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Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling,…

Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide… (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Steven D. Levitt

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3,4301001,573 (3.7)72
Title:Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Authors:Steven D. Levitt
Info:William Morrow (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned, ebooks, Audiobook, Willem's books, Read but unowned, Natalia Read in 2012 (inactive)

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SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt (2009)


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Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Not as good as the original Freadkonomics ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 26, 2016 |
This was good but not that good (and not nearly as good as the original). I felt like this lacked focus on actual research and had more rank speculation about things that someone might maybe do in the future and how the world might maybe respond to those things.

Non-serious spoiler alert: the answer to the teaser on the front cover is super lame. Why should suicide bombers buy life insurance? The answer is not, as I expected, some interesting and surprising bit of trivia borne out by research that shows that intended suicide bombers die more frequently by other means. Nope, suicide bombers should buy life insurance because then data profilers will be less likely to identify them as potential suicide bombers.

In other news, if you want to get away from somewhere without being noticed, you probably should try walking calmly and blending into a crowd, instead of running for your life. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or an economist) to tell you that if you don't want to be identified as different from everybody else, try doing the things that everybody else does. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Hard one to judge; on the surface the themes were longer and more involved than in the first book, and by extension more coherent, but I think the impact was lessened as a result. Also the authors seemed to overstep their own knowledge on topics like global warming and started to take sides in a way that I thought they had promised not to do.

Another thing that bugs me about this book, which also affected the first one, is the frequency with which we are told that we won't expect the answers - swimming pools vs guns stands out from the first book, drunk walking vs drunk driving stands out here. But which one is worse?? the authors say, clearly swimming pools and drunk walking I say, it's swimming pools and drunk walking the authors say, OMG! Yeah, that's what I thought I say. Seriously, is anyone surprised that it's easier to die when walking drunk than when driving?

I also felt that the political views of both authors started to show in this title. Not necessarily in their application of economics, they always claim to lay their findings out (in terms of the bald numbers) in an unbiased way, and as far as I can tell I think they do, but their obvious right-wing sympathies come across in side comments and quips, which is off putting to me.

I had a very hard time with the chapter on global warming. They seemed to ignore their own advice on unintended consequences to sign off on a lot of conjectural theories simply because they were proffered by "scientists with cheap solutions". Just when I thought they were never going to present criticisms of those theories they began to list them; the inane ones that is. Not once did they mention a point that they themselves raised: that after an historic volcano eruption that spewed sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere the planet cooled to dangerous levels, nearly entering a new ice age. I can tell you that my number one concern after reading this chapter was not "we're playing with nature" but instead was are we not a little concerned that we may cause an unintended ice age if we let a bunch of scientists loose in the atmosphere with a sulphur dioxide hose? That question didn't warrant a mention from the authors.

Here's what I think, Levitt and Dubner, basking in the unexpected glory of their first endeavor, believed in their own press and overreached big time on the second. Is that a crime? Nope. Lots and lots of people have done it. Would I like them to return to the kind of microeconomic analysis that makes you say "that's genuinely interesting" and that they are obviously suited for? Yes, I would. ( )
  MartynChuzz | Feb 22, 2016 |
These guys will be superstars at SAS.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |

So I enjoyed the first book "Freakonomics" well enough, I suppose. And I really liked Levitt and Dubner's "Freakonomics" podcast -- that's very well done. But this. There's nothing to this. It's a series of essays kind of smashed awkwardly together. Some relate to the kind of behavioral economics that I guess they're trying to promote, but really it's just a collection of kind of "you never woulda guessed it!" sort of stories. With some attempts at edgy things like looking at the economics of prostitution in a very obvious sort of way. And the ultimate points made (hey -- sometimes seemingly hard challenges are solved simply!) aren't really that deep. I just found it hard to give a shit about these topics that are mostly only touched upon before the authors move onto the next freakonom-o-riffic thing.

What I *really* disliked, though, was the last quarter of the book, which mostly focused on Nathan Myhrvold and his patent company Intellectual Ventures. Myrhvold and the crew at IV are smart and accomplished, no doubt, but this 40-page chunk just felt like a fucking puff-piece for the technologies in their patent portfolio that aim to solve global warming. Maybe IV are right, maybe not -- but "Superfreakonomics" gives an incredibly one-sided presentation of their ideas. IV is a for-profit company. They want to sell their ideas and technology. To make a large chunk of a bestseller like this little more than softball marketing -- it struck me as both lazy and cynical. Lazy, mostly. If there are serious issues with IV's ideas in the scientific community, how about giving those ideas a bit more representation than a few crabby one-line quotes from Al Gore?

Anyway. Don't buy this. There's some okay stuff in it, but you'll get just as good with Levitt and Dubner's free "Freakonomics" material online. Check out the podcast. They clearly care about that. Clearly they didn't give a shit about this book, or else these two very capable writers and thinkers would've done something much more interesting and significant with it. ( )
  chasing | Jan 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Levitt and co-author Stephen Dubner's new book "Super Freakonomics" is a follow-up to their super smash 2005 bestseller, "Freakonomics." Thank goodness they are back -- with wisdom, wit and, most of all, powerful economic insight.
If ever two writers were likely to suffer from "difficult second book" syndrome, it's Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors of the smash-hit Freakonomics, which made them the rock stars of the economics world.
The economist and the journalist again attack the concept of the rational man, via studies involving monkeys, banking records, and doctors. Yet there’s an artfulness missing this time around in their circuitous paths toward obvious conclusions like “technology isn’t always better” and “men and women are different.”
The difficulty with the book is that while the focus may be fairly fuzzy to begin with, it gets a lot fuzzier as it goes on. There’s a long passage about how people behave differently when they’re being scrutinised – thus making a nonsense of most behavioural experiments – and an even longer one about global warming.

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Dubner, Stephen J.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically, Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling to show how people respond to incentives.

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141030704, 1846143039

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