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More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics
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More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,117 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
With his long-running 'Everyday Economics' column in Slate and his popular book, The Armchair Economist, Steve Landsburg has been leading the pack of economists who are transforming their science from a drab meditation on graphs and charts into a fascinating window on human nature. Now he's back and more provocative than ever with surprises on virtually every page. In More ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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Chip Alhazred Send it to me.

By the way, did you get to the part where the author said that he himself is overpaid as an author? He proved (?) it using economics.

Community Reviews

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Nov 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: robots
Ugh! The author comes off so cold and calculating I found it difficult to even finish the book. His arguments are based on economic analysis and pretty much nothing else. I get the impression that if he saw somebody drowning he'd pull out his notebook and calculate whether or not it'd economically worthy his time/effort to save the person.

As many others have said before me, read Freakonomics instead.
Hope Harris-Gayles
Dec 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
Finally, I get to write the review I've been pondering since about page 165. I didn't care for this book AT ALL (so let's just establish that fact). I think the title should've been my first tip-off--a book that so clearly needs sex to sell can't have much going on between the covers. I would be terribly upset if I'd paid money for this book. As it happens it was thrust upon me by Judy (thanks.)
I'd just read Freakonomics and thought this might be similar. Let me assure you it is not. I know Fre
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm distraught by the amount of negative reviews I saw here, but I'm not entirely surprised. I just re-read the book for about the 4th or 5th time over the years, and each time I find myself discovering that my previous frustrations with the author were, in fact, manifestations of my own logical inconsistencies. Landsburg is, in fact, a compassionate man of the highest order- we're just too clouded with our caveman minds to see it. Adam Smith became an economist because he was a moralist who wan ...more
Feb 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
A not-so-subtle libertarian conservative manifesto masquerading as a "freakanomics" style book to cash in on the trend.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Let me be clear: I chose to give this book one star not because I thought the writing was horrible or the topic unpalatable; I merely disagreed with most of what he said. If I were to rate this book based on emotional reactions while reading it, it would have had five solid stars.

While I appreciate Landsburg's attempts to "shock and awe" the reader into a new way of thinking about economics, I would like to take him to task for two very major issues:

1) Landsburg has a tendency to point out holes
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Landsburg's crafty way of illustrating the basic nature of trade offs and the application of cost/benefit analysis was not only refreshing but entertaining.

I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to look at the world throught the wacky eyes of an economist.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The author, an economist and columnist, uses cost-benefit analysis to tackle some thorny social issues, from the polygamy of the title to such varied topics as giving to charity, overpopulation, euthanasia, the global preference for baby boys vs. girls, disaster relief, the benefits of being tall and/or beautiful, the American propensity for self-denial, flaws in the justice system, and outsourcing jobs. Not only does he apply the principle of costs vs. benefits to these issues, he argues that t ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
If there was a single page in this book which did not a contain an argument or logical construction which failed the laugh test, I can't recall it.
Oh, check that, there was one argument in the beginning which I vaguely recall making some sense. Unfortunately, I also remember that this argument could be used to invalidate the rest of the nonsense which followed.
I particularly enjoyed the author's description of handicapped ramps as unnecessary. The only place I could imagine ramps being unnecessa
Andrew Flack
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really like these kinds of books. Landsburg is a professor at my school and I'd love to take one of his classes after reading this book. The title sums it up: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. Economics can surprisingly be applied to so many situations in our lives (with results that you might not expect!). Quick and easy to read, very entertaining.
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Landsburg uses abbreviated information to draw unsupportable conclusions. For example, the title of the book is taken from the notion that AIDS and other STDs are spread largely by high-risk individuals like prostitutes and others with large numbers of sexual partners. Landsburg contends, then that if more people had a few sexual partners, but not so many as the outright promiscuous (2 to 3 per person), the spread of these diseases would slow as fewer people would be visiting the promiscuous. Th ...more
Jun 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book is so, so awful. The only thing worse than the author's flawed logic is his insistence on being purely vitriolic towards anyone who dares to offer a counterpoint. Arrogant a**hole economist thinks he's better at understanding HIV prevention than an M.D. That's only one example of the many times that he chooses to PERSONALLY ATTACK critics of his ideas instead of engaging in intelligent debate/discourse. A lot of the time I just felt uncomfortable reading this. So far, he's spent 25% of ...more
Renee Hana
Jun 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Three words are very important to keep in mind while reading this book: all else equal. This is a very common caveat added to economic arguments that allows one to set a scenario without having to worry about an infinite number of what-ifs/but-waits. Landsburg suggests the "rational" (read: purely economic) answer to many hard questions, but I think it's a given that these aren't actually solutions-- of course there are many other non-economic factors to consider. Because I read the book with th ...more
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, own-it
A lot of interesting theories. The sub title is The Unconventional Wisdom, and the theories really are unconventional. I had an issue with the theories as they were just presented and did not provide much data to back the them. In the index the author provides the articles and books in which he got the data from, but to find the articles and books and then read them would take much more time. The author must have thought that people would accept the theories without questioning them. More of the ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I bought it to read since the back cover caught my attention like "Freakonomics" did. It wasn't as good in my opinion. This author confused me a lot and I am not 100% sure why. It wasn't as easy to follow as "Freakonomics" was. It really seemed to me like a lot of what he was arguing was purely from a methodical and calculating viewpoint. Basically the world wants only boys for children and we shouldn't give our money to more than one charity. Overall ther ...more
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is in the same vein as "Freakonomics" and in fact actually references the book a few times. Be warned, this book is mostly theory. For example, the author's suggestion for reforming the electoral system includes having all congressional reps run nationwide races with their constituencies divided by the alphabet, not state and county lines. If you accept that most of the author's ideas are not going to be packaged in any politician's list of new reforms, you can have fun with entertaini ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Pop economics books like this, combined with our imploding economy, make me wish for a technocracy of smart, frank, incentive-conscious economists like Landsburg. At the very least, they'd throw us for a loop. (He claims cutting in line should be the name of the game--when you join a queue, you go to the front, not the back. Then demand would match supply. Or something. Still can't get my head around that one). I'd be interested to read his other one, The Armchair Economist, too.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-recently
About 2/3 interesting insights, about 1/3 clearly misguided musings. The writing is Freakonomics-style with less research supporting the conclusions, but the armchair reasoning style makes this type of reasoning seem more applicable to everyday situations than Freakonomics (after all, who really has time to spend years researching a question before coming to a snap judgment anyway?)
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Landsburg. Truly a brilliant guy. His tone here is a little argumentative, not unlike his blog sometimes. I can see why if you're used to people constantly disagreeing, you feel like you have to hit people over the head with things. Still, this is rare and it's otherwise a very thought-provoking book.
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: informational, 2009
Catchy title, but does not really deliver on the content. If you are looking for a good informational book about economics type stuff, go with Freakonomics instead.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it
It's a general principle of economics that things tend to work out best when people have to live with the consequences of their own behavior, or to put it another way, things tend to work out poorly when the consequences of our actions spill over onto other people. 4
the person who drops the banana peel and the person who slips on it are not usually the same person. 5
your actions have costs and benefits. As long as you feel all the costs and benefits, you'll tend to get the quantity right. 5
Jul 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Freakonomicists
With all the good pop economics book coming out, I really beginning to choosing to study political science rather than the Dismal Science.
More Sex is Safer Sex treads the same path as Freakonomics, The Wisdom of Crowds, and The Undercover Economist, all of which do a better or more entertaining job of tying economic principles into everyday life. Steven E. Landsburg revels in coming up with unorthodox solutions to problems—truly charitable people should only give to ONE charity, racial profiling
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economy, non-fiction
Steven Landsburg at first came off as witty and amusing but he increasingly wore on me during this book as he became overly arrogant and bull headed.

It is obvious that he is a micro-economics guy and he seems to think economics is the be all-end all of the world. I appreciate his fervor but I feel he is dishonest in his means and blindly ignores answers that may disagree with his particular taste.

His seeming disdain for the ideas of macro economics or the thought that anything other than economi
Jul 21, 2009 rated it liked it
For better or worse, not really about what the title says. This book is often being compared to Freakonomics, which I do not think is quite right. Similar to Freakonomics, but not as effectively, the book gives some examples of why people behave as they do. But as you get deeper into the book it becomes apparent the author is actually putting together an ethical framework for decision making. This could just as easily be classified as a political science or philosophy book.

I don't buy into some
Dec 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Noone
1) This book is not about sex, while the title says it is.

2) Stories and ideas, while sane to a point have flaws which can not be avoided. For example having more casual sex is not the only way to reduce amount of AIDS. Another way would be to promote long relationships over short one.

3) Author makes lots of incorrect statements which take college level mathematics to figure out. Hence this book might actually be dangerous to people who start applying it blindly. "A little knowledge is a dangero
Apr 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Fun Book. The main premise is that when people do not receive the costs of a behavior they do too much—When people do not receive all the benefit of a behavior they due too little.

As for the title, there was only about 10 pages on the subject which is summed up below:
Having slightly more casual sex benefits others (if you don't have an STD) because you make the communal stream safer from STDs. Therefore there is too little casual sex.

This is the 3rd book that I have read from Landsburg. He doe
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I can't believe that I'm saying this, but I suppose I've found myself agreeing with the title after reading half this book: statistically speaking, more sex is safer sex. The idea being that by having more people in the "pool", your risk of contracting disease is reduced. Steven Landsburg does a much better job of explaining than I do, I should add.
There is much about this book with which I disagree, but it has been thought-provoking nonetheless. I recommend this book if only to cause some frust
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
This was book basically a wannabe Freakonomics. There were a lot of interesting topics and things that made you think. Except the topics he talked about were not that really relevant or useful. And whereas Freakonomics backed everything up with empirical proof and extensive research, this book was entirely done from his armchair. Moreover, his logic was at times a little dubious, and at times I just disagreed. His title sucks, and makes you believe that the only reason he wrote this book was to ...more
Graham Swalling
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
As many other readers have made note - the author, and in turn the book, are cold and hard to dive in to.

While his logic may be strong Landsburg does little to engage the reader. Unfortunately chapter after chapter the first three paragraphs were all that challenged and enthralled. After each chapter's introduction you were left to reiteration and narrative that did little to excite, challenge, or to make you think.

Jun 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
I read this book of Japanese translation. This book is extremely awful. I cannot totally agree the Author... Therefor, maybe, The Japanese edition have made changed title of this book by the translator. It becomes the title completely different. It will NOT be fully accepted in Japan in the original title and topic. I disagreed with most of what he said. I was to rate this book based on logical reactions while reading it, it should have had no star.
Dave Golombek
Nov 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Wow, this is one of the worst books I've read in a long time. He ignores obvious arguments against his proposals, picks dumb counter-arguments to make fun of his critics with (while ignoring their good counter-arguments), has his politics and his economics overly intertwined, and several other amazingly frustrating things. And that was only in the first four chapters. I couldn't make it any more, maybe it gets better, but I doubt it. No, this review isn't fair, but nor is his book!
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“If, like me, you consider the Drug War a moral outrage, you’ll be distressed to learn that the police are maximizing drug convictions. Stopping motorists because you don’t like their race is reprehensible, but at least it doesn’t retard economic activity. If the police are going to harass a dozen motorists a day, it doesn’t much matter whether they target blacks, whites, or a representative sample; twelve harassed motorists are twelve harassed motorists. But it does matter whether they target drug dealers, because that discourages the drug trade and raises the price of drugs. That strikes me as bad—and in fact, worse than racism.” 0 likes
“If you support protectionism because you think it’s good for you, you’ve probably just got your economics wrong. But if you support protectionism because you think it’s good for your fellow Americans, at the expense of foreigners, then it seems to me you’ve got your morals wrong too.” 0 likes
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