SuperFreakonomics, the sequel to Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, an economist and journalist dynamic duo, continues his exploration of the economic ideas in our daily lives. This book applies the study of economics in a non-traditional manner, looking into car seats, salaries, baseball players, hospital sanitation, terrorists, volcanoes, and many other subjects.
Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What’s more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it’s so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?
In its most traditional sense, economics examines the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Usually, these goods and services are obtained by a monetary trade. However, all of these trades and the thought process that leads to this trade boil down to one idea: incentive. In Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, Levitt and Dubner do not limit their economic findings to monetary incentive; rather, they look into incentives of all types, including safety, health, and various other goods and services. This broader definition of economics offers a continuous supply of new information and knowledge.
SuperFreakonomics, which occasionally refers back to Freakonomics, can be read independently of the prequel. In the introduction, the authors joke that a need for a sequel came from the subtitle of the prequel, “the hidden side of everything,” even though the first book was certainly not an exhaustive look at everything. Still, I think they did a pretty good job of dabbling everywhere in these two books, though they still haven’t covered everything.