One of the stories Freakonomics is best known for is their research into whether your name has any positive or negative impact on your economic destiny, particularly if you had a rare name, or name associated with cultures discriminated against widely. The study was focused on African-Americans, as heard in the podcast below from some time back.
Data, though, doesn’t always tell the full story. In fact, it doesn’t tell anybody’s story, just a group’s outcomes. Freakonomics recently followed up this story with one where Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck successfully defended a PhD about what it’s like for African-Americans with almost unique names to go through life, to get the personal stories of real people and see if their names really mattered in their lives. Have a listen to hear how the stories differ from the data, even if they may end up in the same outcome, and why the how makes a huge difference!