Should We Be Embarrassed About This?

A few bloggers have pointed out that the cover of Freakonomics is, shall we say, quite similar to the cover of this book. To which we initially said: Yikes. Should we be embarrassed about this? We thought the cover of Freakonomics was brilliant the moment the publisher showed it to us. We had been suggesting something along similar lines — an object of some sort that, once you peer closely at it, turns out to be quite different than at first blush. But because we are, respectively, a writer and an economist, we each have a rather primitive visual sense. We had proposed something like this: a hand holding a magnifying glass over a small object — a little red toy dog, perhaps — that actually turns out to be, when magnified, a little green toy cat. (See? “Primitive” is in fact a very polite word for our visual sense.) But then Chika Azuma, a cover artist at William Morrow, created the present cover. According to the book jacket, it was derived from a photo collage by James Meyer/Getty Images; the inside orange slice is credited to Jan Cobb. Our guess, therefore, is that the apple/orange existed as some form of clip art, likely the same source used by another cover artist for another book cover. Should anyone care to know more, we’ll happily investigate further.

Anonymous

I'd be more embarrassed about the title...I am almost embarrassed to assign it to my Micro class. Were you guys aware of the slang meaning of freak? Or just how silly it sounds otherwise?r^2

Anonymous

You should be embarassed because of the unbelievable amount of self-promotion you are doing. I know Levitt couldn't handle high school calculus, but between the two of you, you should be able to do the math and see that the vast majority of chatter about you on the web is by you! Steve: I'd like to introduce Steve, the most curious, clever, creative economist in the world today.Steve: And I'd like to introduce Steve, the best writer the world has seen since Hemingway.Steve: Steve, I cannot BELIEVE you couldn't ace high school math. You seem so intellectually virile to me.Steve: You da man.Steve: No - YOU da man!

miss mary k

So i guess all these bloggers are just the authors pulling off a clever ruse? Please. http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/search.html?rank=&url=freakonomics

Anonymous

Hiya-- about the cover.. don't freak... er, worry about it. In the future every book cover will be repeated at least once, as self-publishing hits its stride. It's the "Warhol" principle.And have you ever seen the "Romance" section at Borders? How many cliffs has Fabio been on, anyway?Look at this Michael Medved book cover. Now THAT's embarassing. For the ones that ripped it off. Brian Crouch

Anonymous

Miss Mary: Shut up, anon. If you google the steves, you'll see there's a LOT of talk about them in the blogosphere. And they were number 2 on amazon, second only to harry ephing potter!Anon: Touche, madamoiselle.Steve-squared is about making economics accessible AND interesting to people who aren't usually interested in supply and demand, the invisible hand, etc. It's about feeding Smith and Ricardo and Becker and Samuelson and Arrow to the masses.I am all for it. It's just that I think they are serving McEconomics when the folx be wanting filetmignononomics. Steve: I have no idea what she's talking about.Steve: I agree that it's probably a she and I have no idea what s/he is talking about.Steve: Is this an unexpected, undesirable externality of our media blitz?Steve: It's definitely an externality and unexpected and I am not sure yet if it is undesirable or not.Steve: I agree.STAY TUNED!

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Anonymous

Although it's not your fault, it is kind of embarrassing, because it's an image any person decent with Photoshop could create. For example, <a HREF="http://www.worth1000.com/galleries.asp?rel=Hybrid+Produce&display=photoshop" REL="nofollow" rel="nofollow">check out these galleries.

bisi ogene

I dont think there is anything wrong with the cover . Most people that buy books dont buy them for the cover or for the title, they buy books for the content . I read a lot of magazines and web articles and so I have seen a lot of covers and read a lot of titles . This is no different . No product or service is suitable for everybody but just because a product does not appeal to you doesn't it wont appeal to others. Take cigarretes for example, despite the Surgeon Generals Warning millions of people steal find it a very important part of their daily diet .

Anonymous

Hey guys, Don't worry, I'm using the same art on my upcoming book in the fall.

praktike

No problem. but the weirdest thing is that Amazon tells me: "Buy this book with Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner today!"

Freakonomics

Dear Praktike: it's probably showing you the book and the audio CD, which look nearly identical

praktike

No, I mean that when I click on your link to Logic and Its Limits, it gives me a deal for Freakonomics. How does it know they have similar photos on the cover?

Freakonomics

Praktike:Oh, I get it; that *is* weird. I'm guessing it's Amazon's artificial intelligence matching the two because a lot of people have been sent by bloggers to click on one and then the other.

Ian Mikutel

I agree, content is what matters, its just a "freak" accident sort of thing.

Sheila

it may be somewhat embarrassing, but the cover accident seems to be a fortunate incident. people talk about it online, drawing attention to the book. amazon associates it with another well-selling book, encouraging readers to buy it. it could have practically been done intentionally.

Anonymous

to all you people who have a problem with the cover - SHOVE IT!! i love the title..finally somethin college going kids too can pick and read and ultimately not get embaressed about!! btw, am not that college going kid..but still feel comfortable with what i read and carry with me no matter what the cover says..

Anonymous

I found another image similar to the cover on the italian web site of Zurich Insurance: http://www.zuritel.it .Not that it matters but just to let you know.

Nick

Your book is too good to be degraded by fatuous comments by anonymous commenters. I'd suggest a rule barring anonymous comments and better, yet, some editorial judgments on comments. Otherwise the blog will become just a yelling contest like de Long's. Please, make me want to come back.

Anonymous

I always say....don't judge a book by its cover.

Drew

Look here, comparing apples to oranges is a fairly common practice.

The Reckless Abandon

[...]     I happened to read an old post from the Freakonomics Blog today. After reading through the comments I came across a surprising amount of spam at the end of the comments. For whatever reason (Perhaps because the Freakonomics Blog now requires commenter’s to sign in, thus eliminating much, if not all, of the spam.) I was struck at seeing these kinds of comments at the bottom of this post. [...]