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Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance Hardcover – 20 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (20 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071399990X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999907
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


Like Freakonomics, but better . . . thrilling . . . you are guaranteed a good time . . . underneath the dazzle, there is substance too (Tim Harford, Financial Times )

Levitt is a master at drawing counter-intuitive conclusions . . . great fun . . . Superfreakonomics travels further than its predecessor (Tom Standage, Sunday Times )

A humdinger of a book: page-turning, politically incorrect and ever-so-slightly intoxicating, like a large swig of tequila (The Times )

One of the most important books you'll read this autumn (GQ )

Levitt and Dubner's zeal for statistical anomalies is as undimmed as their eye for a good story . . . lie back and let Levitt and Dubner's bouncy prose style carry you along from one peculiarity to the next (Sunday Telegraph )

There's material here not just for one conversation, but for several.The authors mash together interesting academic research, surprising historical comparisons . . . and cute factoids

(Daily Mail )

[Freakonomics] was fascinating . . . [SuperFreakonomics] is similarly studded with intriguing examples of economic analysis in action (Daily Telegraph )

Entertaining (BBC Focus )

About the Author

Steven D. Levitt teaches economics at the University of Chicago. His idiosyncratic economic research into areas as varied as guns and game shows has triggered debate in the media and academic circles.

Stephen J. Dubner lives in New York City. He writes for The New York Times and the New Yorker. In August 2003 Dubner wrote a profile of Levitt in The New York Times magazine. The extraordinary response to that article led to a remarkable collaboration.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wibblah on 7 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having now finished the book I recall the first few pages waxing on about how this was not just a sequel but very much something that stood by itself as an accomplishment in itself and was an improvement on the original. I can't disagree more.

If this was written by different author I am sure it would have been slated and quickly disposed of as an attempt to wring more out the same theme. However much I try to see it standing by itself it seems that the authors have sought out a very few valid illustrations to demonstrate their alternative take on economics. Whilst I have to agree "freakonomics" to use their term is extremely interesting, but no more interesting than the first time they introduced it and much less so with stretched examples. Those in the first book were far more entertaining.

Much of the problem I feel stems from the authors using too many prospective examples as opposed to real after the event analysis. They speak of how a novel approach may do this or that - even solve global warming with a cheap but effective solution. These are unproven methods and frankly can be found in journals and across the internet with little effort. What I found interesting in the first book and for only a handful of illustrations in the second was their ability to explain tangental views of problems in their entirety, specifically including what worked and demonstrating how a different path of exploration would have solved a problem faster or explained the statistics at hand. Instead there are far too many pie in the sky ideas.

I devoured the first book and despite this attempt would still pick up any future writings. I have to believe that this book was not just a search for more money but was painstakingly researched and written with best intentions. It just suffers from lack of enough interesting materiel and has been done with slightly different takes in other books enough times for a sequel to no longer be required.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Samuel TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The first book was a worldwide success... and this builds on that success. Strange and bizarre views and facts on things that you'd never previously thought of, it made me see a lot of things in many new ways. The authors question everything from why more women don't become prostitutes (as it can pay very well at the high end) to why child car-seats are so ineffective (apparently), and if you can ignore the fact that it's quite obviously written from an American point of view, it's informative, amusing, and makes you ask, many times, 'why on earth does.....?' If more people questioned things in the same way that Levitt and Dunber, the authors, do, then the world might just be a better place.
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'Superfreakonomics' is the cumbersomely titled sequel to the bestselling 'Freakonomics' - a book that gave an entertaining overview of microeconomics, and supplied plenty of food for thought. If you enjoyed the first volume, you will undoubtedly enjoy 'SuperFreakonomics'. It is essentially the same book, but with different case studies - if your first book sold over four million copies, why change a winning formula?

Initially I was unimpressed; the first chapter, dealing with prostitution felt like a rehash of the first book, only less interesting. Soon after, things pick up. The sections on emergency medicine and altruism were interesting and ask questions about the way in which we perceive our world. It is these alternate world views that are the 'Freakonomics' books strongest assets. Time and again the authors hold up a hand and say 'but what about...?'

Not everybody will be happy. The authors offer some thoughts on climate change, that go against current thinking, for which they will undoubtedly be pilloried. Of course challenging convention is the point of this book, and I'm sure the authors will welcome the debate. Less happy though, will be road-safety experts. 'Superfreakonomics' reveals that for the drinker, drink-driving is safer than drink-walking. (They do say that a taxi home is much better option still, but considering their findings on altruism, this seems a foolhardy admission.) The section on child safety seats will also cause great consternation, not least amongst child safety seat manufacturers.

Whilst casting doubt on the efficacy of child car seats, the book does ask a singular and important question. Since the primary users of rear seats are children, why aren't they designed with children in mind?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Darren Henman on 8 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
An enjoyable book that covers some unusual subjects but is not as good as the original freakonomics book.

This one goes into a lot more detail on a single subject and as a result is not as wide-ranging, and does at times feel as if its trying to imply that the reader cannot draw their own conclusions from the initial information provided. The original Freakonomics book didnt go into as much details and left the reader able to draw their own conclusions from the outline facts rather than having everything spelled out for you.

I like the Freakonomic books but if you are new to these then the original is the better of the two in my view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dalby VINE VOICE on 27 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
Freakonomics took an alternative economists view (more actually a statistical view) of issues and their causes such as crime rates and gaming the results in education and sports. This book continues where the first left off, except it continues with more of the same and is less convincing, which is odd given all the cover endorsements by people from the FT etc. saying how much better it is than freakonomics.

The problem is it has lost its edge it is not original and much of the material is covered by others in a better and more thorough way. The mistakes are also more grating and annoying such as the danger of drunk walking. The statistic to look at is not the number of miles per death but the number of walks per death compared to car journeys per death. Most people don't walk very far. Then there is the nonsense about women being killed for witchcraft and the endless hubris of economists when they don't want to be called statisticians. The difference between an economist doing statistics and a statistician doing statistics is the order they work in. A statistician makes a model - a hypothesis and then collects the data. An economist collects the data or finds something interesting and then makes a hypothesis. This is post-hoc analysis and very dangerous, because you are basically story telling. That is what makes this book so infuriating, it is just stories from the author's perspectives and these are prone to bias and subjectivity.

So read Freakonomics if you want some of the wow I hadn't thought of that but give this one a miss.
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