Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” as Want to Read:
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (Freakonomics #2)

by
3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  73,277 Ratings  ·  3,571 Reviews
"New York Times" bestselling authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with more iconoclastic insight and observations in this long-awaited follow-up to their blockbuster "Freakonomics."
In 2005, "Freakonomics "exploded in the culture, forever changing our understanding of how the world works, how we really make decisions--even how we name our children. This rev
...more
Audio CD
Published October 20th 2009 by Books on Tape (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Superfreakonomics, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Sarah It's different topics. So, no, you don't need to read them in any order. Sometimes things are mentioned from previous chapters, but the author seems…moreIt's different topics. So, no, you don't need to read them in any order. Sometimes things are mentioned from previous chapters, but the author seems to reiterate what was said anyways. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jim
Sep 06, 2010 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mostly more of the same as Freakonomics with riffs on Malcolm Gladwell's books thrown in. The glaring difference is the chapter on climate change which attempts to go waaay beyond the author's expertise in behavioral economics and contains unfortunate misrepresentations of climate science. For a detailed critique, I'd recommend: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/... Still, there's no denying that convincing the public to recognize the need to curb CO2 emissions is an almost impossible task.

A
...more
Petra X
All the chapters in this book start with 'How is' and then two subjects are compared or contrasted, so in this spirit I ask,

How is a follow-up book like a Shepherd's Pie?

Because shepherd's pie is made with the bits of meat discarded or not finished at a previous meal. And so it is with this book. Chapters not good enough to make it into the superb Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything have been recycled into this book. It's ok, but like anything that isn't first
...more
Ryan Melena
Ugh, pop culture trash masquerading as economics (in turn masquerading as hard science).

There were so many glaring flaws in the authors' assumptions, "logic", and conclusions that within just the introduction they had already lost all credibility.

Right up front the authors declare that fears about global warming are overblown because the issue will likely be solved by technological innovation and then offer as proof the fact that cars eliminated the problems caused by horse-based transportation.
...more
Trevor
I liked this book more than I expected I would like it and liked it more than their previous effort – but have given it less stars this time than the last one. The reason for this is that their last book introduced me to the whole field of behavioural economics and one is always fond of books that introduce entire new fields.

I had some real problems with some of the contents of this book – or rather, not the contents so much as the underlying philosophy. There is a lack of consistency of thought
...more
Lyn
Jan 14, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those renegade, cold blooded micro economists are back for more fun filled worldly observations and scathing attacks on the status quo.

This time around the pair explore the economics of the worlds oldest profession and the myths and realities of global warming. Makes me want to consider the incentives of most every occurrence and transaction.

Levitt is on to something pretty cool here.

description
Ann
Jan 19, 2010 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
TABLE OF CONTENTS (close to verbatim):

Intro--In which the global financial meltdown is entirely ignored in favor of more engaging topics:
the perils of walking drunk
the unlikely savior of Indian women
drowning in horse manure
what is freakonomics
toothless sharks & bloodthirsty elephants
things you always thought you knew but didn't

Chapter 1--In which we explain the various costs of being a woman:
LaShanna, part-time prostitute
One million dead "witches"
The many ways in which females are punished f
...more
Michael
Apr 01, 2010 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Does anyone actually believe this crap?

The first chapter (about the economics of prostitution)in this one was way better than the entire Freakonomics. As a result, I had faith that the authors would stick more to their field. As it turns out, they get more and more ridiculous as the book progresses, finishing off with a pair of shitshows. I'm still trying to figure out if the global cooling chapter and the monkey chapters are jokes. What bothered me most about the global cooling chapter wasn't s
...more
Jesse
Aug 28, 2011 Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
the first few chapters were just a continuation of the first book in terms of ideas, tone and excecution; thus, i was feeling pretty satisfied that i was reading such a book and becoming more of a "cold-blooded economist", than a "warm-blooded humanist" (or whatever condescending, self-congratulatory phrases they used were). and then these guys got derailed, in a very sad, strange and self-defeating way. they did this weird about face, where in one chapter they talk about the law of unintended ...more
K
Jun 21, 2010 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Huge fans of the first "Freakonomics" and/or of Malcolm Gladwell, maybe
A reluctant 3 stars. I'll give this book the benefit of the doubt and say that it probably would have worked better for me had I read it rather than listening to it. While I love the fact that audiobooks allow me to multi-task, it means that I'm less focused when I'm listening to them. That's fine if it's a book like Savannah Blues but this book demanded more concentration, especially since the writing style was highly tangential to begin with.

Those who read “Freakonomics” are familiar with what
...more
Boof
From monkey prostitution to raising a terrorist......

I found this book interesting, frustrating, fascinating and infuriating (mostly at the same time). The duo that brought Freakonomics with answers to why drug dealers live with their mothers and how the name that your parents gave you can determine which job you end up getting have now given us Superfreakonomics.

To rogue economists or mad scientists this books meanderings may be make perfect sense, but to the likes of me I had a job trying
...more
Ron
An interesting dog's breakfast of apparently unrelated essays supposedly on microeconomics, though the chapter on global warming ended up almost entirely on "global" issues. One gets the impression they wrote a bunch of columns for a newspaper, say the New York Times, then decided to cash in on the fame of their previous book by publishing the essays together. Oh. That's what they did!

That global warming chapter "What to Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?" is the best in the book. No, th
...more
The Young Urban Unprofessional
I really enjoy reading books that challenge you to question conventional wisdom. If you like Malcolm Gladwell I definitely recommend this book. HOWEVER, many of the topics are covered it Gladwell's books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, so be prepared to hear some regurgitation (the brutal murder in queens with 38 onlookers who didn't call the cops, how the month you were born greatly affects your ability to play professional sports, and many others that have been covered in other more po ...more
Brian
Jun 08, 2012 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed the original, which, if memory serves had much more cohesive chapters around specific theses. While the chapters treated the topic at hand, they seemed to be much more scattershot in terms of finding a number of correlations in data that "swirled" around the main hypothesis of the chapter.

As with many reviewers, I think that Dubner and especially Levitt have stepped a little outside their expertise with some of the topics in this book and with the ongoing Freakonomics "brand," particul
...more
Beth
Oct 27, 2009 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love it, because I loved Freakonomics. But, alas, I did not. I don't know if they really chose less captivating topics than last time, but it felt like it. Also, if you happen to have read all or several of Malcolm Gladwell's and Atul Gawande's books, and even that Oshinksy book about the history of polio in the U.S., this book will feel largely like something you've already read somewhere else. I think my review might be a bit unfair. Perhaps if you haven't read any of those other b ...more
Paul
Oct 01, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The basic premise of this book is simple: to apply economic principles and methodology to understand the reasons why people do the things they do (or as the authors call it, the incentives behind behavior).

Or, as the authors paraphrase Gary Becker on page 12, the "economic approach."

That being said, it is very similar to their first book, which I also read. This one builds upon it in that it goes on to explain more cases of things that seemingly have no connection or common theme, but in fact d
...more
Jan
Jan 24, 2010 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally a disappointment. When the first "Freakonomics" came out, it was a fresh foray into a field that had yet to make an impact on the popular literature: behavioral economics applied to social phenomena. Since that time, plenty of volumes have come out, giving Levitt and Dubner more competition. They certainly deserve credit for bringing the genre into publishing viability! Meanwhile, the first book's popularity has generated a heady incentive for the two of them to produce a book more qui ...more
Raf
Dec 08, 2009 Raf rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing! I loved the first Freakonomics, but since then, they've started a blog, and they inspired me to read/watch/listen to other economists who study popular phenomena or rational/irrational thought (Tim Harford and Dan Ariely are two favorites among them). So I found most of the stories here are things that I've either read about before, or didn't find interesting. The sections on prostitutes and terrorists are as boring as anything about prostitutes or terrorists can be, and certainly ...more
Kerry Nietz
Feb 09, 2012 Kerry Nietz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Christina
Jan 10, 2010 Christina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read Levitt and Dubner's first book, Freakonomics, in March 2008, and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was ingenious, witty, and made economics interesting for the Average Joe who doesn't find this particular field as fascinating as I do. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when the "sequel" to the book hit the shelves in October 2009 I would immediately add it to The List.

SuperFreakonomics -- subtitled "Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Lif
...more
Trpnstn
Jun 28, 2011 Trpnstn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
coming from a research background heavy in statistics, I immediately recognized the interpretive errors contained in Freakenomics. Initially I found it amusing to see the absurd conclusions made through cherry picking outlier results based on correlational and/or poorly designed research studies. Half way through the book, I got bored but continued through just so I could quote my concerns first hand during debates with the many non-scientists that became so excited about the book. The second bo ...more
Paul  Perry
Another foray into the world of microeconomics - how using statistical analysis and asking the right questions can find sometimes unusual and counter-intuitive solutions to all sorts of issues and problems.

Like the original Freakonomics, this second book is a good read with some interesting insights, but for me seemed a lighter read. I'm not sure if this was a deliberate decision on the part of the authors or simply because they do less background explanation than in the first book, assuming tha
...more
Megan Blood
Oct 04, 2012 Megan Blood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, but the car seat chapter made me extra happy so I'll give it a boost. I particularly appreciate that, for the most part, they present their evidence with very little opinionating at the end (contrary to most books in this genre).

I hate that people write these off as 'pop' literature. Sure, they're easy, fun reading, but that doesn't mean they don't tell us something about ourselves as humans and the world we deal with. I'd rather learn about it this way than from some jargon-filled t
...more
Glenn
Feb 08, 2010 Glenn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Levitt returns to his rogue genre ostensibly to unearth more secrets of the universe using an economist's toolkit. Unfortunately brash comments litter his second foray into popular literature from intro to the final page, hardly masking the lack of clever or quality research. Levitt claims profit is not the primary reason for publishing this book, but it's hard to imagine why he would otherwise leverage the success of his first with so few good ideas.

Levitt dwells on prostitution far longer tha
...more
Michael
Mar 19, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About half way through the book, I felt this to be a less interesting sequel to the authors’ previous effort. The stories/studies seemed diffused by too many digressions into perhaps-parallel realms that didn’t always seem to support the main thesis of the chapters. I felt like there was something like incongruous name dropping (not Brad Pitt nor your local, not-yet-indicted Governor mind you, but a situation where acknowledgement or tribute needed to be paid to innumerable “rouge” colleagues). ...more
Joe
Jan 29, 2014 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
When I read the first Freakonomics it blew my mind. I'd never read anything like it. Statistics that show crazy results! Insane solutions to major problems!

This time all that awesomeness was still there but I think it suffers from not being as original or earth-shattering as it was when the first book came on the scene.

I especially enjoyed the chapters on environmentalism and prostitution. I maintain if we legalized weed and prostitution nationwide and taxed the hell out of it that we'd be the m
...more
Pubudu Wariyapola
Still has some interesting research on behavioral economics, but most of the books is pop-psych and conjecture used to push the author's personal point of view without scientific justification. Don't recommend.
Misericordia ❣
Jan 29, 2016 Misericordia ❣ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Incredible, fast, entertaining read. Thinkers like this one occasionall remind me just why I have chosen my profession.

Short Synopsis (Q):
Putting the Freak in Economics

In which the global financial meltdown is entirely ignored in favor of more engaging topics.
The perils of walking drunk…The unlikely savior of Indian women…Drowning in horse manure…What is “freakonomics,” anyway?…Toothless sharks and bloodthirsty elephants…Things you always thought you knew but didn’t.

Chapter 1. How is a Street Pr
...more
Emily
Mar 23, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, meridian
Once again, Steven and Stephen have provided food for thought in the form of odd but illuminating juxtapositions and intentionally provocative questions. It's refreshing to know that there isn't just one way of looking at the world; the "common knowledge" that is so pervasive it's not even questioned anymore can be not just wrong, but spectacularly so. It's also a bit unsettling. I learned about the "bystander effect" in my entry-level under-grad psychology course; it was a fact, a given, in my ...more
Loren
Dec 15, 2010 Loren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
“In the United States especially, politics and economics don’t mix well. Politicians have all sorts of reasons to pass all sorts of laws that, as well-meaning as they may be, fail to account for the way real people respond to real-world incentives.”

Wow…. Either these people are extremely naïve or they are the worst of serious system junkies. If I need to sit and dissect that statement for you and all the levels of Manchurian bullshit, then there’s really no helping you. I especially despised how
...more
Chad Warner
Sep 08, 2010 Chad Warner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chad by: Kelly Meulenberg
Shelves: non-fiction
This book takes a thought-provoking and often humorous look at the microeconomics of our human lives. It explores incentives and disincentives, correlation and causation. I can't clearly articulate why, but I liked this book better than the original Freakonomics.

The authors keep you guessing. Every time they propose a reasonable explanation for some behavior, you find yourself nodding in understanding. Then a page or 2 later, they reveal an entirely different, often contradictory explanation. Yo
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What is Variable X? 5 81 Nov 04, 2015 11:04AM  
Worth it without reading the first? 9 101 Dec 27, 2012 07:24PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Original Publication date incorrect 3 154 May 09, 2012 06:55AM  
  • The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World
  • What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
  • Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart
  • Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines
  • Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
  • Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead
  • Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do
  • Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
  • Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity
  • The Economics Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
  • Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
  • Economic Facts and Fallacies
  • The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
  • The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas
  • The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger
  • The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics
  • Uncommon Sense: Economic Insights, from Marriage to Terrorism
  • Free: The Future of a Radical Price
798
Steven David "Steve" Levitt is a prominent American economist best known for his work on crime, in particular on the link between legalized abortion and crime rates. Winner of the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal, he is currently the Alvin H. Baum Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, director of the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Bu ...more
More about Steven D. Levitt...

Other Books in the Series

Freakonomics (4 books)
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)
  • Think Like a Freak
  • When to Rob a Bank

Share This Book



“And knowing what happens on average is a good place to start. By so doing, we insulate ourselves from the tendency to build our thinking - our daily decisions, our laws, our governance - on exceptions and anomalies rather than on reality” 15 likes
“In the United States especially, politics and economics don’t mix well. Politicians have all sorts of reasons to pass all sorts of laws that, as well-meaning as they may be, fail to account for the way real people respond to real-world incentives.” 10 likes
More quotes…