October 3, 2009

Not enough exclamation points!

There's something that just doesn't feel right about Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner denying themselves an exclamation point in the title of their sequel to their 4 million-selling 2005 book Freakonomics.

C'mon, Steve and Steve, you deserve an exclamation point:
SuperFreakonomics!

Heck, you've also earned yourselves one of those upside down Spanish exclamation points in front:
¡SuperFreakonomics!

Steve and Steve's new book with the sadly understated and excessively tasteful title SuperFreakonomics will be out October 20. (Maybe they're reserving the exclamation point for the Broadway musical adaptation? I mean, why not? After all, Malcolm Gladwell got $1,000,000 for the movie rights to Blink.)

I'm looking forward to a nostalgic revival of the Freakonomics Frenzy of 2005, back when economists, having solved, once and for all, how to manage the economy had therefore allowed their attention to wander to imperializing lesser fields, such as criminology. Levitt didn't actually have to know boring stuff like crime rate trends in the U.S. over the last few decades before publicizing his abortion-cut-crime theory, because he was ... an economist!

Those were good times, good times ...

8 comments:

Eric Falkenstein said...

Levitt highlights good marketing, relying a lot on his status as an 'academic superstar', to give his trivia seeming depth. Bureaucrats cheat on tests? Sumo wrestlers engage in quid quo pros? Wow. That's great science. He presents himself as an elite, cutting edge economist, which makes reading things you might find in Mental Floss seem more profound. Yet, as you noted, his important assertions are generally not true.

Then again, Levitt himself noted he would rather have a correct answer to a small question than an incorrect answer to a big question. You can be sure that when he writes, what's true is unimportant, what's untrue is important.

Lover of Wisdom said...

Steve:

Do you think there will be HBD related material in this book? I recall their first book discussing the genetic basis for intelligence.

Greg said...

As "economics" Freakonomics was the abortion.

Gene Berman said...

Eric F:

I think you inadvertantly miswrote what you'd intended:

"what's true is unimportant, what's important is untrue."

The statement is the same but the cogency or appropriateness lies in the word order.

Mr. Anon said...

"Eric Falkenstein said...

You can be sure that when he writes, what's true is unimportant, what's untrue is important."

I am reminded of Samuel Johnson's reply to a publisher regarding a book he was given to review: "This manuscript contains much that is interesting and original. Unfortunately, the parts that are interesting are not original, and the parts that are original are not interesting."

$1 million for the movie rights for "Blink"? How does one make a movie from "Blink"? Will they get Tom Cruise to play the part of an unexamined premise.

Josh said...

"Do you think there will be HBD related material in this book? I recall their first book discussing the genetic basis for intelligence."

I thought the abortion > lower crime theory was very HBD. Also, wasn't there a chapter showing books in homes make little difference. The main thing is whether the parents are smart, which is essentially an HBD explanation.

Anonymous said...

Steve, that abortion crime link was a clever and it sold books. He's got an accomplished NY Times writer as a sidekick which also helps.

Doesn't mean people take him seriously. There's no Freakonomics party, except maybe for libertarians.

Harry Baldwin said...

Title suggestion for follow-up to "Superfreakonomics":

"I'm Steve Levitt, Bitch!"