The subtitle of Freakonomics, “a rogue econnomist explores the hidden side of everything,” reveals the ambitious of authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. The subtitle of the sequel, Super Freakonomics, “global cooling, patriotic prostitues, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance,” gives a further sense of the breadth of their desire to study, understand, and explain. With dogged persistence, they dig up data and use the tools of economics to analyze it, looking for the the curious, the unexpected, and, at times, the controversial. Frequently they put the lie to ideas that are common in our culture — they find, for example, that car seats for children over 2 years old are not more effective at preventing serious injury than the regular seat belts in our cars. Levitt, an award winning professor of economics, is especially adept at finding proxy variables to study questions that aren’t easily answered directly.
You’ll enjoy the books for their statistical analysis and their cheeky tone.