The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling more than four million copies in 35 languages and changing the way we look at the world. 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.
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? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else. 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.
©2009 Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
My title says it all....seemed to be more obvious information in this one, or maybe I'm just getting smarter after having read the first one!
The subjects covered in this book aren't as interesting to me as the first book, which I loved. It was still a good book.
Much weaker than Freakonmics. Although there are some interesting insights, it seems like the authors were desparate to cash in on their first success and lowered the quality of their insights in a rush to get into print. There are far too many pop-science tangents.
One thing is consistent -- the poor naration. As is often the case, an author lacks the naration skills of a professional making the book much harder to listen to. I suggest that if there is a third book, the co-author put aside his ego and hire a pro.
I fully expected a collection of interesting situations which defied conventional wisdom once placed under the scrutiny of the behavioral economists. This follow-up book was a disappointment. The format was repetitive and the stories seemed contrived and forced to make a point. There were a few good insights, but nowhere as good as the original.
If you are looking for a good listen in this genre, try anything by Malcolm Gladwell!
I loved the original Freakonomics book and found this just as interesting. It was by random chance I bought the first book years ago, and fell in love with economics. Superfreakonomics is endlessly interesting, and entertaining the whole way through. Dubner's voice as narrator is pleasing to listen to, and I managed to finish this audio book in one day because I could not stop listening to it.
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.
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