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Books

March 17, 2015

"Detroit Is Dying Because GM Stuck Around, New York City Booms Because Nabisco Did Not"

John Tammy:

When depressed U.S. cities are talked about in the media, the explanation for their decrepitude is nearly always described through the prism of a departed industry, a natural disaster, or overseas competition.  Pittsburgh is allegedly a shadow of its former self because the steel industry is no longer vibrant,  Galveston, TX supposedly never recovered from a hurricane back in 1900, Flint, MI and Detroit are depopulated because the U.S. car industry has been eclipsed by more efficient global producers, and then Selma, Alabama’s limp economy was recently reported in the New York Times as a function of still-healing scars from the 1960s Civil Rights struggles.

The problem with the diagnoses offered up is that they don’t measure up to the most basic of logical and observable realities.  Particularly the industry explanations for a city’s demise.  Indeed, the departure or decline of already established forms of work would far more likely signal an economic renaissance whereby the economy of a city evolves with the times, with abundant wealth the result.

Mr. Tammy's forthcoming book get a nice review here.

Finally, an elegantly rendered book that makes the dismal science engaging, with real-world examples from Hollywood, rock ‘n roll, and sports, including actor Ben Affleck,  the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, and the Dallas Cowboys. Real life stories of people struggling with the real life consequences of government officials who too often view the economy in the abstract.

March 03, 2015

"Retirement: When you should take Social Security"

Larry Kotlikoff has co-authored a new book on the subject. I recommend it, especially if you don't know about "declare and suspend" and "spousal benefits"

February 23, 2015

"The Time Everyone 'Corrected' the World’s Smartest Woman"

The short version of an amazing stain on the American professoriate.

(I think it's a terrific example to use in stat classes. There's even at least one entire book about it.)

January 27, 2015

"Changing Climates of History"

Interesting look at recent work by prominent historians on the role of climate in history.

For the most part, these five senior historians use climate change to discuss economic and political history. Unexpected climate shifts, or brief climate shocks, brought crop failure, hunger, unrest—these arguments appear time and again in these five books. In particular, climate shifts help explain economic distress and political violence.

January 20, 2015

"Sorry, liberals, Scandinavian countries aren’t utopias"

Kyle Smith reviews The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.

Smith's conclusion is consistent with other work I've seen: even if Scandinavians really were terrifically happy, they are key features of their societies that wouldn't transfer well to other countries, particularly the U.S.

December 09, 2014

"Romance"

Professor Peter Gordon smacks Martha Nussbaum a little and has some kind words for Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle's new book, Bootleggers and Baptists

Here's yet another application of the theory: "‘Bootleggers’ and ‘Baptists’ Agree on Energy".

December 07, 2014

"Bruce Springsteen: By the Book"

What The Boss reads.

December 01, 2014

"The History and Danger of Administrative Law"

Powerful argument from Philip Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law. It's a condensed version of his book, published earlier this year, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

(Adrian Vermeule, John H. Watson Professor of Law at Harvard,  vigorously disagrees.)

 

November 18, 2014

"10 Books About Happiness Summarized In One Sentence Each"

I like Business Insider's "one sentence" summaries. They seem to be a time-saver.

October 23, 2014

"Why Are Publishers Giving Away Bestselling Books for Free?"

I'm giving BookBub a try. So far, it seems worth some clicks.

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