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
If you read and enjoyed the first book, Freakonomics, listening to the 2nd one is a no-brainer. If you haven't, you don't need to worry about going in order. These are just a series of interesting stories about how people are influenced by incentives. Like books by Malcolm Gladwell, this book will make you think.
the book is really really good. interesting and insightful.
the only thing i didn't like was when the authors were trying to argue that humans have no inherent goodness, but rather that we merely respond to incentives. this is obviously an ambiguous argument, as it doesn't answer whether one of the incentives humans respond to is the pleasure of others (which there is psychological and neurological evidence for).
not sure why the authors ignore such evidence and argue for an unsubstantiated conclusion. perhaps they have incentives of their own? ;)
anyway, great book, definitely worth a read or a listen (great narration too).
I loved the first book. Having just finished Superfreakonomics, I can only remember two things about it.
The first is the in depth coverage of hookers which I found educational and entertaining. In my opinion this part is the best of the book and I consider it the sequel to the gang information in Freakonomics.
The second is the total 180 from most scientists on global warming and carbon dioxide's role it in. I am a skeptic and something about this felt off. The topic follows mainly the works of Nathan Myhrvold, formally of Microsoft, who advocates 'geo-engineering' and the science of Ken Caldeira. Nathan probably forgot all the times Microsoft patched a complex system which fixed the initial problem but caused other problems. He has the same approach to climate change and Levitt and Dubner seem to take it at face value without researching the pros and cons. Complex systems don't always respond to "cheap and simple fixes" in predictable ways. It feels like the authors were looking for major topics where they could argue against the mainstream. If you research online, you'll find that Ken Caldeira even claims that the book gets his views and opinions wrong.
I now wonder if any of the other research in the book is accurate. If I would have read more online reviews about the book I probably wouldn't have purchased it.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book. However, it didn't blow me away as much as the original "Freakonomics". I really enjoyed the section about global warming, climate change, or whatever the alarmists are calling it now. I like how Levitt and Dubner put the whole subject into perspective, and pointed out that just how much money is being wasted on trying to change peoples' behavior, when far less money could be spent to actually fix the alleged problem. The section about prostitution was interesting, but not extremely surprising. However, the final story in the book about how monkeys tie into that subject is surprising. (Don't want to give it away though.) If you enjoyed "Freakonomics", then you'll probably enjoy this one as well. Just don't expect it to be super, and think of it just as you would any other sequel to a great movie.
mostly nonfiction listener
No points for originality, but reliably smart and entertaining. I'm a sucker for academic theory and academic research packaged into narratives for the non-specialilst. Economists and evolutionary psychologists seem to take up the most room on the bookshelf (and have sort of merged with behavioral economists), although primatologists and sociologists may be poised to make a run. Does Levitt have any book length ideas inside of his head? Dubner is a good writer and journalist, I wonder if their partnership has run its course. Don't get me wrong. I super-recommend SuperFreakonomics. Read, enjoy, and bow down to the wisdom of incentives, the wisdom of the economist.
Its sad when someone writes something really brilliant and must continually compete with the past. A good audio book that is well read but no where as good as its predecessor.
I did not think it would be possible for them to produce something better than the first book. I was wrong. This one is even more funny and insightful. You almost feel guilty for having so much fun getting micro-economics lessons. When I studied micro in college it had to be painful or it did not count. These guys are masters of teaching the painful sections of the dismal science in a fun and definitely non-painful way.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I listened to this book a couple of times.... mostly because the first time I wasn't giving it my full attention.
I have to say that it lost me the second time, too. Then I realized.. hey, it's not me... this book is actually pretty slow in some places.
I like these authors, and I enjoy their podcast. But if I'm in the mood for this sort of book, I'm going to head over to Malcolm Gladwell first. This is the B team.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
As a fan of the weekly Freakanomics podcast, I came into this with a good idea of what to expect - which means the joy of surprise and enchantment a first-time listener may experience was bound to be elude me. I was right about that - nothing super earth-shaking for me, however my expectations were more than met and I really enjoyed this sequel to Freakanomics. These guys are just plain awesome and their mass appeal is obvious; I would recommend this for group car rides where you want everyone to think a little bit, discuss a little bit, laugh, and enjoy an escape from superficial assumptions about the world we live in. This would also be great for someone looking to increase their stash of interesting conversation starters for parties or awkward first dates (you may want to avoid the patriotic prostitutes though).
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