Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I'm Reading Now

John Quiggin, Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us (Princeton University Press 2010). The title and cover art aren't exactly to my taste - they smack too much of publishers' marketing departments, trying too hard to replicate the popular success of Freakonomics. Substantively, the book is interesting, educational, and analytically solid. Quiggin explains how many economists are unable to let go of pet theories that fit well with their ideologies, regardless of the facts. No matter how much evidence piles up against zombie theories like "trickle-down" economics or the "efficient markets" hypothesis, they just won't die.



David Grossman, To the End of the Land (Knopf 2010). A mesmerizing book, which I am pleasantly surprised to say was not over-hyped by the extravagant praise it received in advanced reviews. The beauty of the English-language translation makes me wish all the more that I could read Hebrew (something I contrived not to learn to do as a child). Books like this one, See Under: Love and The Book of Intimate Grammar must put Grossman on the shortlist for a Nobel Prize in Literature.





Vincent Ostrom, The Meaning of American Federalism: Constituting a Self-Governing Society (ICS 1994). This is part of a new project of mine to read or re-read many of Vincent's works, which, though somewhat idiosyncratic, seem to me to have importance far in excess of their influence among political scientists and other social scientists. Hopefully that will change soon, as his complete works are in the process of being republished. And a happy belated birthday to Vincent, who turned 91 this past weekend.

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