Posts Tagged ‘sociology’

33. “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell

June 4, 2010 1 comment

I found this a much more satisfying read than Freakanomics because it deals with how a multitude of small things come together to create one big effect. Gladwell concludes, for example, that one of the major reasons that crime dropped so drastically in New York in the 1990s isn’t that “unfit” mothers had aborted a lot of fetuses 15-18 years earlier, but that a number of small things that police forces, particularly transit police, were doing began to accrue.

Gladwell also looks at children’s educational television and discusses the differences between “Sesame Street” and “Blues Clues,” and there’s nothing I love quite like I love seeing educational theories in praxis on brightly-colored animals.

Gladwells’s very easy to read. One of my professors last semester went to grad school with him and became a fact-checker for him when he was at “The New Yorker.” Every now and then he’d call, read her a sentence and ask “can we use ‘deconstruct’ like that?” and she’d say yes or no and get fifty bucks.

This is my fondest ambition. (That and finding out how airplanes stay up.)

Also, Vikky, isn’t this totally Mary:

Connectors are the people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”[6] They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”. [7] He characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. To illustrate, Gladwell cites the following examples: the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Milgram’s experiments in the small world problem, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” trivia game, Dallas businessman Roger Horchow, and Chicagoan Lois Weisberg, a person who understands the concept of the weak tie. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to “their ability to span many different worlds [… as] a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.”[8]

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Call number: HM1033 .G53 2000


24. “A World Apart: Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars,” Cristina Rathbone

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Page count: 280
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29. “The Hamburger: A History,” Josh Ozersky

May 5, 2009 1 comment

Interesting, quick read. Sometimes the sentence structure was fucking ridiculous, though.

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