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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.