Jeff Kessler's Reviews > SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
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Nov 15, 2010

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Most economics books talk about Supply and Demand, Price Elasticity, and Opportunity Cost. SuperFreakonomics! by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is not one of those books. Instead, the book discusses economics from the perspective of the common-man.

The book focuses around overarching questions that, while very interesting, are quite obscure in their answer. This format makes for gargantuan chapters that, while easy to begin, are hard to finish. Despite the long chapters, the book is fairly easy to read (so long as any pauses in the reading are done at the end of a chapter). The style and tone of the book are best be described as a subway book: one that is better suited to be read once and left on the seat for someone else to read.

The book’s subtitle, “Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance,” is a subtitle that creates more hype and media attention than is due. While the book does discuss prostitution and our economy, it does not mention “Patriotic Prostitutes” until the last paragraph of the chapter. In addition, some of the book’s information is either wrong or misleading. While the book’s subtitle included mention of “Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance,” the book talks about the reasons why suicide bombers should not buy life insurance. This unjustly draws the reader’s attention, only for them to find that the opposite is described. This leaves the reader unsatisfied after nearly every chapter.

Standing alone, this book would be forgotten in the back of the bookstore’s economics section. However, its predecessor, The New York Times Best-Seller Freakonomics!, gives the book much more distinction than is due. While the format of the two books is the same, the sequel lacks the “Hidden Side of Everything” that is described in the first book. When choosing another book, it would be better to find one that has as much insight as the original rather than this sequel. If anything, this edition detracts from the famous Freakonomics! name. While some may consider this book to be worth reading, it is certainly not comparable to the style, flow, and enchantment of Freakonomics!.
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