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

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  70,402 ratings  ·  3,487 reviews
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, 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.

Four year
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
92nd out of 3,588 books — 5,489 voters
Freakonomics by Steven D. LevittThe Tipping Point by Malcolm GladwellOutliers by Malcolm GladwellNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichBlink by Malcolm Gladwell
Sociology Books
6th out of 328 books — 279 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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: Still, there's no denying that convincing the public to recognize the need to curb CO2 emissions is an almost impossible task.

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
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.
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
Jan 19, 2010 Ann rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Jun 21, 2010 K rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kerry Nietz
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
Paul 'Pezski' 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
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
Megan Blood
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
“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
Chad Warner
Sep 08, 2010 Chad Warner rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
I liked Freakonomics. I checked this out from the library in hopes that it would be similar. It wasn't.

Here's what I think went wrong: the authors were more interested in shocking readers than with informing them. Freakonomics felt like the authors had come to sincere conclusions about data that was surprising yet true (or at least they believe it to be so; I know lots of people dispute it). Superfreakonomics felt like the authors dug up very little data and presented it in a way to make the rea
John and Kris
The Variable X Riddle

Superfreakonomics has the same feel as Freakonomics: an enjoyable read that is much more like a series of feature articles than a unified book; articles that are much better read than poorly rehashed at a backyard BBQs as was the original Freakonomics for me over the course of a couple of summers a few years back.

I did not buy either copy. I received both as gifts with, “I thought you would really like these (and they’re easy to find at Target), so Happy Birthday/Merry Chri
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
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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

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“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
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