Superfreakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Published by Deckle Edge on January 1st 1970
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What do street prostitutes, erupting volcanoes and doctors washing their hands have to do with economics?
Not much, say some reviewers of Levitt and Dubner’s latest book, Superfreaknomics (Amazon). Their first book, Freakonomics, sold over 4 million copies and was heralded for making economic theory through real life examples.
In this follow-up book, the real life examples have remained (thus the prostitutes, volcanoes and doctors) but the links to to economics theories are tenuous and nearly non-existent. There are occasional mentions in some chapters and a blanket caveat stating it all comes under micro-economics theory. However, this is the same premise that links all activity to the demand and supply curves.
That aside, Superfreakonomics is an excellent sociology book. The authors have pulled a wide range of research into an engaging and entertaining text. While reading this, you’ll find yourself quoting random examples of human behavior and never think of Leave to Beaver as innocent again. All research is supported in 35 pages of references and notes.
So, if you want to learn economic theory don’t read this book. But, if you’re after an entertaining insight in to human behavior, I highly recommend Superfreakonomics. And if you want more Freakonomics, check out Think Like a Freak.