Books

Words to remember

From a review of Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Donald J. McNamara in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2015:

This book should be read by every nutritional science professional as a guide to risks of hubris and the unquestioning belief in whatever the conventional wisdom of the day is and to the consequences of basing public policy on belief as opposed to evidence of positive, beneficial effects. All scientists should read it as an example of how limited science can become federal policy, which may, in in the long run, be harmful when the basic tenets of science, skepticism, and consistent questioning are set aside to appease the powerful voices convinced that we must do something (even if we do not have the proof that that something is the right something).

(Sorry, no link because the piece is behind a paywall.)


"Book Review: Tom Stossel's 'Pharmaphobia'"

"Yet, despite the book's extraordinary well-documented and indisputable examples of real progress, the negative impact of the "anti-innovation"  industry—which has used every trick in the book to slow progress—becomes just as clear. By far, the most potent weapon in the arsenal of the conflict-of interest-movement is the fabrication of the myth that the process that leads to innovation is inherently dishonest and corrupt."


"Book Review: The Redistribution Recession"

Philip Greenspun reviews U. of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan's book, The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy. Here's the TL;DR:

With 363 pages of analysis and mathematical models, Mulligan shows that essentially all of what we have observed since 2009 can be explained by the following:

  • many able-bodied Americans will not work if they have a reasonably attractive alternative
  • the federal government, starting in 2009, made not working much more financially rewarding for tens of millions of working-age adults . . .

This is an important book and deserves to be read by anyone interested in the U.S. economy. There is a lot of interesting information still accessible even to those whose econ/math background isn’t adequate for fully appreciating Mulligan’s mathematical model.


Three reviews of John Tamny's new book

Mercatus Center's Veronique de Rugy: "John Tamny Is Making Economics Popular Again".

Scott Granis at Calafia Beach Pundit: "Recommended Reading".

Mark Hendrickson in Forbes.

I haven't read Tamny's book yet, but in the "popular economics" genre, I heartily recommend Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics, Harold Winter's Tradeoffs, and Steven Landsburg's, The Armchair Economist.


"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.