Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

Recently finished the latest of the Freakonomics books, Think Like a Freak. Although not a favorite and I think the former in the series was better – it’s still a worth read. Particularly if you haven’t read Freakonomics or SuperFreakonomics. Favorite highlights follow…

In our society, if someone wants to be a hairstylist or a kickboxer or a hunting guide—or a schoolteacher—he or she must be trained and licensed by a state agency. No such requirement is necessary for parenthood. Anyone with a set of reproductive organs is free to create a child, no questions asked, and raise them as they see fit, so long as there are no visible bruises—and then turn that child over to the school system so the teachers can work their magic. Maybe we are asking too much of the schools and too little of our parents and kids? Might there be some small, simple, cheap intervention that could help millions of students? One in four children, it turns out, has subpar eyesight, while a whopping 60 percent of “problem learners” have trouble seeing. If you can’t see well, you won’t read well, and that makes school extra hard. And yet even in a rich country like the United States, vision screening is often lax and there hasn’t been much research on the relationship between poor vision and school performance. As the behavioral sage Daniel Kahneman has written: “[W]e can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”