Embarrassing admission

So after saying on this blog that I would not buy Superfreakonomics, Amazon informed me it was shipped to me. It arrived today. Apparently, I had put a preorder in several weeks ago and totally forgot about it. OK then, I can now read that infamous chapter about global warming by myself. But not before I read the two dozen or so books that are ahead in the queue!

Dubner’s response to the “superfreakonomics” accusations

Read it here. I note it does not discuss Krugman’s criticism, which I deem serious, and which aired in a NYT blog, just as the freakonomics blog is a NYT blog. I am curious to see what their response will be to Krugman, if any. Dubner and Levitt can hardly say Krugman is spreading smears about them; they either misread the Weitzman article, or they did not. It looks like they misread it; it’s up to them to convince me otherwise.

I still have no intention of buying Superfreakonomics. I’ll be damned if I reward the authors and the publisher of such stuff that passes for science writing. Again, I will keep an eye open for any adequate answers by Levitt and Dubner; I have not seen any yet.

More on Superfreakonomics and its early terrible reviews

Mark Thoma has a blog entry that quotes Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong and some responses from Levitt and Dubner. My curiosity continues (are Levitt and Dubner really this blinded by what they want to believe in?) but I most definitely will not buy or recommend this book.

Superfreakonomics appears to have jumped the shark

Error-riddled ‘Superfreakonomics’: New book pushes global cooling myths, sheer illogic, and “patent nonsense” — and the primary climatologist it relies on, Ken Caldeira, says “it is an inaccurate portrayal of me” and “misleading” in “many” places. « Climate Progress

Wow. I am shocked but not surprised. The need to appear smart by claiming counterintuitive results is widespread in academia.

The Daily Beast Seeks to Speed Up the Publishing Process for Books – NYTimes.com

The Daily Beast Seeks to Speed Up the Publishing Process for Books – NYTimes.com. This is a good idea, one of the side-effects of internet competition that pressures book publishers. I don’t think it will affect the kinds of books I purchase, in the main, though. They are not the kinds of things you can rush and their audience (including me) prefers quality to timeliness, within reason.

Rocket Bomber post: Rethinking the Box: The Seven Types of Customer

This blog post gives a good and fun breakdown of bookstore customers by type. HT Tyler Cowen on http://www.marginalrevolution.com. Like Tyler, I ask: Which type am I? Also, don’t miss the follow-up post. ADDED: one of the commenters on marginal revolution directs to this article by George Orwell on the topic of selling books.

Having figured out how to post here my goodreads.com reviews, here’s one…

A Novel Neverwhere: A Novel by Neil Gaiman


My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
It is funny that after a long period of reading (apart from work reading) only non-fiction, I felt the need to go back to fantasy, of all genres. Anathem had this effect.

I have read American Gods by Gaiman, and I liked his ability to build fantasy worlds. In Neverwhere this ability is in evidence again. The book paints a vivid image of an alternative London, under the cracks of the streets of the real London. To some extent, it reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s version of London (he calls it something else). The ordinary protagonist of Neverwhere tries to help a bleeding woman and ends up having a fantastical adventure underground.

Characters are painted very well, and the story moves forward irresistibly, with the right amount of humor to counterbalance the darkness of the main theme. I finished it in one day. It left me with some mind pictures that will endure for quite a while, but not with any strong admiration for Gaiman’s use of language.

I would call it a good escapism-aid.

View all my reviews.