Freakonomics Books

10.08.2012

I have to say I absolutely loved these books when I read them. Apart from anything else they where very entertaining and an all round enjoyable read. When exclaiming my enthusiasm for them, I have periodically come up against arguments that a number of the stories in these book are inaccurate or fail to account for something or other. I think that these people are missing the point. I don’t believe every that every detail of the books isn’t infallible. New evidence and insight is gathered all the time and opinions change. However I think the point of these books is to present a different way of thinking about problems. One that is less biased by social consensus. No where do the authors claim that this should be the only way of looking at a problem. But it does provide a unique insight.

I think that this line of ‘micro economics’ and the strategies that they use can be particularly useful in the world of user experience. After all UX is essentially about understanding why people behave the way they do, how you might then encourage or ‘incentivise’ them to behave in a particular way, and how to design for that purpose. And this is what these books attempt to examine.

I’ve just started reading another in the same theme, ‘the logic of life’ by Tim Harford. Harford is known as the author who wrote ‘the undercover economist (another on my reading list). I am still on the first chapter but it promises to be an equally fun and outrageous read.