SuperFreakonomics: A Review

One of the advantages of living in the US, and having an Amazon Prime account, is the ability to get books delivered as soon as they are publicly released. So I was quite excited to receive my copy of SuperFreakonomics the other day. I found the first one enjoyable (although not as brilliant as some did – I was speaking to someone yesterday who told me their decision to study econ was based on the book) and this one looked even better. So, having finished the book, what do I think?

All I can really say is “meh”. Yes, it’s interesting, yes, it’s a good book, but I can’t say I found it something that will change my life, or quite lives up to what I expected.  Overall, I was rather underwhelmed.

Perhaps part of this is that I’ve read a few a few ‘pop-econ’ books this last month (Discover your inner economist (overrated), the undercover economist (brilliant), the wisdom of crowds (defiantly worth reading) etc), and so have become somewhat saturated with this kind of thing to the extent that it doesn’t have the effect on me it should. I certainly think someone who has no real knowledge of economics would get more out of it. And some of the points really were quite interesting. But they remained that – interesting, not life-changing. I certainly don’t subscribe to the viewpoint that it’s a subversive attempt to demonstrate the ills of the market, but it does point out a few peculiarities that do occur.

The one chapter that has received significant controversy was that on global warming. The fundamental premise of this chapter I found rather obvious: yes, the globe is warming, yes, humans may be to blame, but ultimately technology will be able to work out a way to solve it through geoengineering and we don’t need to revert to the stone age as some advocate. This is quite logical to me, but has received rather sustained attacks from the Acolytes of the Religion of Green. Their smears have been thoroughly discredited and debunked, but it’s still an interesting case-study of how the left works: smear, lie, and obscure facts. You can read a brief summary of the underlying facts underpinning the chapter here.

So, overall, good book, worth reading, and would make a great present.

PS: I realise this ‘review’ is rather devoid of content, primarily because I can’t really think of what to write, so let me know if you have any specific questions that might be able to help me shape my answers a bit better

PPS: One of the chapters to me seemed like every main idea was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point & Blink – if anyone has read the books, let me know if you agree…

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2 Responses to “SuperFreakonomics: A Review”

  1. Manny C Says:

    Wisdom of the Crowds is more or less bunkem. See in particular work done by Phillip Tetlock.

  2. Tim Andrews Says:

    Still worth reading though!

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