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198 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The idea is to make you THINK!, January 4, 2010
This review is from: Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (Hardcover)
I had to laugh as I read some of the negative reviews. Listen people, it's not intended to be a TEXTBOOK, nor is it written like one, thankfully. I've read both books. Super Freakonomics is a good exercise in critical thinking (something that is becoming sorely lacking in the age of American Idol, thanks to our putrid public schools and Playstation parenting); it makes you think about a lot of "truths" that we take for granted. For example, this book actually made me change some of my thinking about global warming. The book is super-interesting, and full of information that you'd be hard-pressed to find in your typical daily reading; and, it "sexes-up" the fields of microeconomics and behavioral economics. One of the points (relentlessly made) is how we (especially our governments) seem to prefer complex, costly solutions to problems, when cheaper, simpler solutions often exist, and the book does a great job of providing many examples of this. Is it a definitive tome on the many topics it covers? No - again, it's not a textbook, but it was definitely worth the time I spent reading it - I hated putting it down.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 14, 2010 4:05:45 PM PDT
Your review overlooks some cavalier to dangerous takes in the book. Example: their analysis of drunk walking vs drunk driving is so simplistic as to be dangerous and misleading [why not look at effect of time drunk; ex. drunk driver may make it home without incident only to drown in bath tub [while walker is still walking]. Cavalier about prostitution. Reveal secrets terrorists shouldn't know if we're going to to catch them and present mixed signals about global warming [they claim it's not happening, but here's how to fix it--huh?] Some good stuff too.

Posted on Dec 9, 2010 7:13:31 PM PST
sounds like this book does make people think. Not your average politically-correct book eh. To be fair & balanced, (pun intended) I'm sure mass media, politicians & Faux fans will not like this. Just a person that works in a political city.

Posted on Mar 14, 2011 6:10:08 PM PDT
Dan says:
But from what I read from actual scientists or people who have delved into important issues in meaningful depth, it sounds like the book may be causing people to think down the wrong track. I love contrarianism, but not sloppy or sensationalist contrarianism. I haven't read this book. The first one was somewhat entertaining, and did add some insights. But I think this sequel may just be cashing in on the success of the first with sloppy sensationalist contrarian-for-its-own-sake analysis and I frankly just can't stomach paying for such a book and supporting the author. The Look Inside isn't long enough for me to see anything of value, but based on some of the critiques out there by people who have devoted the proper time, I am very leery of the value of this book. I would rather people not think at all than think based on misleading assumptions or sloppy analysis. Is this book adding valuable insight or just cashing in on the success of the previous one? I imagine the publisher urging him to get this out the door as fast as possible while his name is still hot. I know the title Freakonomics was a bit gimmicky anyway, but this title and cover remind me a bit too much of a supermarket tabloid, and based on some of the the more thoughtful commentary I've seen about it, I think I may be willing to judge this book by its cover -- or at least, I'm not intrigued enough this go round by the eye-grabbing hype to prove myself wrong. Maybe given the events of the last few years, economists need to focus MORE on regular economics after all. When they master that, then they can move on to solving (or refuting) the whole global warming thing, huh?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2011 6:48:47 AM PDT
Dan - I think your comments are thoughtful & insightful (unlike many of the critiques we've both read). That being said, I've seen a couple of interviews of the authors, and I didn't get the particular impression that these guys are "sensationalist."

I agree that some of the marketing tactics are certainly intended to create mass consumer demand, but that should not detract from the content of the book (don't judge a book by its cover!!).

At any rate, you seem better-equipped than most regarding one of my comments - that most people lack critical thinking skills. You said you haven't read the book; I think you should read it, so you can decide for yourself. Don't let others' inferior intellect decide your reading list.

Lastly...all economists have their specialties. Social economics is vastly different than financial economics. It's the financial economists that I wish would do better work....especially at educating the idiots running Washington, who only make decisions based on what the uneducated masses or the connected special interests want, instead of doing what's best for the country as a whole...but I digress!

Posted on Jan 11, 2012 6:25:35 PM PST
Ana_y_lat says:
Rick, if you read Freakonomics and liked it, you should know that "playstation parenting" have virtually no affect on children. Just sayin'. :-)

Posted on Mar 14, 2012 3:02:28 PM PDT
N. Dolan says:
Your belittling of so-called 'Playstation Parents' is ironic in that the first book dedicated an entire chapter to claiming that parents don't matter nearly as much as we think they do.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 10:26:48 AM PST
Brian Dusek says:
More accurately, they claimed that parentING has far less effect than most believe. But they claimed that parents DO matter - biologically - because so many traits are hereditary, or at least strongly influenced by genetic factors.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 5:37:42 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 10:14:52 AM PST
Actually, the first book says that parents' actions don't matter as much as who the parents are. Beware of thinking that it is due to genetic traits, as the authors explicitly mention age, wealth and education as the main aspects that explain the influence of parents in child development and "success".

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 5:59:10 PM PST
Dan, I haven't read this book yet, either. Fortunately, over the last hundred and some years in the US, most counties if not most communities have developed institutions called public libraries. Residents of the area a library serves can borrow materials like books, music, and movies for FREE, enabling one to discover the value of a work without wastefully buying it for one-time, individual use. Many college and university libraries will loan books to 'townies', too. Nearly all libraries participate in loan programs with others, making it possible to borrow works without local institutions having to own all of them. When I couldn't get what I wanted, I've been able to purchase it, read or watch it, then donate it for a tax deduction of the purchase price. I highly recommend you look into it.
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