When I picked up this book I thought it would be a pleasant, did-you-know style read containing interesting tidbits of information.
Instead, I got propaganda, and a great case study on discerning lies (or at least half-truths) not only told with statistics but with words (How to Lie With Statistics
). I'm not going to go into much detail, as many other reviewers have offered many examples.
Not having finished the whole thing - I can't wait another 20 pages to express my irritation - I'd say that it starts off as a 3-star book, interesting and seemingly well-written. Then, as you keep reading, dubious facts and interpretations of statistics the reader is never showed anyway, accompanied by just too many uses of the word "roughly" make you realize someone's just trying to be interesting, not truthful. By the point I've reached now (last chapter), even the actual writing has turned bad - just how many question marks can one page have? I never expected bad writing from a NYT journalist, but it's true.
If there is one thing these authors love more than putting economists on a pedestal, high above the rest of us puny humans (that includes pretty much everyone else, even scientists), it's obviously money - perhaps rightly so. Not having read the first book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
, I can't say whether this one is better or worse, but what is very obvious is that the authors were in a very big hurry to finish it, to cash in more of the success of the first installment before it gets out of fashion.
A great disappointment in many, many ways. Go read How to Lie With Statistics
instead, and perhaps come back to SuperFreakonomics to do a case study.