I have a few books on my summer reading list. I’ll attempt to use the lazy days and hopefully, time by multiple pools to catch-up on some the past few years “required reading for intellectuals.”
As of late, my hunger for intellectual pursuits is extreme. I’m anxious to explore, understand, rework everything in my mind. I want to make sense of my liberal arts education and this political science degree.
I’ve naively identified this intellectual interest in the area of Cultural Anthropology- loosely defined by me as the study of people and the aspects of life that influence them. As a student at UNC’s SPGRE, I was paired with an anthropologist to develop a paper on Environmental Justice in North Carolina, and later, what would be my Senior Thesis on the same topic.
But all that thinking got me to thinking. And there’s one author makes it entertaining to understand common sense topics. A professor friend of mine pointed out that Malcolm Gladwell’s writing is extraordinary while his subject matter is very common. Never the less, I love his work.
Outliers was released in 2008 and I lurked around bookstores looking for a paperback copy as recently as last month. I didn’t find one, but a recent search on Amazon led me to a better prize, a hardback copy in good condition.
First 100 pages reaction:
Gladwell’s writing continues to impress me. But what impresses me more is the research required to pull together the pertinent and always well arranged anecdotes. On top of that, what impresses me MOST is Gladwell’s mental process to bring all of these pieces of information back to the reader, cohesively and comprehensively.
I loved The Tipping Point (TTP) most of all. It was my introduction to Gladwell. Blink, I got thru. It wasn’t as intriguing as TTP.
Now, I’ll have less to say about Freaknomics, because I have barely cracked the book. But, I will say that it seems like it’s written in a very plain language style, and I shouldn’t be a very difficult read. I mean, I don’t want to have to pull out my calculator or dust off economics books.
But the chapters seem practical. I guess. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say.
In Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner argue that economics is, at root, the study of incentives. The book’s topics include:
- Chapter 1: Discovering cheating as applied to teachers and sumo wrestlers (See below)
- Chapter 2: Information control as applied to the Ku Klux Klan and real-estate agents
- Chapter 3: The economics of drug dealing, including the surprisingly low earnings and abject working conditions of crack cocaine dealers
- Chapter 4: The controversial role legalized abortion may have played in reducing crime. (Levitt explored this topic in an earlier paper entitled “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.”
- Chapter 5: The negligible effects of good parenting on education
- Chapter 6: The socioeconomic patterns of naming children
I have a lot to get through. I think I’ll finish Outliers before I start Freakanomics. Only one heavy text at a time. Depending on how the Fourth of July weekend goes, I might just work on these two exclusively.
But what’s on your reading list? Fun and flirty, or political? A thriller, or a romance? A lot of people complain they don’t have time to read. When do you ?