The full title is very long, but funny in a “pick it up off the shelf and show your friend to get a laugh” marketable way. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.
Levitt, the economist and presumably “the source” for the material again pairs up with Dubner, the storyteller, to rekindle the magic they made together four years before with Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I loved Freakonomics. It was, in so many ways, the right book at the right time. Like lightning striking, many factors came together to create the perfect conditions for a dramatic effect. Freakonomics published on the heels of Gladwell’s counter-intuitive bestseller, Blink, into a general resurgence of interest in pop psychology and pseudo-educational non-fiction.
Levitt and Dubner grabbed some literary headlines with their sensational, statistically-based assertions, including the deliberate counter-argument to Gladwell’s explanation of decreased crime covered in The Tipping Point. They had a lot of fun, fresh and surprising discoveries that were shared in a punchy and “radio-friendly” way that is a tribute to Dubner’s writing ability—he was able to convert Umberto Eco into Dan Brown. The masses could enjoy Freakonomics.
But like the old adage about lightning striking, Superfreakonomics is a miss. UNLESS you are looking for financial data to support your transition from your current career into the thriving industry of High-Paid Escort Service Providers. In which case, the first 55 pages are a “must read.” In these pages, a world-renowned economist will explain to you that prostitution is not about buying sex, but really about limited suppliers seeking to satisfy a decreasing demand for a price inelastic service. It is virtually a cut-and-paste business proposal for you to take your Brothel plan to the investors for your A round.
Another great contribution of the book is the mathematical comparison of the effectiveness of a pimp to that of a real estate agent in marketing the availability of a particular product or service, yielding the equation: Pimpact > Rimpact
Again, if you have the time and interest to learn more about effectively selling yourself on the street at an hourly rate, this book is for you. If this does not currently align with your career goals, borrow it and read chapter 5 about global cooling, as this will be the water-cooler topic sometime in the near future where you can impress your friends.
My rating for the book is 20,000 otherwise stable housewives turned drug addicted prostitutes because of inalterable economic incentives out of a possible 50,000 otherwise stable housewives turned drug addicted prostitutes because of inalterable economic incentives.
And my summary statement is: “Levitt and Dubner’s Superfreakonomics: Rather than a Sequel to the Original and Uncanny Economic Stories We Presented in Freakonomics, We’ve Created a Dry Scientific Journal of What Other Economists are Studying and Passing Off as Pop Psychology. With a Bonus Guide on How to Start Your Own Business as a High Paid Escort Including Suggested Services and Hourly Rates.”
Also, in my extensive research for this blog (i.e.- "reading wikipedia"), I learned they are making a film adaptation of the first book. This will be bad. I look forward to writing another Inexpert Review in the future, apparently sometime around August 2010.