Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Books I want to read but won’t have the time to this year
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets (Hardcover) by Sudhir Venkatesh
"Gang Leader for a Day is not another voyeuristic look into the supposedly tawdry, disorganized life of the black poor. Venkatesh entered the Chicago gang world at the height of the crack epidemic and what he found was a tightly organized community, held together by friendship and compassion as well as force. I couldn't stop reading, and ended up loving this brave, reckless young scholar, as well as the gang leader J.T., who has to be one of the greatest characters ever to emerge from something that could be called sociological research."
-- Barbara Ehrenreich
"Gang Leader for a Day is an absolutely incredible book. Sudhir Venkatesh's memoir of his years observing life in Chicago's inner city is a book unlike any other I have read, equal parts comedy and tragedy. How is it that a na•ve suburban kid ends up running a crack gang (if only for a day) on his way to becoming one of the world's leading scholars? You have to read it to find out, but heed this warning: don't pick up the book unless you have a few hours to spare because I promise you will not be able to put it down once you start."
--Steven D. Levitt, co-author, Freakonomics
Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and StickYou with the Bill) (Hardcover) by David Cay Johnston
“If you’re concerned about congressional earmarks, stock options (especially backdated options), hedge fund tax breaks, abuse of eminent domain, subsidies to sports teams, K Street lobbyists, the state of our health-care system, to say nothing of the cavernous gap between rich and poor, you’ll read this fine book—as I did—with a growing sense of outrage. Free Lunch makes it clear that it’s high time for ‘We the People’ to stand up and be counted.”
—John C. Bogle, founder and former chairman, The Vanguard Group
“With clarity, conciseness, and cool, fact-saturated analysis, Mr. Johnston, the premier investigative reporter on how industry and commerce shift risks and costs to taxpayers, sends the ultimate message to all Americans—either we demand to have a say or we will continue to pay, pay, and pay.”
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity (Hardcover) by Robert Kuttner
"If I could assign one book to all the presidential candidates it would be this one. Robert Kuttner, perhaps the most insightful economic commentator in the country, has done it again."
"The Squandering of America brilliantly explains how we once created a cooperative and equitable prosperity, how that economy was captured by a financial elite, and how to reclaim America's economic and political