“Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything”:http://www.amazon.com/Freakonomics-Economist-Explores-Hidden-Everything/dp/006073132X by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
In short, they applied economics to analyze various familiar topics such as
bq. Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?
They drawn conclusions after clearly demonstrating the points using economic theory (a lot of statistics). I found most of the analyses interesting. However, nothing seems so groundbreaking or really new. The methods are standard in economics, they studied some common questions and reveal that common belief sometimes correct (in case of sumo wrestlers cheating) sometimes wrong (in case criminal drop in US).
I wonder why no one has done similar studies before. The contribution of this book, IMHO, is to educate the public that many questions can be studied instead of debating endlessly. For example, one can draw a conclusion from this book study that in order to fight criminals at its root you have to improve the living standard of the poor, give the poor education and opportunities to earn decent livings.