Until recently, I have never really been a fan of non-fiction. Frankly, I just saw fiction versus a textbook. Just goes to show the ignorance of my non-fiction comprehension. However, I hope to right the wrong, hopefully making SuperFreakonomics something I can look back on that helped lead me down that road less traveled.
SuperFreakonomics was planned and conceived by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner. A less boring way, in my opinion, than saying “written by.” Also, it should be noted that this is the sequel to both men’s prior page-turning child, Freakonomics. A book in its own right that very much deserved a sequel. Luckily, William Morrow and Company thought the very same thing, and thus, SuperFreakonomics.
This book uses very out-of-the-box thinking in the conventional way, which works perfectly for this type of subject. They take simple economic ideas or problems and spin them on their audience, showing us an unseen “why” or “how.” Smart people talking about smart things does not always make for invigorating entertainment. Not all of us will be lining up for the upcoming physics convention that came to town. However, there is a meeting ground, and I believe this book hovers right on the line.
Prostitutes to terrorists, global warming to car seats, among other things SuperFreakonomics examines the reason using something quite simple, knowledge. Levitt and Dubner are not coming up with numbers or taking shots in the dark. What makes this book so compelling is the work and research put behind all these different topics. At every party there is that one person, a few drinks deep of course, who begins talking about politics or something equally annoying. They ramble on, and it quickly becomes evident they have no idea what they are talking about. They are talking to talk, just because they happened to hear a fact in conversation or on the news. All because a little liquid courage gave them the push they certainly did not need. Yeah, this book is not like that.
There is a respect that goes along with understanding, which the authors undoubtably earn. Just as important, there is a lot to be said about the entertainment value of SuperFreakonomics. I found much pleasure in learning new theories and ideas of topics thought to have been familiar. I would almost compare it to learning about something for the first time at the same exact moment as the rest of the world.
Levitt and Dubner bring a fresh feeling to economics. I don’t mean in any way they make it cool or hip. Rather, SuperFreakonomics carries a sense of ease, making for a wonderful reading experience. Take this one off your shelf, or your father’s shelf, and come up with your own opinion. But if I’m right, you will finish it before you know it.
SuperFreakonomics (2009) written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
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