Superfreakonomics

Superfreakonomics, the follow up to the original Freakonomics, by Stephen D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner.  I really enjoyed Freakonomics, and while this book was interesting, it just wasn’t quite as good to me, I enjoyed the topics in this book, but the writing didn’t seem to be at the same level that it was in the first book.

Some of the topics in this book include the economic incentive for a woman to become a prostitute, several studies dealing with human apathy and altruism, and global warming.  There is also quite a bit of discussion about the law of unintended consequences, and a large chapter dealing with global warming and possible ways to fix it.

The best part of the book deals with Intellectual Ventures, a company of geniuses operating from the Seattle area.  The company was founded by a former member of Microsoft (and is funded in part by Bill Gates) and their goal is to try to find solutions to real world problems.  The solutions are so simple, so effective, and so cheap that they couldn’t possibly work, except the science proves that they do.

Two of the problems that they deal with are hurricanes and global warming.  For both of these problems, which are very costly and deadly to many people, IV has scientifically supported ways to solve them that are not only brilliant, but relatively cheap.  For example, their hurricane defense system only cost something like $250 million per year for 3 of the most hurricane prone areas in the world.  While $250 million per year seems like a lot of money, keep in mind that the average cost of hurricane damage just in the US is roughly $10 billion a year.

All said, the book had some interesting ideas, and interesting research to go with those ideas. While this book isn’t as good as the original, it’s still a fun read.  Also, I still say that there is no reason that this book is considered an economics book other than the fact that Levitt has a degree in Economics.  This book is a Social Psychology book, and a good one at that.

Overall Grade

A fun read, but it doesn’t measure up to the original Freakonomics.

8/10

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1 Comment

  1. Miss Anderson

     /  September 3, 2011

    Since you are a psych major, I’l trust your information that that is not, in fact, an economics book. It doesn’t actually surprise me. I have read in other reviews that many people did not like the last section of the book about Intellectual Ventures, so I was glad to see that you did. I found this part to be kind of long, but intriguing.

    Reply

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