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Superfreakonomics [Paperback]

Steven D. Levitt , Stephen J. Dubner
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 16 2011

SuperFreakonomics was an instant New York Times bestseller that caused a media uproar, continuing the amazing success begun with the groundbreaking, worldwide sensation Freakonomics. 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?
  • 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?

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.


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Review

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 the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling more than four million copies in thirty-five 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.

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to Read Oct. 27 2009
Format:Hardcover
Much like Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics is an entertaining book that covers a wide variety of unrelated topics in a fun way. But in contrast with Freakonomics, it is less reliant on econometric analysis and more on anecdotal evidence. As a result, its conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt.

For example, their finding that it is safer to drive than walk while drunk depends on several assumptions that may not hold. One such assumption is that the level of inebriation is on average the same for both drunk walkers and drunk drivers whereas, as they point out themselves earlier in the section, most people believe it is safer to walk when drunk, indicating that those who walk while drunk are probably more inebriated than those who drive while drunk. But to put things in context, that was just a small example and is only a very minor part of the book.

Sadly, many critics and reviewers are basing their entire opinion of the book on the last chapter concerning global warming. Let me just point out that it is not true that they are claiming that global warming is not a problem. Yes, they do mention some old global cooling theories from the 70's. But put this in the context of this book - a random collection of fun facts - and you can see why such theories were mentioned.
But that misses the main point of the chapter. In fact, the purpose of the chapter is to find a way to cool the globe, but using geoengineering, as opposed to restricting emissions of Carbon Dioxide. They propose an idea sponsored by Intellectual Ventures, a company whose business is to accumulate patents in a wide range of fields. The plan basically entails the injection of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which would reflect sunlight and possibly cool the Earth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 1 2014
By Polly
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved this book and the underlying concepts; however I didn't enjoy it as much as the original
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book June 23 2014
By Jessie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors go a long way beyond basic economics to analyse the way things work these days. They break down systems I to their small parts and analyse the relationships. Lots of food for thought. I am thoroughly enjoying this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fact and factoid heaven March 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
You'll have to go through all the references and related research to determine if it's all true, but it sure makes for entertaining reading. Stop pollution? Nah, just spray a smidgen of sulphur in the higher atmosphere and it's all gone.

Read for sure, but then think and make your own judgments. For me, one day less per week of read meat won't hurt and I'll help curb cow farts.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first one. Jan. 15 2014
Format:Paperback
On many spots, I couldn't help but feel the authors had rushed and not done as thorough of a research as the first book. Also it didn't flow as smoothly. Towards the end, I felt like it was becoming a waste of time and almost didn't finish the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A slight let down, but interesting Nov. 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
LOVED Freakonomics and all its connections, so this one was a let down when the connections are weak and not formulated enough to truely compare to the first book. There are some great articles to read, but not as good as Freakonomics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit disjointed Sept. 4 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some stuff is pretty good, but some is a bit lame. Jumps around a lot. Author says as much in the forward but you have to learn code.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it a lot, but wanted more Aug. 30 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I wanted another chapter or two. it felt so brief. The autheors get into theory a bit more than the previous book, but still a good read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars better than the first
If you loved the first book the second is better. The book is fascinating and interesting can't say enough good about this book.
Published on July 7 2011 by matt1000944794
4.0 out of 5 stars Freakin Good Stuff
A good sequel to the Freakonomics, still interesting, still a fresh look at our society's system of beliefs, but lacks that novelty and originality of the first book a little bit. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2010 by Anastasia Prozorova
4.0 out of 5 stars Weaker Freakonomics might have been a better title
While I enjoyed reading this book, I found it wasn't as strong as Freakonomics. Some of the assumptions seemed less defensible than those in the original. Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2010 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars using statisticsa creatively
This book is not really about economics, and unlike its predecessor, Freakanomics, it is a really good read. What Superfreakonomics is about is the clever use of statistics. Read more
Published on July 4 2010 by Edelgard E. Mahant
3.0 out of 5 stars `Many of life's decisions are hard.'
Three of the five chapters of this book are presented as questions:
How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa? Read more
Published on July 2 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Fun Read
A wonderful, fun read. Who would have thought economics applies to all aspects of human life? Even though I enrolled in and taught economics, I now understand microeconomics... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2010 by reader
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