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Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

More Wisdom from Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment

As I mentioned last week, I'm reviewing Steven Pinker's new book, Enlightenment Now, and loving it. Here's Pinker on one reason crime has fallen: When cars are harder to steal, houses are harder to burgle, goods are harder to pilfer and fence, pedestrians carry more credit cards than cash, and dark alleys are lit and video-monitored, would-be criminals don't seek another outlet for their larcenous urges....

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Passionate Wisdom from Steven Pinker

I'm just past the middle of Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress for a review I'm writing. I love the book. Here's one excellent passage that shows Pinker's clarity and perspective as well as his humanity. He is criticizing a 1962 response to C.P. Snow's case for the importance of science. The response is by literary critic F.R. Leavis. Pinker...

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Henderson on How We Dodged a Bullet

Steensland would probably dislike the title of this review. The reason is that he sees the defeat in the U.S. Senate of Nixon's proposed Family Assistance Plan, which the House of Representatives passed in 1970 by a vote of 243-155, not as dodging a bullet but, on the contrary, as a huge lost opportunity. But one doesn't have to agree with his perspective to learn from his book. Steensland gives a detailed...

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Henderson on George Melloan

We can thank [Bob] Bartley for making supply-side economics understandable, popular, and influential. Supply-side economics, as he and other Journal writers describe it, is the idea that high marginal tax rates discourage work, saving, and investment. It still shocks me how little emphasis academic economists placed on that insight before Bartley came along. Remember that the top marginal tax rate on...

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A Missed Opportunity for Mutual Learning

by Art Carden "...it's still a cautionary tale on wading into areas of others' expertise, calling them all corrupt, and then failing to seek help from anyone familiar with what you're writing about." Over the summer, Steven Horwitz referred to finding errors in Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains as "the academic version of Pokemon GO!" After a couple of articles, a review for Regulation, and a long paper...

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A Question of Talent Arbitrage

I just received another thought-provoking email about my new book.  Here it is, reprinted anonymously with the sender's permission.  I really had no solid advice for him, but perhaps EconLog readers will...Good afternoon! I recently picked up The Case Against Education, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so thank you for your contribution. Like many of your readers, I suspect, my interest in the book was born of...

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That great classical liberal novel you never heard of

Alessandro Manzoni was the Italian Dickens. Perhaps Walter Scott may be a more fitting comparison, as Manzoni's novel, The Betrothed, is indeed a great historical novel. But Manzoni's impact has been similar to Dickens's. Manzoni wrote plays and poems, but he is mostly famous for one work: indeed, The Betrothed. Manzoni was the grandson of Cesare Beccaria and his natural father was probably Pietro Verri....

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Beach Critiques The Case Against Education

Here are some detailed critical comments on my new book from Josh Beach, published with his permission.Dr. Caplan, I recently finished your new book.  It is a very important and timely book.  I found your arguments very clear, well reasoned, and convincing, albeit within the range of uncertainty you discussed.  I also found it very funny in parts and I enjoyed your sense of humor.  The topic of signaling and...

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The Case Against Education: The EconTalk Podcast

Russ Roberts' EconTalk episode on my new book is out.  In a world that prized substance as well as style, Russ would be the household name.  For me, the highlight was trying to convince Russ of the great value of objective testing.  If you're teaching something existing tests can't detect, write a better test!  But if you're teaching something no conceivable test can detect, you probably aren't teaching...

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