SuperFreakonomics by: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, is the follow-up to the highly successful Freakonomics, and easily one of the more entertaining books that I have read in a long, long time. I missed the Freakonomics bandwagon when it rolled through town several years ago and I’ve been kicking myself for that after I finished the first few pages of SuperFreakonomics. I will say that I am not an economist, and this is not an econ book that you would find in most collage econ classes (maybe for an extra credit assignment or something). This book is an entertaining, yet harrowing and intense read – it sheds some new light on some of the issues that are facing the world today and gave me a different perspective on things that I thought that I fully understood, yet apparently, I didn’t.
Some random examples of the serious and not so serious variety include:
The book opens with a chapter on Chicago prostitutes working with a pimp is financially more rewarding than a prostitute working alone. Additionally, high-end escorts have less actual sex the higher their rate is. Of course, I’m not a prostitute but I’m all about working less and making more. Other topics that the book covers includes:
- Lower birthrates in India when cable TV was introduced because of the autonomy of women.
- Nobel Prize winners and baseball Hall of Famers live longer, as do annuity buyers because of incentive to collect more.
- A child born in south-east Uganda and Michigan born in certain months are more likely to have issues due to the large Muslim population and Ramadan.
In the last chapter, Capuchin monkeys can be taught to use money, to not only “buy” food, but they will also pay a premium for food that they like more. In a bit of an unexpected turn, the last chapter circles back around to the first – with the first documented case of monkey prostitution.
This of course, is only a small glimpse into the book – everything mentioned above is fully explained in detail in the book. Even if the thought of monkey prostitution creeps you out, give a few chapters a whirl, I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed.