Tag Archives: Stephen Dubner

Challenge Update, September 2016

3 Oct

This was a pretty good month for me. I was nervous when I had to take a break from my long audiobook but I think everything will be good in the end. I’m making progress toward my goals and I think I’ll be able to finish them all off. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up // Marie Kondo
Boy, Snow, Bird // Helen Oyeyemi
SuperFreakonomics // Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks // Rebecca Skloot
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe // Benjamin Alire Saenz (review to come)

A lot of audio this month. I’ve not had a lot of free time to read so this might continue until my semester is over. I’m looking forward to reading more in November and December!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. Still looking for a 1600s title to round out this one. Any suggestions from you all?

Goodreads Challenge

38/45
Bam! I was worried that with classes starting I would fail to keep up with this but so far, so good! It must be helping that it takes me 40 minutes to drive the 4 miles to campus during rush hour. Silver lining?

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

I’m going to have to pick SuperFreakonomics. It was so much fun to read and I can’t stop recommending it to people who need something or who might be scared that non-fiction isn’t ‘fun.’ The first book is better in my opinion, but this was a very close runner-up.

Added to my TBR

For the second month in a row, I only added one! Awesome. The beast is now down to 128. If I’m able to ever get it below 100, I’ll throw myself a party. Or at least a celebratory post here.

  • Chasing Water by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides. In case you missed it, I got to meet Anthony Ervin at a local bookstore and it was amazing. I’m looking forward to the book if I’m ever able to get to it!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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WWW Wednesday, 28-September-2016

28 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


aristotleCurrently reading: I made some minor progress on In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson during my lunch breaks. I just passed 60% so maybe another two months? Haha. It’s really good, don’t get me wrong!
On hold with World Without End by Ken Follett.
I needed a new audiobook and I decided to give Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz a try. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful things about this book on others’ posts and I need some YA in my life. Great so far, I’m really loving it.
I finally started Slade House by David Mitchell. No opinion on if I like it yet. I’m hoping to speed through this one and make a little time for a book of my choice off my shelves. We’ll see if life will let that happen.

Henrietta LacksRecently finished: I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot just in time for book club! I finished it Sunday night and we meet Mondays. Phew! I really enjoyed the story and I’ll have a review of it up tomorrow!
SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner was also a win for me. I loved the first one and this was equally enjoyable. My post went up yesterday so check that out and let me know if you had to suddenly go out and buy it.

stillaliceReading Next: I’m going to get a jump-start on my next book club book. We’re reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I’m a little iffy on this book because it seems like it might be really sad and I don’t want sad! Fingers crossed the ending doesn’t make me cry.


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Super Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (5/5)

27 Sep

I read the first Freakonomics book back in 2013. I listened to the whole audio file in three days. I devoured it and I loved it. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to look for another book until a few months back when it popped up on my radar. I don’t remember if it was Hoopla searching or Goodreads browsing, but it came up and I knew I had to read it. While waiting for my hold on World Without End to come back seemed as good a time as any.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Summary from Goodreads:

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
How much good do car seats do?
What’s the best way to catch a terrorist?
Did TV cause a rise in crime?
What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?
Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness?
Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?

Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.

I loved this book. I liked the first one so maybe I went in biased, but this was a great read. I was so enthused about it that I was able to interest my coworker and I might get him to sign up for a library card (yay)! Levitt and Dubner talk about how only one side is presented so I have to take their side with the same skepticism. Really enjoyable read. I liked how all the stories tie together at the end of the chapter. So good!

I thought the chapter about car seats was the most interesting. I work in an automotive field so I could understand a lot of the stories about independent testing labs and I thought the ultimate proposal to make backseat seatbelts fit for a younger passenger is a great solution. I brought it up to the same coworker and it made him think a lot, too.

There was one tidbit that struck close to home for me, which was about the rate of birth defects in women who fasted for Ramadan during the first month of their pregnancy. The rates were the same for a Muslim country in Africa (I think it was Southern Somalia) and Detroit. I had that one figured out before Dubner read the answer. Go me!

The discussion on global warming/cooling was my least favorite. There’s a lot of literature published about global warming and I thought the writers were very selective about what they choose to use in their stories. Of all the book, I felt this part was most biased toward the writers’ friends and their research.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by co-author Stephen Dubner. I thought Dubner was a good choice to narrate the story and I’m glad he was chosen. I found this audiobook on Hoopla and it’s had a high number of instances where the authors narrated the audiobook. I’m liking this trend.

Levitt and Dubner always want you to think, “Huh, I never considered looking at it that way.” I love that. They want to create inquisitive minds and show that economics isn’t a bunch of boring old men making predictions about the price of oil. I bet there are a lot of fields that are more fun than we think. Maybe HR will be next (my coworkers and I are planning a You Can’t Make This Up book).

Writer’s Takeaway: One of my favorite parts of this book was how everything connected. The afterward even ended in a reference to a previous joke. All of their loose ends were tied up and I think fiction writers need to be sure to be as consistent. I liked sometimes not knowing where a side story was going but being able to trust it would all come around in the end.

I highly recommend this for those skeptical about reading nonfiction. It’s a great read. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner | Kvams
Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner | Sam Still Reading
SuperFreakonomics- Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner | The Story’s Story

WWW Wednesday, 21-September-2016

21 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


superfreakonomicsCurrently reading: Again, nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson this week. The fall is ridiculously stressful for me with school and my husband going back to work and coaching. I haven’t had the spare moments to pick this up and it’s really showing.
On hold with World Without End by Ken Follett.
I’m really loving The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Skloot writes a great narrative and I’m not minding the jumps back and forth in time as much as I thought I would. I hope to finish this up this week but it’s a bit longer than I think I can manage. We’ll see what happens.
Not surprisingly, I’m in love with SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Just like the first book, I’m constantly going ‘WHAT?!’ in my car while listening. I got a coworker to listen with me while driving back from a job fair and I think I hooked him. Win.

Recently finished: Nothing this week! I’m plugging along after finishing two last week. I did post a review of Boy, Snow, Bird by  Helen Oyeyemi last Thursday. Go give that a look and I hope to have more up soon.

slade-houseReading Next:  Slade House by David Mitchell is on my bedside table so I’m eagerly awaiting it. One of you gave me a negative review of it last week so I’m nervous but I’m hoping that because it’s shorter I have a chance. Fingers crossed.


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 14-September-2016

14 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Henrietta LacksCurrently reading: Total fail on reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson this week. I haven’t had a lot of chances to read on my phone. No doctor’s appointments or a lot of waiting this week. I’m not worried, this book is good whenever I get back to it.
Still waiting for World Without End by Ken Follett. None too pleased but being patient.
I’ve just begin The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It’s too soon to say much but I’m hoping this lives up to the hype I’ve gotten around it.
I needed to grab another audiobook and I decided on SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. I listened to the first one two or three years back and I’ve been excited ever since I heard that there’s a sequel out there. I’m pumped to get further on this one.

BoySnowRecently finished: Two done! The first is Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi which I finished Saturday evening. I liked it enough, but I found the ending really disappointing. My book club met on Monday to talk about it so expect a book club reflection early next week. I gave the book Three out of Five stars.
I also finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo on Friday. This book feel really flat for me. I got a few good organizing tips from it and I’ve started throwing out a lot of things and putting some clothes in my ‘donate’ pile if I don’t wear them a lot or at all. So I guess I got something out of it and I gave it Two out of Five Stars. My review went up yesterday so check that out.

slade-houseReading Next: My next book club book will be Slade House by David Mitchell. I’m a little nervous about this one. This is the same author who wrote Cloud Atlas and those of you who have been around here for a while might remember my long battle with that book. I’m glad this one is much shorter and I’m told it’s a Halloween-ish feeling book so I’m looking forward to that.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!