Daniel W. Drezner

What I’ll be reading during the break

Now is the winter of your humble blogger’s discontent, only to be made glorious once writing letters of recommendation/grading papers has ceased.  After that, I’m looking forward to reading or re-reading the following six books and articles:  1)  Charles Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends.  A lot of international relations theory starts off with the basic ...

Now is the winter of your humble blogger’s discontent, only to be made glorious once writing letters of recommendation/grading papers has ceased.  After that, I’m looking forward to reading or re-reading the following six books and articles: 

1)  Charles Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends.  A lot of international relations theory starts off with the basic question of "what causes war?"  Kupchan flips this question on its head, asking how enduring rivals decide not go to to war.

2)  Ben Wildavsky, The Great Brain Race.  The first discussion I’ve seen of how universities are competing in an era of globalization for the deepest pockets best minds to educate.  Plus, I was a big fan of this series as a kid.

3)  McKinsey Global Institute, Farewell to Cheap Capital?.  Think of it as a sequel to the global savings glut hypothesis. 

4)  Tyler Cowen, "The Inequality that Matters," The American Interest, January/February 2011.  I think Cowen is overemphasizing the role of finance in explaining rising inequality in the United States (my hunch is that the economics of superstars plays a big role as well), but he raises a very interesting question about whether the financial sector is the Achilles’ heel of free-market democracies. 

5)  The Economist‘s year-end issue.  This is always a treat — a double issue filled with articles about the interesting and the arcane.  This essay on the inefficiency of getting a Ph.D. ("America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships.") is a must-read for anyone contemplating getting a doctorate. 

6)  Linda Schlossberg, Life in Miniature.  All non-fiction and no fiction makes Dan a dull boy.  This delicate first novel, a child’s narrative of her mother’s descent into paranoia, will be of interest for those policy wonks currently working on the war on drugs:  it’s a theme that runs through the book.  Full disclosure: Linda is a friend and gives a great reading. 

[What about John Mearsheimer’s latest in The National Interest?–ed.  Already read it, and I’ll have more to say about in a bit.] 

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