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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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3,245901,708 (3.71)63
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 85 (next | show all)
This book might have been even more entertaining than the original. This because the authors had to dig deeper to find some true discussable nuggets. There's more cause-and-effect type stuff in here, all of which is truly fascinating. The discussion of LoJack vs. The Club effects was eye-opening and the discussion of global cooling, um I mean warming, was very educational. A hidden benefit of reading this and the prequel is that I'm now better armed to discern statistics when mentioned in various media. I'm no longer fooled all of the time.
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |

I did not enjoy this (quite short) book as much as I did the original Freakonomics. Some of the topics covered are well-covered in other places, like in Malcolm Gladwell's books. There was less highlighting of Levitt's work and more of other economists and psychologists.

A brief hodgepodge of things you can glean from this book:
Horses were essentially the climate change problem of the late 1800s. Your odds of dying from a horse-related accident in NY in late 1800s higher than dying from a car accident today. Manure caused pollution, sanitation issues. Demand for horses and horse feed drove up prices of food.

The market for prostitutes. Prostitutes in Chicago are more likely to be paid for sex by a cop than be arrested by one. This chapter was a bit tough to stomach. An educated woman leaves her job in finance in order to become an expensive escort, makes a lot of money, and then later decides to leave her job to go back to school-- to become an economist.

Behavioral economists used experiments to show that humans were inherently altruistic-- contra Darwin's theory of natural selection-- until other behavioral economists showed that people were only altruistic when they were asked to participated in experiments conducted by behavioral economists.

Monkeys have been shown in experiments to be irrational like humans-- loss averse, and capable of understanding money as a medium of exchange.

Education is positively correlated with bad outcomes like suicide bombings and preventable diseases in hospitals (doctors do worse at washing their hands than lesser-educated assistants).

The chapter on global warming is a large part of the book and has been the most controversial (read their entire blog post response). Dubner and Levitt highlight some very smart researchers who decry the simplistic messages put out by the media and Al Gore. Reducing CO2 emissions, for example, will not be helpful and will cost more than it will help. They have simple solutions, like putting SO2 into the atmosphere, that can be done very cheaply and have the effect of counteracting global warming. Sea levels have been rising for thousands of years as the oceans warm. As they warm, they expand, and it has nothing to do with glacial melting. These researchers are frustrated with the archaic and outdated models usually used by climatologists. I assume Dubner and Levitt highlight them for no reason other than they don't think they've been getting fair press. They highlight the simple inventions that trump conventional wisdom. The global warming examples are similar to that of the child safety seat-- the safety seat has not been proven to be more effective at preventing child death/injury than the standard safety belt, and yet the government keeps pushing for children to use them for longer periods.

3 stars out of 5.
( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
The anecdotes, quotes, statistics, and experiments are all absolutely fascinating. Sadly, the conclusions the authors draw from these things are very often completely incorrect and pointed out ad nauseum by those far more intelligent and expert than myself. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 25, 2015 |
A interesting read, especially the stuff about prostitution and monkeys using money. What let the book down was the love-in that the authors see to have developed with the people who worked for IV. ( )
  martensgirl | Dec 4, 2014 |
While this book contains little tidbits of information, it is far from the teaching and referencing tool that the original book was. It almost seems like this book was an after thought compiled with information that was leftover from the first book's research. ( )
  Sovranty | Oct 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (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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Many of life's decisions are hard.
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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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141030704, 1846143039

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