I enjoyed reading Freakonomics wayyy back in 2006 but reading current event-type books had lost its appeal to me the last few years. So I kind of ignored Superfreakonomics when it came out. Not that I didn’t know about it, because at that time I was also following the Freakonomics’ authors blog (then on the NYTimes family of blogs). Eventually I stopped following the blog too, although I forget why now (probably because I lost interest).
I picked up Superfreakonomics a few weeks back to pass the time on a couple of doctor visits and finished it earlier this week. It was surprisingly short, and I didn’t enjoy reading it very much. My main problem with the book was that it jumped between various aspects of a topic too frequently, seemingly every few paragraphs. I’d much rather read an in-depth chapter about a certain field of study and learn its insights, rather than read through tangentially related, and superficial discussions on a field. In fact, I felt like I was reading a series of blog posts that were loosely tied together!
The topics themselves were relatively interesting (prostitutes) and current (climate change) and I found that the book tried to educate the reader on basic economic terminology. That’s actually a great goal, but a negative externality (which is defined in Superfreakonomics in case you forgot from econ 101) of this is that the book ends up reading well to the general reader (i.e., someone picking it up for a flight) but was not very engrossing for me.