Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance Hardcover – 20 Oct 2009
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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."See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
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.
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!
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love freakonomics. I'm actually not going to run out of sea waters screaming 'shark' 'shark' everytime a little fish touches me. Buy the book and find out why.Published 2 months ago by MrChefon
If you love looking at things in different ways and challenging the norm this is the book for you! I have quite often trundled out excepts of this book at dinner parties and at... Read morePublished 4 months ago by DL
Extremely interesting. Undermines a lot of preconceptions and does it with data. Promotes a somewhat cynical attitude towards the establishment and big business, which is probably... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mr Keith W Richardson
I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK. I FOUND OUT SO MUCH ABOUT WORLD AFFAIRS AND HOW TO LOOK AT THINGS FROM MANY DIFFERENT ANGLES. Read morePublished 12 months ago by griffiths