Book review: Superfreakonomics

A few years ago I read Freakonomics. I loved the stats and conclusions so much I started considering studying behavioral economics. Not long ago they released a sequel, SuperFreakonomics. It’s my first book for Kindle and it was gifted to my by a friend on Christmas Eve. (If you don’t have an e-reader I highly recommend it!)

Like the first book, its common theme is finding out the real reason for why people do the things they do – usually by following the money. The most memorable person from the first book, Sudhir Venkatesh studying the economics of street gangs, makes a comeback with the economics behind prostitution. (I just noticed he’s got his own book now!) I usually read a little every night, but SuperFreakonomics was so fun I almost read the whole thing in two days. Almost.

It really goes down in the last chapter. The last chapter is a lot longer than the previous ones, and instead of backing up conclusions with statistics and describing the mathematical and economical reasoning behind it they simple quote the owners of a company called Intellectual Ventures. It really crosses the border of interesting stats to promotional material. Instead of being about why people (or animals!) do the things they do, it’s about how IV will save the world. It’s also about how IV are the only ones that truly understand the global warming crisis and their inventions are the only choice for our salvation.

Conclusion: Read it, and pretend that last chapter isn’t there.

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