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71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broke...
'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...
Published on 23 Oct. 2009 by Quicksilver

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a spot on the first effort
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...
Published on 7 April 2010 by Wibblah


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a spot on the first effort, 7 April 2010
By 
Wibblah (Westminster, London, England) - See all my reviews
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
4.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broke..., 23 Oct. 2009
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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'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? Many of the topics covered in 'Superfreakonomics' are distilled down to simple and (with hindsight) obvious questions, and this is part of what makes it a pleasure to read. Another factor, is the lightness of tone, despite being a book about small details, it never becomes bogged down. I would though agree with another reviewer's comments, that the tone used can sometimes grate. It is very chummy and often self-congratulating.

'Superfreakonomics's' strength is also its biggest weakness. To avoid being, dull it only takes a cursory glance at its subject matter. One can't help but wonder what we aren't being told. The authors acknowledge that statistics are easy to fudge, but without doing masses of further reading, it is impossible to judge to what extent the figures have been massaged to back up their suppositions.

That said, the purpose of this book is to provoke debate and stop its readers from accepting everything at face value. I would suggest that this scepticism has to start with 'Superfreakonomics' itself - this is a book that will pose far more questions than it answers, but that is no bad thing. Like its predecessor, 'Superfreakonomics' is an entertaining and thought-provoking book, that deserves to be be read and discussed by as many people as possible.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freaking Good, 25 Jun. 2010
By 
Samuel "Samuel" - See all my reviews
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as freakonomics, 8 April 2010
By 
Darren Henman (England) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Light Entertainment. Enjoy the Read!, 21 Oct. 2009
By 
Mr. William Oxley "oxenblocks" (England) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel, 22 Oct. 2009
By 
Ray Blake (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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Freakonomics was a fascinating look at social economics that became a phenomenon. From the introduction to this sequel, that seems to have taken the authors by surprise and it has taken tehm four years to gather new material for this sequel. The introduction is hilarious, and the pair are playing this book for laughs much more than in their earlier book.

The early section on prostitution in Chicago is actually rather shocking, and it would be easy for delicate souls to take considerable offence. In any event, it's not something I'd like my kids reading about, but the book clearly isn't aimed at kids.

Levitt and Dubner just don't know how to write in a boring way and this book is incredibly hard to put down. I recommend you don't even try. I'll be surprised to read a more entertaining work of non fiction this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Sequel, But Nothing Beats Freakonomics, 15 Dec. 2009
By 
Gaurav Sharma (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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After an entertaining and rather hilarious look at economics in their previous work Freakonomics, this sequel by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner does not disappoint. The witty treatment of just about anything from charity to terrorism and prostitution is right there in a "short-ish" book spread over five chapters and not forgetting the epilogue and introduction.

If you enjoyed reading Freakonomics, you will like its sequel and well vice versa. However, there is a minute issue with this work. In the main, it's the same book, same authors and same inimitable witty narrative. Only the case studies, if I may refer to the cacophony of subjects as such, seem to have been altered.

I also think the start of Freakonomics is much more engaging than Superfreakonomics. I can draw a rather sad analogy between these two books and any successful blockbuster movie which was followed by a sequel.

There will always be the inevitable comparison with Freakonomics, and while Superfreakonomics will not disappoint, the former will always triumph in my opinion. However, the sequel is likely to provoke as much debate if not more. If you liked the last one, then read this one bearing the age old cliché in mind that the sequel is not the original and not all that entertaining.

I dont fault the authors one bit for piggy-backing on the success of their superb earlier book. Their decision to write a sequel is sound economics, not freakonomics. I'd be happy to have it on my bookshelf, as will countless others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Six to one and half a dozen to the other, 6 Dec. 2009
I lost my 'psycho/micro-economy-book' cherry to Freakonomics and from then on became absolutely hooked, devouring the Gladwells and Harfords etc. I really do love these types of books and soak em up in a couple of hours. So as you can imagine, I was really, really looking forward to the follow up to the one that started it all for me...here's my lists of positives and negatives

-ves
1. Birthdate bulges....heard about this before
2. Hang on a sec...that woman in Queens who got murdered and loads of people saw her, Milgram's experiment, the prison experiment, 19th century doctors not washing their hands in prep for birthing. Gali-bloody-leo?? Come on chaps, give us a new one!
3. There aren't really many chapters in this. So my overall criticism is that a lot of this is old rehashed stuff even if they draw different conclusions

Having said that...+ves
1. I really liked that it is not a PC book at all. There are a number of points above and beyond stuff on climate change where they are treading into reasonably challenging territory
2. Read to cover to cover in a few hours. So it is quite engaging.
3. Some interesting ideas on climate change. High end prostitution sounds more attractive...

It's by no means a bad book. Quite enjoyable in fact and if you've not read this kind of thing before you may just love it as it's easy to read and persuasive and has some really interesting ideas. But for a popular economy book loving saddo such as I...it was alright.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and insightful, 19 Nov. 2009
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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For those who enjoy finding a new take on modern life, this book is the book to read.

The authors delight in looking at the statistics and economics behind our lives and coming up with novel and suprising findings. For example, there are some interesting ways in which potential terrorists could be identified before they commit their crimes, simply by analysing their bank account activity. Apparently this information is so sensitive that the authors take us so far and then no further (presumably in case terrorists read the book and learn to adapt their behaviour!).

Or there is a fascinating discussion on whether to submit to chemotherapy if you get cancer. It seems that the drug companies are in cahoots with the medical profession to encourage you to take expensive treatments, even when the effects may only be a lot of pain and discomfort, even if a month or two is added to your lifespan (I think I knew that already!).

The discussion about prostitution is interesting in that the authors have found a market where there are benefits in charging your customers increasing amounts of money, to the benefit of both of you. The high class call girl and her client's lives just get better and better, the higher the fees.

This is an interesting book, the sort of thing that's engrossing on a long train journey, but perhaps not the sort of thing to commit several days of your life to. It certainly makes one question many common assumptions and I suppose its lessons could be applied to many other situation.

I'll give it four stars - witty and amusing, but perhaps not a "must-read".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good follow-up to Freakonomics, 17 Nov. 2009
By 
J. Baldwin "Reader" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the original title - not as much as I'd hoped as despite the rhetoric and the attractive counterintuitive take on life it offered, it contained quite a few flaws in logic with frequent post hoc analyses of events. Economists and sociologists would disagree about many things (in fact they do) and Freakonomics suffered from not having a balancing sociological take on events.
The same, I fear, is true here. Except one of the problems here is the lack of a scientific interpretation. The now infamous chapter on global warming is an objective economic assessment of the situation but by missing out much of the existing evidence from other fields, it is easily interpreted (misinterpreted according to the authors?) as climate change denial.
I'll let you make your own mind up but while I accepted the author's defence on The Daily Show I think the wider moral ramifications were lost on him - it's all very well having a bit of fun and saying "what if" but this book will be read widely and the risk that it is held up as "evidence" that global warming is a good thing is very real.

But remember, the authors are setting out to provoke in a good way - to offer alternative views of the world that are often odd but make sense when you think about it. It's highly readable and, yes, thought provoking. If you enjoyed the original book, you'll like this. But you don't have to have read it to enjoy Superfreakonomics.
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