August 21, 2007

The Tipping Point, Freakonomics & other readings...

Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do...I can't remember the first book I read, but I am pretty sure it must have been one of those children's books with very little text and lots of pictures. My grandmother, who was a fourth-grade teacher for 30 years, start buying me books even before I was born and as soon as I started sitting up, she would put a book in my tiny hands. Whatever her trick was, it worked! I am what most people call a bookworm. I don't care what it is, as long as it has some letters in it, I am reading! Doesn't matter what language it is, I will read it anyway! (This might also explain my passion for languages.)

I have never been one of these people who always say "If I had the time, I would read more..." or "If I did not watch so much TV, I would spend more time with my books." I've always watched a lot of TV (except for a few years in college and in Grad School, when I did not own a TV set!), but finding time to read never seemed to be a problem.

So now, while job hunting and getting used to life in the suburbs, I have done so much reading... I read everything I bring home in addition to a whole bunch of books that grab my attention when I visit the local library about three or four times a week.

My latest was was Freakonomics. I had heard a lot about the book, but since the title rhymes with Economics, I thought it would be too dry for me: endless numbers, tables, stats and analysis that require too much interpretation, so I must admit, I got scared.

But while browsing the library, I came across Blink and The Tipping Point, both by New York Times writer, Malcolm Gladwell, both supposed to be excellent books. I finished The Tipping Point last week and am about to start Blink now.

I really liked the The Tipping Point probably because it talks about people and the different types of people that make up groups and society in general and what it takes for a trend to become an epidemic phenomenon. Gladwell says his book is about change and why it happens so often and so fast. He claims that "ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us."

But back to Freakonomics. The book is surprisingly easy to read probably because the examples are related to our everyday life and yet the correlations are totally wacky. In one chapter they compare High School teachers in Chicago and sumo wrestlers in Japan. Pretty crazy but really interesting. In another chapter they talk about how names can have an impact (or not) on an individuals life. Their are theories are thought-provoking and by no means controversy-free, but that's exactly what makes the book worth reading. It makes you look at ordinary things in a totally different way. I am pretty sure the next time I sell a house, I will not take the first offer that comes matter how desperate I happen to be and even if it goes against my realtor's advice. Patience is a virtue and usually pays off that's why I need to keep developing mine.

I just finished the book and have become a fan of the authors, so now I am checking their blog a lot and sure enough I always find interesting bits of information that I end up missing when I read the news... Worth checking out:

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