Superfreakonomics review

Book with a stupid name Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner appeared to be quite surprisingly interesting and was listened on my way to work and back home in a week or so. I would probably even say that the sequel is better than the first book – Freakonomics.

Authors position themselves as economists doing research into non-conventional topics. However, I feel that it would be more appropriate to say that book is in the sociology field. Yes, individual & group level economics is often discussed, usually through the prism of decision-making. But in overall it’s more about psychology.

Topics covered are global warming (or cooling?) & ecology, technological & scientific breakthroughs, economics of prostitution, algorithmic search for potential terrorists based on banking activity and human altruism which is covered in more details in video below. In other words, as authors confess themselves, there is no uniting topic.


Superfreakonomics is full of curious facts. For instance, you have statistically higher chances to get into trouble if you walk home drunk then if you drive home drunk.

All topics are presented as stories revolving around particular characters and therefore easily digested. One of the main lessons sounds quite banal and generic: “people respond to incentives, sometimes unpredictably”. However, we forget about it more often than we’d like to think.

You might use this RSA video made from co-author’s speech as a trailer of some sort:

Update 2010.09.22: It turns out they make a movie based on the first book! Trailer is below:

What are the best places to live and travel to: rational side of the issue



“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”


~ Aldous Huxley, English writer


Choosing a place to live as a part of lifestyle design

In the era of globalization more and more people realize that they aren’t bounded by the city or even the country they were born in. On average we travel more, tarlk and meet people from other parts of the world more and get to know other cultures more. Technology, Internet, blogging, global careers or location independent entrepreneurship – all of these are factors contribute to it. But once we’ve realized that in the long-term we are pretty much free to decide where to live we face another challenge. And this is how we can possibly make a choice like this?

I, personally, think that a place that can be called “the best for everyone” simply doesn’t exist. Besides, probably there is no one single place which is “best for you”. But certainly there are places which you would or will enjoy more and less, there are places where you’ll have more opportunities for self-realization and those where list of opportunities is shorter. So, what can help one to make the decision?

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