Superfreakenomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner Book Review


(Read between 21 May-2 June)

I had previously read the authors’ last book Freakenomics, which I instantly loved.  Fortunately their sequel was not a disappointment.  The follow-up features the same style and similar stories as the first.  Topics included issues such as;why suicide bombers should purchase life insurance, why prostitution is seasonal and why altruism is not always what it seems.

The topics are interesting and can be highly amusing but also show careful research and a fresh way of observing phenomena. The authors debunk popular theories and believed wisdoms and show how not everything is how it appears at surface-level.  I believe that although the topics themselves are interesting, the reader will be more engrossed by the method the authors reached their conclusions and the underlying simplicity of these methods.

I think the crowning achievement of the two writers is that they turn economics into something more than difficult maths and equations, but focus on what is usually disregarded, the behavioural and human aspect.  For a reader who like me has little to no understanding of economics at a technical level, this book is perfect.  It shows an important flaw in academia today in my opinion where experts have difficulty relating difficult issues to everyday people.  This is why the team of economist Levitt and journalist Dubner succeeds so well.  What could have been a difficult and maths based book if written by Levitt, is transformed in to a page turner with the help of Dubner.

The book is short and because of its accessibility it is incredibly difficult to put down and will be quickly finished.  I would recommend for readers of this blog to read the first book (Freakenomics) first, but they are not chronological so the order doesn’t matter.  I believe that almost anyone can enjoy this book because not only is it easy to read, but I believe it teaches the readers that they should approach problems in new ways and not take things at face value.