Thursday, December 26, 2013

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

This week I've decided to review the sequel to Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics where Levitt and Dubner return to explore the economic rationales behind some of humanity's (and in some cases monkeys') weirder behaviors. I again found this book to be interesting and it raised some very interesting points, but at the same time I began noticing a trend of extremely loose organization that seemed to be inherent in both books. In the introduction the authors straight up admit that the book doesn't have a unifying theme or a central goal and as a result the book gets kind of muddled because it lacks a goal. A lot of the information presented within the book create interesting anecdotes that make good dinner conversations, but I feel like a lot of the further reading to educate yourself on the subject is left with the reader rather than with the author.

It's very hard for me to pin down exactly why I don't care for the sequel as much as I enjoyed the first one but I get the feeling it might be because it's simply more of the same that you got in the first book. Levitt and Dubner go through data to challenge commonly held assumptions and introduce economic concepts and make them applicable to the lay reader. It's very much like the first book and exposes how to apply an economic mindset to any situation and interpreting it based on incentives, cost versus benefit, and other factors. While it certainly introduces a handful of new concepts and helps to further the education of the lay reader in economic principles and research, I feel like Superfreakonomics isn't quite as ground-breaking as its predecessor. The problem is I can't really come up with any evidence to support my opinion, it's all really down to my feelings.

Is the book your time? Probably. It certainly raises a lot of good questions and challenges many commonly-held assumptions within larger society. I just feel like it focuses entirely on simply challenging assumptions and trying to make your head explode with the incredible more than anything else. With no clear goal or no overarching points it comes across as a collection of interesting anecdotes that could very easily be forgotten rather than being applied in the larger world to challenge our perceptions. It's certainly interesting, but I don't know if it will really stick with people.

Overall, interesting, but it's lacking a something I simply can't identify.

- Kalpar

No comments:

Post a Comment