What I’ve Been Reading

School has slowed my pleasure reading, but I’m a fighter.

1. Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain. A solid argument for a liberal immigration policy. Legrain presents loads of data to argue for the economic advantages of immigration, and addresses some of the cultural arguments raised by Huntington. If you’re for closing the borders but open to changing your mind, add this book to your pile.

2. An American Hedge Fund by Tim Sykes. This is an engaging, first-person account of how Tim “made $2 million as as stock operator and created a hedge fund” — all while going to college. It’s well written and funny. It could use more explanation of the stock market techniques Tim employs — and this is a book about the stock market, not creating a company — but still recommended to anyone who enjoys rollercoaster sagas, especially from the perspective of someone young.

3. Broken Fever: Reflections of Gay Boyhood by James Morrison. This is a beautiful childhood memoir by my academic advisor at Claremont. I’m just starting, but I’m taken by his way with words. Here’s an early graf:

This books tracks a developmental narrative shaped by the regulatory mechanisms of many of the institutions of modern mass culture: those of education or medicine, those of the state, the law, the church. Yet again and again — for in the grandiosity and rawness of childhood, every phenomenon is new even in its thousandth coming — the story shows the systematic failures of these institutions, themselves so systematic, to regulate, to acculturate, “properly.” The only triumph this book recognizes lies in the fact that our culture, so often bent on eliminating gayness, so often produces it, enables it.

4. Supercrunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart by Ian Ayres. This book has gotten lots of hype, and it didn’t quite live up to it for me. The take-aways didn’t strike me as terribly new: experts are often wrong, data trump anecdote, most people don’t understand basic statistics, etc etc. There’s some fun stories in here about awesome data mining and Freakonomics-esque conclusions, but I’d pass.

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. No surprise here: this one’s a winner. Kite Runner fans rejoice.

3 comments on “What I’ve Been Reading
  • Damn, I hate to be the constant contrarian;-), but when someone talks about ‘enabling’ gayness, they’re using the language of therapy.

    Excuse me, but I don’t think my ‘condition’ is enabled by any outside entity.

    What is this guy smoking?

    Whatever he’s selling, I think I’ll pass.

  • Keep fightin’, Ben. I love a Thousand Splendid Suns, but you don’t do it justice. Any chance I can borrow the Supercrunchers? I tried writing an early data-mining program and I failed horribly. In any event, I think we need to establish a pleasure reading commitment at all colleges. How I yearn for the pleasure of doing what I want!

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