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)
From the Inside Flap
They're back. And this time it's sensational!
Here at last is the long awaited follow-up to the international bestselling phenomenon, Freakonomics. Steven Levitt, the original rogue economist, and Stephen Dubner have uncovered the hidden side of even more controversial subjects, and with their inimitable style and wit, they will take us on another, even more gripping journey of discovery.
Four years in the making, Superfreakonomics will once again transform the way we look at the world. It reveals, among other things, why you are more likely to be killed walking drunk than driving drunk; how a prostitute is more likely to sleep with a policeman than be arrested by one; why terrorists might be easier to track down than you would imagine; how a sex change could boost your salary; and how there really is a simple fix for climate change.
This freakquel is even bolder, funnier and more surprising than its predecessor. With their unflinching analysis Levitt and Dubner overturn received wisdom: looking more deeply, asking more questions and, above all, thinking a little differently. Because sometimes the most superfreaky solution is the simplest.See all Product description
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For me, the problem here is that the authors try to go too deep into the ideas when what is interesting is quite easily explained. If you are going to read both this and the original, I'd read this one first to avoid being disappointed.
If they had left out the drug dealing from Freakonomics and the prostitutes from Superfreakonomics what we'd be left with would be a book I could buy for my mom (and myself, who are we kidding here?) as an awesome amuse-bouche for Microeconomics. And none of the impact would have been lost, in my view.
Instead, we got two books.
All that said, Superfreakonomics would easily qualify for 4 stars if I did not already have the less superlative first opus on my bookshelf, because 1. it's a good study of human behaviour 2. it's very easy to read and 3. it's fun. Since I do own Freakonomics, I'll only award it 3 stars.
If a friend who's read the first book asks me about the second one, I'd probably say "you've got the idea, this is just the less interesting examples that did not make it into the first book" and quite frankly I'd recommend that he read the Tim Hartford book or something. That said, I have not read the Hartford book. And that's probably a good summary of how I feel about the Superfreak.
On the other hand, if Freakonomics left you wanting more, you'll get it here. It's just that it's a lot less radical. Nothing in here to match the crime-fighting impact of letting unhappy pregnancies end early.
In summary, this is not The Empire Strikes Back. It's Police Academy 2. A fantastic movie, I seem to recall, but if you missed it, there was always Police Academy 3 to look forward to.
Some reviewers have complained that there are mistakes in the chapter about global warming. With such a controversial topic it's hardly surprising that some people see problems with it. However, potential readers should know that this chapter is little more than a report of a meeting at a company called Intellectual Ventures where experts debate ways to solve the global warming problem. I found this an interesting chapter because the ideas they discussed were not the ones we are so used to hearing about, and some of the schemes seemed at least as good or better than the more familiar approaches. It is a stimulating read even if, as is typical, there are problems with schemes that still need to be solved.
Makes for great dinner party conversations. I recommend both the Freakonomics books to everyone I meet (especially my Management students at college). It doesn't have to be read cover to cover - it can be dipped into.
Be entertained and educated - cheap at twice the price.
I'm not entirely sure if It was because the author kept talking about economists as these purely inquisitive people or the subject matter was just not that interesting. There seemed to be no true moments of shock that I experienced with the first book. Nothing really gripped me, or made me think in a different light.
So buy it, it's very cheap but don't expect to be blown away.