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Anarchy in the U.K.

Levitt and I will be in London early next week to promote the U.K. paperback edition of Freakonomics.

Just in time for our trip, the Harvard economists Ed Glaeser and David Cutler ask (and answer) the very question that I’ve long wondered about: Why Do Europeans Smoke More Than Americans? “Almost one-half of the smoking difference,” they write, “appears to be the result of differences in beliefs about the health effects of smoking; Europeans are generally less likely to think that cigarette smoking is harmful.” This is an intriguing argument, to say the least.

Below you can see the Freakonomics posters that Penguin U.K. is running in the tube and elsewhere in London. I like ’em. They were designed by one Gina Luck, who is plainly very talented, and whose name is nearly as extraordinary as that of Georgia Cool, one of our very favorite people at the William Morris Agency here in New York.

A paperback edition of Freakonomics is, alas, still a long way off in the U.S. But things move faster in the U.K. You may remember a spirited debate on this blog a few months ago about the U.K. paperback’s cover; some people thought it was brilliant and others thought it was absurd.

So far, the cover seems to be doing all right. As I write this, the paperback was No. 5 on It’s good to see that Tim Harford’s Undercover Economist, also just published, is also doing well there.

Penguin U.K. will be keeping us very busy next week with interviews and the like. Hopefully we’ll have time for at least a couple of cigarettes.