What I’ve been reading

Garry Kasparov – Garry Kasparov on Fischer, My Great Predecessors, volume 4 – Fascinating, just imagine if Beethoven had written a book on Mozart.  Most of the page is chess games, but the remaining text is alone worth the price.  Kasparov makes a convincing case that Fischer relied heavily on his opponent’s major blunders, and that he would have a hard time beating many of the best post-1972 players.  Can a subsequent champion make such an argument and keep a gracious tone?  That is just part of what makes the book so interesting.  Here is one review, including an interview.

Ron Chernow – Alexander Hamilton – I’ve reached the point where I hate books on the Founding Fathers, and I vowed I would not touch this one.  But I weakened and it won me over.  It stands as one of the best biographies I have read, plus it is full of economic history.

Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo – He’s Just Not That Into You – Natasha reads me excerpts from this at night.  Recast in rational choice terms, the main point is that women suffer from weakness of will, and require exhortation to adopt higher standards.  They should split up with more guys, most of whom have no intention of marrying them. 

Is the postulated problem — namely excessively low female standards — well-suited for genetic fitness but not utility maximization?  Or was it well-suited for hunter-gatherer society but no longer today?  How elastic is the supply of quality manhood, in response to higher standards from females?  Must we revise the standard economic account that males will invest too much in signaling quality?

Gregory Conko and Gregory Miller – The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the BioTech Revolution – The title says it all, recommended.  Here is a summary interview.

Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson – Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior – Main point: animals are smarter and more sensitive than you think, most of them just happen to be autistic.  After you read the book, this suddenly seems intuitively obvious.  This book I could not put down, and note that one of the authors is herself autistic.


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