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More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics Hardcover – 18 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (18 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532217
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 15.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,158,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Long before the 'pop economists' there was Steven Landsburg, writing funny, jargon-free, shocking, and true essays on our material circumstances. But Landsburg knows something that other authors of bestsellers on the subject don't. He knows everything. Economics is not the study of money; it's the study of value. Everything is determined by our values. The science of everything is what economics is. And here, in "More Sex," what the reader will find is -- everything."-- P. J. O'Rourke

About the Author

Steven E. Landsburg is a Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of The Armchair Economist, Fair Play, More Sex is Safer Sex, The Big Questions, two textbooks in economics, a forthcoming textbook on general relativity and cosmology, and over 30 journal articles in mathematics, economics and philosophy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 13 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Following on from 'the armchair economist' Steven Landsburg has released this book. It's in a similar vein to 'Freakonomics' and the 'Undercover Economist' so if you enjoyed those you'll probably like this (but I'm sure Amazon has probably already worked that out and told you). Landsburg tends to more closely focus on what could be termed 'traditional economics' supply demand etc than Freakonomics, but he takes the same counterintuitive lines of argument which have you gripped by the frustration of being certain his conclusion should be wrong but knowing that his logic is right. There are occasional lapses where you see an underlying falacy poking through but they didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. After all, thinking that some of the arguments are disprovable and trying to do so is probably half the fun. Would recommend to any Economics students or armchair economists as proof that there is indeed more to the dismal science than meets the eye.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Lewis on 8 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
With its eye-catching and provocative title, I really wanted to enjoy this book. Sadly, most of it is lazy, self-indulgent twaddle with more holes than a Swiss cheese and proves nothing more than that with a big enough ego, a good line in headline journalism and enough (usually unstated) assumptions, you can write whatever you like - the more outrageous and counter-intuitive the better - and present it as a revelation.

Occasionally, he pulls his finger out and writes something half-way sensible and vaguely interesting, but ultimately, I struggled to wade through and gave up.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Fact Checker on 20 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is proof that economists don't inhabit the same planet as the rest of us. Economists start from the premise that humans are rational beings, weighing up costs and benefits before making a decision about "resources". The rest of us know that human beings are irrational creatures, driven by prejudices, fears, ideologies, group pressures, and so on.

Whilst the subjects discussed in the book could be thought-provoking, the thought is more often along the lines of "that's a bit of a leap of logic" or "you've omitted an equally valid conclusion".

The example that leads to the title is a prime example of the failure to think a little more carefully. In essence, the idea is that if an uninfected guy goes out and picks up an uninfected woman, she will be saved from a one night stand with an infected partner and thus the spread of AIDS is reduced; whereas if he stays home, she will end up with the infected guy and spread the disease. There is no mention of the odds she'll become infected, no mention of what happens when the virtuous cycle is broken (a massive *increase* in infection rates); just a rather simplistic approach to the problem.

Another example: he postulates two groups, one a religious group that adamantly opposes porn, and the second a porn-loving group that wants to abolish religion. His view is that by abolishing both porn and religion, everybody becomes happier because the object of their ire has been removed. Unfortunately, the opposite (never mentioned) is the more likely outcome: everybody is now unhappy. Why? Because people put more weight on issues that affect them personally than on those that affect others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 10 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Book in a paragrpah "Think whatever you would normally think and then just reverse it. Then repeat. On and on and on for various topics, without spending any amount of time on ALL of the relevant information to draw valid conclusions", despite the author advising readers that this is what counts in any decision.

Eg, in calculating whether sexual history is relevant in rape cases, the author could have factored in the fact that only a small percent actually get to court, and that this amount of relevant information massively outweighs the small amount of relevant information from a person's history, if we're going to draw conclusions about individual cases from statistics and encourage behaviour and decisions accordingly.

Loved freakonomics, and would recommend you read that instead, or anything by Malcolm Gladwell - more thought provoking, rigorous and generally entertaining than this boring monotony of repeated half-investigated statements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Taryn East on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
It seems the author here is trying too hard to provoke the ire of established convention...
This would work well if it was also well-reasoned and backed up by good evidence. I love a "turning the tables on established thought" story as well as anybody. There are some good examples of this in, say "The Undercover Economist" (by Tim Harford), and to be honest, I was hoping for more of the same in this book.

This one, however, just isn't quite as slick. There's a lot of speculation, and far less actual evidence backing it up.
Some of the reasoning is sloppy, simply speculating about what *could* be a potential cause... without any actual studies into whether this is even plausible. There are several points where he doesn't seem to stop to consider that actually the cause may be quite different to what he was thinking... but that doesn't seem to matter - he wants to try out his ideas to "fix" the world's problems regardless!

The author has a lot of theories on what he thinks would work well to "fix everything" (yes really), but my feeling is that much of his reasoning isn't actually carried far enough forward. It especially does not cover the potential side-effects of his "policies" - especially on those too poor to cope with the drastic changes he espouses (can I recommend the author read "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich ?)

While some of the book was mildly diverting (including his interesting reasoning as to why low-libido "safe" people should have more sex for the Good of the Human Race)... the bulk of the book left me feeling disappointed.

Conclusion: not worth it :(
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