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

3.8 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; First Edition First Printing edition (20 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060889578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060889579
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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 ) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa? Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands? How much good do car seats do? What's the best way to catch a terrorist? Did TV cause a rise in crime? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness? Can eating kangaroo save the planet? Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?

Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.

Freakonomics has been imitated many times over but only now, with SuperFreakonomics, has it met its match."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Quicksilver TOP 1000 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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Chapter 1 we read a prurient but entertaining account of Chicago prostitution. We learn the benefits of having a pimp, the relative cost of different sexual services and why the police go easy on the ladies (this last explanation is unconvincing). Then we move to the high-end `escort' market and consider the case study of "Allie".

Economic concepts: commodity good, price discrimination, inelastic demand, principal-agent problem. Plus a "how-to" guide on being a successful courtesan.

Chapter 2 is organised around the concepts of data mining. We learn about the financial transaction profiles of Islamic terrorists, the disutility of hospitals and the relative performance of doctors in dealing with different kinds of illness and injuries.

Economic concepts: data analysis.

Chapter 3 is about altruism. The core of this chapter deconstructs a 1964 murder in New York City which was apparently witnessed by many people, none of whom intervened or even reported it to the police. This leads to an appraisal of economics experiments which purportedly showed people to possess an intrinsic core of altruism (leading to Nobel prizes in economics for the researchers). Such an appealing conclusion is debunked as you might expect. The murder story is also debunked.

Economic concepts: limitations of behavioural economics.

Chapter 4 is about perverse incentives and specifically how powerful interest groups succeed in bringing about outcomes which disadvantage society overall. In the sights are doctors and auto makers. It is shown repeatedly that the hero who correctly points out that the emperor has no clothes is subsequently uniformly reviled by said interest groups

Chapter 5 is the part about global warming. Or is it cooling?
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