What I’ve been reading (Feb 2013)

19 Mar


The Price of Everything – I’m only part way through it, but it seems fairly light. Similar to Annoying, it just scratches the surface on various vaguely related topics. It was a very quick read. It touches on various economic ideas, but I am sure that anyone with a BA

The Price of Everything

The Price of Everything

in Economics wouldn’t learn anything new. It talks about fairly simple economics concepts such as price discrimination and opportunity cost, and applies them to various real world situations, such as the changing role of women in the workplace and the family, and how kids prefer a yogurt with a cartoon character drawn on in rather than one without. It seems to be about the same level as NPR’s marketplace podcast: it introduces simple economic concepts via real world examples, and while it is interesting for the layman, it is perhaps too elementary for the experts. Nontheless, because I am still fairly ignorant of economics as a field and I am trying to become more educated, it is nice for me. I’m not learning concrete facts, but some of the ideas are solid applications of economic ideas that I will remember. According to a review on the Wall Street Journal, the book “uses economic rationales to explain all sorts of social phenomena, such as why men prefer women with big hips and breasts (reproductive abilities) or why animal-rights movements are more popular in wealthy societies than in poorer ones. (“It is more expensive to kill a steer in a humane sort of way. More Americans can afford that.”)” These are concepts that I can easily take with me as examples of economic principles being applied to real life. Although I have added a lot of economic content to my information intake over the past several months (coursera’s Micro econ class, the Freakonomics and Marketplace Podcasts, the Marginal Revolution blog and MOOC), I think I still need a good foundation to get a deeper understanding. Maybe I should just read a textbook like Scott H Young recomends.

Ground Beneath her Feet

Ground Beneath her Feet

 The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Continuing my Salman Rushie kick, this book hasn’t left much of an impression yet. I loved Shalimar the Clown, and The Enchantress of Florence was decent, but I have yet to be really drawn in my The Ground Beneath Her Feet. I’ll give it some more time, though. I didn’t fall in love with Shalimar the Clown until nearly a third of the way through the book, so I am certainly open to a similar experience with this one. Although I read that it is about Americana and similarly quintessential North American things, so far most of the novel has been illustrating the back-story of the narrator, which is taking place in Bombay. It has gotten better as I’ve continued though. A quarter of the way through the book I would have just as easily stopped reading it, but now that I am a little more than half way it is growing on me. The main characters have all left India and their trials and tribulations in England and the United States are more intriguing.

Freefall – This book was a bit too wonky for me. The combination of my lack of specific and detailed focus while reading the book (that which I might have had were I reading it for a class and I had to present on each chapter, such as happened in my senior seminar at Kalamazoo College) plus my lack of detailed understanding of the financial crisis of 2008 combined to make most of this book unintelligible for me. I can’t even remember the major points. This is a flaw in me, not in the book. I’ll have to remember to not let that happen again. I’m not actually categorizing this book as ‘read’ in goodreads, because I didn’t really process it mentally. Maybe I’ll try again in a few years.

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