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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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, although not as good as the first ..., 17 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (Paperback)
Great read, although not as good as the first one still a very interesting view on the world
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 16 Dec 2009
I liked Freakonomics and bought two copies.

This book is horrendous.

What I learnt from it:

1) to drive drunk instead of walking drunk

2) pimping my wife would be profitable and safe

3) not to use a child seat in the car

4) monkeys will pay for sex

5) suicide bombers should buy life insurance to throw police off their track (thanks for sharing that)

6) prostitutes charge more seasonally just like Santas

Forgive me for being enraged at the terrorist advise, furious at the fact that some drunk will definitely use this book to support their decision to drive drunk and annoyed at being told the obvious.

Some statistics are used to support the above but overall this book seems to be have been written simply to create controversy. Being contrarian is not a virtue in itself. Horrendous.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Freakonomics, 3 Jan 2010
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Our 40+ son can now bore for Britain on obscure facts - he thinks it's great!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like Freakonomics only even more irritating, 18 Mar 2010
By 
Chuck E (UK) - See all my reviews
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This book makes a bold claim to tell `the truth' - all those other experts that tell you how the world works don't really know what they're talking about, or are driven by prejudice and ideology, whereas the authors of this book have divined objective reality and will impart it to a grateful readership. Basically, it's the same trick as last time, repeating the formula of a book that seems to have become a best seller on the basis of its title alone. Rather as one wonders if Lynn Truss had called her tome `A Short Essay on Punctuation' whether sales would have troubled the bestseller lists, it's debatable that Freakonomics would have shot to prominence if it had been labelled `Some Disparate Musings on Statistical Analysis' - though it does have friends in high places, mostly others who have written similar books based on a similar 'non-ideological' ideology.

Unfortunately the inspiration of this book's authors doesn't seem to extend too far beyond its titular innovation. The modus operandi for Superfreakonomics follows that of its predecessor - namely to take an off-beat topic, `analyse' the data with a shedful of assumptions and some tenuous extrapolations, caution against drawing firm conclusions due to the paucity of the evidence, before... drawing some firm conclusions. Fortunately, the tedium is leavened with their de rigueur `humour' (a bit like being mugged by the guy who can't stop wisecracking at parties), and aw shucks faux modesty.

Mildly entertaining, but not as revealing or informative as the hype might suggest.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get ur freak on?, 20 Oct 2009
By 
Many Beans (York) - See all my reviews
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Good:

- It's more considered than freakonomics. The authors seem to have taken a little more care here.
- It's entertainingly and engagingly written. A fun read
- Some interesting perspectives and stories.

Good parts include a section on developments and extensions on games theory, and variants on "prisoner's dilemma" experiments which explain that (as usual) things are more complicated than they first appear, and that displays of altruism can result from selfish motives.

Bad:

- It's not very rigorous; what is presented here as fact may be contentious or just plain wrong.
- It's still not clear that the authors fully understand correlation is not the same thing as causality.
- It's superficial, plastering a "this is economics" badge onto anything of interest.

For example the section on TV, violence, and cultural attitudes the book seems to assume that demonstrating positive correlation through regression analysis implies causality. Many other subjects presented here as revelatory are in fact are well trodden and better understood by other disciplines, for example biology (evolution), psychology, sociology and so on.

An example is the Miss Genovese case (1964: a woman attacked, many witnesses, no-one helped, confused stories). It's an old chestnut, and for a more considered and insightful view than "Superfreakonomics" I'd recommend Robert Cialdini's excellent book, `Influence'. Similarly, the section on global warming feels a bit like enduring the pet theories of the chap down the pub rather than offering any particularly valuable insight or perspective.

In all this is a lightweight book popularising a vaguely economic perspective on human behaviour and straying into anything the authors feel is interesting or might help sales. It's not radical, and it's not rigorous science: a diverting miscellany rather than a magnum opus. The authors have an enthusiasm and can offer some of the more interesting tidbits in an easy to read and entertaining package. To their credit they do this very well: this is a fun read, well written, and enjoyable, and I recommend it for what it is. One to help a journey pass more quickly, but not to be taken too seriously.

Alternatives:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Magnum Opuses to compare and contrast:

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (making numerical topics fascinating)
Wooden World (the fruits of thorough research)
Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis (building evidence to support your case)
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What does an economist do..., 15 Nov 2009
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as opposed to a behavioural psychologist or a social scientist? I thought they looked at the movement of money and wealth in an economy. Ah, well, we all know how good the ones that do that are! No such worries for these guys who go gaily stamping all over other people's fields and coming up with stuff they think is original. In truth there is a fair bit of stating the obvious (that suicide bombers don't tend to buy life insurance) and the occasional counter-intuitive gem (street prostitutes get paid a lot less than their Victorian forbears because there are more women now prepared to provide illicit sexual services for free.) I do like their writing style and the joy with which they compare notes with other folks on oddball missions. They are quite upfront about the fact that almost all the research in this book has been done by other people and they are simply recounting the tales in a slightly racy way for a lay audience. If you liked the first book you will like this one but you may find the self satisfied tone even more grating. The climate change stuff is especially suspect.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Economics requires a second book, 8 Feb 2010
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I read and thoroughly enjoyed Freakonomics. Perhaps that was because it was the first popular/unexpected economics book I read (although my job involves a lot of more boring industrial economics). Since then I've read a few other such books - Blink, the Undercover Economist, the Tipping Point.

Sadly SuperFreak didn't really grab me. Perhaps it was the selection of topics, most of which I wasn't terribly interested by. Add to that the fact that some of the economics seems a bit ropey (the "friends don't let friends walk drunk" theme is based on an assumption that the instance of walking drunk (legal) is the same as the instance of driving drunk (illegal) for which the authors cite no research or authority).

SuperFreak is still very readable, and there are some interesting nuggets and thought-provoking challenges to conventional wisdom on some issues. Overall, therefore it's not a complete waste of time, but as someone who enjoyed the first book I felt it was a missed opportunity which was presumably driven by an economic need on the part of the authors.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People need to get a grip, 22 Oct 2009
By 
David "daveyboy" (Near Royston, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
The reaction to this book from the Climate Alarmist lobby has been comical and has shown them to be quite poe-faced and lacking any semblence of a sense of humour. This book is intended to be a quirky look at life from a different viewpoint and to get people thinking. The authors do not claim to have all, or even any, of the answers.

Is climate science that weak that they feel the need to attack a book like this for daring to question the orthodox view?

Personally I enjoyed the book and found it very entertaining. All the attacks from the Climate Change mafia have done is guaranteed that the sales of this book will soar. You wonder if the authors put Joe Romm up to it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - absolutely superb, 16 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. R. D. Turner (Derby, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the sequel to Freakonomics. You don't need to read the first book but you might as well - it is a superb book. This second in the series is more of the same. The chatty lightweight style of the book asks you a series of simple questions and then proceeds to demolish everything you thought you knew with simple, insightful logic.

The final chapters on global warming present a view seldom seen in the popular press and are brave, contrary and essential reading for anyone with an opinion.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and informative, 6 Jan 2010
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The first installment of Freakonomics was one of my favourite books of the year, and succeeded in interesting me in a subject which had previously bored my rigid. This is simply more of the same - well written articles on interesting subjects, and well worth a read for anyone with an even passing interest in the way things work. Highly recommended.
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