Roe v. Wade is partially responsible for the drop in crime in the 1990s. Having books in your house correlates positively to increased test scores for your children, but whether or not you read to them doesn't. Do these statements sound crazy? Well, they're both at least partially true, according to analyses presented in Freakonomics. The story I found the most interesting was how one of the authors caught which teachers were cheating on standardized tests in Chicago. Least interesting was the analysis of baby names (distinguishing between "high-end" and "low-end" names for boys and girls).
My only real complaint is that the book was too short! This revised edition does include some responses and further anecdotes collected from the Freakonomics blog, which beefs it up a bit, but I still wanted more. Additionally, I would have liked to see more actual economics content (i.e. a bit of mathematical explanation to enhance their arguments). For example, in the example of real estate agents trying to close a deal (not necessarily to their client's benefit), the concepts of a discount rate and/or opportunity costs would have enhanced the discussion greatly. Overall, definitely worth a read, and great for cocktail conversation.
Jaw-dropping insight into the drop in crime in the '90s. The authors have taken a LOT of heat for their crime-drop theory. I absolutely LOVED this book!