Summer Book Club: Super Freakonomics

When I have time to read multiple books in one stretch of time, I like to alternate genres and subjects. As my last book was a fictional, romantic classic, I decided to go with a non-fiction read relating to economics, my field of study at school.

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.

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.

I highly recommend both this book and its prequel to both economists and “average Joe’s” alike! As long as you like learning new and unconventional things, this book is for you. I also encourage you to check out their website, www.freakonomics.com, which discusses other intellectually stimulating topics in a blog and podcast, and gets you a little closer to learning the hidden side of everything.

Written by Guest Blogger, Katherine Chang

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