Customer Reviews for

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

39 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

Fun, like the first

Levitt and Dubner's new book provides insight and thought that basically leaps from where Freakonomics stopped. I love that they take the "truths" that the world hold as self evident and test them. From the radio interviews I have heard it is obvious that some people be...
Levitt and Dubner's new book provides insight and thought that basically leaps from where Freakonomics stopped. I love that they take the "truths" that the world hold as self evident and test them. From the radio interviews I have heard it is obvious that some people believe that some things shouldn't be considered. I was floored when their analysis showed that walking drunk was significantly more dangerous than driving drunk. They, of course, are not recommending that we drive drunk (are you stupid, or what?) but that we be more mindful of our decisions. If you can have fun with the intellectual exploration, even if you don't always agree with their conclusions, you'll love this book. Another one I enjoyed recently that I strongly recommend if you're interested in personal development is "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

posted by Patrick_Newman on October 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

14 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

Too many obvious mistakes and too much second-hand material

While people have commented at length (negatively) on the global cooling chapter, no one has pointed out the obvious mistakes in the drunk-walking chapter. Namely, there is "adverse selection" in that drunk-walkers are usually more drunk than drunk drivers. How do you...
While people have commented at length (negatively) on the global cooling chapter, no one has pointed out the obvious mistakes in the drunk-walking chapter. Namely, there is "adverse selection" in that drunk-walkers are usually more drunk than drunk drivers. How do you know this? Who has ever said: "I am too drunk to walk. I think I'll drive" ? Given the obvious error there that a layperson like me can spot (and I also think there is a per-hour and per-mile mistake), and the well-documented errors (including refutation by the sources quoted at length) in the global-cooling chapter, I would both recommend against buying this book and recommend that the authors remove it from the shelves and try again, so as not to destroy the wonderful brand image they created with the first.

I would recommend reading the review in the Guardian to learn how such a bad sequel is almost inevitable after such a promising first effort (Blair Witch Project, anyone?). had I read that, I wouldn't have bought the book.

Howeever, in the lemons-into-lemonade department, I am a teacher and might make unauthorized copies (I feel like I got ripped off buying the book, so all's fair) of both those chapters and give them to my students to hone their critical-thinking skills and get them to comment on why the analysis might be wrong, and how to challenge it, rather than to automatically accept like so many of my students do, that it is in a book by experts with data, so it must be right.

posted by CriticalThinkerMD on October 24, 2009

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    sore 1-5 SuperFreakonomics gets a 20!

    Fell in love with the first Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics is an amazing follow up. Same writing style and amazing twist and turns that keep you flipping the page again and again. If you have not read the first Freakonomics I highly recomend that you do so before picking up this book, Levitt and Dubner make several references to their previous work in this amazing use of book binding materials!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Freak your mind, and the rest will follow.

    Superfreakonomics is a friendly but wild read that keeps the mind flexing at a steady pace throughout. It seems impossible that so much diverse information could be assembled into a book this seamless and absorbing, but they have done it. Better than Freakonomics.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    the tradition continues

    If you enjoyed the original Freakonomics, then you want to read the authors' latest foray into the quirky. Once again, they will encourage you to look at things in a new way, and draw connections you never would have imagined. Their ideas for tackling global warming are especially intriguing... and worth exploring! Read this book - the authors will give you much to contemplate.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    critical thinking

    every reader should realize that conventional wisdom often is not! This a great read and a tutorial on thinking outside the box.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    Innovative

    The information is super-useful. Some of it was of immediate use in the classes I've been teaching at college. Only caveat is that sometimes there is an inductive leap in the reasoning chains--but once that is understood it is an extremely useful, creative and worthy book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    Well researched and fun to read!

    This book should be required reading for everyone from high school on up. In fact, if high school kids read this they might become more interested in science and math.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Follow-up!

    It's funny because as his intro explains the issues they had trying to get their book's title approved and the way the book may have an un-cohesive structure and as I listened to this sequel, so to speak, I realized how true it was but at the same time, how "Tarantino-esque" their approach was which made it even more enjoyable (who doesn't like a good Quinten Tarantino film??). The book would take you into a subject which it would sentence-summarize in the beginning, then send you all over the world into different directions and down back roads through a scenic route and then BOOM! The subject's point is reached, and you're almost sad because it means the trip is over! lol I would recommend it to anyone whose interests include a variety of scientific and historical facts and fascinations.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2010

    The freaky world of an economist

    Economist Steven D. Levitt refuses to look at the world the way everybody else does, he believes that given the right questions and a little economics everything in the world can be explained. His book SuperFreakonomics, co-written with Stephen Dubner, refuses to take anything for granted as it challenges conventional thinking. In it he examines some of the most controversial and challenging questions of our time (Are people innately altruistic? How do you catch a terrorist? How do you solve global warming?), as well as some that are just bizarre (How is TV related to crime?, Who adds more value pimps or realtors? What do hurricanes, heart attacks and highway deaths have in common?) and methodically breaks them down variable by variable. Using this method as well as some data mining they are able to unbiasedly analyze controversial topics and provide solutions and explanation. The brilliance of this book stems from its ability to persuade the reader to look at the world differently. Using case studies they demonstrate that some of the most pressing questions the has faced were solved simply through a little creative thinking. Take the birthing problem as an example, it used to be that women who gave birth at home had a much higher probability of surviving then those who gave birth at a hospital. Even more puzzling was the fact that the midwives ward had a death rate far lower then the doctors ward. Explanations for this odd occurrence, were bizarre ranging from the idea that doctors offended the patients modesty to foul air in the doctors ward. It took a doctor realizing that the diseases were the same that a doctor contracted after being exposed to dead bodies from dissection. He observed that doctors often preformed cadaver dissections before delivering children, and came to the conclusion that particular must be infecting women in labor. By simply ensuring that doctors sterilized their hands in ether before exiting the surgical wing thousands of lives where saved in a single hospital. In the process he also completely changed common perception and now his breakthrough is common place because its simple and effective. If there is a single theme to the studies found in this book it is the idea that a little inventive thought can turn perceptions upside down and a simple actions like washing your hands, can have massive effects. This book is different, different in the way it approaches thinking, different in that it makes economics genuinely entertaining. The analyses were fascinating, the case studies were relevant, and the conclusions that Levitt and Dubner reached were mind boggling. This book opens your mind to the idea that nothing should be taken for granted and everything should be tested. With this type of mind set, Levitt and Dubber see all types of hidden interacts and processes beyond the obvious, and as a result they are able to find correlation between all types of occurrences, and show why conventional thinking is flawed. This book shows the inherent freakiness of the world and that alone makes it well worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    Great Book! Learn about Econ the way it should be taught!

    Great Book! Learn about Econ the way it should be taught! This is a great companion to other similar works. It will help to fine tune your perspective on a wide variety of subjects.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    Worth Reading

    This book is easy to read and appears to be factual. The book also is not political.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2013

    Before reading the book, I thought that this book was going to b

    Before reading the book, I thought that this book was going to be just a good title and nothing more, but turned out to be a page turner. Knowing very little about how economics work made me believe that I wouldn't be able to relate this book to anything I know, but the vivid stories and examples the author describes make you realize that economics touches us our daily lives. The author also uses psychology to make ties between economics and basic human behavior making it relatable to the reader. Overall the book was very enjoyable as well as informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    I loved this book! It lures you in by stating topics that you wa

    I loved this book! It lures you in by stating topics that you want to read, such as how terrorists should get life insurance. Being in an Economics class and studying the terms used in the book, can really help understand the subject, especially with the examples used in this book. It's definitely a book I'd read again... Not just for a school project!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Superfreakonomics is a great read. Levitt and Dubner tell the tr

    Superfreakonomics is a great read. Levitt and Dubner tell the truth about society that regular everyday people would not think twice about.You will learn something new in each chapter. I highly recommend this book, it is a page turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Debbie

    Can i join the fun????

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Ryan

    Bye u suck

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    Hazelstar

    Um I don't think there's a gathering tonight

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    Reasoned and logical...and fun!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a quick read, partially because of the subject matter, and partially because it is just over 200 pages long. I think what is especially cool about “Super Freakonomics” is that you never quite know what you’re going to read about next. The chapters deal with seemingly disconnected (but all interesting) topics and even within the course of a single chapter a half dozen different topics might be touched upon. This also means that it isn’t necessary to have read the earlier “Freakonomics” book to understand and enjoy this one. (I have yet to read the previous book.) The two books share little, I would guess, except the title. Especially appealing to me was the reasoned and logical method of the authors and the investigators they highlight. For instance, it was fun to revisit the Kitty Genovese murder (a story I remember from college Sociology) and read more facts and research into this event. To learn that, well, it might not have been exactly like I was taught in college. But also that, perhaps in some ways, it was. Another favorite chapter—though I thought it wouldn’t be—was the one on Global Warming. Though not necessarily skeptics themselves, the authors do a great job of seeing many sides of the issue, all in a reasoned and logical (i.e. not panicked and alarmist) manner. They also present a possible solution offered by a team in Seattle. As a past Microsoftie myself, it was cool to see what other former employees are up to, especially one who, in this case, I remember quite well from company meetings. (The chapter also tends to make many prominent environmental activists seem more about control and power then about solutions.) Anyway, this is a great book. Read it and learn something new. I think the theme could best be summed up by the words from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: Don’t Panic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Awsome!!!!

    It gives a great,different,cool veiw on things

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    Two Thumbs Up!

    SuperFreakonomics! Although I didn't read the first book by Levitt and Dubner, Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics was excellent in its information and point of views. The authors provide the reader with shocking statistics and tests to remove prejudices from political affilations and odd cultural services. The book shows the importance of an underestimated subject, economics, and how often we need to look into this subject to truly understand many every day happenings. Regardless if you care about "Patriotic Prostitues" or not, this book has something to you! A truly great read.

    *****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Awesome book

    This was a very eye opening experience. This book exposed a lot of seemingly random correlations.

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