Bryan Caplan  

Name My Book, Part II: Vote on the Finalists

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What Does Education Signal? A... Galbraith vs. the Internet...

If you know anything about my book, you'll wonder why I'd use democratic means to select the title. The main answer, of course, is that Econlog readers are the rational voter exception that proves the irrational voter rule!

Here's my question: Which of the following books would you most like to buy? Please send your votes to the comments section, and let's see if democracy can work for once. :-)

  • The Logic of Collective Belief (me)

  • Delusion Pollution (Robin Hanson)

  • Myth of the Rational Voter (Fabio Rojas)

  • Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies (Al T, with sub-title by me)

  • Wishful Voting (PJens)

    Fair warning: I'm not promising to choose the title with the most votes. But I will weigh these results heavily before I make my final choice.


  • Comments and Sharing





    COMMENTS (63 to date)

    I vote for Myth of the Rational Voter. If you use the winning entry, you absolutely HAVE to put that fact in the preface or somewhere. It's the supreme irony.

    Eli writes:

    None of the Above!

    David Ball writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter

    Alberich writes:

    Delusion Pollution

    Kyle writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter!

    Matt McIntosh writes:

    The Blind Leading the Blind.

    Franco writes:

    The Illogic of Collective Belief

    Joshua writes:

    Wishful Voting or Myth of the Rational Voter.

    Rick Gaber writes:

    Only the MYTH OF THE RATIONAL VOTER gave me a gut-wrench the moment I read it. THAT'S the one I'd buy -- and I bought Hugh Hewitt's "If it's not close, they can't cheat!"

    (Hey, some may call me an Objectivist, but I'm VERY close to my feelings and am QUITE capable of emotive spontaneity -- which some find surprising if not disconcerting.)

    Paul N writes:

    The Logic of Collective Belief sounds too nerdy for anyone non-academic to read, but I guess it depends on your intended audience (tenure committee?). Delusion Pollution is sort of clever but it seems like it'd probably be over the head of a typical bookstore browser. Myth of the Rational Voter seems like the most accurate title but sort of blah, while the last two seem a bit more exciting if less ingenuous.

    I especially like the "Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies" part, but if I had to pick one of the listed ones it would be "Wishful Voting". How about "Wishful Voting: Why Non-Economists Are to Blame for Bad Policies" :)

    Venu writes:

    Blind leading the blind

    Dave Milovich writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter.

    It's short yet specific. The other titles all give less information, even though some of them are longer.

    Egill writes:

    The Logic of Collective Belief

    Kevin writes:

    Blind leading the blind - catchy and relevant

    Dan writes:

    The blind leading the blind.

    conchis writes:

    I know it's not on your list, but I'd go for Simple Majorities: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies.

    pontus writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind

    No doubt! it's a winner

    Stephen W. Stanton writes:

    All the choices seem to slightly miss the mark. I think you want something with a more universal appeal, something that connects and causes an emotional reaction. A title describing an idea is weak. You neeed a title that triggers a visceral memory. One suggestion, the 2000 election.

    "Butterfly Ballots and Buggy Voters"
    "Hang the Chads! Democracy by the voting-impaired"
    "Voter Manipulation (and Delusion)"

    Either that, or something a lot mor controversial:

    "Democracy of Dunces"
    "Can Democracy Work?"
    "Lemmings..."

    S. Blalock writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind

    M. Gillmor writes:

    I vote for a combination of two titles.

    The Logic of Collective Belief and the Myth of the Rational Voter

    or

    The Logic of Collective Belief: The Myth of the Rational Voter

    Joe Martin writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind

    Matt writes:

    It looks like a dark horse, but I like Wishful Voting.

    aaron writes:

    Voting Out of Obligation: How Rock the Vote Mentality Ruined Democratic Politics.

    aaron writes:

    Definitely Wishful Voting.

    Mythe of the Rational Voter sounds derivative of the whole Kansas voting against their best interests meme. It seems like old news and unoriginal.

    Phil writes:

    "Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies."

    Reasoning: it will attract people who never thought about the issue before. They'll see it on the shelves and think -- "what, this SOB is blaming *voter* for bad policies?"

    Other titles, like "The Logic of Collective Belief" are a bit dull, and don't give a good idea what the book is about.

    Actually, even "Blind Leading the Blind" is pretty cliche. I guess it's the "Why Voters are to Blame for Bad Policies" subtitle that I like.

    Perry E. Metzger writes:

    "Blind leading the blind" struck me as the most likely to get sales -- it is memorable and simple. Many of the other titles are too "academic".
    It also spoke to me the most clearly. The subtitle is necessary though -- otherwise browsers will not know what the book is about.

    Dan Hill writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies

    Zac writes:

    Logic of Collective Belief.

    You should trust your gut instict more often than not.

    Keith Arnaud writes:

    Why are you doing this by votes - can't Robin Hanson devise an information market to help you name your book ?

    Bruce Cleaver writes:

    Definitely Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies.

    As others have pointed out, The Illogic of Collective Belief has an arid academic quality about it that will appeal to very few bookstore browsers.

    richard writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter. Possibly with an addendum along the lines of Arnold's suggestion.

    eddie writes:

    Wishful Voting or Blind Leading the Blind, with WV being slightly preferred. BLtB would be preferred if it had a better subtitle - "Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies" would turn me off from a purchase. I agree with Perry Metzger that it needs a subtitle, but I don't think that one is the one it needs.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Stephen W. Stanton's observations and suggestions.

    CS writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies (Al T, with sub-title by me)

    Matt writes:

    I still like "Guess and Don't Check" followed by a boring subtitle that then explains the book. Back me up people!

    meep writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter.

    I like Blind Leading the Blind, too, but Myth of the Rational Voter sounds more scholarly (coming from a university press and all).

    John P. writes:

    I vote for Wishful Voting. But I think a subtitle would also help a lot.

    econ_in_ak writes:

    Go with Blind leading the Blind and its subtitle.

    The 'Logic of Collective Belief' is vague (so academics may miss it, or misunderstand your point) and for the regular Joe it might as well be "What of the Coll-whative Wha?"

    Peter St. Onge writes:

    While Logic of Collective Belief's a great name for an economics audience, seems Blind Leading the Blind or Wishful Voting are best for a general audience, in a Freakonomics/Undercover Economist way; many people may fear the word "logic".

    Gil Guillory writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter

    Dave writes:

    In order of "most likely to buy"

    1. Myth of the Rational Voter
    2. The Logic of Collective Belief
    3. Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies

    aaron writes:

    Wait... your holding a vote to name a book about why voting doesn't work?

    Robert Cote writes:

    Collective Belief, The Myth of Rational Democracy

    I don't like the word "logic" for many reasons including the high degree of probability (SD+/- 3.0, rsquare 95% confidence) that it might be misidentified as a computational & logic book. I don't like "voter" for the populist connotation that it might be just another politcial tell-all paperback.

    Jason Colorado writes:

    The Logic of Collective Belief: The Myth of the Rational Voter

    sourcreamus writes:

    Blind leading the blind

    Sheila writes:

    Logic of Collective Belief instantly made me think of The Wisdom of Crowds. Makes it sound like your book is a rehash of that one.

    I vote for Myth of the Rational Voter.

    Nigel Kearney writes:

    The Blind Leading the Blind.

    Anonymous22 writes:

    I vote for "The logic of collective belief", mainly because I used to be an objectivist and find the word "collectivism" to evoke all sorts of yucky epistemology.

    Al T writes:

    I'd really like that Morton's dinner so I'm going to vote for Blind Leading the Blind. Altough since you've supplied the subtitle I guess I'm going to pay half. :)

    al boyers writes:

    My recommendation would be a permutation :

    " THE COLLECTIVE LOGIC OF INDIVIDUAL BELIEF "

    Dr. T writes:

    The Logic of Collective Belief does not work for me, because I never felt that the collective was or is logical.

    Delusion Pollution sounds like a psychology book.

    Myth of the Rational Voter also does not work for me, since I never held the belief that there were many rational voters.

    Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies is my favorite, since that comes closest summarizes the situation. (My own nomination is: Selfish Leading the Panderers: Why Voters Are to Blame for Rising Costs (and Greater Corruption) of Government.)

    Wishful Voting does not seem like a correct reading of why people vote in certain ways.

    liberty writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter.

    It just sounds best, easy to understand, etc.

    Arnold Kriegbaum writes:

    Blind leading the blind

    Bill writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies

    Alcibiades writes:

    Someone may have mentioned this above me, but the fact is, insofar as you, Bryan, have final say as to the title, you're not using "democratic means" at all. You've got the final say, and can overrule us even 100% of us vote for a particular title.

    Best of luck in the book market, Bryan, truly.

    Butter writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter. And I like Arnold's subtitle as well. He's correct that the "Logic of Collective Belief" is much too insiderish and would probably scare off some potential readers.

    Riley writes:

    Simple Majorities: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies -- As mentioned above, it's not on your list, but is the best in my mind. Short, catchy, and democracy related, with an informative subtitle, this one is most likely to attract the average person's attention.

    Blind Leading the Blind: Why Voters Are to Blame for Bad Policies -- This is the catchiest of the ones listed by you, although a little generic.

    The Myth of the Rational Voter -- Best of the scholarly titles.

    Andrew Lasey writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter ! Catchy, simple, but serious depth.

    Mike Rappaport writes:

    The Myth of the Rational Voter -- For what it is worth, I don't think any of the others are even close.

    Anthony Smith writes:

    Blind Leading the Blind (mostly because I agree with the subtitle).

    Ronny Max writes:

    Myth of the Rational Voter sound best, but the most important aspect of a book's name is what the author is trying to say. Each name implies a different premise.

    Daniel Klein writes:

    Garbage In, Garbage Out: An Economic Critique of Politics

    Meryn writes:

    1. The blind leading the blind. -- most catchy, engates, intrigues
    2. The logic of collective belief -- most 'academic', helps prove/signal the owners literacy to others.

    'The Myth of the Rational Voter' would be more appropriate as title for an article. (maybe a review of your book?)

    'Delusion polution' and 'wishful voting' don't say much to me.

    Meryn writes:

    As M. Gillmor writes, "The Logic of Collective Belief: The Myth of the Rational Voter" would also be nice. It's a full sounding title combined with a more telling subtitle. For such a complicated issue, I think there should be subtitle on the cover.

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