Economist Steven Levitt’s fascinating book, Freakonomics, sets out to quantify and explain topics ranging from birth control to education, with a special emphasis on crime. The CD is read by co-author and journalist Stephen Dubner, and is exploding with so many interesting statistics that it will make your mouth water.
What makes this book special is Levitt’s unique way of taking a problem, standing it on its head, and arriving at the most unexpected conclusion. The CD goes quickly and leaves the listener wanting more. I highly recommend this title.
Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman (2008)
Thomas L. Friedman, winner of three Pulitzer prizes, has written another great book. Much like his last book, The World is Flat, this book looks at the big world picture and the changes and dynamics taking place. Using exhaustive research data, he paints his picture of a world where globalization, a growing population, and global warming are converging and bringing us to an alarming situation. His call is for the United States to lead the world in making far reaching changes to make our world sustainable and environmentally safe. If you enjoyed The World Is Flat, you’ll find this book another winner from Friedman.
Visit the author’s website, read a review at Salon.com, and listen to an interview at NPR.
Women & Money by Suze Orman (2007)
Orman writes in a way that is simple and easy to follow. Get good advice on how to get your life in order and free yourself from financial burden. She mixes a lot of emotional feelings with money – a person out of debt is a happy person. Orman breaks down complicated ideas and provides easy steps you can follow.
She also makes me laugh, especially on her show. It’s pretty funny when people ask her if they should make a big purchase and she bluntly rejects that idea.
Visit the author’s website and check out more from Orman on Oprah’s website.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh (2008)
If you’ve read Freakonomics, then you will be familiar with the chapter discussing the economics of a crack-selling gang. In Gang Leader for a Day, Venkatesh describes the seven years he spent studying J.T. and his crack selling Black Kings gang at the Robert Taylor housing project. With J.T.’s protection and friendship, Sudhir had a unique opportunity to study the gang’s economic, social, and political impact upon the community. This is a fascinating book that reads very quickly. While the author has garnered acclaim for his study, the community he came to know has not fared as well. The Robert Taylor homes were demolished, scattering the residents to other neighborhoods and destroying the tight web of social support that many had created.
Check out the Freakonomics blog for an interview with the author featuring questions from readers. To listen to an interview or read an excerpt, visit NPR.org.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli (2005)
A Georgetown University professor traces the life of her souvenir cotton t-shirt to guide readers through global trade issues.
Visit the book’s official website for an excerpt and other info. Find an original essay by the author available only at Powell’s site. Check out NPR’s three-part series inspired by the book. Look at a review from Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge or from the New York Times.
The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman (1999)
Don’t let the title keep you from reading this lucid introduction to globalization and how it differs from the previous Cold War era. Also look at his 2005 book: The World is Flat.
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Friedman (2005)
A provocative and informative discussion of globalization’s impact on the U.S. economy and foreign relations.
Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
What happens when the security of well paying U.S. manufacturing jobs disappear? Social critic Ehrenreich recounts her attempts to survive on minimum wage jobs.
Read a New York Times article about Ehrenreich’s experiences to prepare for the book, listen to either an hour long or eight minute NPR interview, and visit the author’s website.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (2005)
Economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner examine the role incentives play in modern society. The authors use a variety of fascinating studies from sumo wrestling to the KKK to illustrate their points. Freakonomics is an entertaining read that makes you think in new ways about issues.
Go to the official book site for study guides, reviews, and articles on this bestselling title. Check out the authors’ Freakonomics blog on the New York Times website. Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, discusses his Thoughts on Freakonomics.