An entertaining and quick read- although I found it slightly less insightful than Levitt and Dubner’s first book. I especially enjoyed the parts about medical care- the most fascinating was Ignatz Semmelweis’s discovery in a maternity ward in 19th century Vienna. Women’s mortality after childbirth decreased radically if male doctors’ washed their hands and tools before attending ta childbirth. In Vienna in the 1830s, you had a much better chance of surviving giving birth if you were assisted by a midwife- because these women weren’t given the chance to learn anything using autopsies. Their hands might have been dirty- but at least not with the dirt of someone else’s corpse.
I also liked the description of the experiment of capuchin monkeys using money. Humans like to think they are exceptionally smart, but monkeys seem to have a pretty good grasp of basic economics.
I was less convinced by Levitt and Dubner’s position on children’s car seats. They seem to think that most major injuries can be avoided by strapping a child in with a normal adult seatbelt. They do have an important caveat though- they are not sure about the extent of minor injuries that would occur. And I am not entirely convinced how they distinguish between major and minor.
Anyhow, this was a very relaxing read.