What Are People Saying About SuperFreakonomics?

Here’s a sampling of the latest coverage:

Reviews

  • 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.”

Features

  • 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.


ilkka

I enjoyed the Guardian review, thanks for the link!

charles

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.

Read more...

DaveyNC

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.

Richard

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!

Terry

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.

UnderstatementJones

Not a statistically accurate sampling of reviews.

Chris

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. :)

Robert Sharpe

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.

Eric M. Jones

I just started reading your book and I.....

Oh wait...My Microsoft Windows 7 is here! Gotta go!....

Dan Vela

I read the book in about 3 days, which is remarkable for me because I'm the participating father of a one-year-old. It's terrific in all its subjects, but my favorite premise is that there is often a simple solution to almost every problem. We tend not to take a short minute to sit down and think before we act...the same way...that didn't work in the first place.

Thank you both for another great work and a fun blog to read.

Deb Evans

Impatiently awaiting my preordered copy from Amazon....it had better get here today. I have been reading all of the posts and critiques for the past few weeks and the only affect it is having on me is making me determined to read it in one sitting....

Hanker

Yes, the Guardian guy nailed it. I bought the book (a bit expensive, don't you think), I enjoyed parts of it, but much of it left me wanting.

Also a WSJ opinion piece

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704335904574495643459234318.html

Nosybear

Hey, guys, I vastly enjoyed your discussion of why walking drunk is more dangerous than driving, then I realized its problem. Comparing walking to driving is in a way an apples to oranges comparison. While true, if you walk or drive a mile it's more dangerous to walk, I would guess drunks rarely walk a mile or drive less than five so, for each mile walked, a lot more are driven. My guess, it's probably very nearly a wash when you take average distance traveled into account. That said, people freeze to death in Colorado walking home from bars after putting a little too much apres into their ski.

Greg

I unfortunately have to agree completely with the Guardian review. I think the original is far superior and groundbreaking. I remember reading Freakonomics and having my mind blown, but none of the stuff in SuperFreak really was that great. It definitely seems like there was far less Levitt and far more Dubner in this book. A lot of writing, but not much economic analysis.

Dan

The Guardian review was indeed interesting and made some good points, even if it was overly harsh. While I also found the first book more provocative and groudbreaking, it's a hard act to follow up especially when a bunch of wannabes crowd in and jump your train before you can put the second one out. One thing to note for readers who have become much more attune to people's incentives after reading Levitt and Dubner's work: the reviewer is also hawking his own book, available for a mere 21 quid.