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Being Wrong
Being Wrong
Adventures in the margin of error

Kathryn Schulz has pounced on a gap in the market, and in popular perception, and constructed a thesis about the importance of error woven together with stories advertised as Malcolm Gladwell style by one review. Not quite, according to this reviewer, but a decent effort. Throughout, the... Read more
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24th May 2014 03:48 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Prisoner's Dilemma
Prisoner's Dilemma

Part biography (of John von Neumann), part history (of the RAND corporation and landmark moments of the cold war, with cameos from Bertrand Russell and others), and part (about half) pure and applied game theory, this is an entertaining and absorbing book. The title comes from... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:33 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Adapt
Adapt

She's probably in the minority, but this reviewer winced a little on seeing that the most prominent accolade for Tim Harford on the cover of "Adapt" was "Britain's Malcolm Gladwell". Because her impression of the latter writer is that of a genius, unimaginatively retrofitting... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:19 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Idea of Justice
The Idea of Justice

A song that influenced this reviewer's musical tastes when she was quite young, by Laurie Anderson, has the lyric: "'Cause when love is gone / There's always justice / And when justice is gone / There's always force / . . . ". Thinking about this often led her to ponder if that... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:10 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491 gets rid of all the myth regarding "primitive" Native Americans and painnts a vastly different picture of pre-Columbian America to the one commonly "known"
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2nd February 2014 04:19 PM by dropzone Go to last post
 
League of Denial
League of Denial
The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

A damning, well written, book about how the NFL tried for years to ignore or suppress the awareness of the concussion problems players were having Fought disability claims of retired players by dragging out the process through various way hoping the players would die. Forming a... Read more
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22nd December 2013 12:53 AM by Jules Galen Go to last post
 
Quiet
Quiet
The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking

"Someone is staring at you in 'Personal Growth'" is a line spoken by well-meaning Carrie Fisher to the unrequited Meg Ryan in 1980's chick-flick When Harry Met Sally. This reviewer remembers that, mostly because of how novel she thought it would be (at the time, she was fourteen) to have... Read more
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30th October 2013 11:28 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Upside of Irrationality
The Upside of Irrationality

Dan Ariely quite likes writing about irrationality. Likes designing tests for it too, and outlining the results in non-technical form and the positing of explanations and theories. This book is almost the same as his previous one which this reviewer borrowed from a friend and read overnight a... Read more
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28th October 2013 01:12 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Inequality Reexamined
Inequality Reexamined

A monograph rather than a book, and a rather dry, academic text to cover in a review. But this work from 1992 is actually one of the clearest expositions of Sen’s rather unique theory of social justice (Rawls with a twist, if you will) and—even more importantly—contains a model of evaluating... Read more
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11th September 2013 12:25 PM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Why Nations Fail
Why Nations Fail
The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

Rather reminiscent of the excellent “Collapse” by Jared Diamond, but this work prefers to sweep away all points of Diamond’s thesis of why societies collapse—environmental damage, overpopulation, hostile (and friendly actually) neighbours—for the single determinant of extractive institutions.... Read more
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3rd September 2013 10:09 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

A book attacking the hypocrisy of developed nations on how they lecture developing countries to do as they say, not as they did, to become developed.
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24th August 2013 09:35 AM by IllegalArgument Go to last post
 
Globalization and its Discontents
Globalization and its Discontents

Not really about globalisation per se, Stiglitz instead has some highly rational "Washington Dissent" with the IMF/World Bank and its interventions in East Asia, Russia and Latin America in the late 1990s. Delivered with all the insider authority of a former Chief Economist and Nobel... Read more
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21st August 2013 07:17 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Price of Inequality
The Price of Inequality

This reviewer had high hopes for this book--which advertised itself as an analysis of the causes of income/wealth inequality as well as of the economic and political impacts--and is written by a Nobel laureate. It has none of the charts and estimation coefficients with which "The... Read more
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19th August 2013 09:42 PM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Fault Lines
Fault Lines
How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten The World Economy

This reviewer never read many books about the financial crisis of 2008 (and beyond). Having been up-close to it, and working on "Lehman Sunday" (14 Sept 08) netting out derivatives positions with that institution for her then employer (it worked out just fine), she was for a long time put... Read more
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15th August 2013 11:18 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Civilization
Civilization
The Six Killer Apps of Western Power

This reviewer always learns plenty from Niall Ferguson's books, but she feels that excessive effort is made to shape a thesis into an absorbing story, such that it usually ends up (to her) as so meticulous and precise as to strain credibility--beyond being one of several thousand... Read more
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11th August 2013 10:19 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
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