38. Super Freakonomics

Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The tag line on the cover of the book says, “the explosive follow-up to Freakonomics”.  Yeah. Not explosive at all. Moderately informative maybe.

The original book, Freakonomics, was a huge bestseller that I finally got around to reading this summer because it was on a few school reading lists. I liked it okay, but only because I am a sucker for random facts and trivia, which is what these two books seem to be. While I’m not an expert on economics beyond the unremarkable class I took in college, I have a feeling that “real” economists are none too pleased with these books.

What the authors are good at is analyzing events and presenting them in an interesting way; they are great marketers. If you pick up a book and read that one of the chapters is called “How Is A Street Prostitute Like A Department Store Santa?”, you are going to be intrigued and want to know more.  In some places, though, the authors’ cockiness (I’m sure from their time spent on the New York Times bestseller list) shows up in the writing and that was a huge turn-off.  Also, it felt like some of this was left over from the cutting room floor of the first book.  I really could have skipped this one.

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