Friday, August 26, 2011

Super Freakonomics

Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Harper Perennial 320 pgs
From my library
Rating 2

I read Freakonomics, the predecessor of this book, 5 years ago and loved it. It was totally original, never seen anything like it. It was a run-away hit and sold 2 billion copies on 6 planets. Who would've guessed that a book could turn so many people onto economics? So when I saw Super Freakonomics I was excited. I cleared my calendar, rounded up a Dr. Pepper and my smokes, and prepared to be impressed.

It's not that I didn't like this book. There are plenty of interesting and funny anecdotes and head-scratching asides. Unfortunately this book is just more of the same and I probably should have expected that. I would have liked a new spin of some sort, a new dimension, something fresh. It took longer to read this than it should have. It was frequently slow, plodding along. But there were parts I liked.

Such as Chapter 2 "Why Should Suicide Bombers Buy Life Insurance?" It's my favorite. The answer to that question is fascinating. I suggest that you read chapter 2 first, or maybe only chapter 2. This is also the chapter with lots of good points regarding medicine, birth, death, etc. All the biggies.

Chapter 1 is a rehash of statistics and anecdotes about the costs of being a woman: hookers, witches,
Title IX, Realtors, etc. Don't read Chapter 3 "Unbelievable Stories About Apathy and Altruism." It's depressing. I don't remember what Chapters 4 and 5 were about. You might want to pay some attention to the epilogue. There are some disturbing monkeys in there.

I think this book suffers from sky-high expectations. So my final comment on Super Freakonomics is that the authors tried too hard to duplicate the success of the first book. This book could have been as big a success with a different spin. But it's not. So if you're looking for something to read check out the reviews below. There are plenty to choose from.

You can read about the authors at:

1 comment:

  1. Not happy with this review. Not because of the review itself so much as the disappointment of the book. I also read the predocessor and thoroughly enjoyed it so this is upsetting. However, I think curiousity will get the best of me. But at least I wont jump in with high hopes. Maybe that will help.