What Are People Saying About SuperFreakonomics?

Here’s a sampling of the latest coverage:


  • Wall Street Journal: “Not only a book with mind-blowing ideas, innovative research, and quality investigative journalism, it’s also a story about creativity and what it takes to get the mindset to turn conventional concepts upside down.”
  • The Telegraph: “Levitt and Dubner’s zeal for statistical anomalies is as undimmed as their eye for a good story.”
  • BusinessWeek: “The strength of this book, as of the original, is in how it applies the time-tested tools of economics in unusual places to turn up surprising conclusions.”
  • Hindustan Times: “Do read this book — even if you don’t take all its conclusions seriously.”


  • Portfolio took a peek inside Freakonomics, Inc.
  • The St. Petersburg Times quizzed Dubner about “the book you can’t take home to mother.”
  • Levitt let Newsweek in on a little secret: “If you get a college kid in a lab, you can get that student to do just about anything you want.”
  • Talking to the Toronto Star, Dubner concedes that some people will see the prostitution chapter in SuperFreakonomics “as a sex story,” but that he sees it “more as a wage story — any time you can kind of explain the way wages move up and down, you’re learning a lot about society.”
  • For those who missed Levitt and Dubner’s joint appearance at Symphony Space in New York, there’s this solid recap of the event.

And if you want to read an unabashed pan of the book, it’s hard to do better than this Guardian review, which says that SuperFreakonomics has “very little of the charm or the originality” of Freakonomics.

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  1. ilkka says:

    I enjoyed the Guardian review, thanks for the link!

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  2. charles says:

    I loved the book, and I’ve found that as I read various negative reviews (I ignored the positive reviews) it became apparent that the people integrity made one of two errors: they took the conclusions a step forward to infer what you “meant” – an example being that you are in favor of drunk driving vs drunk walking (ignoring all the call the cab stuff you have in the book) – or they plucked out highlights that stuck in their mind and totally missed the discussion. I found the second issue with most climate critiques, although many had committed both errors (union of concerned scientists). Lastly, and sadly, I was able to tell after reading it that some people (lacking integrity) had critiqued the book without giving it even a cursory read. I’ll speculate this is because they were getting behind their cause and felt attacked by what they read from others about what they thought of the book. These were very easy to pick out. There are a couple of shining examples at Amazon (also note the distribution of 5 and 1 – the perfect distribution for a non-fiction book – lovers and haters generate sales)

    The book was interesting, well written, and well worth the time and money invested. It was a fun read (for me) that’s expanded into interesting discussion with others and makes everyone involved think – regardless of agenda. By my measure of success you’ve done very well. Thank you.

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  3. DaveyNC says:

    I’m about halfway through it. Didn’t know you guys had so much in common with Allie. It’s a great read so far, a worthy sequel.

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  4. Richard says:

    Just ordered my copy, looking forward to it. However, slightly surprised at this blog post given that the majority of readers are probably highly likely to have a well formed opinion of the quality produced by a further freakonomics title and are unlikely to be swayed by a sample of reviews produced by the authors. Impossible to overcome the sample selection bias here. Possibly a more effective marketing strategy would be to post a link of an independent sample of reviews.

    If instead it’s ‘patting yourselves on the back’, well done!

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  5. Terry says:

    Loved the first book. Haven’t read the new one yet, but am looking forward to it. I’ve read the critiques about your analysis of climate change and infant car seat safety. I understand how economics can provide insights into the human behavior and institutions that contribute to global warming. But, do you really think economists are as capable (or more so) of analyzing temperature trends and engineering flaws as climate scientists and engineers? Don’t you think it might be overreaching a bit? Just curious as to your actual views given what I’ve read of other peoples’ interpretations of them.

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  6. UnderstatementJones says:

    Not a statistically accurate sampling of reviews.

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  7. Chris says:

    Shameless plugging. :) Which would be fine if you weren’t doing it every other article!

    I get it – you have a new book which I will read soon – now please can we get back to the usual programming.

    Thanks. :)

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  8. Robert Sharpe says:

    I have to admit I was underwhelmed by SuperFreakonomics unlike how I was overwhelmed by Freakonomics. I think this has more to do with my own growth in knowledge of Statistics and Economics than the books quality.

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