September 18, 2019

Freakonomics – A must read for all budding Data Scientists

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Freakonomics was published well before the term “Data Science” had become a buzz word in the data analytics lingo. But that is precisely what this book is all about. A book that is a must read for all budding Data Scientists. Getting insights out of seemingly ordinary data that may seem incredulous at first sight.

The book, Freakonomics, is filled with case studies and examples that show how seemingly unrelated data and information can be used intelligently to come up with some fascinating conclusions. For example, one of the case studies in the book, talks about legalization of abortion in America (Roe vs Wade) in 1973 as the major factor for drop in crime in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This conclusion was hotly debated at the time and caused a massive upheaval. But the premise was simple. More legalized abortions meant, less number of children were born that would lead a crime induced life. Incredulous at first sight, but when you dig deep, you do see their point of view and reluctantly agree.

Steven Levitt, the author may have an economist credentials but is truly a data scientist. He is able to finds answers to questions that are too mundane to even be considered important. But his bizarre methods and riveting results are so incredulous that one is drawn to them like moths to fire. And usually his results cause a massive debate among the intellectual and academic circles because of the controversy that it stirs up.

There is also a case study in the book Freakonomics where they analyzed every name of every child born in California over a period of forty years. The results were tantalizing and again controversial. That affluent people in the society tended to give their kids unique names. And over time, these unique names would trickle down to the poorer society till it became too common. That is when the affluent society would find new names. Hence, the cycle continues in perpetuity.

There are other similar stories and case studies backed by solid data that makes the book a compelling read. It is highly recommended for budding data scientists as it will help them see data in a different light.

You can buy this book from Amazon here.

This review is part of our monthly book review section

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Atif Mumtaz

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

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