*Engineers of Jihad*

The authors are Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog and the subtitle is The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education.  This is an interesting and important book, and the core message is pretty simple:

In the Islamist sample [of terrorists] we were able to find the discipline of study for 207 of the 231 individuals who at some point had full or partial exposure to higher education…Unsurprisingly, the second most numerous group comprises 38 individuals who pursued Islamic studies.  But the largest group among the Islamist extremists is that of the engineers: 93 out of 207 individuals, or 44.9 percent of those whose type of degree we know, studied this subject.

And here is from the book’s conclusion:

Our findings about disciplines, personality traits, and political preferences are remarkably consistent.  The outstanding result we obtained is that the distribution of traits across disciplines mirrors almost exactly the distribution of disciplines across militant groups…engineers are present in groups in which social scientists, humanities graduates, and women are absent, and engineers possess traits — proneness to disgust, need for closure, in-group bias, and (at least tentatively) simplism…

Definitely recommended.


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