Sunday, December 6, 2009
Superfreakonomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
After enjoying Freakonomics - or as I like to think of it - How to Sort-of Lie with Statistics, but Definitely Make Them More Interesting, I thought I'd pick up this sequel. I was certainly disappointed. But for the smashing success of their debut, I don't think this one would make much of a splash. But, the truth is that Levitt & Dubner are capitalizing on their popularity, and there were a few interesting tid-bits in this one. I particularly enjoyed their chapter on why the price of prostitution has fallen in the last century, and the epilogue that involved the training of monkeys to use currency. But, other than that, their ideas did not seem as cohesive or well thought out as in the original book - it's as if they just strung together interesting anecdotes and bounced around from story to study and back without much cohesion. I didn't expect the chapters to flow, since each one is clearly its own self-contained essay, but within each chapter, I expected a little more. Perhaps if I'd read this one first, I would have better appreciated the quirky viewpoints and the innovative way of approaching age-old problems. And, in terms of general enjoyment for an afternoon, this definitely satisfied. But, unlike Freakonomics, I didn't find myself wanting to read facts out loud from it to my husband (which I'm sure he appreciated), or do much more with it in terms of follow-up when I was done.