One of the best books on college admissions in recent memory.

WHO GETS IN AND WHY

A YEAR INSIDE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

A veteran higher education reporter pries open the gates to the college admissions process and distills his findings in a book sure to help students and parents navigate their search.

During the 2018-2019 school year, Selingo accompanied admissions officials at Emory University, Davidson College, and the University of Washington as they read thousands of applications, sorted them into admit and reject piles, and then made the painful final cuts. He opens with the closing days of admissions at Emory, where officials received 30,000 applications and were filling the 721 spots left for regular decision applicants after two rounds of early admissions. The author sets the scene to show why lovingly crafted essays get cursory reads and why many students with perfect SAT scores and straight-A records are rejected in favor of applicants that show evidence of leadership and perseverance. Selingo’s message for parents and students: When it comes to admissions, it’s not about you; it’s about the college. “College admissions,” he writes, “is a business—a big one—that you have very little control over. Top colleges are inundated with more well-qualified applicants than they can accommodate.” Admissions officers are looking for the ideal class, one that will enhance the college’s reputation and bring in money. They must assemble the right mix of top students, athletes, legacies, underserved students, and those who can pay the full price of up to $75,000 per year. Selingo, who writes that he is “astonished and frustrated” at the preoccupation with a small group of elite colleges, hammers home several points: Apply to colleges that will actually accept you. Consider what you and your parents can really afford, and carefully scrutinize financial aid offers. Think as much about what you will do once you’re in college as where you will go. In this meticulously researched and evenhanded book, the author provides a unique mix of in-depth reporting, insight, and advice that may save readers needless frustration and thousands of dollars.

One of the best books on college admissions in recent memory.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982116-29-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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