Wednesday, December 02, 2009

SuperFreakonomics, by Steven D.Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

(hb; 2009: non-fiction.  Follow-up work to Freakonomics; precedent work to Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain)

From the inside flap:

"Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?

"SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

"How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?

"Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?

"What's the best way to catch a terrorist?

"Did TV cause a rise in crime?

"What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?

"Are people hardwired for altruism or selfishness?

"Can eating kangaroo save the planet?

"Who adds more value: a pimp or a realtor?

"Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling. . . whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it is -- good, bad, ugly, and in the final analysis, superfreaky."

Review:

Another off-beat, real-world smart, logical and compelling read from Dubner and Levitt.

As in Freakonomics, the authors back up their eye-catching chapter titles with solid, economist-minded reasoning -- much of controversial on multiple levels -- that makes practical sense.

Own this, if you're willing to set aside your preconceptions of how people, society, morality, etc., work, and entertain a cooler (as in: more rational) view of how things work.

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