decrease in crime since the mid-90’s. The ‘name game’ at the end of the book got a little tiring, but overall very thought provoking and a good read.

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