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I’ve just finished reading the book “Freakonomics” by Levitt and Dubner. It made for a very readable book and certainly means to shock you into looking at the world differently (legalized abortions caused a decline in crime, 15-25 years later?)

I liked the book a lot, but I would have enjoyed a better ending. The authors do mention that the book has no overarching thread and I suppose this is the notion they’re trying to convey. They develop questions from real-world cases, linking two topics that seem disparate, but underneath, show similar traits of human nature. Their concept is that economics is a theory of looking at the world; you are an economist if you posses the analytical tools to go beyond the obvious, beyond the media and look at cause and effect, not just correlation, no matter how controversial these may be. The book ends with that feeling – a world-wind tour of various topics, which are perhaps more similar than you think. It is open-ended: are there any other topics out there that share the same traits?

Below is one of the biggest quotes from the book:

Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work – whereas economics represents how it actually does work

I’d recommend for you to take a dabble in the book if you haven’t done so already. The authors also have some interesting podcasts too: http://freakonomics.com/2014/11/06/should-the-u-s-merge-with-mexico-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/ [Not sure if I’m allowed to link to the website.. but hey, there’s nothing better than the sharing of information]

I’m nearing the end of my second full week here and I am scratching around to think about what I have achieved, learnt and accomplished throughout the past 7 days. I’m beginning to think it’s a dangerous way of thinking though, because it’s likely to lead into a downward spiral of feeling like I have under-achieved, not traveled enough, not read enough and to start a flurry of panic around the upcoming months of numerous unplanned days.

Throughout the day, one may experience a flooding of great ideas in an unexpected spasm of brain activity. But after 5 minutes of feeling like you can conquer the world and solve all its problems, this unfortunately tends to fizzle out and will lead to “becoming one with the sofa” for the next several hours. 5 minutes of inspiration, 5 hours of laziness. Why is that? I suppose it is somewhat natural – as an animal our body wishes to conserve energy and so we end up lying on the sofa for hours in a mode of hibernation. This is so that we have the means to attack and escape from enemies or threats when they come (watch out for that crazy cat that comes to attack you with its talons!!!). Lying down and choosing not to be active is nature’s way of being efficient. Thanks, body.

Anyway, I think the best way of considering it is to look forward. Looking ahead brings opportunity, new ideas, a fresh perspective, a chance to learn more rather than a chance to reflect on how little we know. The glass is half full, right team?

To link into my previous post, and to try to get the most out of my days, I would like to initiate a new personal daily target: every morning, write a list of 3 things I want to achieve during the day. So, for today:

  1. write a new blog post [boom]
  2. post pictures online
  3. finally write back to my friend

By looking forward and thinking about what I can gain from these things, hopefully they will compel my inner instincts to understand that going out there and doing is a type of evolution, to better my species and to increase my exposure of my genes my body is so desperate to spread. Ha, OK, a little weird. Also, writing an email to a friend is hardly breaking any natural selection barriers, but hey, my glass now appears a little more full.

Word for the day:

MELIORISM: the belief that the world will get better