Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 3)

THE END OF AVERAGE by Todd Rose
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"An intriguing view into the evolution and imperfections of our current system but lacking a clear path toward implementing the proposed principles of individuality."
Rose (Director, Mind, Brain, and Education Program/Harvard Univ.; Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers, 2013) rejects the faulty benchmark of average and advocates for principles of individuality in schools and businesses. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"Readers in Texas—and even nationally—who want change should pay attention and get started on the author's to-do lists. She knows the territory, and she wants it back."
How to change the political landscape in Texas, "the reddest of the red-hot states, covered by a big bubble that protects the most reactionary, radical, and rabid set of officeholders that much of the country has ever seen." Read full book review >

THE <i>DEFENDER</i> by Ethan Michaeli
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A pertinent, well-fashioned American success saga."
This chronicle of the influential black Chicago newspaper simultaneously tracks the important issues pertaining to African-American history from the turn of the 19th century. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Though Zoepf demonstrates a few instances of how 'small reform turns out to be even more transformational than its most devoted proponents could have predicted,' the evolving 'personal agency' she witnessed is almost too subtle (yet) to be perceived."
New America Foundation fellow Zoepf attempts to make "the case for small gestures" by extremely circumscribed Arab women. Read full book review >
THE CONFIDENCE GAME by Maria Konnikova
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"With meticulous research and a facility for storytelling, Konnikova makes this intriguing topic absolutely riveting."
What makes a con artist, and why are we duped by them? New Yorker columnist Konnikova (Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, 2013) takes us deeply into the art and psychology of the con game.Read full book review >

FAKE MISSED CONNECTIONS by Brett Fletcher Lauer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"During his journey through online dating, Lauer offered women 'the illusion that [they] could understand me,' which he extends to readers as well."
The tale of how the author's wife's infidelity sent him into the brave new world of Internet dating. Read full book review >
DEMOCRACY IN BLACK by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A powerful and thoughtful call for 'a revolution of value and a radical democratic awakening' aimed at ending America's persistent racial crisis."
Glaude (Chair, African American Studies/Princeton Univ.; African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction, 2014, etc.) explores the worsening state of racial inequality under the nation's first black president.Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A somewhat superficial yet entertaining romp."
Where to find innovators. Read full book review >
CITY OF THORNS by Ben Rawlence
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A significant, timely, and gloomy tale that reveals the human costs of a growing world crisis."
Former Human Rights Watch researcher Rawlence (Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War, 2012) tells the distressing story of Kenya's vast Dadaab refugee camp, where nearly 500,000 people fleeing civil war in nearby Somalia live in a "teeming ramshackle metropolis" the size of Atlanta.Read full book review >
IN THE SLENDER MARGIN by Eve Joseph
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A literate, free-association meditation on the final fact of life."
A fine blend of memoir, contemplation, and reporting by a woman who spent more than 20 years as a counselor in a Victoria, British Columbia, hospice. Read full book review >
BROAD INFLUENCE by Jay Newton-Small
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A cogent argument for gender parity and a revealing look at cultural change."
How women effect change once they reach a critical mass. Read full book review >
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT by Al Roker
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Sincere stories of life as working parents who value family above all else."
Well-known journalists Roker (The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America's Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, 2015, etc.) and Roberts team up to bring readers an intimate look into their family life.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >