Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

A Category Archive (672 entries)

Henderson on Piketty, Part 6

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
This is my final installment from "The Unintended Case for More Capitalism," my review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. Piketty, not to his credit, sometimes uses ad hominems in place of actual argument. I note two.... MORE

Henderson on Piketty, Part 5

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
For Piketty and, presumably, Solow to calmly countenance the possibility of stagnating real wages just to keep capital's share from increasing, they would have to see some large problems with increasing inequality. Solow does not point out any such problems,... MORE

Gordon Tullock, 1922-2014

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I am saddened to report that the great Gordon Tullock, professor emeritus at GMU econ and law, has died.  While I often disagreed with him, everything he wrote is worth reading.  Start with this excellent compendium.  Unlike many "interdisciplinary" economists,... MORE

Read Scott Alexander

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I find fascinating new things to read every day.  But it's been a long time since I found a fascinating new thinker to read - someone who makes me say, "Tell me everything."  Then about two weeks ago, I discovered... MORE

Henderson on Piketty, Part 2

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In Piketty's view, if someone's share of wealth stays constant, he cannot be better off, even if wealth has increased. Yesterday I highlighted the opening of my lengthy published review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Here's the... MORE

Henderson on Piketty, Part 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My long review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in Twenty-First Century is finally out. It is titled "An Unintended Case for More Capitalism." Over the next few days, I'll be highlighting various parts of my review. Here's the first highlight: Unlike... MORE

A 13 minute primer on DeirdreMcCloskeyanism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
I had the good fortune, in the last couple of weeks, to spend a good deal of time with Deirdre McCloskey. My Institute, Istituto Bruno Leoni, invited her to Italy for a series of seminars and lectures, including the keynote... MORE

Recent Reading: Onward, Christian Soldiers Edition

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
Stanley Hauerwas, War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity. This wasn't really "recent" as it was several months ago, but Hauerwas spoke at Samford last semester. Hauerwas discusses war--a key sacrament of civic religion--from a... MORE

Prohibition: Then versus Now

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
This will likely be my final post about Daniel Okrent's excellent book The Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. This one, appropriately enough, is about the fall and some of the factors that led to it. There's a... MORE

Great Moments in Economic Estimation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Even the great Irving Fisher was, at times, a lousy microeconomist. "In an attempt to memorize poetry," Irving Fisher wrote in 1926, "Professor Vogt of the University of Christiana found that on days when he drank one and one-half to... MORE

Law vs. Legislation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
The repeal of Mullan-Gage did not legalize alcoholic beverages in New York, for the Volstead Act remained in force. Repeal only meant that New York police and New York courts, no longer bound by the state to enforce federal antibooze... MORE

Calvin Coolidge on the Federal Government

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Only in one key respect were the two presidents similar: even considering Harding's belated conversion in Denver, neither man was particularly interested in enforcing Prohibition. In Coolidge's case this was consistent with his general position on the role of government.... MORE

The Greatest Invention in History

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In 1922 he [Sam Bronfman] was thirty-three years old, less than five feet six inches tall, with a receding chin, thinning hair, and a fortune among the largest of all in western Canada. He'd already had a liveried chauffeur for... MORE

Prohibition for Thee but Not for Me

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
OK, then I'll turn into a "thee" But the competitors figure out how to adjust. Among the provisions of the Raines [John Raines was a New York State politician] Law, as it became known, was a Sunday closing rule aimed... MORE

Boudreaux on Piketty

Business Economics
David Henderson
Piketty reasonably assumes that if government finances its expenditures with taxes, then the rich would pay a disproportionately large share of those taxes. But he unreasonably assumes that debt financing of government expenditures not only allows the rich to escape... MORE

What to Learn from The Catcher in the Rye

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I recently re-read J.D.Salinger's 1951 classic, The Catcher in the Rye, prompting Tyler to do the same.  My top reactions:1. Other than losing his brother Allie, Holden has no external problems.  He is a rich kid living in the most... MORE

George Borjas' new Immigration Economics contains the first intellectually serious critique of the increasingly mainstream view that open borders is a big stack of "trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk."  Borjas begins by clearly explaining what's at stake.[W]hat types of... MORE

Boudreaux on McCloskey

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
LibertyMatters is hosting a discussion on Deirdre McCloskey, namely her notion that "economics can't explain the modern world": that is, that mass flourishing, the tremendous progress that was originated with the Industrial Revolution, is something we owe primarily to culture.... MORE

Piketty Bleg

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I'm putting the finishing touches on my review of Piketty in the next few days and he makes reference to something that I don't think exists. I'm wondering if that's just because I don't know how to make my way... MORE

More on Schuck and Government Failure

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Yesterday I posted on Peter Schuck's book, Why Government Fails So Much. Here's another section of my review of his book in Regulation: Although the whole book is interesting, it becomes a page-turner with Chapter Five, "Incentives and Collective Irrationality."... MORE

Schuck on Why Government Fails

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Peter Schuck's Why Government Fails So Often is one of the most important books of the year and may be one of the most important books of the decade. Although I have seen this prolific author's name over the years,... MORE

Dear Reader Almost Passes the Ideological Turing Test

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Michael Malice's Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il is not what I expected.  I thought it was going to be a hilarious mockery of North Korean totalitarianism.  Instead, it's an almost pitch-perfect simulation of the autobiography Kim... MORE

Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change: Pollution Taxes Illustrated

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's another page from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change that's worth more than all the demagogic words spoken about pollution taxes.  Now in stores.  Click to enlarge.[Excerpted from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change by Grady Klein and Yoram... MORE

Here are two of my favorite pages from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, available starting today!  I've seen hour-long lectures on experimental versus observational studies that were less pedagogically effective.  Click to enlarge.[Excerpted from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate... MORE

Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change: Rejoinder to Yoram Bauman

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here is my (delayed) rejoinder to Yoram's response to my review of his Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.  He's in blockquotes, I'm not.As with most academics, Bryan keeps his words of praise to a minimum and instead focuses on criticisms.... MORE

Ayn Rand in the Happy Lab

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Ayn Rand made many uncharitable claims about her philosophical opponents, but this passage from Galt's Speech in Atlas Shrugged takes the cake:They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to... MORE

George R.R. Martin's Pacifist Tendencies

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I've argued that George R.R. Martin's novels vividly illustrate my case for pacifism.  Now G.R.R.M. tells us directly:You're a congenial man, yet these books are incredibly violent. Does that ever feel at odds with these views about power and war?... MORE

Schumpeter, intellectuals and capitalism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
Kevin Hassett recently debated Thomas Piketty on his book, "Capital in the 21st Century". After presenting some interesting points on Piketty's work, Hassett reminds his audience, somehow ironically, that not just Marx, but also Joseph Schumpeter thought that capitalism was... MORE

Robert Solow on Piketty

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
According to Solow, if Piketty gets his way, real wages will stagnate. My copy of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century finally arrived and now I face a tradeoff between reading it and reading many reviews of it. I'm... MORE

The Impolitic Wisdom of Simon Kuznets

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Highlight from Diane Coyle's GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History:Kuznets, however, saw specifically his task as working out how to measure national economic welfare rather than just output.  He wrote:It would be of great value to have national income estimates... MORE

Schuck on Why Government Fails So Often

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I'm working my way through Peter H. Schuck, Why Government Fails So Often. It's due out next month from Princeton University Press and I'm writing a review of it. I'm over halfway through and I'm loving it. Schuck does a... MORE

The Principal Doctrines of Epicurus is a 3rd-century outline of Epicurean philosophy.  This bullet point is so consistent with my posts on friendliness, social intelligence, and the Bubble that I feel compelled share it.He who desires to live in tranquility... MORE

Lenin the Prohibitionist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Mark Lawrence Schrad's new Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State is more than good; it's novel.  Despite my long-term interest in Russian history, much of what Schrad had to say was genuinely new to... MORE

Everest and the Quest for Status

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
James Schneider
I'm currently polishing up my behavioral health economics book The Seven Deadly Sins. The first five chapters discuss the core health concerns of diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, and sex. The last two "sins" are using heroin and climbing Everest. I... MORE

Spiderman and the trust-busters

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
I am no big reader of business books, but I was recently most fascinated by "Marvel Comics. The Untold Story" by Sean Howe, published by HarperCollins in 2012. Howe does a superb job in telling two stories at once: on... MORE

My Top 10 Picks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Thanks again to all who gave me suggestions for economics books that would "expand the universe" of some interns at a conservative think tank. I sent my own list, as well as a link to this blog post, on to... MORE

Tell Me What "Average Is Over" Looks Like

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here are two graphs of lifetime male income distribution broken down by educational attainment.  One is for 1978, the other from 2008.  I deliberately redact the years and dollar values to preserve the mystery.Graph #1:Graph #2:Now you tell me: Without... MORE

Weight and velocity of money

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
I highly recommend Dollars, Euros, and Debt by Vito Tanzi (I hope Palgrave may soon release a cheaper, softcover edition). Tanzi, a well-known economist, was for twenty years the head of the Fiscal Affairs Deprtament at the IMF. His last... MORE

David Friedman on the Precautionary Principle

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In the mid to late 1980s, I used to do 5 or 6 book reviews a year for Fortune magazine. My editor then was the late Dan Seligman, a legend at Fortune. He was the most economically literate journalist I... MORE

Coase's last book honored by the Atlas Foundation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
The Chinese Communist Party's third plenum has "endorsed" the need for market-oriented reforms. In the communique released at the end of the four days conference we can read thatThe key issue is handling the relationship between the government and the... MORE

Why Nations Fail: A Contrarian Take

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail has been widely praised and extremely influential.  But one of the most brilliant students I've ever taught, Nathan Smith, provides a contrarian perspective.  According to Nathan, it's......one of the most over-rated books I've ever... MORE

Peter Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. Gray's son went to Sudbury Valley School, where education was kind of a free-for-all in which self-organizing... MORE

What I've Been Reading Lately

Book Club
Art Carden
Among the hats I wear, I'm a Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics and a Fellow with Samford University's Center for Science and Religion. This means I get to read a lot of books at... MORE

Let's Meet at the Southerns, or, Want to Read My Manuscript?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
I'm working on a book with the venerable Deirdre N. McCloskey on the economic history of the last few centuries, and I've arranged a session at the Southern Economic Association conference in Tampa in which I'll receive comments from Steven... MORE

Henderson on Sunstein

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Fresh off a tour as head of President Obama's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, now a professor at Harvard Law School, shares his enthusiasm for simpler regulation in this new book. It is appropriately titled Simpler. I... MORE

What I've Been Writing Lately

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
1. How to Win at the Airport, for Heels First. I'm spending a lot of time in airports this week and need to keep this advice in mind. 2. Does the Surveillance and Security State Make Us Safer?, for Forbes.com.... MORE

What I've Been Reading Lately

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
1. Orson Scott Card, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. According to the introductory essay for Xenocide and the postscript to Children of the Mind, these were originally supposed to be one book. They comprise a very interesting end to... MORE

Why Don't Wages Fall During a Recession?: Q&A With Me Channeling Truman Bewley

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I finally got around to reading Truman Bewley's Why Wages Don't Fall During a Recession cover-to-cover.  The book is a miracle - easily one of the five best empirical economics books I've ever read, and possibly the best of the... MORE

A Pacifist History of Westeros: Gochenour Guest Post

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Zac Gochenour, who co-authors with both me and David, is also my go-to Game of Thrones savant.  Here's his reaction to my recent post on pacifism and GoT.I think that your analysis is very much in line with Martin's intent.... MORE

Game of Thrones and the Common-Sense Case for Pacifism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: Full of book and show spoilers.]"And those who have not swords can still die upon them."  The words are J.R.R. Tolkien's, but they could just as easily have come from the pen of George R.R. Martin, author of the... MORE

My Superintelligence Skepticism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky's debate on the future of superintelligence is now a free e-book. Cool cover:The transcript of their in-person debate starts on p.431.  I conditionally agree with Robin: If a superintelligence came along, it would do so... MORE

I'm going to start an occasional series here at EconLog titled "Research That Should Get More Attention" based on books and papers I read (and re-read) that more people should, in my humble opinion, read (and re-read). The first installment:... MORE

The Mixed Messages of French Schooling

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I finally got around to reading Eugen Weber's classic Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914.  It wasn't what I'd been led to believe.  I heard that the book blamed World War I on public schooling: Europe's late... MORE

Coase on Friedman's Methodology

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My post this morning will be briefer than usual because I'm busy writing a piece for the Wall Street Journal, due this morning, on the late Ronald Coase. But I can't resist quoting from a review of his book of... MORE

Solow and Samuelson on the Phillips Curve

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In my critical comment on Robert Solow's slam on Friedman, I pointed out that when I reread Solow's and Samuelson's famous 1960 article on the Phillips Curve as a "menu" for policy makers choosing between low unemployment and low inflation,... MORE

Galbraith Opposes Cronyism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, Richard Parker writes: The following year [1951], at the invitation of Puerto Rico's reform-minded governor, Luis Munoz Marin, Galbraith and a small team of researchers paid repeated visits to the... MORE

Kitty Galbraith on Keynes

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Kitty Galbraith makes Hayek's mistake (although check the big caveat below) This is my next installment on Richard Parker's book on John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics. From a footnote, a quote from Galbraith's wife Catherine (Kitty)... MORE

Recent Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
Here are a few things I've read (and re-read) recently: 1. Charles Murray, American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History. This is a short and useful tract--it's 50 pages and pocket-sized--on what made the US unique, what continues to make it... MORE

Galbraith's Imposition of Price Controls

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In 1941, Leon Henderson (no relation), the head of the Office of Price Administration, chose John Kenneth Galbraith as his economist to control prices. This was a few months before the U.S. government officially entered World War II. Galbraith learned... MORE

Galbraith's Criticism of Keynes

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
This is next in my continuing series of posts about Richard Parker's John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics. In May 1941, John Kenneth Galbraith had an article published in the prestigious Review of Economics and Statistics. It... MORE

Did Galbraith and Steinbeck Ever Discuss This?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
John Kenneth Galbraith was well aware that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's agricultural policy was to pay farmers not to grow in order to drive prices up and to destroy various crops to drive prices up. One obvious consequence was that--prices... MORE

Hayek as read by Chinese communists

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
I've just run into a very curious document. You can now download to your Kindle "The Introduction to the Communist Party of China's Translation of F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom", conveniently translated into English by Matt Dale. The Road... MORE

Galbraith and the Southern Sharecroppers

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
"I am astonished how little we were concerned." In the mid-1930s, under the Franklin Roosevelt-inspired Agricultural Adjustment Act, the U.S. government paid farmers not to grow. Richard Parker, in John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, writes: If... MORE

Galbraith on Helping Farmers

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In his book John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, Richard Parker tells us that Galbraith's first specialty in economics was agricultural economics. As a result of earning his Ph.D. in ag econ at Berkeley and having the... MORE

Summer Readings: "We" by Evgenij Zamyatin

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
Dystopian novels are typically congenial to libertarians. Some of them are of course very well-known: Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984, and in some circles Ayn Rand's Anthem. Others did not enter the canon. While one of my favorite dystopian... MORE

Richard Parker on John Kenneth Galbraith

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I'm on vacation at my cottage in Minaki, Ontario and, because the weather until recently has not been up to par, I'm doing more reading than usual. The book I'm currently working my way through is John Kenneth Galbraith: His... MORE

Huemer Symposium at BHL

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Bleeding Heart Libertarians symposium on Mike Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority starts today.  Don't miss it!... MORE

On Re-Reading Hayek's The Road to Serfdom

Austrian Economics
Art Carden
I'm spending the week at a Liberty Fund conference on Hayek dubbed "Hayek Boot Camp." One of the assigned readings was, not surprisingly, The Road to Serfdom. The first time I read it was right before I started grad school,... MORE

Recent Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
1. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game. I've misplaced my copy of Foundation and Empire, so I decided to pick up the Ender Quartet. I found Ender's Game difficult to put down at times. The use of children in war presents... MORE

Two decades ago, I spent my summer writing my first academic article.  Topic: "The Literature of Nonviolent Resistance and Civilian-Based Defense" (Humane Studies Review, 1994).  I'm still happy with the result.  The piece begins by noting that conservatives' prognosis for... MORE

New at the IHS Kosmos Blog: My Productivity Bookshelf

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
One of my favorite organizations in the world is the Institute for Humane Studies. This isn't because I do contract work for them or because I won their 2013 Alum of the Year Award. I do contract work for them... MORE

Which Books Should We Re-Read?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to... MORE

Atlas Shrugged: My Two Favorite Passages

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
Last week, I asked about my two favorite passages in Atlas Shrugged: the tunnel disaster (pp, 539-560 of the Signet 50th Anniversary Edition) and the scene in which the young man Hank Rearden referred to as "Non-Absolute" dies (start on... MORE

DeLong on Skidelsky on Keynes

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Time passed. The death toll from WWI mounted toward ten million, Keynes became angrier and angrier at this civilization-breaking catastrophe, and angrier and angrier at the politicians who could see no way forward other than mixing more blood with the... MORE

Recent Reading: Fiction Edition

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
1. Foundation. I'm working on reading more fiction, and I'm trying to check off some of the classic trilogies and series in fantasy and science fiction. About a year ago, I read C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy (which was brilliant) and... MORE

Feeds and Follows: My RSS Feeds and Twitter Follows

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Art Carden
I got a lot of great suggestions from readers when I asked which blogs I should be reading. I'm conflicted: on one hand, blogs bring a lot of great new ideas to my attention, and they have created an amazing... MORE

Does liberty require polymaths?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Alberto Mingardi
In the epilogue to his The System of Liberty: Themes in Classical Liberalism--an excellent book that anybody seriously interested in classical liberal ideas should read and ponder--George H Smith takes a snapshot of the very different reasons to which we... MORE

Recent Reading and Coming Attractions: Stats, Stats, and More Stats!

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
Here's a quick update to yesterday's post on what I've been reading lately. I had to give to exams this morning, so that gave me plenty of time to read. If you're looking for something to take to the beach... MORE

Recent Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
I tell people I have the best job in the world: I get paid to read, write, think, and talk about things I find absolutely fascinating. Here are a few things I've read recently (or that I'm reading currently): 1.... MORE

Today is May Day. Never Forget. Never Again. On Saturday, I spent the day in a seminar room with a group of students from Samford and Birmingham-Southern College (plus Paul Cleveland, an economist from Birmingham-Southern and author of Unmasking the... MORE

Acemoglu and Robinson on the Wealth of Nations

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Acemoglu and Robinson divide countries into two types: extractive and inclusive. In extractive countries, one group--usually a very small minority--uses coercive power to grab wealth from and, often literally, enslave a larger group. In inclusive countries, political power is widely... MORE

Henderson on Mulligan's Redistribution Recession

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Casey Mulligan's cleverly titled book, The Redistribution Recession, could have been one of the most important economics books in 2012. It makes the case that a major reason U.S. employment has been so low is that during the recent recession,... MORE

Hummel on Bernanke's New Central Planning

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
The first two lectures cover the origins and history of the Fed. Mr. Bernanke identifies three primary functions of central banks: to conduct monetary policy (i.e., controlling of the supply of money by setting interest rates); to serve as lenders... MORE

Thomas C. Leonard on Nudge

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
David Henderson
See Update Below. While web surfing the other day, I came across work by Princeton economist Thomas C. Leonard. There's a lot of good work there. In this post, I want to highlight his review of Nudge by Richard Thaler... MORE

Jonathan Last's new What To Expect When No One's Expecting is the best-written, most engaging, and funniest book on the social cost of low birth rates and population decline.  While he focuses on fertility, he breaks with typical conservatives by... MORE

Kling v. Huemer

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In case you missed it: 1. Arnold Kling critiques Michael Huemer's new book.  2. Huemer responds, with a few extra lines from me, and Kling offers his rejoinder.... MORE

Boettke on Living Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Some Highlights I tend not to listen to Russ Roberts' Econtalk interviews, not because I don't like them--I've liked every one of the 25 or so I've listened to and usually like them a lot--but because I have a 12-minute... MORE

From the Archives: Comments on Huemer's Book Draft

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
A year ago I sent Mike Huemer the following comments on his book draft, then titled Freedom and Authority.  He's incorporated many of my suggestions, but if you're curious to peer inside the revision process, enjoy.  (Detailed comments using the... MORE

A Conversation With Michael Huemer

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Michael Huemer, author of The Problem of Political Authority, has kindly agreed to take EconLog readers' questions about his new book.  To get maximum value from the exchange, read the book first ($30.40 on Kindle, $37.72 in paperback on Amazon... MORE

The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I've read almost every major work of libertarian political philosophy ever published.  In my view, Michael Huemer's new The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey is the best book in... MORE

Travels of a T-Shirt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In an e-mail, Jeff Hummel wrote a book review that's good enough to post. Here it is: Pietra Riovoli's THE TRAVELS OF A T-SHIRT IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: AN ECONOMIST EXAMINES THE MARKETS, POWER, AND POLITICS OF WORLD TRADE was... MORE

Henderson on Rich-Hunt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In Rich-Hunt, philosopher Roger Donway tells the detailed story of how [Greg] Reyes ended up in this position and how little the prosecutor cared about truth, let alone justice. The result is a chilling page-turner. If you don't know much... MORE

Henderson on Red Plenty

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Francis Spufford has pulled off a marvelous stunt. His book, Red Plenty, is not quite a documentary, although it's full of verified facts and actual historical figures, and not quite a novel, although it contains fictional characters. The British Sunday... MORE

Henderson on Zingales

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My review of Luigi Zingales's book, A Capitalism for the People, has been published in the latest issue of Policy Review. One of the best parts of his book is the content on cronyism. In case you think this review... MORE

Brennan's Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
As expected, Jason Brennan's latest book, Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012) is excellent.  The format works well for the blog age: thoughtful libertarian answers to a hundred and five frequently asked questions.  My admittedly somewhat... MORE

Friedman on Chicago vs. Columbia

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I just received my review copy of Lanny Ebenstein's The Indispensable Milton Friedman. It's a compilation of less-well-known, but, nevertheless, often very interesting, essays by Friedman. Yesterday morning, I did a "drop-in interviewer" spot on a local libertarian/conservative talk show... MORE

My WSJ Review of Flynn's Are We Getting Smarter?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My review of James Flynn's Are We Getting Smarter? is in today's Wall Street Journal.  Highlights:When most people hear about the Flynn effect, they conclude that we really are getting smarter. Mr. Flynn is more cautious. He opens the book... MORE

Henderson on Landsburg's "Armchair Economist"

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Steven Landsburg's The Armchair Economist is one of the best economics books ever written. It is insightful, disarmingly simple and yet sophisticated and, at the same time, provocative, passionate, and witty. Were I to detail the many things I like... MORE

Henderson on John Goodman's Priceless

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My review of health economist John Goodman's book, Priceless, is now out. I'm generally positive about the book, but I do have some major criticisms. Some positive excerpts: A dominant theme in health care reform is what Goodman calls "the... MORE

Autobiography of Malcolm X Book Club Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'll post on part 3 (chapters 11-15) on October 12.... MORE

The Great Unmentionable

IQ in Economics
Arnold Kling
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen write (large .pdf) We do not assume that national IQ is the only factor capable to explain global disparities in access to clean water and sanitation facilities; we only assume that it is probably the... MORE

Brink, Me, and Human Capitalism

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
Brink Lindsey replies to my comments on an earlier draft of his new book, Human Capitalism.  Highlights and brief rejoinders follow.  Brink's in blockquotes, I'm not:Thanks to Bryan I dove into that literature and found that it does indeed offer... MORE

Randal O'Toole on Housing

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is American Nightmare, and it is iconoclastic. Some excerpts: Glaeser and Avent each profess to oppose coercive policies aimed at forcing people to live in higher densities than they wish. Yet their often-erroneous arguments lend credence to those... MORE

Brink Lindsey, in case you missed it

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bryan's comments on Brink Lindsey's new book are valuable. I am just annoyed that nobody seems to have noticed my own review.... MORE

Human Capitalism: Comments on Brink Lindsey's Draft

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Brink Lindsey sent me a draft of his just-released Human Capitalism (now available for purchase) back in February.  Here's what I told him then, reprinted with his permission.  From what I understand, Brink took some of my suggestions to heart,... MORE

Gary Gorton's forthcoming book

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
It is called Misunderstanding Financial Crises, a title that may be unintentionally ironic. As you probably know, Gorton is famous for treating the crisis as a "run on the shadow banking system" that had very little real basis. The deterioration... MORE

Brink Lindsey's New eBook

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It is called Human Capitalism. It might be called The Age of Abundance* (*for some people). Brink is trying to thread the needle between those who view the poor as victims and those who apparently don't. (Bryan read an earlier... MORE

Olivia Fox Cabane on Charisma

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
She is the author of The Charisma Myth, a self-help book that I am in the middle of reading. Before you buy it (and before you comment on this post), I recommend watching this video, evidently from a talk given... MORE

The Contributions of William T. Dickens

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tyler and Arnold have written engaging retrospectives on their Ph.D. cohorts at Harvard and MIT.  But I'd rather discuss the contributions of Arnold's classmate - and my undergraduate Econ 1 professor - William T. Dickens.  Arnold's right to say:Bill Dickens... MORE

Tone vs. Substance

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In a comment on the Don Boudreaux book, Jason Collins writes, As most of Boudreaux's posts are in what you define as category (c), the book is not going to change the mind of your liberal friend. Contrast the comments... MORE

The Perfect Gift

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
[limited blogging, due to power outage and crowded Starbucks] It strikes me that Don Boudreaux' book Hypocrites and Half-Wits, would make the perfect gift to surreptitiously leave in a liberal friend's bathroom. His mini-rant/lessons are best read three or four... MORE

I Come Cheap

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
1. via 99-cent e-book: Not What They Had in Mind. I am still proud of this analysis of the financial crisis. Of course, if you want to get it even cheaper, you can download it from SSRN. 2. as part... MORE

James Manzi on Stargazing

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
In a podcast with Russ Roberts, Manzi says, Is the number of stars in our galaxy odd or even? Well, there's a real answer to that question. If you have a bunch of people yelling odd and a bunch of... MORE

My WSJ Review of Born Together - Reared Apart

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My review of Nancy Segal's history of the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart is in Thursday's Wall St. Journal.  Highlights:Nancy Segal's "Born Together--Reared Apart" is a thorough history of the project and of the 137 pairs of star-crossed twins... MORE

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Guy Delisle's latest graphic novel, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, is outstanding - second only to his transcendent Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea.  Like most of Delisle's books, Jerusalem is a non-fiction travelogue.  His wife works for Doctors... MORE

My Review of James Manzi

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
is out in National Review (dead tree edition a couple weeks ago, on line now). Reihan Salam calls Manzi's work "the most important book of 2012." As you know, I think that honor belongs to Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind,... MORE

The Anti-Mandel

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I am reading Edward Conard's Unintended Consequences, because Tyler Cowen wrote, I find parts of this book brilliant and other parts dead wrong. In any case it is full of substance, it is one of the must-read books of the... MORE

Ron Paul's Revolution

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired is the latest book by historian and journalist Brian Doherty.  Like his magisterial Radicals for Capitalism, Ron Paul's Revolution is first and foremost an oral history.  Doherty lays out all... MORE

The Ethos of Arthur Brooks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone... MORE

The Road to Freedom: Bumps and All

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Reading Arthur Brooks' The Road to Freedom is eerily like having a conversation with myself.  He never calls himself a libertarian, and certainly never mentions Ayn Rand or Thomas Reid.  But the Hollywood pitch version of Brooks' book is "Rand... MORE

Ron Paul vs. the Median Voter Model

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm already devouring Brian Doherty's Ron Paul's Revolution.  Brian's such a great writer and such a careful historian - a true treasure.  To me, though, the biggest puzzle isn't how Ron Paul can command the loyalty of 5% of the... MORE

Cartel Federalism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In his book The Upside-Down Constitution, Michael Greve suggests that in theory there are two types of federalism. With competitive federalism, state governments compete with one another for citizens. With cartel federalism, state governments collude to raise spending and taxes... MORE

Gray on Haidt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
John Gray writes, With the possible exception of Poland, there is no advanced industrial country as deeply polarized as America is today. Gridlock in Washington is a failure of American politics, and the solution--if there is one--can only come from... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Kindle sample for Robert Hetzel's The Great Recession. I will probably buy the book, but its exorbitant price strikes me as profoundly unfair. If you are interested in the book, then I recommend my Million Mutinies series (continues here... MORE

Conversation with Ben Casnocha

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
We talked last week, about the book he co-wrote with Reid Hoffman, The Start-up of You. I reviewed it a couple months ago. Since there were just the two of us, you may prefer a podcast. Last time I posted... MORE

"Does Technology Drive the Growth of Government?" Bleg

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
"Does Technology Drive the Growth of Government?" is one of my favorite Tyler Cowen papers.  It's on my graduate Public Choice syllabus.  Unfortunately, it has strangely disappeared from the Internet - and Tyler himself can't easily locate the paper.  If... MORE

The New Geography of Jobs

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the new book (due out May 5) by Enrico Moretti. My review can be summed up as: Wow. In a very competitive 2012 book market, this vaults to number two on my list (The Righteous Mind is still... MORE

Feeling the Haidt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In this long essay, I write I examine the problem of moral reasoning and offer three proposals for mitigating its damaging effects. The first is to take opposing points of view at face value, rather than attempt to analyze them... MORE

Self-Recommending could-have-been

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Concerning Paul Seabright's War of the Sexes, Tyler Cowen writes, Paul is a splendid writer and thinker, and of course this is a topic of importance. That is almost word-for-word Tyler's definition of self-recommending. A subset of self-recommending books are... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer. The worst thing I can say about it is that it seems to promise too much. That is, it seems to suggest that neuroscience has made great strides in understanding creativity. More like... MORE

Robert Caro's Hands-On Discovery of Public Choice

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Caro had a further epiphany about power in the early '60s. He had moved on to Newsday by then, where he discovered that he had a knack for investigative reporting, and was assigned to look into a plan by Robert... MORE

The Psychology of Theft

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
One of my favorite passages from a novel, Assault on a Queen, seems a propos on the weekend during which a lot of people are doing their taxes. For those of you who haven't read it, it's about a small... MORE

My Review of Groseclose's Left Turn

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Virtually all of us who identify ourselves as libertarians or conservatives (I'm the former) have believed, for as long as we have been paying attention, that the mainstream media, whether print or electronic, have a left-wing bias. The late columnist... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
1. Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, an American airman who was shot down, captured, and tortured by the Japanese during the second World War. It was written by Laura Hillenbrand, the impairment-fighting author of Seabiscuit, and it is at... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Coming Prosperity, by Philip E. Auerswald. Never before have more people had a greater opportunity to create value for society, and for themselves, than we do today. New technologies of communication and collaboration are enabling not just lone innovators,... MORE

The Idea Factory

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It is a book about the great discoveries made at Bell Labs. The author is Jon Gertner, and I read it on Tyler Cowen's recommendation. It is definitely worth reading, although not in the elite class of new books. It... MORE

Of NWW and Fukuyama

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Here is my comparison of North-Weingast-Wallis with Fukuyama. Neither book makes one optimistic about the near-term prospects for seeing liberal democracies emerge out of the "Arab Spring." Instead, they suggest that sudden revolution from below is not the route to... MORE

Evolution and Economics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Jason Collins offers a reading list. I have read most of the books but few of the articles. I will want to pursue the articles.... MORE

My Tribute to Bill Niskanen

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
The latest issue of Regulation contains a special section of tributes to the late Bill Niskanen. Scroll down for mine, which is the last. A few excerpts: The main, though not the only, way that I'll show my respect for... MORE

Fukuyama on Acemoglu/Robinson

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He writes, They are making almost the identical point to the one made in the 2009 book Violence and Social Orders by Douglass North, John Wallis, and Barry Weingast (NWW), who argue that most underdeveloped societies are what they term... MORE

Table of Contents for The Case Against Education

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Once you figure out the perfect structure for your book, it writes itself.  Unfortunately, figuring out that perfect structure is extremely difficult.  Here's the tentative structure for my book in progress, The Case Against Education. Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style... MORE

Some Notes from Haidt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is, from The Righteous Mind. Many of these are gems. I've put them all below the fold.... MORE

Another Must-Read

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
We are only half way through March, and I think I already have come across more must-read books than in all of 2011. I am about 2/3 of the way through Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind, which makes the must-read... MORE

Matt Yglesias on Urban Development

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is The Rent is Too Damn High. Counties, municipalities, states, and everyone else involved in promulgating land-use regulations need to ease off on parking requirements, artificial constraints on lot size, height restrictions, etc. Other interesting excerpts below. (Possibly... MORE

Review of Why Nations Fail

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. The review is by Paul Collier. Collier writes, Their argument is that the modern level of prosperity rests upon political foundations. Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these... MORE

James Manzi Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Paul Joskow writes, a sensible deployment strategy is to combine a long-run plan for rolling out smart-grid investments with well-designed pilots and experiments. Using randomized trials of smart grid technology and pricing, with a... MORE

Discussing Charles Murray

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I organized a video conference to discuss Coming Apart. Participants were Brink Lindsey, Bryan Caplan, Megan McArdle, Reihan Salam, and Ross Douthat. There was not much discussion of the findings in the book, because everybody seemed to accept them. However,... MORE

Dinner with James Manzi

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The publishers of Uncontrolled, his forthcoming book, hosted a dinner attended by about a dozen conservative media luminaries, as well as by yours truly. We received advance review copies prior to the dinner. Uncontrolled will not be available until May... MORE

Bruce Schneier's Latest Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It's Liars and Outliers, and I would rate it the best economics book of the year thus far. He writes about his book here and here. Schneier views our lives from the perspective of game theory. Every day, we must... MORE

De-Materialization

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From Diamandis and Kotler's Abundance: Twenty years ago, most well-off US citizens owned a camera, a video camera, a CD player, a stereo, a video game console, a cell phone, a watch, an alarm clock, a set of encyclopedias, a... MORE

Diamandis and Kotler

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think. I think it is a must-read. 1. I am skeptical of Peter Thiel's view that regulation is holding back progress. I recall Ray Kurzweil's remark that regulations are like... MORE

"The Case Against Education" Webinar Tonight

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Tonight I'm running a Students for Liberty webinar on my book in progress, The Case Against Education.  Anyone can join at zero price.  Q&A follows the seminar.  If you've got questions about the magic of education, ability bias, the sheepskin... MORE

The March Issue of Reason Magazine

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Rarely do I take the time any more to read through the whole of a magazine. But I've been traveling in Asia and I found time to read most of the March issue of Reason. It's superb. Here are just... MORE

Another Book Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
This one I actually plan to finish. It's The Start-up of You, a self-help business book by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. Hoffman is famous as the founder of Linked-In, although in my circles Casnocha is better known. They write,... MORE

Grouchy Book Reviews

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In general, I lean toward, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it." But several books that I was sent to review made me grouchy, because of what they did not include. Note: I could not... MORE

Adaptation and Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Jason Collins reviews Tim Harford's Adapt. The concept of "normal accidents", taken from a book of that title by Charles Perrow, is compelling. If a system is complex, things will go wrong. Safety measures that increase complexity can increase the... MORE

Conversation with David Weinberger

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Below is a teaser. The full conversation is here. Nick Schulz and I discuss with him Too Big to Know, his new book. Yes, there will be a podcast version. I just need a place to put it--my own web... MORE

Match the Passage to the Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Below are passages taken from the introductory material to two books. Your job is to match the passages with the books. The two books are: A. Ameritopia, a best-seller by talk-show host Mark Levin. B. Why Capitalism?, by distinguished monetary... MORE

Timothy Taylor's Instant Economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen wrote that it is too elementary for most MR readers but it is well executed and would make a good gift for anyone needing an introduction to economic reasoning. My thoughts: 1. The price is very attractive. I... MORE

Murray, Frum, and the Hurricane Analogy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
David Frum's critique of Charles Murray's Coming Apart begins with an analogy:To understand what Murray does in Coming Apart, imagine this analogy: A social scientist visits a Gulf Coast town. He notices that the houses near the water have all... MORE

Good Sentences

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
From Ross Douthat, writing an introduction to a new edition of Robert Nisbet's The Quest for Community. Man is a social being, and his desire for community will not be denied. ... And if he can't find that community on... MORE

Kling on Charles Murray

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
So, I downloaded Coming Apart. I am not disappointed. It is well argued. In 1963, there just wasn't that much difference between the lifestyle of a highly influential attorney or senior executive of a corporation and people who were several... MORE

What's So Special About Huemer's New Book?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In the comments, Mark V. Anderson asks:I would like to know why you think this book is so extra-special. I read the first chapter for which you provided the link. It was well written, but I saw nothing there that... MORE

David Brooks on Charles Murray

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He writes, The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict... MORE

Name Michael Huemer's New Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Philosopher Michael Huemer has almost finished a book-length defense of radical libertarianism.  I've read virtually every book ever written on this topic.  Huemer's is the best.  It's so good, in fact, that I've promoted him from my "favorite living philosopher"... MORE

Taylor Rules

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
John Taylor's First Principles argues for (p.18): predictable policy framework rule of law strong incentives reliance on markets clearly limited role for government On p. 25, he points out that a policy can follow one principle but violate others. An... MORE

Murray's Blind Spots

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm an admirer of Charles Murray's Coming Apart.  But two big blind spots stand out:1. Drugs.  Murray chronicles the massive increase in the U.S. prison population without mentioning, much less condemning, the War on Drugs.  [S]urveys on drug use wouldn't... MORE

Blogs, Journals, and Economists

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Paul Krugman writes, doesn't this [the Internet] allow a lot of really bad economics to circulate? Yes, but is it really any worse than it used to be? As I've tried to explain, the notion of journals as gatekeepers was... MORE

Nassim Taleb on His Next Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He talks with Russ Roberts. It's about how we should act when we don't know what we are doing. It's a great conversation. Note the case that Taleb makes for simple heuristics.... MORE

An Optimist's Take on Charles Murray's Coming Apart

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
On Friday, I read Charles Murray's new book, Coming Apart: The State of White American, 1960-2010, cover to cover.  Murray's given the world another social science page turner, written with earnest eloquence and full of fascinating information.  His main claim:... MORE

Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
The idea that humanity could turn tables on economic necessity--mastering rather than being enslaved by material circumstances--is so new that Jane Austen never entertained it. With an opening sentence like that, I thought, Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit: The Story of... MORE

Sins of Omission: What's Wrong With Gruber's Health Care Reform

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Given my interest in health economics and graphic novels, I was initially hopeful about Jonathan Gruber's graphic novel, entitled Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works.  But in all honesty, the book is awful.  Gruber... MORE

Book Recommendations

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From Jason Collins. An interesting list.... MORE

Self-Recommending Books, Not Yet Available

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Craft of Economics, by Ed Leamer. Seems to be expected January 6. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, by Charles Murray. Expected January 31. I mentioned the Murray book during the "virtual meetup" that I held on... MORE

Proving You're Qualified: Charles Hayes Replies

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Charles Hayes, author of Proving You're Qualified, has graciously responded to my criticism of his book in three separate emails.  Email #1:Prof. Caplan,Thanks, but I think you oversimplify a bit. I just retired from the oilfield after 35 years as... MORE

Reply to Yoram

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
As promised, here's my reply to Yoram Bauman's guest post.  Yoram's in quotes, I'm not:1) What did you think of the page on public choice (p82)? Buchanan got his own Nobel Prize joke, and I thought that was pretty good!One... MORE

Guest Post by Yoram Bauman

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Yoram Bauman, author of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, asks some questions in the comments.  Consider the following his guest post.  I'll respond soon. On second thought, I miss arguing with you, Bryan, so I'll pick some bones: 1) What... MORE

Cartoon Macro

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Volume 2: Macroeconomics of Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman's Cartoon Introduction to Economics ships this week - a great last-minute stocking stuffer.  Volume 1 was good (see here and here); volume 2 is better.  Chapter 2 ("Unemployment") does a swell... MORE

My Review of Robert Frank

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Ultimately, though, I find his case unconvincing. Moreover, his own reasoning leads to conclusions that even he finds distasteful, and he has yet to find a way out of those unfortunate conclusions. Frank often misstates the libertarian viewpoint, sometimes in... MORE

Alex Tabarrok Talks His Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Interviewed by Nick Schulz. there is plenty of risk in sending a kid to college! Forty percent of students don't graduate within six years (and probably never will), many more graduate with degrees that won't help them much in the... MORE

Voter Irrationality in Animal Farm

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I recently talked my sons into reading Orwell's Animal Farm as their bedtime story.  [Warning: spoilers.]  They loved it - my asides on the Soviet allegory included.  Most of the book shows how the pigs twist the egalitarian animal revolution... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. It is about a year that he spent honing his memory sufficiently to win the U.S. memory championships. Most of the book is about memory and its relationship, if any, to intelligence. He never... MORE

Tabarrok's Roadmap Out of the Slight Stagnation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Alex Tabarrok's gem of an e-book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance, releases today.  It's a TED book, but don't mistake it for a mere transcription of a TED talk.  It's an original and powerful work of popular scholarship that aims to... MORE

The Folly of Fools

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the title of a new book by Robert Trivers. Tyler Cowen thought it was worthwhile. Not me. The book is supposed to be about deception and self-deception, but that seems to be an excuse for Trivers to opine... MORE

Best Economics Books of the Year

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen has a good list. He can be trusted to be unbiased on books written by authors with no GMU connection: Kahneman, Brynjolffson and McAfee, and Field. I would add Friedman and Kraus, Engineering the Financial Crisis, to the... MORE

Footnote of the Day

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Is at the end of this paragraph, from Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (BM), Race Against the Machine: When SBTC [skill-biased technological change] increases the incomes of high-skill workers and decreases incomes and employment for low-skill workers, the net effect... MORE

Of Bunk and Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I was sent a review copy of Debunking Economics, by Australian economics professor Steven Keen. I agree with his view that heterodox economists have something to offer, particularly in the area of macroeconomics. His discussion of a debt bubble and... MORE

Another Post on EFC

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I finished reading Engineering the Financial Crisis fairly quickly. In part, it is because it is only 156 pages. In part, it is because I found the analysis so congenial. Actually, if you did not follow the issues closely back... MORE

Engineering the Financial Crisis

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
That is the title of the new book by Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Klaus. I have just started to read it. Their view is very close to mine in several ways. First, they emphasize the role of capital regulations in... MORE

Daniel Kahneman's Thinking

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow and for me it is one of the best five books of the year. No, he is not attempting to break new ground. It is more like a summing up of his... MORE

Rojas' Grad Skool Rulz

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Fabio Rojas' pearls of wisdom for grad students are now available as a concise, information-packed $2 e-book.  Definitely worth the money if you have any noticeable interest in grad school.  My only complaint: He left out my single favorite piece... MORE

Robert Solow on Sylvia Nasar

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
But this suggested theme does not hold up. The book is not "The Story of Economic Genius" that is promised in the subtitle. It is instead the story of the public and private lives of a handful of major figures... MORE

Personality, Gender, and Economics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
I have been reading Is There Anything Good About Men? by Roy Baumeister (co-author of the newer book, Willpower.). A few remarks here, with more below the fold. 1. If you are a zero-tolerance reader ("I stopped reading on page... MORE

Class Dismissed and Signaling

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality, John Marsh argues that education is overrated.  Unions and redistribution, not education, are the best remedy for poverty and inequality.  I'm clearly not Marsh's intended audience. ... MORE

The Best and the Brightest

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Megan McArdle writes, The administration was supposed to have the economic dream team. Couldn't they have spared a moment to sit down with the folks at DOE and explain the concept of sunk costs? This is why everyone has to... MORE

Willpower

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the title of a new would-be hit pop-sci book by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. I liked it better than Freakonomics, which is faint praise. It probably deserves more praise than that. Definitely worth reading, but then... MORE

Economics Everywhere

Business Economics
David Henderson
The resourcefulness of free markets. Most mornings I go to the Starbuck's at the local Safeway to buy coffee for my wife. When I went this morning, I pulled up beside an unoccupied Sara Lee truck delivering bread. Outside the... MORE

Act Libertarianism and Rule Libertarianism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert Frank writes, Personal autonomy will always be compromised unless all problems stemming from activities that cause harm to others are resolved efficiently. That is from p.196 of his latest book, The Darwin Economy. So far, I have just read... MORE

A Self-Help Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I was sent a review copy of Innovation You, by Jeff DeGraff. A couple of excerpts: p. 181, Ask a family systems therapist what happens when a family member gathers the clan and says, "We have to be honest. Dad... MORE

Bastiat's Letters

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Because nobody else can understand them, modern economists speak to one another. They gossip in algebra and remonstrate in differential calculus. And when the pungently correct mathematical equation doesn't occur to them, they awkwardly fall back on the English language,... MORE

More Wisdom from CPK

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I've finished Manias, Panics, and Crashes, 5th edition. Some thoughts in addition to my previous ones (here and here). p. 55: The Kipper- und Wipperzeit [according to Wikipedia, translates to tipper and see-saw time] of 1619-1623...got its name from the... MORE

The Wisdom of CPK

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
If I were writing a blurb for the fifth edition of Charles P. Kindleberger's classic Manias, Panics, and Crashes, I would say that "This is the best narrative that has been written about the 2008 financial crisis, and it was... MORE

Manias, Panics, and Crashes

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
About the time the first edition came out, in 1978, I read it and also took a course from Charles Kindleberger. At the time, he was in his late 60s, and with his quavering voiced seemed even older. I wanted... MORE

Finished Reading Pallotta

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bracing diagnosis, disappointing prescription. Having finished Uncharitable, I have that capsule review. As I see the diagnosis, donors evaluate non-profits on criteria that are not related to results. The big one is "percentage of donations that go to the cause."... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Uncharitable, by Dan Pallotta. Recommended by Amy Willis with regard to my discussion of nonprofits. So far (I am less than 1/4 through), the book says the following: 1. Organizations that seek to achieve charitable ends should be permitted to... MORE

What I'm Reading

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
Books on start-ups (start-up porn?). Robert Cringely's Accidental Empires, which covers the pre-Internet personal computer boom. I re-read my own Under the Radar, which covers Web 1.0, as it were. Sarah Lacy's Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, which covers... MORE

Pennington on Political Economy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A reader recommends Mark Pennington talking about his book Robust Political Economy. The talk is very well organized and concise, and I recommend it (I didn't stick with it through the Q&A). He says that one has to keep in... MORE

Fukuyama on Fukuyama

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I think his new book has important ideas. This interview gets at a couple of them. how did these different societies make an exit out of kinship-based social organization into a modern-based state, with impersonal, centralized administration? Europe in that... MORE

On My Book Wish List

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In addition to the Gwen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner book, I need to read the new Nick Gillespie/Matt Welch book (when it comes out) and also Adapt by Tim Harford. Short interview with Harford by Cory Doctorow. Longer interview with... MORE

Fukuyama and Kuran

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Timur Kuran writes, A telling indication is that in their interactions with private or public organizations, citizens of Arab states are more likely than those in advanced democracies to rely on personal relationships with employees or representatives. This pattern is... MORE

Two Favorite Lines of the Week

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
1. From the blogosphere: Look, I think we should assume honesty of scientific peers until we have reason not to. This is from Daniel Kuehn's excellent statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the Conley and Dupor paper on the... MORE

Atlas Shrugged--And I Didn't

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My title is a takeoff on the title of P.J. O'Rourke's panning of the movie Atlas Shrugged. He obviously didn't like it and, with an eye for detail, noticed the strange world in which cell phones exist but oil pipelines... MORE

Notes from What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
As you know, it's Inventing Ourselves Out of Jobs? America's Debate over Technological Unemployment, 1929-1981., by Amy Sue Bix. It came out in 2000. I ordered it after seeing it referred to in A Great Leap Forward, the book I... MORE

Field Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
As promised, here is my review essay on Alexander Field's A Great Leap Forward. I think the highlight of the essay is the table that lays out the six eras discussed in the book. How much does the current period... MORE

Good Short Book in Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Tyler Cowen, in asking for advice on what short book one should read for a good introduction to economics, quotes one of his regular readers as saying, "Henry Hazlett [sic] is out of date." Not so. I gave a talk... MORE

Short, Readable Book on Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A Marginal Revolution Reader writes to Tyler: There must be a good, short book out there on economics that illuminates the power of markets and the economic way of thinking. I recommend The Best Book on the Market, by Eamonn... MORE

Notes From the Field

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is, from Alexander J. Field's A Great Leap Forward. I rate the book as must-read. It is about the behavior of productivity in various eras of the twentieth century. He rates the 1930's the highest (!) and the 1973-1989... MORE

Open Borders and The Walking Dead

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I just finished volume 13 of The Walking Dead.  It's my favorite comics discovery since Barefoot Gen.  At first glance, it's mere genre fiction - an unexplained zombie plague destroys civilization in a matter of weeks, leaving a handful of... MORE

WSJ Reviews SRtHMK

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Wall St. Journal likes my second book quite a bit more than my first:...Mr. Caplan is doing more than taunting the Tiger Mothers. He is making an economic argument. Analyzing scads of research on the effects of nature and... MORE

Bleg 2: Science Fiction

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have read hardly any science fiction. However, I have found that it is often easy to explain some of my economic ideas in terms of The Diamond Age or Snow Crash. What other science fiction books do you recommend... MORE

Jason Brennan's The Ethics of Voting

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Jason Brennan is my favorite philosopher under the age of 40.  Now he's published a marvelous book, The Ethics of Voting, with Princeton University Press.  In 210 short pages, he raises and resolves a series of ethical dilemmas every potential... MORE

What Would Robin Hanson Say?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I continue to read The Blind Spot, by William Byers. On p. 137-138, he writes, Until recently, the conventional scientific view was that mind could be reduced to brain, that the physical brain was primary phenomenon and the mind was... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I've only started The Blind Spot, by William Byers. It is a book on science in our culture. From the preface, p. ix: I emphasize that I am not condemning science and technology as a whole, nor am I ignorant... MORE

Rojas on Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Fabio Rojas, sociology professor at Indiana University and my best friend from UC Berkeley, reviews my new book at Orgtheory.  His more than fair intro:Though this book is written by an economist, it's not another cute-o-nomics pop text. It's a... MORE

The Greatest American Hero

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I wrote this one evening in the fall of 1981 after watching an episode of "The Greatest American Hero" in which the key character interacts with the Lone Ranger. I had known nothing ab0ut the show but I was suddenly... MORE

Quiggin's Zombie

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
It is disappointing that there is one zombie idea that Quiggin does not bury and still buys into: the idea that a government with a lot of coercive power over people's lives can be trusted to use that power for... MORE

BPEA on line

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
You can now access the current issue and complete archive of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Many classic papers in applied macro are hence made available. Thanks to Ted Gayer for an email pointer, and thanks to Brookings for undertaking... MORE

A Review of the Widely Unread

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In the latest issue of The Independent Review, Stan Leibowitz reviews Unchecked and Unbalanced. I suppose that the right response from me should be "Thank you for taking the time and trouble to review my book" rather than quibble with... MORE

Nominate a Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
for the Hayek Prize for a book written in the past two years. Hint: From Poverty to Prosperity is eligible. So is The Rational Optimist. I was going to nominateThe Price of Everything, but it seems to have a 2008... MORE

Roman Frydman and Michael D. Goldberg

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is Beyond Mechanical Markets: Asset Price Swings, Risk, and the Role of the State, and I have written an essay about it. Frydman and Goldberg say that the existence of asset price swings contradicts previous theories of financial... MORE

Kindle Pre-Order Now Available for Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Amazon, the Great Mind Reader, made my new book available for Kindle pre-order shortly before I asked my publisher how to make it happen.   The world really does get better all the time.... MORE

Book Marketing Bleg

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Soon I'll start devoting all of my discretionary work hours to marketing Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.  If you've got practical suggestions for me, please share.  P.S. If you just want to cut out the middleman and buy a... MORE

Henderson Review of Bryson's "At Home"

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Bryson has pulled off a marvelous feat. He devotes almost every chapter to a room in his Victorian house in England. He then considers why the room is the way it is and what preceded it. In doing so he... MORE

Lessons of Smoot-Hawley

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression, Douglas A. Irwin writes on p. 99-100: In terms of political strategy, the Smoot-Hawley tariff represented a huge miscalculation by progressive Republican insurgents...to address the farm situation through a tariff revision. The... MORE

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids Website

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My official book website, http://www.havemorekidsbook.com, is up.  If you've got suggestions for improvement, please share.... MORE

My Morning's Web Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I found a lot of good and informative pieces on the Web this morning and so, rather than pick one to highlight in depth, I'll name a few and say a little about, or quote a little from, each. Ivan... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Back on the Road to Serfdom, a collection of essays edited by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. The authors are mostly people you have not heard of, and the topics are varied. Per Bylund writes (p. 52), the Swedish model is... MORE

The Rest of The Great Stagnation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I was planning to review Tyler Cowen's e-book while I read it, but then we lost power, and my Kindle was working while my Internet connection was not, so my comments on the entire rest of the book are below... MORE

The Great Stagnation, Chapter One

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I will review Tyler Cowen's new Kindle single one chapter at a time. My father always said that the first iron law of social science is, "Sometimes it's this way, and sometimes it's that way." In other words, beware of... MORE

House Price Behavior

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I am going to react to three things: Nick Rowe talks about the fact that housing transaction volume is higher when prices are rising; Scott Sumner's latest attempted swindle; and the paper by Steven Gjerstad and Vernon L. Smith in... MORE

Poorer than we thought?

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
Evidently Tyler Cowen will offer that message in an "e-book single." From the description: In a figurative sense, the American economy has enjoyed lots of low-hanging fruit since at least the seventeenth century: free land; immigrant labor; and powerful new... MORE

I Chose Liberty

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Walter Block's book of libertarian autobiographies is finally in print - and available as a free pdf to boot.  Many of your favorites spill their hearts out therein, including me, Tyler Cowen, Pete Boettke, Judge Napolitano, and even Gordon Tullock... MORE

FP2P Kindle Price Cut

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
For those of you who have been holding out on obtaining the Kindle edition of From Poverty to Prosperity because of the exorbitant cost, you are in luck. Amazon finally cut the price below $10.... MORE

Michael Barone on Thomas Bruscino

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Again from the Claremont Review of Books, again gated. One enormous divide--far wider than it is today--was between North and South. Between 1865 and 1940, when more than 30 million foreign immigrants moved to the North, only about one million... MORE

Harvey Mansfield on Kenneth Minogue

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From the Claremont Review of Books, but gated. Thus the fundamental problem in western democracy now, as Minogue sees it, arises from inequality not in wealth but in wisdom or competence...The intellectual elite behind the politico-moral project that he opposes... MORE

Three from the JEL

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I rarely find the book reviews in the Journal of Economic Literature worthy of comment, but the December 2010 issue has three. 1. Tim Conley has a review of Leamer's Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories. Like me, he thinks that the... MORE

Stories of the 1930s

Economic History
Arnold Kling
I am reading The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s, by Piers Brendon. Much of it annoys me. For example, he writes, Nor did he [President Hoover] attempt to reduce financial inequalities, perhaps the most fundamental cause of the... MORE

A Must Read

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I finally got around to reading the book that possibly has been my strongest intellectual influence, and certainly the most long-lasting. I will explain below the fold. The book is The Symbolic Uses of Politics, by Murray Edelman. As recently... MORE

What Franklin Roosevelt Accomplished

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have been reading William E. Leuchtenburg's The FDR Years, a collection of essays by the author. Jonah Goldberg had recommended one of the essays, called "The New Deal and the Analogue of War," written in 1964. I should hasten... MORE

The Morning Newspaper

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
1. Tyler Cowen writes in the New York Times, Wealthy people will always be able to buy most of what they want. But for everyone else, if we stay on the current course, the lines are likely to get longer... MORE

Amar Bhide Responds

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
To my earlier posts. You will see below that Bhide expresses some nostalgia for the regulatory regime of the 1950's and 1960's, as he did in his book. However, that period included interest rate ceilings on deposits and banks and... MORE

A Call for Judgment

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the title of Amar Bhide's new book. In the end (p.290), he writes I propose we reinstate old-fashioned banking, where bankers know their borrowers, by tightly limiting what banks can do: nothing besides making loans to individuals and... MORE

54 Libertarians Tell Their Stories

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is Why Liberty, compiled by Marc Guttman. The 54th chapter comes from Vince Miller, a Canadian, who writes, My own experience suggests maybe an innate sense of justice is required. What makes some people take action when they... MORE

Will Eisner's The Plot

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I've repeatedly heard that the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery.  But it was only in reading Will Eisner's The Plot that I came to understand the kind of forgery it is.   Protocols was proven to... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I am less than half-way through. This one deserves its place on top book lists (such as this one). So far, I think it gives The Rational Optimist... MORE

More on What Technology Wants

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts is also a fan of Kevin Kelly's new book. I still have not finished, but it continues to be interesting. One aspect is that an invention goes through a life cycle. At first, it is "stuff that does... MORE

Books of the Year?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen gives us his list. The only one I have read, Max Hastings' Winston Churchill's War, I found not so interesting. In fact, the 2010 crop of books did not produce many keepers, from my perspective. Matt Ridley's The... MORE

All the Devils are Here

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Alex Tabarrok likes the book. My review was also very favorable.... MORE

A Must-Read on Social Security

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A Well-Tailored Safety Net should be read by every policy wonk or would-be wonk who is focused on the long term fiscal outlook in general and on Social Security in particular. There are two reasons to read it. 1. Author... MORE

Meet the Suits

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
You simply must make room on your financial crisis porn bookshelf for the forthcoming All the Devils are Here, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. The worst financial crisis books, such as David Wessel's undeservedly popular tripe, focus their narrative... MORE

Reading, Not Recommended

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I received review copies of: 1. Economic Lives, a collection of previously published papers by economic sociologist Viviana A. Zelizer. It is so repetitive that one is tempted to give it less credit than it deserves. She talks about the... MORE

Bloodlands

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I haven't finished the first chapter of Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, but I'm ready to highly recommend the book.  Just one great passage:As Stalin interpreted the disaster of collectivization in the last weeks of 1932, he... MORE

Don't Miss The Invisible Gorilla

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons is the latest attempt to popularize academic cognitive psychology - and probably the best book of its type.  The title comes from a cute... MORE

150 Years Ago

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
James M. McPherson writes, This pre-industrial world could not survive the transportation revolution, which made possible a division of labor and specialization of production for ever larger and more distant markets. The transportation revolution includes canals, steamboats, and railroads. It... MORE

John Quiggin's new book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It is called Zombie Economics. It is a polemic against conservative and libertarian economics. I agree with some of it, which might be considered a rave review. But really, I am still waiting for a book that attacks us without... MORE

Rational Optimist Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
This is how I end my review of Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist. I defended it from some of the charges against it by William Easterly. And a book that "only" shows us how economic freedom makes most Americans and... MORE

My Plans

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Now that I've finished writing Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, people keep asking me about my future research plans.  My first order of business is to finish up the political responsibility project I've been working on with Ilya Somin,... MORE

Culture and Institutions

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Fred Pryor has a new book, called Capitalism Reassessed, a title which does not really say what the book is about. He uses various qualitative data sources to classify OECD economies into subsets. Some excerpts from the book below the... MORE

A Book I Wish Someone Else Had Written

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book is Intellectual Capital. Forty Years of the Nobel Prize in Economics, by Thomas Karier, and I was sent a review copy. It appears that the author culled through the economics Nobel web site to obtain material. There are... MORE

Liberty and Me

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Guinivere Liberty Nell and I discussed her book, Rediscovering Fire, at an event at Heritage last week. Here is the video. I start at about minute 26. Nell used a lot of cartoons in her talk, which may give the... MORE

A Rationally Optimistic Price?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A reader alerted me that the current Kindle-edition price of The Rational Optimist is zero. At that price, you simply must download it.... MORE

The Future of Finance

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the title of a new book that resulted from this symposium sponsored by the London School of Economics. Chapters can be downloaded individually here. They do not add up to a coherent whole, and some appeal to me... MORE

What I'm Reading: 2

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Teach Like a Champion, by Doug Lemov. As a teacher, I find it helpful. However, with apologies to James C. Scott the book could have been entitled "Seeing like a teacher." An excerpt: the "plane" of your classroom is the... MORE

What I'm Reading: 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Boomergeddon, by James A. Bacon. He sent me a copy after he saw my piece on guessing the trigger point for a sovereign debt crisis. Years ago, I read Boomernomics by William Sterling. That book also raised the issue of... MORE

From the Vault: My Review of Krugman

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I was web searching this morning in the Fortune archives--I wrote a lot of articles and books reviews for Fortune between 1983 and the late 1990s--and I came across my December 31, 1990 review of Paul Krugman's 1990 book, The... MORE

If I Taught Greg Mankiw's Seminar

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
His list of books for a freshman seminar in economics includes a diverse selection, including Bryan's Myth of the Rational Voter, which is the only one that I would duplicate. Offhand, I would pick 1. Jerry Muller, The Mind and... MORE

Pre-Order Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I won't submit my final manuscript for another week or two, but you can already pre-order Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids from Amazon.  Neat.HT: Adam Ozimek... MORE

David Kennedy talks to Russ Roberts

Economic History
Arnold Kling
In this podcast, where the topic is the history of the Depression. Kennedy's book, Freedom From Fear, is one that I read recently and enjoyed. I find it quite interesting that the standard narrative is that Hoover was non-interventionist and... MORE

My First Look at Strictly Confidential

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
As soon as I saw that the Mises Institute had published Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, I took out my credit card.  Rothbard's at the top of my list of thinkers who proverbially, "may... MORE

Taking Dean Baker Seriously

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My book review of Dean Baker's short book, Taking Economics Seriously, is just out in Policy Review. Although I liked a fair amount of the book--see my review--Dean restricted himself with his implication that unless a large number of people... MORE

Three Dispositions of (Modern) Liberals

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
When libertarians read Alan Brinkley's The End of Reform, they will frequently nod with approval when Brinkley refers to some faction within the Roosevelt Administration as "statists." Just bear in mind that for Brinkley, that term is not derogatory. After... MORE

Market-Failure Theory vs. Soviet Theory

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have just started reading Alan Brinkley's The End of Reform, about the evolution of liberalism during the New Deal. Very strongly recommended. It does what Jonah Goldberg claims that the Left refuses to do, which is make a serious... MORE

The Soviet Experiment

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Rediscovering Fire, by Guinivere Liberty Nell, has a basic premise: The Soviet Union was a genuine experiment in trying to fix market failures, and we might want to learn from it. On p. 30, The Bolshevik theory was that the... MORE

Paul Johnson's Peroration

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Since we have been discussing his Modern Times, I thought I would excerpt his conclusion, below.... MORE

Moral Relativism and Modern Times

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Seeing Bryan's previous recommendations, I am reading Paul Johnson's Modern Times for the first time. It is a bracing book, filled with opinions that differ from those of Progressive historians. On a number of minor points, I find Johnson less... MORE

Books Pertaining to Information

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen recommends five. I thought about what books I might recommend, and I realize that I have stopped reading books on information technology. Unless you count Cowen's Age of the Infovore, I may not have read any in this... MORE

Lyrics Without Music

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Craig Wieland sent me a copy of Pointed Poems, a book of conservative poetry that he has composed. Since this is a unique book, it is difficult to know what standards to use to evaluate it. I am inclined to... MORE

New Richter Podcast

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My new podcast on Eugen Richter's Pictures of the Socialistic Future is up.  The interviewer is the genteel Jeff Tucker, who spear-headed the republication of this neglected dystopian classic.... MORE

Michael Pettis on Financial Fragility

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A while back, I mentioned that I was going to get his book. It arrived yesterday, and I have some excerpts below the fold. Meanwhile, James Hamilton asks whether risky assets were undervalued in February of 2009. When the price... MORE

Cato's Voice of Moderation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Brink Lindsey reads Arthur Brooks' new book and gives it a thumbs down. Figuring out how to restore growth and how to construct an effective but affordable safety net, are questions for debate, analysis, and democratic decision-making. My answers to... MORE

Recommended Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Diane Coyle offers her recommendations. Pointer from Tyler Cowen. The comments are mine. 1. Paul Seabright, The Company of Strangers. I strongly recommend this one. Note that there is a revised edition out, or due out soon. 2. David Landes,... MORE

Sowell's "Intellectuals and Society"

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My review of Thomas Sowell's latest book, Intellectuals and Society, was published in the latest Regulation. I had previous blogged about it on this site. One benefit of blogging: several commenters found one of Sowell's paragraphs that I quoted plodding... MORE

The Voegeli and Samples Show

Upcoming Events
Arnold Kling
If you are in DC tomorrow morning, I recommend going to hear the authors of two new books. William Voegeli is the author of Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State, and John Samples is the author of The Struggle to... MORE

Glaeser on Mokyr

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Reviewing Joel Mokyr's The Enlightened Economy, Ed Glaeser writes, It is easy to envision the massive mills of Manchester and think that the Industrial Revolution was all about scale and machines. But there was more. At its core, this economic... MORE

The Company of Strangers

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Notwithstanding my disagreements with Paul Seabright on political economy, the revised edition of The Company of Strangersis one of the best economics books to come out so far this year. I strongly recommend it, particularly if you did not read... MORE

Focusing on Entrepreneurs

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
William Baumol's latest book is The Microtheory of Innovative Entrepreneurship. It is hard to think of an economist as important as Baumol who does not have a Nobel Prize. He is old enough to put himself out to pasture, but... MORE

Hypothetical Bargains

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Below the fold is an essay that is partly a reaction to reading parts of William Voegeli's new book, Never Enough, which ruminates on liberalism, conservatism, and the welfare state.... MORE

Squam Lake or Swamp?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
What happens when you bring leading academic experts in economics and finance together to come up with ideas to prevent future financial crises? You get The Squam Lake report, enthusiastically greeted by Ben Bernanke. I am not impressed. The report... MORE

Catching Up

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Various things that came up while I was traveling are discussed below.... MORE

Ego & Hubris

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I don't know what's more amazing:1. That there's an autobiographical graphic novel, Ego & Hubris, about former Cato intern Michael Malice.2. That self-described "strident leftist" Harvey Pekar collaborated with Malice on the project.  (Malice wrote most of the script, Pekar... MORE

Good News from David Friedman

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Earlier this week, David Friedman announced that he is considering a third edition of one of my favorite books ever: The Machinery of Freedom. I'm not a big fan of the title but I love the contents. One of my... MORE

Lidtke's The Outlawed Party

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
After learning the basics of Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws, I turned to Vernon Lidtke's The Outlawed Party: Social Democracy in Germany, 1878-1890, published in 1966.  Despite Lidtke's obvious sympathy for this proto-totalitarian movement, I really enjoyed it.  I take inordinate pleasure... MORE

Richter Back in Print

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
A handsome new edition of Eugen Richter's dystopian novel Pictures of the Socialistic Future, featuring a new introduction on the "born bad" thesis by yours truly, is now available from the Mises Institute for just $12.  When I read political... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
1. Cheaper By the Dozen.  The true story of a turn-of-the-century efficiency expert who combines his two passions - time and motion studies and his twelve kids.  Recommended by Joshua Gan.2. La Perdida. Graphic novel about a (half)-Mexican American leftist... MORE

If Only: A Review of Arthur Brooks' The Battle

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
According to Arthur Brooks' latest book, The Battle, a vocal social democratic minority in U.S. politics keeps foisting its misguided policies on a solid free-market majority:Whether we look at capitalism, taxes, business, or government, the data show a clear and... MORE

Shorter Matt Ridley

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The op-ed and the Cato event, the latter with Robin Hanson commenting.... MORE

Shorter Arthur Brooks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
His book is not out yet. Meanwhile, you can listen to the talk. I like the analogy (due to his wife) between believing in free enterprise while distrusting business to believing in marriage while distrusting husbands. Or you can read... MORE

Jean Tirole and the Silent Revision

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Jean Tirole writes, Economic theory stresses the necessity for the state to boost industrial and financial sectors during periods of liquidity shortage. [here a footnote reads, "This is an old theme, dating back at least to Keynes and Hicks. For... MORE

More Matt Ridley

Economic History
Arnold Kling
From The Rational Optimist, p. 182: Empires, indeed governments generally, tend to be good things at first and bad things the longer they last. First they improve society's ability to flourish by providing central services and removing impediments to trade... MORE

Self-Recommending this Week

Upcoming Events
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts on the financial crisis. Arthur Brooks, speaking on his his new book, which seems to be available, although when I checked for it on Kindle the other day it said it had not yet been released. Jeff Miron... MORE

Shooting War

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Shooting War is a dystopian graphic novel written in 2007... about the world of 2011.  You might think you'd need more than four years' distance to make dystopia credible, but the book does a marvelous job.  It's mostly set in... MORE

Go See Matt Ridley

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He will speak at Cato and at Mercatus. I will be out of town, unfortunately, but I hope to be able to get hold of a copy of the book as soon as it comes out. It is likely to... MORE

After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001-)

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
If you want a quick, painless, reasonable, graphic history of America's War on Terror, I recommend After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001-).  It's too mainstream for my taste, and I would have preferred more of an international perspective.  But... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
1. Wilhelm Ropke's Political Economy, by Samuel Gregg. On p. 52, he describes three ways of allocating resources and assigns moral values to each method. The first moral position was described by Ropke as 'the ethically negative' method: that is,... MORE

China and India

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Pranab Bardhan writes, The Indian informal sector (including both farms and household enterprises outside agriculture), much larger than that in China, has been mostly privately owned; even now it employs nearly 94 percent of the labor force. But many of... MORE

What Went Wrong?

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
David Brooks writes, In the first year of the Obama administration, the Democrats, either wittingly or unwittingly, decided to put the big government-versus-small government debate at the center of American life. I would put this somewhat differently. The left decided... MORE

I Kowtow to Barefoot Gen

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The first paragraph of Shane Frederick's essay on Cato Unbound is too good not to twist for my own purposes.  Here goes:Long ago, mankind discovered warfare.  Since then, hundreds of millions of people have died as a result.  A prize... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
How the Economy Works, by Roger Farmer. The publisher sent me a review copy. Farmer seems to be trying to accomplish what I have tried to do with a series of blog posts on macroeconomics. That is, he wants to... MORE

Book Lists and Signaling

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Austin Bramwell writes, Cowen's Influential Books Game gave bloggers an excuse to promote themselves by composing lists designed to excite the maximum of reader admiration. Which is not to say that any lists were insincere: on the contrary, the top... MORE

Gokhale on Social Security

Social Security
Arnold Kling
As I mentioned, I have been reading Social Security, by Jagadeesh Gokhale. He has developed a forecasting model for Social Security that is more fine-grained than the one used by the system's own actuaries. Some excerpts below.... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Social Security, by Jagadeesh Gokhale. He gave me a copy when we had lunch today, so I'm just getting started. I'll write more when I've read more. Meanwhile, we can deem it self-recommending for someone who wants to be conversant... MORE

My Top Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Tyler Cowen led the way by listing the ten books that influenced his worldview most strongly. Then co-bloggers Arnold and Bryan followed. Here are my seventeen, not in order of importance, but in chronological order (the chronology being, of course,... MORE

My Book List

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The fifteen books that influenced my thinking the most, in chronological order:1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  While I ultimately didn't learn much of substance, this book got me very excited about about ideas.  Nietzsche's vision of discovering the truth,... MORE

Influential Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Recently, Tyler Cowen listed the ten books that have influenced him the most. I have a much harder time coming up with such a long list. I am more inclined to list people (Tyler among them). But here goes:... MORE

Baseline Scenario: The Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Simon Johnson and James Kwak call it 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown. It is one of the most valuable contributions to the literature on the financial crisis. Of all the economists, journalists, and pundits... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Africa: A Biography of the Continent, by John Reader. An excerpt (p. 306): Six terms referring to horn shape, and "not fewer" than seventeen cattle colour terms were coined between AD 800 and 1450 in...[southern Africa]...So much linguistic innovation over... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
Nicholas Bloom and John Van Reenen write management practices vary tremendously across firms and countries. Most of the difference in the average management score of a country is due to the size of the "long tail" of very badly managed... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Mark Calabria reviews the widely-unread Unchecked and Unbalanced. He makes it sound better than it really is.... MORE

Spermsmanship

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
I heartily recommend David Plotz's The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank.  It staddles genres, but you can see it as a work of business history.  Robert Graham, the founder of the "Nobel sperm bank,"... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The New Holy Wars, by Robert H. Nelson. He seeks to interpret various economic and environmental ideologies in religious terms. Some excerpts follow. [Update: fascinating stuff in the comments section. Let me highlight a couple of links: Peter Taylor and... MORE

Tom Sowell's Latest Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My Hoover colleague, Thomas Sowell, has come out with yet another book. Titled Intellectuals and Society, it has been sitting on my pile for about two weeks. (His publisher sends me gratis copies because I review books in Regulation and... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Event

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Yesterday, Nick and I spoke at Cato, with comments by Tim Kane and introductory remarks from Brink Lindsey. You can watch or listen to it by going to this page.My personal bit starts at minute 22, or shortly thereafter. Actually,... MORE

The Invention of Enterprise

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I am still slogging through the new book edited by Landes, Mokyr, and Baumol. Again, self-recommending if From Poverty to Prosperity left you hungry for more in-depth reading. In chapter 1, Michael Hudson discusses my Most Wrong Belief, which is... MORE

Capitalism and the Jews

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is the title of Jerry Z. Muller's new book. Muller is an outstanding intellectual historian, whose earlier book The Mind and the Market is a classic. His latest book is much shorter, and I read it straight through. Some... MORE

Two New Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Policy and Economic Performance in Divided Korea during the Cold War Era: 1945-91 by Nicholas Eberstadt. And The Invention of Enterprise, edited by David S. Landes, Joel Mokyr, and William J. Baumol. I have only skimmed them so far. If... MORE

I Loved Free-Range Kids

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
While writing Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, I've been reading a lot of popular parenting books.  I'm pleased to report that I finally found one that I love: Lenore Skenazy's Free-Range Kids.  Most of the competition tries to be... MORE

Mandel on FP2P

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Michael Mandel writes, It's good to see a book which focuses on this topic, whether the authors call it innovation economics or Economics 2.0 or something else. We need more of this kind of thinking. My guess is that Michael... MORE

The Quants

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Quants, by Scott Patterson, is the latest indulgence in my taste for financial crisis porn. It reminds me a lot of Roger Lowenstein's When Genius Failed. Lowenstein's book, which narrates the rise and fall of the infamous hedge fund... MORE

George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Their new book is called Identity Economics, and they think it's a pretty big deal.On p. 114: we can explain a large number of phenomena, including the nature of African-American poverty, the reasons why students drop out of school, the... MORE

Rand vs. Evolutionary Psychology: Part 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
"I want you to observe, that those who cry the loudest about their disillusionment, about the failure of virtue, the futility of reason, the impotence of logic - are those who have achieved the full, exact, logical result of the... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Yet another book on World War I. David Fromkin's Europe's Last Summer. His thesis is that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was a pretext for two wars that had been previously planned. One was an Austrian war against Serbia, and... MORE

Hook-onomics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My review of Pete Leeson's book, The Invisible Hook, is on the web at Regulation magazine. Highlights: Despite the book's title, a takeoff on Adam Smith's "invisible hand," Leeson does not claim that pirates were led by their self-interest, as... MORE

The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Nice, but Short on Ridicule

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
There's a lot to like in Klein and Bauman's The Cartoon Introduction to Economics.  It's fun, it's funny, and it teaches a lot of economics.  But although I'm a huge fan of economics, comedy, and graphic novels, I can only... MORE

Intellectuals and Society

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It seems to be the theme du jour. The interview with Thomas Sowell continues. At one point, Sowell notes that we cannot blame Larry Summers for policies, because politicians are selecting the policies. I think that Bryan Caplan would say... MORE

FP2P Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Listen to this Interview with Nick Schulz. I'd say that this is the best short interview on the book to date, but I found myself frustrated that there wasn't more. But even my one-hour podcast with Russ Roberts leaves a... MORE

The Books I Wish My Colleagues Would Write

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My New Year's resolution for Robin Hanson got me thinking about the book projects I wish my other colleagues would pursue.  Digest version:1. Tyler Cowen should write that I call a "book of answers" with the working title Social Intelligence:... MORE

My Sowell-mate on the Knowledge-Power Discrepancy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Unchecked and Unbalanced is about the discrepancy between knowledge and power. Thomas Sowell's latest book, Intellectuals and Society, is about the same phenomenon. (Guess which one is selling better on Amazon.) If my many blog posts on the problem of... MORE

FP2P Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
We get a nice review.... MORE

Real Recovery

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Robert Samuelson writes, What scars will the Great Recession leave? We are already seeing some. Americans are moving less than at any time since World War II, reports demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution. People are tied to existing... MORE

My New Year's Resolution for Robin Hanson

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I don't make New Year's resolutions.  If I think I ought to change my behavior, I do so without delay.  Fortunately, that doesn't stop me from making resolutions for other people.  Here's a resolution I just proposed for Robin Hanson:In... MORE

MRV watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bryan's Myth of the Rational Voter was #3 on a list of the top ten pro-liberty books of the decade, as selected by a panel of 22 advocates of classical liberalism. Two of Bill Easterly's books made the list. Pointer... MORE

You Should Read FP2P

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Or so says Yuval Levin. I just can't recommend it enough. It's a deeply insightful look at where economics is going and why that should matter to us. We also get a plug from economics instructor Brooks Wilson.... MORE

Hmmm

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
In Rand's study...There were more than two hundred grocer's cartons, each divided into sections and filled to the brim with colored stones Rand had collected and sorted. This is from Anne C. Heller's biography of Ayn Rand. Based on... MORE

Creative Destruction

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
William Easterly writes, The Wall Street Journal featured this awesome chart yesterday. Only 8 of top global 25 companies in 1999 are still in top 25 in 2009, and some of them have shed a lot of market cap. One... MORE

David Brooks on Book 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From Poverty to Prosperity gets a nice review from David Brooks. He writes, "From Poverty to Prosperity" includes interviews with major economists, and it is striking how they are moving away from mathematical modeling and toward fields like sociology and... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Podcast

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tom Keene interviews me. He likes the fact that Unchecked and Unbalanced is short--only 116 pages.... MORE

FP2P: Paul Romer Interview Highlights

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Kling and Schulz's interview with Paul Romer sharply raises my already favorable opinion of him.  Highlights (italicized titles mine):No, This Isn't NanotechI'll claim that there's a recipe out there that you could use to just assemble carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen... MORE

FP2P: The Book Hayek Should Have Written

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I zoomed through Kling-Schulz's From Poverty to Prosperity.  The honest truth: It is the best book I've read all year, and the best book of interviews with economists ever written.  If you're tempted to discount my recommendation because Arnold's my... MORE

Inspiration from Ayn Rand

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Some of the commenters on my post on Ayn Rand didn't like the fact that the book I discussed revealed some of the pretty-negative parts of Ayn Rand's character. One commenter, Brianna, wrote: What matters in the end are her... MORE

Kling-Schulz: An Immediate Delight

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Arnold and Nick's From Poverty to Prosperity is an immediate delight.  I'm only on page 4, and I'm already cracking up.  Here is economic wit:Sixty years ago, a social studies teacher looking for a movie that would motivate students to... MORE

Book 1 on Reason TV

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Ten minutes, with Nick Gillespie interviewing me and my co-author Nick Schulz. Too bad they didn't film some of the discussions we had before and after we recorded the show. But this will give you a small taste of From... MORE

Book 1 Podcast

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts and I talk about From Poverty to Prosperity. One interesting issue is why the economic ideas in the book are so little discussed in the mainstream media or in the standard economics curriculum. Part of the reason may... MORE

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I posted briefly on Anne C. Heller's book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made, and have now finished it. It was good from cover to cover. When I finished the last page Sunday night, I turned to my wife... MORE

Two Reviews

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
About Book 1, I recommend Mike Gibson's review. An excerpt: It's a wonderfully concise introduction to development, economic history, the roots of progress, wealth-creation, entrepreneurialism, and innovation-all this and more. ...Kling and Schulz do not really broach the subject, but... MORE

Book 1 Reviewed

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Ira Stoll writes, One of the virtues, or drawbacks, of having a book composed of a bunch of interviews is that the interviewees don't always agree with each other, or with the authors. Professor Fogel, for example, remarks that if... MORE

Do You Like Science Fiction?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Reihan Salam thinks that Book 2 falls in that general category. In Unchecked and Unbalanced, Arnold Kling offers a trenchant libertarian critique of the policies that led to the financial crisis. His basic take is that as our society has... MORE

The Point of Stitches

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Tyler says that David Small's graphic novel Stitches is "professionally done but pointless."  I say it's an eloquent illustration of one of the most important exceptions to the behavioral genetic conclusion that parents have little long-run effect on their kids. ... MORE

Some Reviews of Book 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Curt Gardner writes, The development question is not merely a matter of distributing recipes and watching prosperity develop. Recipes often come with buried cultural assumptions that we take for granted, because they are so ingrained for us. These things could... MORE

Preview of Book 2

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Policy Review publishes a preview of Book 2. Executives had too much confidence in their risk management strategies. Regulators, too, had excessive confidence in the measures that they had in place to ensure safety and soundness of banks and other... MORE

Ayn Rand Discovers Public Choice

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
He [Parnell Thomas, chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee] tried to placate her [Ayn Rand] with promises of a "whole [new] special hearing devoted to nothing but ideology," where she could bring out "all the facts." She told him... MORE

The Party of No

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post reports, a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party's leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party's plans for reclaiming power. The... MORE

Falkenstein on Book 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In Book 1, otherwise favorably, Eric Falkenstein writes, I found their general description of finance to have a misleading emphasis. There was an exposition where assets have risk characteristics that are obscured as they are passed up a food chain,... MORE

Book 1, Book 2

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen recently said, if everyone read the book and was persuaded by it, would anything change for the better? An author should aim to write a book which matters. My latest book, Unchecked and Unbalanced is out. We might... MORE

Reverse Stimulus

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Jerry O'Driscoll writes there is a name for this economic policy: corporatism. Big government favors selected big business and rewards big labor as a junior partner. It's not socialism, but the economic component of a fascist political program. Credit administered... MORE

SuperFreakonomics, III

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
This is my third post (see the first two here and here) on Levitt and Dubner's SuperFreakonomics. Chapter 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the book, for one main reason: the way it deals with the Kitty Genovese... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In order of satisfaction: 1. Empire of Liberty,by Gordon Wood 2. The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi 3. Masters and Commanders, by Andrew Roberts 4. Startup Nation, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer Wood is giving us the history of... MORE

By Popular Demand: a Kindle Edition

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From Poverty to Prosperity is available on Amazon's Kindle. I appreciate the publisher's responsiveness on this. Publishers have tended to think of Kindle editions as like paperbacks--you don't come out with one right away in order to avoid cannibalizing hardback... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Ben Casnocha is the first to write a review. An excerpt: This is a book for people interested in economics first, entrepreneurship second, and globalization third. It's a book for people looking for contemporary insight on the ideas of people... MORE

The Government/Slavery Analogy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Reacting to my recent post on the analogy Robert Higgs drew between libertarianism and abolitionism, a commenter wrote, Hans Hoppe, hardcore libertarian, once described what may be the crucial difference between a democratic state and slavery: the latter was private... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Kauffman Foundation conducted a survey of entrepreneurs. The findings can be inferred from the table of contents. Experience, Management, and Luck: The Keys to Success Professional Networks, Education, Funding, Personal Networks: Important Location, Investor Advice, Alumni Networks, and Regional... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert Higgs writes, Slavery existed for thousands of years, in all sorts of societies and all parts of the world. To imagine human social life without it required an extraordinary effort. Yet, from time to time, eccentrics emerged to oppose... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Daron Acemoglu writes, People need incentives to invest and prosper; they need to know that if they work hard, they can make money and actually keep that money. And the key to ensuring those incentives is sound institutions -- the... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Watch

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Michael Strong talks about special economic zones as a way of creating competition in governance. The idea seems similar to Paul Romer's concept of charter cities. Strong is optimistic that the state will "wither away" (as Marx would put it)... MORE

The Faces of Janus

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
While preparing my promotion packet, I came across my old review of A. James Gregor's outstanding The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century.  Highlights: Gregor provides an elegant and thoughtful history of what one might uncharitably... MORE

Book Update: Available for Order

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Finally, From Poverty to Prosperity is available for order at Amazon. It will be in stock there in a few days. I should warn you that it is an intellectually heavy book. It is not the sort of thing that... MORE

Book Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
It looks like I will have two books come out in the same month. The first one will be out in two weeks, but you cannot pre-order it on Amazon. The second one will be out in three weeks, and... MORE

Book Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book that Amazon does not want you to read can now be ordered from Barnes and Noble. The cover image is incorrect. The book itself is something that Nick and I are very proud of.... MORE

Book Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From someone who works at one of the companies involved in publishing our book: The issue with this book is that the record is locked. What this means is that either Encounter or the publisher has made a sticky change... MORE

Outsiders

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Am I too weak to resist financial crisis porn? The latest example of my shameful indulgence is The Greatest Trade Ever, by Gregory Zuckerman. As with Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail, I could not put it down. Even... MORE

Book Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Nick Schulz did some nosing around, and he thinks this might explain some of the peculiarities of the publication process with our book. Perseus Distribution, a member of The Perseus Books Group, and Encounter Books announced...that they have entered into... MORE

This Time is Different in Concert

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I've talked before about the new book by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, titled This Time is Different, which is about how financial crises have been around a long time and have a lot in common with one another. (You... MORE

Book Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
1. From Poverty to Prosperity is supposed to ship to distributors next week. I'll believe it when I see it. So far, I have not seen any printed version--only electronic galleys. There will be no review copies available prior to... MORE

Chauffered America, Strip Mall America

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
"Hold on, hold on," [Ruth] Porat said in disbelief. "You're calling me on a Sunday night saying that we just spent the entire weekend on Lehman and now we have this [AIG]? How the [foul language] did we spend... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Empire of Liberty, by Gordon Wood. Part of the Oxford series on American history, it focuses on the period 1789-1815. So far, I find myself thinking about it in the context of the Cowen-Hanson theory of political behavior and also... MORE

I Just Pre-Ordered The Cartoon Introduction to Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Today I got a free sample chapter from the Stand-Up Economist's The Cartoon Introduction to Economics.  It was so good that I immediately pre-ordered the complete book.  Keep up the good work, Yoram - you could become the Larry Gonick... MORE

The High Points of Superfreakonomics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I just read my advance copy of Superfreakonomics.  Overall, it's better than the original.  It's still cutesy, but stronger in the "who cares?" factor.The highlight: "What Do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo Have in Common?," a surprisingly skeptical look at... MORE

Gonick the Great - and How He Could Have Been Greater

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Larry Gonick has finally completed his magisterial five-volume cartoon history of the universe.  It all started with The Cartoon History of the Universe 1 (1990), followed by The Cartoon History of the Universe 2 (1994), and The Cartoon History of... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Teaser

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Cato's Caleb Brown and I recorded a podcast about Unchecked and Unbalanced, which I gather will appear in late November. If you listen for the eight minutes or so, I think you will get a rough sense of the issues... MORE

Gordon Reviews Create Your Own Economy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
David Gordon, possibly the world's greatest fact checker, reviews Tyler's new book here.... MORE

Book Watches

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Both forthcoming books now have Amazon pages. Neither is published yet, but pre-orders would be appreciated. From Poverty to Prosperity. Unchecked and Unbalanced.... MORE

Greg Mankiw's Problem

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
No, it's not that he's going to get fired by Harvard for casually invoking the Great Unmentionable to explain intergenerational income correlations. It's that he is teaching a seminar at Harvard for first-year economics students. What 10 books to assign?... MORE

Ed Leamer's Head Fake

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Ed Leamer's new book is called Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories: A Guide for MBA's. I do not know why he positioned it as a guide for MBA's. It is clearly a treatise, aimed at the economics profession, to try to... MORE

Elite Self-Perpetuation

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Robin Hanson pulls together various threads and concludes, So it seems the US has a finance and policy elite defined by college ties and related social connections, an elite with a strong sense that only people in their circle can... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen points to a fascinating paper that measures prosperity by looking at how much light shows up on a satellite image. It turns out that Nick Schulz was thinking along the same lines when he suggested that the cover... MORE

Readings on the Financial Crisis

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
From the Stern Business School. Strongly recommended. One excerpt: The whole purpose of securitization is to lay risks off the economic balance-sheet of financial institutions. But the way securitization was achieved, especially during 2003-2Q 2007, was more for arbitraging regulation... MORE

The Late Great George Walsh

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
This has been a week of nostalgia.  As I moved from 8 Carow Hall to 11 Carow Hall, I learned two things:1. Progress has turned the bulk of my possessions (especially hard copies of articles) into trash. 2. Time has... MORE

The Insider Narrative

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Michiko Kakitani reviews David Wessel's new book, In Fed We Trust. She likes it more than I do. I think it is too much of an insider's narrative. There are two dimensions on which people differ about the financial crisis.... MORE

Unchecked and Unbalanced Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Will Chamberlain writes (Will, not Wilt), Romer, clearly having been influenced by our ideas about bloodless instability, argues that we need to be able to create new countries, without the use of military force, in order to gain access to... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Alex Tabarrok looks at a study showing the increasing churn in the U.S. economy. The topple rate is a measure of how the rank of large firms on return of assets changes over time. The topple rate has increased by... MORE

Caplan vs. Sowell

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A commenter points to Bryan's critique of A Conflict of Visions, which makes a number of good points. Bryan concludes, What really puzzles me is why Sowell did not try a much simpler typology. Why not simply distinguish between advocates... MORE

Sowell's A Conflict of Visions

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
My excuse for not reading A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell was that I had already read a fair amount of his other work, and how much new could he have to say? But John Baden pressed me to... MORE

Casnocha on Tyler's Next Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Reviewing Tyler Cowen's Create Your Own Economy, Ben Casnocha writes, when culture is free and a click away, as it is on blogs and Twitter and the broader Internet, we sample broadly and consume it in smaller chunks: "When access... MORE

Matt Ridley vs. My Most Wrong Belief

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have temporary custody of a draft manuscript of a new book by Matt Ridley. The title of the book is tentative, but the subtitle is "Economic progress and the evolution of the future." Once the book comes out, it... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Charles I. Jones and Paul M. Romer write, By something like 1300 A.D., China was the most technologically advanced country in the world, with a large integrated population. According to the Lee model, it should have persisted indefinitely as the... MORE

From Poverty to Prosperity Watch

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Daron Acemoglu writes, [Prior to 1800,] growth was never based on continuous technological innovations; thus it never resembled the technology-based growth described in Chapters 13-15. Third, in most cases economic institutions that would be necessary to support sustained growth did... MORE

On Being Certain

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert Burton writes, The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious chohices. They are mental sensations that happen to us. That is from the conclusion... MORE

So Many Narratives

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Eric Falkenstein summarizes many books on the financial crisis, concluding For me, the best explanation comes from two parts. Stan Liebowitz's account on how we slowly eroded mortgage standards with the best intentions, led by academia, regulators, legislators, and investment... MORE

Portfolios of the Poor: Highlights

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
How markets free individuals from degrading family ties.Approaching several people for loans before getting one is not merely an inconvenient outcome of the financial shallowness of the informal sector, but a source of stress and shame.For migrants who have left... MORE

Thumbs Up for Portfolios of the Poor

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I really liked Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 A Day.  Westerners tend to think of the world's bottom billion as charity cases. The harsh and amazing reality, though, is that they largely stand on... MORE

Grasping the Nettle of Personality

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A commenter recommended Daniel Nettle's book on Personality. It was a good recommendation. Various lines of evidence suggest that our interest in money--and the material goods it buys--is mainly as a marker of comparative social status. Some more notes and... MORE

Since When...

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Did the NBER create an RSS feed for abstracts of new working papers? http://www.nber.org/rss/new.xml I didn't notice this feature at the nber site, but my Google reader suggested it to me.... MORE

Geoffrey Miller on Personality

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He writes, many of the new-fangled types of intelligence that have become popular recently...boil down to general intelligence plus some combination of the Big Five personality traits. Social intelligence...seems rather well predicted by a combination of general intelligence and extraversion,... MORE

Geoffrey Miller, Masonomist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Geoffrey Miller writes, Many products are signals first and material objects second. I am only a little way past the introduction to Spent. Tyler has already read it. So has Robin. So far, Miller hasn't told me anything that Robin... MORE

Warren Buffett, Five

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Michael Lewis cribs from Alice Schroeder's biography. He seems always to have been something of a physical and emotional coward. He is actually less wary in his financial life than he is outside of it. He avoids social conflict, unless... MORE

Pro-Autistic Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Rightly or wrongly, autistics are often seen as staking out their independence from the group and from group norms. They're seen as questioning the psychological power of the leaders and bullies and indicating that they do not, within their... MORE

Costs and Benefits of Beliefs

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Russell Hardin describes an economic theory of what people "know" (I keep wanting to substitute "believe" for "know"). we can explain bits of knowledge that a given person has as being substantially affected by the costs and benefits of obtaining... MORE

Test-Marketing

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I asked, "If we had a product that allowed us to put questions and answers on your Web site, and this product wouold make all the e-mails go away, would you buy it?" Now here's a good lesson in... MORE

Patri Friedman Reads Atlas Shrugged

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I've repeatedly braved mockery by naming Atlas Shrugged as my favorite novel.  So I'm overjoyed to see one smart guy move from mockery to admiration as a result of... actually reading Rand's masterpiece.  From Patri son of David son of... MORE

The Book Mike Huemer Should Write

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's a note I just sent Mike Huemer:Your latest essay is so wonderful that it gives me an idea:  You should write a book on applied ethics, with the immigration essay and the gun control essay as models.  Instead of... MORE

Carrying Hyman Minsky's Torch

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Robert J. Barbera's new book is called The Cost of Capitalism. On p. 182-183, he writes, For Minsky, government activism, to thwart the deflationary effects of banking crises, is the cost of capitalism, In the preface, he writes, Minsky's thesis... MORE

Joe Sacco's Palestine: Some Unanswered Questions

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Last year, I bought The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels, which in turn led me to buy dozens of its recommendations.  I'd like to blog virtually every one, but only a handful have enough social science to review at EconLog. ... MORE

Libertarians and Jonah Goldberg

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Jonah argues that we have become belated converts to the Liberal Fascism thesis. And Arnold Kling who said my book was in fact written by three people -- "Goldberg the revisionist historian, Goldberg the outraged conservative child, and Goldberg the... MORE

Deception and Signaling

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
In Be the Solution, Michael Strong writes (p. 66-69), Are altruists occupationally prone to anger? Well,, it turns out that they are, in fact, biologically inclined to be angry and punitive toward those who they perceive to be not being... MORE

Contest: What to Measure?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Win the Fraser Institute's Money. They want you to enter a contest about what to measure in order to improve public policy. In Be The Solution, Michael Strong cites the Fraser Institute's measures of economic freedom and how well they... MORE

Lessons from Mancur Olson

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Philip Greenspun writes, The logical conclusion from reading this book is to prefer a new state to an old state, a newly stable state to a long-stable state, and a new industry to an old one. Read the whole thing,... MORE

Love and Economics: A Guide from the Perplexed

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Jennifer Roback Morse was almost my colleague - she left the Public Choice Center in 1996, a year before GMU hired me.  She's a libertarian economist, a blogger, and passionate about the economics of the family.  I've only met her... MORE

Thinking Outside the Beltway

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I'm reading Be the Solution, by Michael Strong. I'm about 50 pages into it. The book combines a passion for capitalism, a passion for solving social problems, and some New Age spirituality. Think Ayn Rand meets Stephen Covey. I see... MORE

Kansas City BBQ and Blogfest

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen reports on the barbecue competition. He and I, along with a Princeton University Press person, Seth Ditchick (sp?) arrived in time to go to lunch at Oklahoma Joe's. It was the best BBQ I can remember ever having.... MORE

More Appreciation of Hazlitt

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In his excellent post this morning on Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, Bryan Caplan, in my opinion, slightly understated the case for Hazlitt. I agree with everything Bryan said, but he gives the impression that Hazlitt's treatment is simplistic.... MORE

Block, Hazlitt, DeLong, Me, and the Noble Lie

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Walter Block has written a new intro to Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson:Writing this introduction is a labor of love for me. You know how women sometimes say to each other "This dress is you!"? Well, this book is... MORE

Akerlof and Shiller Heart Higgs?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller do not come to praise mainstream macroeconomics. Keynes' followers rooted out almost all of the animal spirits...that lay at the heart of his explanation for the Great Depression...They...minimized the intellectual distance between The... MORE

The For a New Liberty Book Club continues on Monday, when I'll post my thoughts on chapter 2.  I plan on doing a chapter every Monday until the book's done.  Anything less would be, as Rothbard loved to say, "Monstrous!"... MORE

Here's my plan: I'll lead off each discussion of Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty with (a) a brief summary of the chapter of the week, and (b) some critical comments.  But this is your book club, so in the... MORE

Some Random Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Two books arrived in the mail while I was away. I was at a Liberty Fund seminar. During a conversation at dinner, someone introduced me to some concepts due to Michael Oakeshott. Gene Callahan explains it, Central to Oakeshott's last... MORE

Tyler's been having fun with his MR Book Club on Keynes' General Theory:I will go through the book, chapter by chapter, with an eye toward a deeper understanding of what Keynes wrote and why it is, as Greg says, so... MORE

Critical Review Symposium on My Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The latest Critical Review is a full-issue symposium on The Myth of the Rational Voter.  Stephen Bennett and CR editor Jeff Friedman lead off with a novella-length frontal assault on the book.  Then there's seven more critiques from David Colander,... MORE

What's Wrong With the Cartoon Guide to American History

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Despite my admiration for Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe series (which includes his Cartoon History of the Modern World), I can't recommend his Cartoon Guide to American History.  It's good on the Indians and slavery, but the rest... MORE

Inclined to Liberty

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Louis E. Carabini writes, There are those inclined to liberty--freedom of the individual to live his or her life in any peaceful way. And there are those who are inclined to mastery--permitting others to live their lives only as another... MORE

History + Comedy = Rothbard

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
For centuries, the State (or more strictly, individuals acting in their roles as "members of the government") has cloaked its criminal activity in high-sounding rhetoric. For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it "war"; then ennobled... MORE

Holiday Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
During this season of good cheer, I am reading A World Undone, G.J. Meyer's history of the first World War. Men with the power to decide the fate of Europe did the things that brought the war on and failed... MORE

Bruer Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
After my my previous post  on John Bruer's The Myth of the First Three Years, I sent him the following email:Hi John, I just blogged *The Myth of the First Three Years*, and my readers were interested in knowing your... MORE

Neuroscience and Policy: Bait and Switch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I read John Bruer's The Myth of the First Three Years en route to Singapore.  You might be expecting a rehash of The Nurture Assumption, but this book focuses specifically on attempts to use neuroscience to establish the existence of... MORE

He is a Pirate King

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
It's amazing that during a resurgence of Somali piracy, I have a colleague who is an expert on both Somalia and piracy.  He's Peter Leeson, the Pirate King of Fairfax.  And now you can finally pre-order his new economic history... MORE

Easterly on Collier and Correlation

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Reviewing Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion, William Easterly writes, Collier comes perilously close to another statistical fallacy known as selection bias. He chose the countries that belong to his Bottom Billion on the basis of their poverty today, and then... MORE

Trusting Scholarship

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Felix Salmon writes, one of the problems with such research is the way that it's presented to the public, through newspaper and magazine articles, or TED lectures, or the online dissemination of pre-pubication versions of papers. The stuff which gets... MORE

Work-Safe Readings for Macro

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
In response to my post on the porn that is modern macro, readers naturally asked me for alternatives.... MORE

Scratch Beginnings and the Philosophy of Immigration

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Scratch Beginnings is a chronicle of recent college grad Adam Shephard's fascinating self-experiment:I am going to start almost literally from scratch with one 8' by 10' tarp, a sleeping bag, an empty gym bag, $25, and the clothes on my... MORE

Hunger in Maus

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I recently re-read both volumes of Art Spiegelman's Maus. If you've never heard of it, it's an autobiographical graphic novel where the author gets his father to tell the story of how he survived the Holocaust. The Jews are mice,... MORE

Will Supplies Last?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
George Will writes, The spontaneous emergence of social cooperation—the emergence of a system vastly more complex, responsive and efficient than any government could organize—is not universally acknowledged or appreciated. It discomforts a certain political sensibility, the one that exaggerates the... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. The book profiles Paul Farmer, a physician who has dedicated his life to improving health in underdeveloped countries, particularly Haiti. Farmer is at least as comfortable living and healing amid squalor as he is... MORE

Shiller Interviewed on the Subprime Crisis

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw has the 8-minute video. It's worth watching. Shiller is a very independent thinker. He says that what we need is more financial innovation, not less. He says that we should not have been trying to urge so many... MORE

What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The September-October issue of The American. The articles have not yet started dribbling from the dead-tree version to the web site. You can leave aside the article that editor Nick Schulz and I contributed, which is an expansion of the... MORE

Public Goods, Externalities, and Education

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bruno S. Frey and Reiner Eichenberger write, externalities are not technologically but rather socially determined. There are no inherent properties of a good or service producing external effects, therefore, citizens have to use the political process to determine what is... MORE

The Myth of the Rational Voter Now in Paperback

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The paperback version of my book is now in stock at Amazon, for the low low price of $12.21. It's got a new introduction, including a reply to several prominent reviews. I think my favorite is my response to Daniel... MORE

Arnold Kling and Russ Roberts

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
We discuss his new book, The Price of Everything, and spontaneous order vs. central planning and design. Perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion concerns the issue of how to view political decisions. One tends to view them as... MORE

Bryan Finally Takes My Recommendation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, When Scott Page's book The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies came out, I assumed it would be a flabby, politically correct snooze-fest. Over a year ago, I wrote, My guess... MORE

Shiller's Rapid Response to the Subprime Crisis

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert Shiller has a new book, The Subprime Solution, due out in three weeks. [UPDATE: if you can't wait for the book, you can go to Mark Thoma is showing a Youtube.] The publication process has gone incredibly quickly. Obviously,... MORE

Of Human Design but not of Human Intent

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Christopher Howard writes, Some of the largest tax expenditures today appeared as early as 1913...few people actually benefited...The original income tax applied only to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. By the late 1930's, only about 6 percent of Americans... MORE

Why Read The Watchmen?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Probably thanks to the new movie trailer, the classic graphic novel The Watchmen is now #2 on Amazon. It's well-deserved. I can't say enough good things about this book - I've read it at least ten times. But for skeptical... MORE

Business Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Joe Nocera picks the best business narratives. I assume this means a book that describes an individual, a company, an event, or an era. I agree with him that Barbarians at the Gate (about the RJR-Nabisco takeover) and Liar's Poker... MORE

Complete Y: The Last Man Now Available

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Y: The Last Man is an amazing series of graphic novels about what happens to the world after a suddenly plague eliminates the male gender (minus the title character and his pet monkey). Volume 10, the final book in the... MORE

The Must-Read Economics Book of 2008

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bruno Frey writes, procedural utility has also been found to play a role in consumers' decisions. The first evidence of this was presented by Kahneman, et al., who investigated customers' reactions to a situation where the price of a good... MORE

Rebooting America

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Clay Shirky writes, If I had to pick one method of rebooting civic life, it would be by finding new ways to grant groups the legitimacy essential to pursuing long-term and constructive goals on their own. This is in the... MORE

The Center-Wonk Vote

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I went to this event, featuring Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat, authors of Grand New Party. Some observations:... MORE

David Friedman on the Myth of the Rational Voter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In The Machinery of Freedom, p. 132, Friedman writes, Imagine buying cars the way we buy governments. Ten thousand people would get together and agree to vote, each for the car he preferred. Whichever car won, each of the ten... MORE

David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The book was first published in 1973, with a revised edition in 1989. I just got around to reading it. Some excerpts and my commentary follow.... MORE

David Friedman on Property Rights

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
He wrote, The right to decide whether or not I turn on the lights in my house is worth more to me than to my neighbors, so in principle I should be able to buy their permission. The problem is... MORE

Crampton Reviews Ariely

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's former Econlog guest blogger Eric Crampton's review of Ariely's Predictably Irrational. Highlight:Taken as a set of lessons for self-improvement, the book is very good... But these sorts of private solutions don’t seem to be Ariely’s main interest. He wants... MORE

What's the Matter with Westen?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Drew Westen's The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation came out about a month after my Myth of the Rational Voter. Our sales have been neck-and-neck on Amazon for a long time. But... MORE

Another Intro Econ Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Eamonn Butler's The Best Book on the Market: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Free Economy gets right down to business, without any introduction explaining who is the target audience and what they should get out of it. Maybe... MORE

Distress, Moral Intuition, and Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Earlier, I wrote in praise of The Price of Everything, Russ Roberts' latest didactic novel. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I thought his other fictional attempts to teach economics were decent, but in my opinion this one represents a... MORE

Economics: How to Teach it and How Not To

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Ruth Lieber says, It's hard to imagine the invisible hand. After all, it's invisible. Leaving things alone, leaving people to their own desires and dreams would seem like the last way to make the world a better place. So most... MORE

If your willingness to pay for my book is greater than $13.99 and less than $19.77, you'll be pleased to learn that you can now pre-order the paperback edition for $14.00. This edition has a new intro where I briefly... MORE

Comments Worth Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Eric Falkenstein is not such a fan of The Black Swan and its author. Taleb’s style is to criticize experts of all sorts severely, while implying that both he and his reader or listener are exempt from their many biases...deflating... MORE

Notes from the Portable Bookstore

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I Kindle-bought Simon Winchester's The Man Who Loved China. The "Needham question" is why, if China was so advanced technologically up to 1400, was it so behind 400 years later. That is a fascinating question, but the book is all... MORE

Why You've Got to Read Gogol's Dead Souls

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I like to catch up on the classics on vacation. Tyler recommended Gogol's Dead Souls. I normally despise blogs with big block quotes, but for the best passage so far in this very very good work, I'll make an exception:Of... MORE

Mencius Moldbug vs. Thomas P.M. Barnett

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I'm Kindling The Pentagon's New Map, an infamous book from 2004 by Thomas P.M. Barnett. I liked this paragraph (on p. 129). A Chinese friend of mine who had been active in the democracy movement explained..."Before Tianenmen, we believed that... MORE

Our Imperfectly Evolved Brains

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
This review suggests a book that reminds me of Robin Hanson and Tyler Cowen. our brains didn't evolve in a way that allowed us to thoroughly evaluate how well our beliefs represent reality. ...Marcus does supply us with a whole... MORE

Riding Tigers by James Schneider: The Best 21st Century Novel You Haven't Read

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
James Schneider, my best friend from Princeton, has written my favorite novel of the 21st century, entitled Riding Tigers. I'd compare it to A Confederacy of Dunces. It's a coming-of-age story filled with quirky characters, a plot that keeps you... MORE

Peasants vs. Nomads

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I review Philip Carl Salzman's Culture and Conflict in the Middle East. I write, Salzman sees differences between growing crops and raising livestock. Growing crops fosters a society rooted in the soil, with strict hierarchy and strong, predatory central government.... MORE

Childlessness and Regret

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I just finished Sylvia Ann Hewlett's fantastic Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children (used copies on Amazon going for as little as 8 cents!). This book is full of great material on a wide range of... MORE

Book Club Worthy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
On page 139 of Second Nature, Haim Ofek writes, In close analogy with the female role in sex selection, customers (of both sexes) seem to be highly inquisitive about the merchandise they seek to acquire; thus collecting information, checking warranties,... MORE

What I'm Reading (Slowly)

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Second Nature, by Haim Ofek. It was written in 2001. It tries to address some puzzles in evolution and in ancient economic history. For example, why is the human brain overdeveloped, in the sense that it is larger than necessary... MORE

Blogs and Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you're writing a popular book. You expect to finish in two years. Your goal is to maximize sales of the book. What's your optimal blogging strategy? Don't mention it until the book is about to be released? Tireless self-promotion... MORE

The Paperback Arrives

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Crisis of Abundance is now in paperback, for ten bucks at Amazon. The fact that Peter Orszag, no ideological fellow-traveler of mine, sounds many similar themes indicates to me that I can feel justifiably proud of the book. Two changes... MORE

On the "to be read" list

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Murat Iyigun says he cannot wait to get his hands on Joel Mokyr's forthcoming book, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain. Nicholas D. Kristof writes about Matthew Connelly's Fatal Misconception, making it sound like a cross between Liberal... MORE

My Review of Gregory Clark

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Is on the Claremont Review web site (it did not make the dead-tree publication). How is it that in the 19th century, England came to have dominion over so many lands and so many peoples? Though he uses modern quantitative... MORE

The Strangest Review of My Book... from Shanghai

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Shanghai Daily takes the prize for the strangest review of my book:True, economics is about profit maximization, and when this is considered the central concern of the state, decision-making becomes much easier. But what is wanted today is not rational... MORE

Yet More Economic History

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A representative sentence from John Darwin's history of the world since 1400, After Tamerlane (p. 305). The steamship and railway were the battering rams with which European traders could break the monopolies that African coastal elites and their inland allies... MORE

The Most Memorable Passage in The Nurture Assumption

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
If you haven't read The Nurture Assumption by Judith Harris, you simply must. Years later, this paragraph is still with me:People sometimes ask me, “So you mean it doesn’t matter how I treat my child?” They never ask, “So you... MORE

Another Surprising Gintis Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Herbert Gintis already wrote a surprisingly critical review of Krugman's last book; now he's written a glowing review of Thomas Sowell's latest, Economic Facts and Fallacies:Thomas Sowell is a serious economist and a fine writer. There is not a single... MORE

Great Graphic Novels I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea and Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, two autobiographical books by Guy Delisle. Pyongyang will blow you away - especially when you realize that this is the most visual story about North Korea that a... MORE

If You Want Peace, Work for ???: Part 2

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Alan Krueger's book tests the popular story that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. Macedonia: What Does It Take to Stop a War? focuses on a similarly popular "root cause" of war: ethnic tension and mistrust. This autobiographical graphic... MORE

If You Want Peace, Work for ???: Part 1

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
How many times have you seen the bumper sticker "If you want peace, work for justice"? And what do you think the person who pasted that sticker had in mind by "justice," anyway? If you use the other stickers that... MORE

Arnold on Atlas: Where's He Right, Where He's Wrong

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Arnold has just read my favorite novel. Here's my reaction to his reaction:What I like is the "in your face" defense of businessmen and the unremitting attack on the "looters" of government. Rand is uncanny in her depiction of government... MORE

Two Dismal Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand and The Dismal Science by Stephen Marglin... MORE

Harford Book Forum at Marginal Revolution

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Today I kick off Marginal Revolution's Book Forum on Tim Harford's new The Logic of Life. It's a great book, well-written and full of interesting arguments. In later posts (either here or at MR) I'll challenge several of his arguments... MORE

Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
My review of the book is here. I would argue that it is many books, written by an author with Multiple Personality Disorder. There is Goldberg the revisionist historian, Goldberg the outraged conservative child, and Goldberg the troll. ...The most... MORE

Henderson Beats Wikipedia

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I just got my copy of David Henderson's Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. I've loved this book since the first edition, and now that I'm a contributor, I love it all it the more! But seriously, this book is fun to... MORE

Two New Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Don Boudreaux talks about his new book, Globalization. He does not believe in "victims of trade," "our collective trade deficit," or other popular notions. If you digest his arguments, you will know more about the trade issue than most economists.... MORE

Another Very Fair Review of My Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Scoff if you must, but I take great joy from most of the negative reviews of my book, especially the ones that analyze my psychology. They are often eerily perceptive. Here's a highlight from the latest one on Amazon: What... MORE

My Vacation Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Besides Laika, here are three graphic novels I've thoroughly enjoyed on vacation:American-Born Chinese. Blends Chinese mythology with the themes of stereotype accuracy (?) and self-acceptance, without falling into cliche. The tale of the Monkey King works whether you're five or... MORE

Power and Plenty

Economic History
Arnold Kling
Power and Plenty is the name of a new book by Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O'Rourke. Chapter 6, "Trade and the Industrial Revolution," is worth reading.... MORE

Laika: Best Dog Story Ever Told?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Laika, a semi-historical graphic novel about the famed canine cosmonaut, may be the best dog story ever told. I was on the verge of tears by the end. As he tells the tale of the first Earthling in space, writer-artist... MORE

The Myth of the Rational Voter: You've Read the Book, Now Wear the Shirt!

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I still remember Ben Bernnake telling me: "Having a good paper isn't enough. You've also got to think about moichendizing." I took his lesson to heart - and then some. The more I thought about my book's eye-candy cover, the... MORE

Best Book of 2007

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
David Leonhardt says that it is Overtreated, by Shannon Brownlee. it’s the natural outgrowth of our fee-for-service health care system. It turns doctors into pieceworkers, as Ms. Brownlee puts it, “paid for how much they do, not how well they... MORE

Why My Sales Spiked

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Financial Times has named The Myth of the Rational Voter one of the best books of 2007. And I'm in some good company, though one could argue that the most convincing endorsements come from people who don't share my... MORE

Late to the Party

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The New York Times gets around to giving a review to Gregory Clark's book, which I called one of the two high-impact economics books of 2007. Ben Friedman writes, he repeatedly insists that this was the world in which humans,... MORE

The Best Econ Books of 2007

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Here are my opinions.... MORE

Common Genius

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bill Greene writes, While a major theme of this book is that a historical progress has bubbled up from the bottom -- from the actions of the common men and women of history--a secondary theme is that most of history’s... MORE

Kindle-nomics

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
Joel Johnson writes, the $400 premium just to get the Kindle reader isn't the last fee you'll pay. I'm not talking about paying for eBooks from Amazon, which are priced typically at $10 or less, but for the additional fees... MORE

Tim Harford's Next Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Is called The Logic of Life. I hated the introduction. At one point, Harford writes, Might there not be such a thing as a rational blowjob? I don't think of myself as a prude, but I wound up muttering to... MORE

Solow on Gregory Clark

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Clive Crook quotes from Robert Solow's review of Gregory Clark's book. Clark's pessimism about closing the gap between the successful and less successful economies may derive from the belief that nothing much can change unless and until the mercantile and... MORE

Just Plain Good: From Black Power to Black Studies by Fabio Rojas

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I never would have expected to enjoy a book about black studies, especially one that refrains from pointed criticism of the field. But things don't always work out as I expect. Yes, I've got a confession to make: I really... MORE

Do as Dan Does, Not as He Says

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Dan Klein closes his critique of The Myth of the Rational Voter with recommendations for the next edition:1. Soften the emphasis on beliefs and bias. Go more with bents. 2. Drop all “rational” talk. Just go with terms like folly,... MORE

Dan Klein Dissects The Myth of the Rational Voter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Last week at George Mason, Dan Klein delivered a lengthy critique of my book at Pete Boettke's seminar. Now Dan's kindly made the full text of his statement available here. His praise on the first page is effusive enough to... MORE

Losing to Dani Rodrik

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
After reading his book One Economics, Many Recipes, I keep imagining myself debating Dani Rodrik...and losing. Kling: I favor limited government. Rodrik: I favor right-sized, adaptive government. Government must select policies and regulations that take into account local history and... MORE

Tyler Gets Shocking

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Around the GMU lunch table, we've long joked that we ought to ship Tyler Cowen over to Princeton. At GMU, Tyler's contrarian nature and libertarian instincts wage a daily intifada. The best way to bring peace to Tyler's war-torn mind:... MORE

The Messiness of Economic Analysis

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
In summing up his reaction to Gregory Clark's book, Tyler Cowen writes, Greg wants an explanation with a Malthusian or a Ricardian rigor and logic. I believe our explanations will be more like those of history than of economics. That... MORE

Bait-and-Switch: The Myth and the Reformulation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Mark Smith's The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society is full of insight. He crushes the myth of Republican "bait-and-switch" - the idea that Republicans focus on the culture wars during elections to mask... MORE

A Difficult Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In the foreword to Imperfect Knowledge Economics, by Roman Frydman and Michael D. Goldberg, 2007 Nobel laureate Edmund S. Phelps writes, The authors argue that if we aspire to build models that apply to modern economies--economies whose central functioning is... MORE

Best Comment Thread Ever

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I think that Tyler Cowen's first book club experiment has to be counted a success. Check out the comments on the latest post. For example, Gregory Clark, the author of the book under discussion, writes, As I thought about it... MORE

What I'm Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I just finished Aubrey de Grey's Ending Aging. I think that anyone who likes reading science books for pleasure would enjoy it. I'll have more to say later. I'm about halfway through Supercrunchers by Ian Ayres. It's about the rise... MORE

Order and Disorder

Price Controls
Arnold Kling
Richard E. Wagner writes, There is an equivalence between a tariff and a quota as these are drawn on the blackboard...They are not, however, equivalent in practice. A tariff and a quota generally involve different institutional frameworks...With the quota, the... MORE

Gov is not Great: How Democratic Fundamentalism Poisons Everything

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
That's an alternate title for my book suggested by Imaginary Politics. I think I would have stuck with The Myth of the Rational Voter, but it's still too bad this wasn't an option in the title contest!... MORE

Walter Block Reviews The Myth of the Rational Voter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
If neither the typical economist nor Milton Friedman himself qualify as market fundamentalists, who does? The only plausible candidates are the followers of Ludwig von Mises and especially his student Murray Rothbard. The latter does seem to categorically reject the... MORE

What I've Been Reading Lately

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I'll excerpt quotes from some of these books below. The Bottom Billion, by Paul Collier. This book has been highly recommended by other bloggers affiliated with George Mason, and I agree. His thesis is that economic development is taking place... MORE

The Best Place to Learn Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
According to Tyler Cowen, it's right here. He says (it's an interview with Bloomberg's Tom Keene) that right now blogs are the best place to learn economics. Probably not if your goal is to pass the exam. But it's an... MORE

Current Event Hooks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm looking for current events that work well as "hooks" to promote my book. Question: Where in recent headlines do you most clearly see the stamp of voter irrationality? Don't hold back!... MORE

Discover Tyler Cowen

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Today's the release date for Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist. You've lost your chances to read the secret blog and get a personal podcast, but at least you can still buy the book! As I've said before, if you... MORE

Name Russ's Book!

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Russ Roberts is asking readers of his blog to help him name his next book. Is this getting to be a GMU tradition? If so, I think Russ needs to use higher-powered incentives... like... an interview on EconTalk! Trust me,... MORE

The Selfish Reason to Have More Kids: The Book?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
True story: While I was on vacation, I got a phone call from Good Morning, America, asking me to talk about my book, The Selfish Reason to Have More Kids. The main problem, I told them, is that a few... MORE

Discover Your Inner Literalist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Robin Hanson is his determined literalism. He listens to your exact words, and evaluates your specific statements as true or false. If you want to reach truth, it really helps to have someone like... MORE

The Angst of Economics?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The New York Magazine profiles Tyler's new book. My favorite part:Cowen’s book does run up against another kind of scarcity. There are not enough economic tricks that distill neatly into interesting advice. When he discusses the techniques for motivating your... MORE

Movie Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I review "Call of the Entrepreneur." I can imagine "The Call of the Entrepreneur" being shown to people in other countries. It has already been viewed by a large preview audience in Africa. I would like to see it translated... MORE

A Video for Ec 10

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
This fall in Harvard's introductory class, I think Greg Mankiw should have his students watch The Call of the Entrepreneur. One of the segments is a clear explanation given by a Wall Street lawyer of the value added by financial... MORE

Patri Friedman on Lott's Cats

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Patri Friedman says that John Lott got his facts on hypoallergenic cats wrong... among other things. Anyone want to take sides?... MORE

How My Graphic Novel Got Me on C-SPAN

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
True order of events: 1. I put my graphic novel on my webpage. 2. Tyler blogged it. 3. Tim Kane read Tyler's blog and emailed me about our shared interests in economics and comics. Plus he turned out to be... MORE

Data Mining: The Graphic Novel

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Check out The Right Number, an online graphic novel that effortlessly takes you from a charming vignette to an uber-creepy exercise in data mining. Not enough to make you give it a try? Let me add that it's by the... MORE

My Best Interview Ever

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
If Russ Roberts asks you to do a podcast for EconTalk, you'd be a fool to refuse. He gave me the most perceptive and engaging interview I've ever done. (And Robin Hanson tells me the same about his EconTalk podcast,... MORE

Closet Your Inner Economist?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's some advice from Discover Your Inner Economist that I won't be following: Think of "the economics of the family" as The Truth That Dare Not Speak Its Name. If you are the economically informed member of your family, or... MORE

A Confession: What I Was Thinking the Morning of November 3, 2004

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
November 3, 2004 - that's the day the world learned that Bush had been re-elected. I'd like to confess my first reaction to the results. Are you ready for some ugly narcissism? I hope so, because when I saw the... MORE

Who Wants Tyler To Be A Millionaire?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Quick followup on my first guest post for the Economist: I wrote this on Sunday night, when the Amazon rank for Discover Your Inner Economist was about #40,000: Fun as Lott, Frank, and Landsburg’s books are, I don’t expect to... MORE

Tyler Cowen Practices Reverse Psychiatry

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
For readers who pre-order his forthcoming Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen offers access to a secret blog. I did not go for this inducement, but nonetheless found myself holding an advance copy, sent by the publisher. More thoughts below... MORE

Happiness Research in Five Minutes: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
It's a great day when my four-year-old sons and I agree on a book. (While we're on that subject, Happy Father's Day!) Our latest pick: William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. This charming picture book will teach you more... MORE

Plenty to Like in Freedomnomics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Levitt-Lott feud is already the stuff of legends. By billing his latest book as "A Rebuttal to Freakonomics and More," Lott has made it clear that the feud's not over. If you're like me, squabbling is a big turn-off,... MORE

A Review to Be Envied

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The best sentence I read this week: Brian Doherty has done for twentieth century libertarianism what Tacitus did for first century Rome.That's from Jerome Tucille's review of Radicals for Capitalism. If you haven't read it, you should.... MORE

Outstanding Book, Standout Price

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Randall E. Parker's The Economics of the Great Depression costs $125. The contents of the book are outstanding--more on that further on in this post. But the price stands out even more. I believe that one can construct an economic... MORE

Cato Policy Analysis

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My book has been excerpted as a Cato Policy Analysis.... MORE

Wisdom from Ben Casnocha

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Advising would-be entrepreneurs with no business background, Ben Casnocha writes, Learn by doing, learn by failing. ...Leave the office and go immerse yourself in the life of the customer. ...Your network is probably larger than you think. Somewhere in this... MORE

RNN Reminder

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm supposed to be on RNN tonight at 8 PM. You can watch the videocast live.... MORE

Ouroboros?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies: DONALD It's, like, I once saw this picture of a snake swallowing it's tail -- Kaufman collapses, puts his head in his hands. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. DONALD I don't know... MORE

MRV Update: The New York Times Magazine Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The rumors are true - The Myth of the Rational Voter gets a write-up in tomorrow's New York Times Magazine. Here's tomorrow's story today: Caplan’s complaint is not that special-interest groups might subvert the will of the people, or that... MORE

Real Politics Live Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My first domestic t.v. interview went well, but the airdate will probably be pushed to Monday. Rumor has it that Sunday's New York Times Magazine will mention me, so the producers thought it wise to wait and capitalize on the... MORE

Bryan Gets Some Pushback

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Christopher Hayes writes, the book eats its own tail. Caplan wants to grant a presumptive authority to the consensus view of economists, but the consensus view of economists is that voters are rational, which is, of course, precisely the position... MORE

Jerry Muller on Schumpeter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
One of the reasons that I'm not jumping on the bandwagon for Thomas McCraw's new Schumpeter biography is that I think that Jerry Z. Muller provides more insight into Schumpeter using many fewer words in The Mind and the Market,... MORE

Me on Tomorrow's Real Politics Live

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm supposed to be interviewed tomorrow on RNN's Real Politics Live with Richard French. Just when I was getting comfortable with radio, I have to adapt to TV! P.S. If they put up a videocast, I'll link to it.... MORE

David Strom Interview

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's the podcast of my 40-minute Saturday interview with David Strom on Minneapolis's WWTC. Self-evaluation: Good performance by me thanks to a sympathetic host.... MORE

North and Weingast

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Economic conferences rarely produce great papers. Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Growth Mechanism of the Free-Enterprise Economies, a conference dedicated to the work of William Baumol, is typically pedestrian, with particularly forgettable contributions from Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow. However, there... MORE

Immigration, Libertarianism, and Democracy

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
A reader asks, Bryan Caplan's new book (which I look forward to) says voters are irrational. Do you think they would be more or less rational in a society with high migration rates? I am reading Amy Chua's World on... MORE

Me on the BBC, Part II

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I was just on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves program. Here's the podcast - skip ahead about 20 minutes for my interview. Self-evaluation of my radio performance: Much improved. P.S. This is just a temporary URL; I'll post an update... MORE

#552!

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My Amazon sales rank has hit #552. What Brad DeLong hears from David Romer carries great weight in this world. Verily.... MORE

Another Caplan Fan

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Brad DeLong passes along a book recommendation. Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter is, [David Romer] says, brilliant: everybody should read it. But you already have ordered your copy, right?... MORE

Shorter Schumpeter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert Solow, in the guise of a review of McCraw's biography, reviews Schumpeter himself. The man was all problems, and one very important idea. Earlier, Solow describes his own experience of Schumpeter. I attended his courses on advanced economic theory... MORE

Culture, Capitalism, and Freedom

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
One of Tyler Cowen's readers asks for recommendations of books that examine the cultural requirements for liberty, and Tyler has a number of good suggestions. My instinct is to start with an evolutionary perspective. How did we get out of... MORE

Four Types of Capitalism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, William J. Baumol, Robert E. Litan, and Carl J. Schramm write (p.91), Of the twenty-five largest firms in the United States in 1998, eight did not exist or were very small in 1960. In Europe,... MORE

Wading Through Schumpeter

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From the book du jour, Thomas K. McCraw's Prophet of Innovation: Compared to Keynes, Schumpeter had no reason to think that life was something a person could expect to enjoy automatically. It was one thing to grow up in Britain--stable,... MORE

Hayek and Anti-capitalist Intellectuals

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Reviewing a new edition of The Road to Serfdom, Roger Kimball writes, In the end, though, the really galling thing about the spontaneous order that free markets produce is not its imperfection but its spontaneity: the fact that it is... MORE

BBC Podcast

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's me on the BBC's "Thinking Allowed." Just skip ahead about two minutes to get started. I stumbled at the beginning, and I'm still kicking myself for it, but at least it was a learning experience. Hopefully I'll be posting... MORE

I Heart Kevin Lang

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
With his new book, Poverty and Discrimination, Kevin Lang becomes my go-to guy on poverty. I disagree with him on some important and emotional points, and I'll have more to say about that at a later date. But I want... MORE

My Book at a Discount

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
A student has pointed out that Barnes & Noble is selling my book for just $23.96, 20% off the Amazon price.... MORE

Page-ing Robin Hanson

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I just finished The Difference, by Scott E. Page. I cannot tell whether he has new ideas, or simply weird packaging for ideas that are not very new. He talks so much about prediction markets, sources of cognitive bias, and... MORE

The Next Book I Won't Be Writing

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
About a year ago, I asked blog readers to help me pick a title for my book. Now Justin Fox is offering me a catchy title and co-author: I'm thrilled to announce that Bryan and I will be collaborating on... MORE

Unequal Income Distribution in the World

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Diane Coyle, in a new book The Soulful Science, writes Branko Milanovic points out that more than a third of Brazilians are richer than the poorest 5% of French people. He calculates a 10% probability that French aid to Brazil...will... MORE

The Economics of Recycling: A Child Could Understand

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
When I read to my kids, I rarely editorialize. I figure that if they want my opinion, they'll ask. But when we read Where Does the Garbage Go? this morning, I had to speak up. As you could guess, the... MORE

I am Not as Turned On

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
More Sex (Steven E. Landsburg's new book), did not turn me on as much as it did Bryan (see here and here). I would give it a mixed review. I think that a good teacher could use some of the... MORE

In Praise of My Competition: Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Since my own book is about to come out, it seems like a bad time to praise the competition. But I'm going to do it anyway. Steve Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex is fantastic. Once again, Steve has written... MORE

Myth of the Rational Voter Now Physically Exists

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My book now physically exists. I held it in my hands. But never fear, there's still time to pre-order. Why not go ahead? Even if you hate the book, the cover alone is worth the price of admission. :-)... MORE

The Bourgeoisie and the Clerisy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In an interview, Freeman Dyson says, In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status.... MORE

Norms and Institutions

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From p. 402 of The Bourgeois Virtues by Deirdre N. McCloskey: Associate Justice Holmes declared in the Buck v. Bell opinion of 1927 that "it is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for... MORE

Milton Friedman's Isolation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert L. Hetzel writes, it is hard to account for the near-consensus in macroeconomics in the post-war period and also the antagonism that met Friedman’s challenge to that consensus. In order to place his ideas in perspective, this section provides... MORE

Austrian Economics in Business

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The Science of Success, by Charles G. Koch, takes an "Austrian" approach to business. Nick Schulz liked it. Koch has published a new book that provides people who care deeply about business and politics something important to think about -... MORE

Radicals for Capitalism Comes to GMU

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Here at GMU, there are always radicals for capitalism. But it is only on 4 PM Wednesday, March 21, that we will have Radicals for Capitalism, and its learned and witty author, Brian Doherty. See here for more info.... MORE

David Friedman on Taxis and Tipping

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
In the book that everyone is reading but I'm still only 2/3 through, Brian Doherty writes, [David] Friedman points out the intriguing datum that tipping in taxi cabs--almost purely a situation of paying for a public good because of social... MORE

Data Molesters

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In my opinion, the authors of The Logic of Political Survival should not be criticized for mishandling data. They should be arrested. Imprisoned. Only released back into the community with warnings to neighbors to protect your children.... MORE

The Triumph of Libertarianism: Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I've been reading drafts of Brian Doherty's history of modern libertarianism since 1994. Now this remarkable labor of love - winningly titled Radicals for Capitalism, is, at last, complete. And it rocks. Even though I've repeatedly read earlier versions of... MORE

From Musgrave to Shaviro

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I was sent a copy of Daniel N. Shaviro's Taxes, Spending, and the U.S. Government's March Toward Bankruptcy. Our march toward government insolvency is a complex historical event with multiple causes. The central causes involve health care technology and demographics,... MORE

The most intellectually serious proponents and fellow travellers of anarchism are, paradoxically, a bunch of stodgy economists. That's one of the lessons of Ed Stringham's new 700-page anthology, Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice. This volume brings... MORE

Milton Friedman, Hated Conservative

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Shortly before he died, Milton Friedman gave the Wall Street Journal an email interview. China has maintained political and human collectivism while gradually freeing the economic market. This has so far been very successful but is heading for a clash,... MORE

Myth of the Rational Voter Update

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My book won't be out until April, but Princeton University Press has already put up a nifty promotional webpage for it. P.S. You can now pre-order my book from Amazon.... MORE

TV alert

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Monday, January 29, PBS will air a 90-minute documentary on Milton Friedman. These folks sent us a press release. Personally, I never check the TV listings. If it weren't for the fact that the Cardinals were in the World Series... MORE

A Middle-Class World

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The above graph is lifted from a forthcoming book by Surjit S. Bhalla, called Second Among Equals: The Middle Class Kingdoms of India and China. It shows the share of the middle class in world population rising from 2... MORE

The Entrepreneurial Society

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In my latest essay, I write, Continental Europe is set up to preserve large public sectors, large banks, and large corporations. For individuals, the promise is stable jobs, a stable business environment, and collective sharing of the costs of unemployment,... MORE

Overblown: Pessimistic Bias Foiled Again

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I just read a good chunk of John Mueller's Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them. It's a mighty blow against the most powerful form of pessimistic bias that's afflicted the... MORE

Teaching Economics as Common Sense

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Walter Williams writes Professors James Gwartney (Florida State University), Richard Stroup (Montana State University) and Dwight Lee (Georgia University), three longtime colleagues of mine, have recently published "Common Sense Economics." It's a small book, less than 200 pages, that addresses... MORE

Economics Book Recommendations

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
from the B-school at Carnegie-Mellon. My top three from the list would be David D. Friedman's Hidden Order, for lively examples and breadth of coverage; Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street, for its explanation of how economic theory applies... MORE

Judge This Book By Its Cover

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm in love with the jacket for my book - coming in April, 2007. Kudos for the Princeton University Press art department. Leave it to Robin Hanson, of course, to point out that the jacket is more optimistic than the... MORE

Has Bentall Explained Madness?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I finally got around to reading Richard Bentall's Madness Explained. It's a fun book, but as expected, it falls short of its ambitious title. Bentall's been criticized as a Szaszian, and it's easy to see why. Like Szasz, Bentall is... MORE

GMU Economists for Tolstoy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Don Boudreaux loves Tolstoy too. If only GDP were proportional to literary talent, the Russians would be the richest people on earth.... MORE

The Libertarian Case for Divided Government

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My former student Stephen Slivinski, now director of budget studies at Cato, has just published his first book, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government. There's lots of neat stuff in this book,... MORE

Libertarianism and Terrorism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Science-fiction author Neal Stephenson, in an interview 18 months ago, said Speaking as an observer who has many friends with libertarian instincts, I would point out that terrorism is a much more formidable opponent of political liberty than government. Government... MORE

If You Can't Wait to Buy My Book...

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
...buy a book where I wrote one of the chapters. It's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, edited by Edward W. Younkins.... MORE

Trust Cues Understood

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Christopher Chantrill clearly gets my concept of trust cues. [Nicholas] Wade tells his readers other disturbing facts. Genetic analysis strongly suggests that all men are descended from a single male, and all women from a single female. On top of... MORE

CofA Watch

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Crisis of Abundance made a list of ten "books that drive the debate" recommended by the National Chamber Foundation, a group of business leaders. The full list: 1. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy, by... MORE

Religion as a Basis for Trust

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
I have been lucky that my last two book purchases both proved interesting--I think I saw both mentioned on Arts and Letters Daily, so it's not all luck. I have mentioned Frederick Crews' Follies of the Wise. I just finished... MORE

Math Snobbery

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I discuss David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations in my latest essay. David Warsh, a uniquely dedicated journalist, turns economics into melodrama. He takes a number of risks, both in terms of content and style, and not all... MORE

My comparative advantage?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Don Boudreaux writes (you'll need to scroll down if you follow the link), Arnold Kling is as well-credentialed and technically skilled as any economist. He has a knack for using metaphors and analogies effectively; his sentence construction is clear; he... MORE

The Great Liberal Books

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
On my reading list, a commenter complained that I did not recommend books with which I disagree. Although I disagree with some of Harford, some of Blinder, and much of Warsh, the point is well taken.... MORE

It's all official. My book, entitled The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, will be published by Princeton University Press in early 2007. I put the final version in the mail today. The winner of the... MORE

Reading List

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw's list has a list of suggested readings for an economics undergraduate that are fun enough that you would not be embarrassed (well, not too embarrassed) reading them at the beach I have no quarrel with his suggestions of... MORE

My Book Commercial

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
is here. I should start by saying that the book does not contain a single major policy recommendation that is politically palatable today. That fact will greatly limit its appeal to most Washington wonks. To gauge their reaction to Crisis... MORE

Bryan gets a Blurb

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw writes Caplan offers readers a delightful mixture of economics, political science, psychology, philosophy, and history to resolve a puzzle that, at one time or another, has intrigued every student of public policy. (Bryan: You can use that as... MORE

Best Line I've Read in a While

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
comes from a book review of Richard Parker's biography of John Kenneth Galbraith. LBJ threw away one of his drafts for a speech with the remark: ‘Did y’ever think, Ken, that making a speech on economics is a lot like... MORE

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ethics, But Were Afraid to Ask

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In 1992, I read an essay that changed my life: "Moral Objectivism," by the Wunderkind philosopher Michael Huemer. Even as an undergraduate, Huemer had a gift for making the hardest questions simple: [S]ubjectivism must say (1) that moral judgements are... MORE

Has Harris Done It Again?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm a huge fan of Judith Harris' The Nurture Assumption, which powerfully debunks the idea that how your parents raised you has a large effect on how you turned out. Now she's got a new book, No Two Alike, which... MORE

Name My Book, Part II: Vote on the Finalists

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
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... MORE

You're All Winners

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Thanks so much to everyone who suggested titles for my book. I'll be mulling this over for a while, but my readers will be the first to know once I've made up my mind. P.S. Despite the title, I am... MORE

Name This Book!

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Since Arnold is already pumping up my book, and it's been accepted by a major university press, it's time to announce my official Title Contest. If we've learned anything from the success of Freakonomics, it's that titles matter. And while... MORE

Elite Fools

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Although I like Bryan Caplan's new book, I disagree with treating government as an elected dictator. Another aspect that troubles me is Caplan's brand of elitism.... MORE

How Islam Spread: Veeery Slooowly

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
I am engrossed by Daniel Brown's A New Introduction to Islam. It's packed with juicy scholarship. A standard history will tell you that Islam swept the Middle East in the space of thirty years. What it won't tell you is... MORE

Mind Wide Open

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The main finding in Philip Tetlock's awe-inspiring Expert Political Knowledge is that open-minded "foxes" are better predictors than theory-driven "hedgehogs." But toward the end of the book, he has a fascinating chapter about a fascinating exception. Background: There's a whole... MORE

Tackling Tetlock

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Philip Tetlock, one of my favorite social scientists, is making waves with his new book, Expert Political Judgment. Tetlock spent two decades asking hundreds of political experts to make predictions about hundreds of issues. With all this data under his... MORE

Reviewing the undercover economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
About Tim Harford's book, The Undercover Economist, I write, I am tempted to review it as if it were a textbook. Not because it resembles the freshman textbooks that are commonly used today, but because it resembles what I believe... MORE

Tim Harford Speaks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Patri Friedman has posted his interview of the Underground Economist himself, Tim Harford, at Catallarchy. My main quibble is when Tim says: People who oppose the use of markets in healthcare can point to two genuine problems: illness is extremely... MORE

How Not To Interview

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun wisely tells us: "Every Hun has value even if only to serve as a bad example." In this spirit, a coven of grad students has produced videos of nine really bad interviews to illustrate... MORE

Keyhole Surgery with The Undercover Economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm joining the chorus of fans of Tim Harford's new book, The Undercover Economist. There's something good on practically every page, and though I furrowed my brow in skepticism every few pages, too, that's a pretty good batting average. As... MORE

Ray Kurzweil's economics

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
I discuss the economics of accelerating growth in my latest essay. If output per person in 2025 is more than 5 times what it is today, then the economy will have won the race. That means that all of the... MORE

Controlling the Gender Gap

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Andrew Gelman links to a tantalizing summary of Warren Farrell's Why Men Earn More. As best as I can tell, Farrell's got 25 new control variables to add to the standard wage regressions. He... claims to have identified twenty-five tradeoffs... MORE

The Best of Szasz

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
People occasionally ask me what Thomas Szasz's best works are. The optimal introduction is The Untamed Tongue. It's a book of aphorisms that cuts to the heart of his philosophy of mind. If it doesn't make you worry that there's... MORE

What Took You So Long?

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
At the semester's first Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Workshop, Tyler Cowen talked about the political economy of the Mexican village of Oapan. (For all the details, by his Markets and Cultural Voices). According to Tyler, being the political leader of... MORE

Hummel Reviews Woods

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Jeff Hummel, one of the most knowledgeable historians I personally know, has an interesting review online of Thomas Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. I haven't read the book, but the review is a fun read. I particularly liked... MORE

Is Homo Economicus A Sociopath?

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
The other day I was reading Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door. Although it's engaging, it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. But it did remind me of a question I've wondered about before: Is homo economicus a... MORE

Building a Better Llama

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Alex Tabarrok's llama statue reminds me of an argument by Jared Diamond that no longer convinces me. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond forcefully argues that an important reason Eurasia was more economically successful than the rest of the world... MORE

Perry Mehrling, Fischer Black, and Elvis

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In this essay, I continue to praise Perry Mehling's biography of Fischer Black. Thanks to an outstanding new intellectual biography by Perry Mehrling, I have been reminded of Fischer Black's distinctive perspective on finance and economics. I want to use... MORE

Good Reading Recommendation from Tyler Cowen

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A while back, Tyler Cowen recommended Perry Mehrling's book on finance theorist Fischer Black. I read it while on vacation this past week. I strongly endorse Tyler's recommendation. Black co-developed a formula for option pricing which garnered a Nobel Prize,... MORE

What I Learned At the Library

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm in the last stages of my book on voter irrationality. Last week, I reached the part in my plan when I search for recent, relevant articles that I've missed. My plan: Scan all the articles published from 1999 to... MORE

Freak Storm

Economic Philosophy
Arnold Kling
James Q. Wilson and I offer similar criticisms of the economics book that became a best-seller. Wilson writes, My advice is this: if you find something that intrigues you in Freakonomics, do not rely on the book to give you... MORE

Tabarrok and Caplan at WSJ.com

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Today I had a debate (well, more of an amiable public dialogue) with Alex Tabarrok at the Wall Street Journal's Econoblog. The topic: Non-Levitt freakonomics. Check it out here.... MORE

Book Tag

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
Nobody has tagged me (this reminds me of high school dances, somehow), but I'll have a go at it anyway: First, restricting to economic topics. Number of books I own: I would guess around two hundred. Last book I bought:... MORE

Macro Reading List

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, I will be teaching Ph.d. macro this fall. Here is a draft of my reading list. Comments are open and further suggestions are welcome I think that macro tends to get too buried in theory. I like... MORE

An Infinite Contradiction

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
David Card has a new study arguing that immigration has basically no effect on the wages of domestic low-skilled workers. This confirms his earlier results on the famed Mariel boatlift, when Castro freed 125,000 Cubans to flee to Miami. Is... MORE

Economics, Standing on One Foot?

Economic Philosophy
Arnold Kling
Andrew Samwick writes, Economics consists of exactly two ideas: optimization and equilibrium. Optimization is the process by which all economic agents--households, workers, firms, governments--achieve their objectives subject to constraints on their resources. It leads to the familiar condition that an... MORE

Jane Jacobs, Austrian?

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
I just finished reading The Economy of Cities, a book written in 1969 by Jane Jacobs. An excerpt from her conclusion: The primary economic conflict, I think, is between people whose interests are with already well-established economic activities, and those... MORE

Second Thoughts About Stats vs. Personal Experience

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I can't believe I took so long to discover Thomas Gilovich's excellent How We Know What Isn't So. I've read almost all of the semi-popular books in cognitive psychology, and this turns out to be one of the best. All... MORE

Speaking of Bubbles

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The bubble in economics blogs continues to inflate. One of the newer entrants is Freakonomics, from Steve Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I am becoming more and more dependent on William Parke's Economics Roundtable. At some point, the number of... MORE

Learning from Lomborg

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
There's a reason why Bjorn Lomborg has been rewarded for writing The Skeptical Environmentalist with a pie in the face. The book's good, very good - and that's bound to anger the touchy, gloomy Greens he's debunking. The book has... MORE

Ayn Rand, Economic/Political General Equilibrium Theorist

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
To finish off my celebration of Ayn Rand's 100th birthday (see also here and here) now let me turn to her contribution to social science. I remember that a critic of Murray Rothbard's work in economics, history, and philosophy quipped... MORE

Ayn Rand, Wise Philosopher Despite Some Bad Arguments

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Ayn Rand has some lame philosophical arguments, including a tortured "proof" that "life is the standard of value" and an odd effort to base individual rights on ethical egoism. So how can I maintain that Rand the philosopher is worth... MORE

Ayn Rand, the Russian-American Victor Hugo

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Ayn Rand's novels blend two distinct genres. She fits squarely into the tradition of the Russian philosophical novelists like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. But she is also a plot-rich Romantic in the tradition of Victor Hugo. Some standard features of the... MORE

Join the Party: Why You Should Celebrate Rand's 100th

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Today is Ayn Rand's one hundredth birthday, and I want to party down. I probably wouldn't be a professor if it weren't for her, and even if I were, I doubt I would be having a fraction of the fun.... MORE

Lovecraft, Sutter, and the Media

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
The master of horror is of course not Stephen King, but H.P. Lovecraft. (My personal favorite is "The Dunwich Horror"). Lovecraft lived a life of aristocratic penury, and he wasn't too happy about it: "He who strives to produce salable... MORE

The Selfish Reason to Have More Kids

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Steve Landsburg has some powerful moral arguments for having another kid. (See the chapter "People Wanted" in Fair Play). Contrary to organizations like Zero Population Growth, the externalities of another productive human being are positive, not negative. But like most... MORE

Futurology

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
While I'm in the middle of reading about "network commonwealths" in James C. Bennett's The Anglosphere Challenge, the National Intelligence Council, a CIA affiliate, has just released Mapping the Global Future. Most forecasts indicate that by 2020 China’s gross national... MORE

Flynn Effect

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
Following Marginal Revolution's recommendation, I bought Ian J. Deary's Intelligence, which is a summary of research on IQ testing. For me, the most interesting chapter was on the Flynn effect (see also this post), which is that IQ scores have... MORE

Book Pitch

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
My TechCentralStation friends let me write a pitch for my book. I believe that economists have a right to feel that we have superior knowledge on issues of public policy. However, the implication of this is not that we should... MORE

My Book is Available

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Finally, Learning Economics is available for purchase. You may order it here. Some endorsements may be found here. The book starts out, Each year, thousands of people study economics, but not many learn it. Most of them leave their economics... MORE

Fogel Vs. Wonks

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Reading Robert Fogel's latest book, I noticed that he provided some simple but paternalistic proposals for health care. Robert Fogel says that we should stop thinking of the problem of poverty and health care as one of insurance and instead... MORE

Economics and Evolution

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
David Friedman uses evolutionary psychology to solve some puzzles in economics. Human beings have a functional module in their minds that deals with exchanges with other human beings. One feature of that module, hard-wired in by evolution, is that human... MORE

The Morality of the Market

Economic Philosophy
Arnold Kling
Jerry Muller, author of The Mind and the Market, gives a brief synopsis of his book. In previous societies, one's status as a peasant, artisan or merchant often defined one totally. Being a member of a guild, for example, encompassed... MORE

Sowell on Math and Economics

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
A while back, we discussed whether math is necessary for economic education. Thomas Sowell gives his view. Introductory economics is too often taught as if the students in it were all potential economists who had to be introduced to the... MORE

Future Technology

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
In reading The Next Fifty Years, a collection of essays edited by John Brockman of Edge.org, I was struck by the following quote from Rodney Brooks, director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence laboratory. Our thirty-year goal is to have such exquisite... MORE

The Case for Teaching Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
When asked by edge.org's John Brockman what he would do if he were science advisor to the President, Steven Pinker's reply included: Observers from our best science writers to Jay Leno are frequently appalled by the innumeracy, factual ignorance, and... MORE

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