Superfreakonomics Book Review Examples

Published: 2021-06-22 00:01:30
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Category: Business, Society, Literature, Economics, Books, Thinking, World

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Superfreakonomics is a book written by Steven Levitt- an economist at University of Chicago and Stephen Dubner, a journalist with the New York Times. The book was released in 2009 and it is a sequel to a mega-selling book by the same authors named freakonomics. The two books are based on through research and are about the application of economic reasoning to a wide range of day-to-day questions. Though the first book was hugely popular, the sequel Superfreakonomics extraordinarily challenges the way we think by questioning popular theories and myths (Levitt & Dubner). The authors examine how people react to incentives and present the good, the bad and the ugly about the world.
In this book, Levitt and Dubner mix great storytelling with smart thinking to respond to widely varying concerns. How they manage to address global concerns such as “global warming” and explain relatively trivial street concerns such as “why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically” all in the same book is simply breathtaking! This book explores the hidden side of almost everything by asking probing, controversial and seemingly ridiculous questions. Some of the questions raised include, “why are doctors so bad at washing their hands? How much good do car seats do?” (Levitt & Dubner, 24). As such, the book is not only interesting to read but has a lot of insightful information about the real world.
After reading the book, I have changed a lot in the way I think about issues in the society and conventional wisdom. Prior to reading the book, I used to out rightly believe in popular myths and widely accepted conventional wisdom without questioning or probing for alternatives. However, after reading the book, my thinking capacity has broadened and I am now able to consider issues on several aspects. For instance, I have always believed that driving when one is drunk poses the greatest danger to road accidents. However, after reading Levitt and Dubner’s book where they assert that walking when drunk poses an equally if not greater danger, I have come to be more open to “hidden” but deadly dangers that are not highly featured in mainstream media.
The book explains today’s events as they ought to be viewed-with caution on widely acclaimed beliefs and practices. It explains that all people in the modern society work in order to obtain particular rewards. All problems that face contemporary societies have economic explanations. According to Levitt and Dubner (2009), economics has a role to play in the escalation of natural disasters such as hurricanes and climate change due to global warming in the modern society. The authors present immediate and workable solutions such as adding sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere to reduce global warming. In this and other instances, the authors posit that the world’s modern problems have immediate and effective solutions rather than the conference-generated ideals and strategies.
In the wake of heightened inequality in the society, Levitt and Dubner call for altruism. They use examples of games such as the murder of Kitty Genovese and ultimatum to explain economic theories and call for measures restore equality in the society. The authors call for simple fixes to common problems and ask people to develop contrasting perspectives in the way they view modern-day challenges. They also agitate for modern companies to go for unconventional markets by ridiculously proposing why suicide bombers should buy life insurance! In this case, the authors discuss the compelling aspects that characterise the lives of people from birth to death.
Superfreakonomics is very resourceful from an economics perspective. The book brings to the fore economic costs that at times go unnoticed and that have a huge cumulative effect on economics at the local or global levels. For instance, when responding to the question, “How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?” the authors explore the various costs that come with one being a woman (Levitt & Dubner). In extrapolation of the high costs associated with women in modern societies it would be economically feasible to start a business to deal with feminine products rather than one that deals in masculine products. The authors also pose a question, “can a sex change boost your salary?” this question probes into the effects of gender on salaries at the workplace. This question challenges economists to relate gender to earnings at the workplace and the economic effects that this can have on a company and a country’s economics in general.
The book also explains economics phenomena such as supply and demand using statistics on social evils such prostitution. The authors show the demand for sex is increasing and its prices are declining due to involvement of many people in the trade. The authors also show the dynamics of middlemen and the effects of corruption in modern businesses. This is best exemplified by the pimps that run the prostitution and drug trades. These issues help in understanding the challenges of doing business in modern societies and simple and workable ways of how to overcome them.
Works Cited
Levitt, Steven D, and Stephen J. Dubner. Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Toronto: Harper Perennial, 2011. Print.

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