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Superfreakonomics, Illustrated Edition: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance Hardcover – 25 Nov 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; Illustrated ed edition (25 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846143039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846143038
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 2.2 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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

There's material here not just for one conversation, but for several (Daily Mail)

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

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)

Diagrams, charts and photos alongside the original text explain how things like the Endangered Species Act endangered species and why real people don't behave like people in labs. It's a very cool edition of a very smart book. (BBC Focus)

The new illustrated version of Superfreakonomics, the world's No 1 best-seller - written by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner - uses the dull subject of economics to analyse unusual subjects with astonishing effect. (The Sun)

Journalist Stephen J Dubner and his co-author, the economist Steven D Levitt, have enraged everyone from climate-change activists to child-safety campaigners by applying rational economic thinking to emotive subjects. (Emily Dugan The Independent on Sunday)

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. He recently received the American Economic Association's John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every two years to the best American economist under forty.

Stephen J. Dubner lives in New York City. He writes for The New York Times and the New Yorker, and is the bestselling author of Turbulent Souls and Confessions of a Hero-Worshipper. In August 2003 Dubner wrote a profile of Levitt in The New York Times magazine. The extraodinary response that article received led to a remarkable collaboration.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 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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71 of 78 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Samuel VINE 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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21 of 23 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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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mr. William Oxley VINE VOICE on 21 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Read the book before you judge it. You may not agree with all the facts or conclusions, but it will make you think and debate the issues. The book is fascinating and 3 people reading it will give you three different opinions on it and about how good it is.

Should you read it - yes. Will you enjoy it - yes. Will you agree with everything - no.

Prostitution: The price of oral sex has fallen as it has become less taboo socially. Pimps value their prostitutes - which makes sense because I would expect a taxi driver to value his car because it is their means of making a living. And controversially prostitutes are more likely to have sex with a police officer than be arrested by one!

Global Warming: so controversial that people will down rate this book if it disagrees with their own accepted wisdom. The book contains hyperbole and overstatements that generates heated debate - (intended!) economic consequence of this is more press and more sales. But the authors do not deny global warming, rather they want to show how costly and difficult the current answers suggested by the big governments are, and they offer some potentially interesting solutions.

Read it in short bursts - it is not a Dan Brown novel!
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