If you really loved Freakonomics, then you'll sort of like (around half of) Super Freakonomics. I'm not sure if it's a weaker book, or the standard is higher now for popular economics, but it really fails to rise to the level of the original.
There are highlights however. Chapter 3, "Unbelievable Stories About Apathy and Altruism", comes very close to the first book in being clever, interesting and telling you something new. This chapter takes on some of the major oversimplifications and bad research leading to bad conclusions that have practically redefined entire fields of modern psychology, sociology and even parts of economics. Chapter 4 is reasonable enough, a cursory survey of examples when cheap, simple solutions solved seemingly intractable problems.
The breathless credulity that pervades Chapter 5: "What Do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo Have In Common?" almost reads like parody after these two chapters. Here, geo-engineering ideas that are mainly thought experiments are treated as if they were the obvious (and the only sane) answers to climate change and hurricanes. Good science or bad science, world saving ideas or preposterous bunk, Dubner and Levit are neither qualified to evaluate these ideas scientifically, nor bothered to do so. That the geo-engineering concepts are "obvious", "cheap" and better than the current alternatives from an economics perspective seem to be good enough for them.
The book ends with a short piece about monkey economics that makes you want for more, but really, at that point they probably realized that they could stop writing since most people stopped reading in chapter 5.
If you love Levit and Dubner, do yourself a favour and re-read Freakonomics.
With their second volume of the application of the economic method to practical human problems, Leavitt and Dubner have just chosen topics that are boring. I'm sorry, but the idea that simple, cheap solutions can be the best is not pathbreaking, and neither is the idea that people respond to incentives. Since the two authors had no deep thoughts, then, the least they could have done was to pick interesting topics. However, geoengineering and climate change really isn't one of them. It's a far cry from abortions, drug dealers, and weird names.
This second volume is far more engaging than the first. Not to say that the first was lame, far from it, but there's nothing like a little micro-eco perspective to debunk so much of the media's hype on various issues.
Aaron L. M. Goodwin
I must admit that I had high expectations for this book. Thankfully, they were met and exceeded. Aside from dwelling a bit long on the subject of prostitution (pervy much?), this is an engaging and mind-expanding work of thought provoking economics.
This one is just as good as the first, but what I really liked was that the authors really tried to zoom in on the current topics that we are all concerned with. Subjects like Global warming and car seats are serious business to many these days. It was very refreshing to hear these topics and many more from the different prospectives that these freakenomics books offer. Very enjoyable listen.
Avid listener of nonfiction works...
I laughed until I cried reading Freakonomics but this one tops it. The variety of just silly stuff explained in super-rational terms is just funny beyond belief. Who ever said that Chicago is a dull school of economics. And Allie gets my vote for entrepreneur of the year.
Fan of 'Freakonomics' Levitt & Dubner continue where they left off. There are no theories, slanted views... just the facts. Interesting and educational. After listening to the audio book I went out and bought a hard copy to use as a reference book. This audio tape help shorten by Christmas list for those that hard impossible to buy for.
This is a must listen for all those living in fear of global warming. Learn how incentives affect and motivate human behavior. Also learn the unintended consequences of incentives. The research is always presented in an extremely interesting yet factual way. I'm always amazed when I listen to his material. After listening to Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Friedman, this really put global warming into perspective. Now all the politicians including Gore need to hear this. I will likely listen to this a second time and have recommended it to several people already.