Archives for August 2012

A Labor Day Reading List

Celebrate the economic influence and social contributions of America’s workers with some great books about labor! We’ve compiled a PUP reading list for you to tackle over the long holiday weekend, along with some free chapter excerpts. Enjoy!

  Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? by Robin Archer
Read the Introduction

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever
Read the Introduction

Gurus, Hired Guns, and Warm Bodies: Itinerant Experts in a Knowledge Economy by Stephen R. Barley & Gideon Kunda
Here’s Chapter 1

The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941-1972 by Anthony S. Chen
Check out Chapter 1

 Inventing Equal Opportunity by Frank Dobbin
Here’s Chapter 1

Black and Blue: African Americans, the Labor Movement, and the Decline of the Democratic Party by Paul Frymer
Read Chapter 1

Working-Class Americanism: The Politics of Labor in a Textile City, 1914-1960  by Gary Gerstle

Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance by Boris Groysberg
Here’s the Introduction

 The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market  by Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane
Check out Chapter 1

State of the Union: A Century of American Labor by Nelson Lichtenstein
Read the Introduction

Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter–and More Unequal by Brink Lindsey

  The American Manufactory: Art, Labor, and the World of Things in the Early Republic
Laura Rigal

Selling Women Short: Gender and Money on Wall Street by Louise Marie Roth
Read the Introduction

Innovation and Inequality: How Does Technical Progress Affect Workers? by Gilles Saint-Paul
Check out the Introduction

Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy by Viviana A. Zelizer
Read the Introduction

BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “China has pushed to increase both the quantity of students and the quality of its universities. The total number of undergraduate and graduate degrees quadrupled from 1999 to 2005, while the government spent more than 30 billion yuan
($4.4 billion at 2009 conversion rates) on a group of forty leading universities in an effort to vault them into the top tier worldwide.”

The Great Brain Race:
How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World

by Ben Wildavsky
With a new preface by the author

In The Great Brain Race, former U.S. News & World Report education editor Ben Wildavsky presents the first popular account of how international competition for the brightest minds is transforming the world of higher education—and why this revolution should be welcomed, not feared. Every year, nearly three million international students study outside of their home countries, a 40 percent increase since 1999. Newly created or expanded universities in China, India, and Saudi Arabia are competing with the likes of Harvard and Oxford for faculty, students, and research preeminence. Satellite campuses of Western universities are springing up from Abu Dhabi and Singapore to South Africa. Wildavsky shows that as international universities strive to become world-class, the new global education marketplace is providing more opportunities to more people than ever before.

Drawing on extensive reporting in China, India, the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, Wildavsky chronicles the unprecedented international mobility of students and faculty, the rapid spread of branch campuses, the growth of for-profit universities, and the remarkable international expansion of college rankings. Some university and government officials see the rise of worldwide academic competition as a threat, going so far as to limit student mobility or thwart cross-border university expansion. But Wildavsky argues that this scholarly marketplace is creating a new global meritocracy, one in which the spread of knowledge benefits everyone—both educationally and economically. In a new preface, Wildavsky discusses some of the notable developments in global higher education since the book was first published.

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9694.pdf

The Five Elements of Effective Electing–a guide from Edward Burger

If you’ve ever wondered if the way you’re thinking about things is holding you back, The Five Elements of Effective Thinking  is a must-read. Written by the acclaimed teacher and mathematician Edward Burger—a man whose electrifying teaching style has won him countless awards—the book teaches strategic goals for using our minds to realize goals effectively, creatively, and more successfully. Today Burger takes a specific look at how we’re thinking about voting, offering an alternative to heading to the polls armed with sound bites, our preconceptions, and little else (or, as Jason Brennan would call it, being a bad voter.) Check out Burger’s post here:

 


The Five Elements of Effective Electing

Edward Burger

 

This fall, the US will once again decide its fate by selecting its next batch of national, state, and local government leaders.  In 2008, the previous presidential election year, voter turnout was a whopping 57% of the voting-age population. Using modern political math, that works out to nearly 8 out of every 10 man, woman, and child. If you happen to be one of those patriotic citizens who plans on doing his or her civic duty on November 6 by pulling a lever, “X”-ing a box, or punching a chad, then the 64,000-dollar question (or with the help of today’s Super PACs, the 3.2 billion-dollar question) is: For whom will you vote?

Very recently I co-authored, with Michael Starbird, a tiny but practical guide to better thinking entitled, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking. It offers everyone—students, teachers, parents, professionals, and life-long learners—the opportunity to “make up” their own minds and better tap their creativity and imagination through stories and examples as well as concrete action-items that can be directly applied to any circumstance and that can become useful habits to provoke thought. Here I briefly apply some of the lessons we developed to offer a straightforward way of determining your ideal candidate.

Identify and understand the issues that matter. The cost of a candidate’s haircut or a particularly fetching outfit’s designer might not be on the top of your list of issues that truly matter. Despite the topics on which the media or even the candidates themselves decide to focus, you need to determine which issues are important to you—whether they be social, national security, or financial issues, or issues that directly impact your community or family. Don’t let the media dictate what’s important to you. Work hard to deeply understand those issues you identified as well as why you’ve embraced the views you have. Invest the time to prioritize those issues so you know what matters most to you. Focus on the essentials.

Observe how well the candidates fail. Anyone who strives to be imaginative, creative, or bold will eventually make a misstep.  If your candidate has never failed, ask yourself, what—if anything—has that person been doing? If your candidate has failed, determine what lessons that person has learned from that experience. Study how the candidates evolved and moved, and decide if you agree with those corrected paths. Failing—unintentionally or deliberately—presents one with a great gift: the opportunity to learn, grow, and innovate. Discover exactly what the candidates have done in the past when they’ve stumbled upon or purposely solicited such a “gift.” If failing did not provoke a new insight or change in thinking, then you might want to keep shopping for candidates. Failure is a fantastic tool for moving forward.

Ask the right questions. Many questions will be hurled at the candidates and it’s often entertaining to watch politicians uncomfortably squirm or use the Teflon-approach and dodge those speeding queries faster than the man of steal. But by watching that drama unfold on-line or on TV, you are merely a passive listener. Instead, become an active listener: Create your own questions as you listen to the candidates or as you read their platforms and proposals. Even if you’re not one of the lucky few who actually get to directly question those politicians, you should still deliberately raise those questions in your mind.  Then discover who addresses those issues and assess their stands. By doing so, you are custom-tailoring the campaigns to your interests, concerns, and values. Become an active listener: Hear what is said, and often more importantly, take note of what is missing.

Determine where we’ve been and where you think we should go. One of the quotes that inevitably surfaces during a presidential campaign is: “This is the most important election in this country’s history.” Unless our voting district is Lake Woebegone, every presidential election cannot be the most important ever.  A more accurate and less melodramatic statement might be, “This is an extremely important election in this country’s future.” It is not wise to view an event or issue as sitting alone in a vacuum of a single moment in history (even if it’s touted as, “the most important”). You need to examine everything within context: From where we are emerging, to where we are today and where we need to go.  With presidential politics, it’s essential to look back (both long-term and short-term) and articulate the gains we’ve made as well as the losses we’ve incurred. Then you can thoughtfully assess our current state, define local and global directions in which to move forward, and find the candidate that shares that similar vision. Always focus on the flow—what’s past, what’s the here and now, and what’s next.

Decide how you want to change. By following the four previous modes of thinking, you will be transformed—you will realize new insights, identify other points of view, uncover unintended consequences, and even generate original thoughts. Through this process, you will not only quietly and clearly discover to your ideal candidate, but you will also discover your ideal self.

Focusing solely on sound bites, political pundits, and commercials is tantamount to flipping a coin in the voting booth or even worse, mindlessly handing your vote over to the loudest voice. Instead, cast your vote effectively and intelligently. As Mike Starbird and I wrote in the last chapter of our book:

When the American Founding Fathers imagined a democracy that would reflect the will of the people, the people they envisioned were thoughtful, independent-thinking citizens who would understand the issues of their day and would turn their own clear wisdom to making sound decisions for the benefit of society. Surely more than ever, the world needs thoughtful voices—voices that can ignore the bombast and heat of shallow excitement and focus instead on thinking calmly and sensibly about long-term goals and consequences. These elements of effective thinking will help you to become a quintessential citizen of the world—contributing personally and professionally, locally and globally.

Edward Burger can be reached at  eburger@williams.edu and followed (on Twitter) @ebb663. For more information about The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, visit www.elementsofthinking.com or follow @5thinking. Burger is the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, an educational and business consultant, and most recently served as Vice Provost for Strategic Educational Initiatives at Baylor University. He is the author of over 60 research articles, books, and video series (starring in over 3,000 on-line videos). Among his many awards and honors, the Huffington Post named him one of their 2010 Game Changers; “HuffPost’s Game Changers salutes 100 innovators, visionaries, mavericks, and leaders who are reshaping their fields and changing the world.” In 2012, Microsoft Worldwide Education selected him as one of their “Heroes in Education”.


 

Brink Lindsey discusses his new eBook HUMAN CAPITALISM with Glenn Loury on Bloggingheads

ELECTION TUESDAY

FACT: “Both sides in the presidential contest of 1800 used religion for political advantage. While many of Jefferson’s opponents deemed him unfit for high national office because he was an infidel or atheist, at the same time Jeffersonian Republicans made the cynical and inaccurate charge that John Adams was intent on the establishment of a national church in order to bring religious dissenters over to his side. Alexander Hamilton charged Jefferson and his supporters with hyperbolic opposition to the ‘honest enthusiasm of Religious Opinion,’ while engaging in their own ‘Phrenzy of Political fanaticism.’”

Religion in American Politics: A Short History
by Frank Lambert

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention blocked the establishment of Christianity as a national religion. But they could not keep religion out of American politics. From the election of 1800, when Federalist clergymen charged that deist Thomas Jefferson was unfit to lead a “Christian nation,” to today, when some Democrats want to embrace the so-called Religious Left in order to compete with the Republicans and the Religious Right, religion has always been part of American politics. In Religion in American Politics, Frank Lambert tells the fascinating story of the uneasy relations between religion and politics from the founding to the twenty-first century.

Lambert examines how antebellum Protestant unity was challenged by sectionalism as both North and South invoked religious justification; how Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” competed with the anticapitalist “Social Gospel” during postwar industrialization; how the civil rights movement was perhaps the most effective religious intervention in politics in American history; and how the alliance between the Republican Party and the Religious Right has, in many ways, realized the founders’ fears of religious-political electoral coalitions. In these and other cases, Lambert shows that religion became sectarian and partisan whenever it entered the political fray, and that religious agendas have always mixed with nonreligious ones.

Religion in American Politics brings rare historical perspective and insight to a subject that was just as important—and controversial—in 1776 as it is today.

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i8616.pdf

Be sure to check in every Tuesday for a new tidbit from our great selection of politically-minded books.

Exclusive excerpt from The Democracy Index demonstrates how lack of election data impacts policies to combat voter fraud

Download an exclusive excerpt from this book,

A TALE OF TWO REFORMERS:
A New-style Reformer Encounters
an Old Problem

Now that the candidates are selected and the campaigns are well underway, it seems as though politicos are turning an eye to the actual process of voting, and more specifically to ways to combat voter fraud. Pennsylvania is the latest state to require photo identification at the polls, a move that some view as disenfranchising voters in a key state with lots of electoral votes in the mix. In this exclusive excerpt from The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It, Heather Gerken describes an earlier battle over voter ID laws (the Carter-Baker Commission) to illustrate what happens when you don’t have good data on which to base public policy.

Chuck Myers, Group Publishers of the Social Sciences, provides some additional context:

According to the polls we are facing a very close presidential election in which a few votes in a couple of swing states could determine who our next president will be. And yet our system of voting and counting our votes is a patchwork of local jurisdictions employing various technologies often of dubious quality that manages to lose or miscount thousands of votes in each election.

In addition, allegedly because of fear of possible voter fraud, many states are actually making it harder for citizens to cast their ballots, depriving more voters of their franchise. When an election is a lopsided contest, a few thousand votes one way or the other might not make any difference; however as we saw in Florida in 2000, in a close election miscounted votes–or voters who don’t even have a chance to vote because of their failure to meet purely technical requirements like having an official photo ID– have a real impact.

In The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It, Heather Gerken explores the problems created by our mismanaged electoral system and offers a solution to the problem, a solution driven by creating competition among jurisdictions for creating systems of voting that make it easier to vote and more certain that the votes will be accurately counted. She calls for an investment in collecting extensive data on the scope of the problem as well as the issue of voter fraud and then sets up a democracy index that will rank jurisdictions according to how well they perform in allowing Americans to perform a basic rite of citizenship.

 

Click here to download the PDF, A TALE OF TWO REFORMERS: A New-style Reformer Encounters an Old Problem.

 


From A TALE OF TWO REFORMERS: A New-style Reformer Encounters an Old Problem:

Spencer Overton’s problem is that he is fighting for change in a world without data. Indeed, he found himself in the middle of one of the biggest election reform battles we’ve seen in recent years—one that made it all the way to the Supreme Court—and lost in large part because he didn’t have the data he needed to make his case.

The fight was over voter identification—the requirement that voters show a government-issued photo ID when they cast a ballot at the polls. Voter ID has been a significant source of contention in election circles. Conservative commentators insist that an ID requirement deters fraud. Liberal commentators counter that the requirement is a disguised effort to suppress (largely Democratic) votes.* The rhetoric on both sides of the issue has been quite heated, with one side talking about stolen elections and the other side equating ID requirements with vote suppression.

Overton became embroiled in the issue when it was taken up by the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former Democratic president Jimmy Carter and former Republican secretary of state James Baker. Though most of the members of the bipartisan commission had strong political ties, it included a handful of academics, including Overton.

The Carter-Baker Commission eventually staked out a position on voter ID that looked an awful lot like a political deal. It roughly tracked the compromise that would emerge if a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican sat down to work out something both sides could live with. The commission blessed the ID requirement (something Republicans usually want) while demanding that the state take affirmative steps to distribute IDs (something that Democrats would want if forced to accept an ID requirement).

Deal or no deal, the main problem with the commission’s position was that it was utterly unsupported by empirical evidence. A pure political compromise can be produced without coming to grips with the empirics; a sound decision cannot. Although the commission did an excellent job of amassing data on how our election system is run in many areas, this was not one where it managed to find much. As the commission itself stated, there is “no extensive evidence of fraud in the United States.” To the extent there is any evidence of fraud, it is almost entirely due to absentee voting scams or ballot-box stuffing, not the type of fraudulent in-person voting that photo ID is supposed to deter. The only other justification that the commission offered for its decision was that a photo ID requirement would enhance public trust in the system. That claim, too, was unsupported by empirical evidence (and may have been misplaced).

Overton did his best to persuade the other members of the commission not to endorse an ID requirement. Most advocates contesting voter ID have simply invoked civil-rights rhetoric. Overton called upon that tradition, but he mainly focused on the kind of cold-blooded cost-benefit arguments that conservatives stereotypically use. Working with the Brennan Center, he tried to amass data on the effects, good and bad, of photo ID. When he failed to change the majority’s mind, he published a forcefully worded dissent. I saw Overton a day after the fight went public. I’ve never seen anyone more exhausted.

The reason Overton faced such an uphill slog is that the data were haphazard and inconsistent. As he discovered, “No systematic, empirical study of the magnitude of voter fraud has been conducted at either the national level or in any state to date.” Nor were there any good studies on an ID requirement’s effect on voter behavior.

*That’s because many people from traditionally Democratic constituencies—poor people, racial
minorities—lack a driver’s license and would find it cumbersome to get an ID.

New 2012 Political Science & Law Catalog and #APSA2012 Announcement

We invite you to check out new and forthcoming books in our 2012 political science & law catalog at:
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/polisci12.pdf

We are sorry to say we will not see you at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Due to Hurricane/Storm Isaac we decided to play it safe and not attend. Is everyone going to Vegas now? Yes, we’re following the #APSA2012 tweets.

Even though you won’t find our booth at APSA, you can still order PUP books using the conference discount. Because we could not make it to the meeting, we are offering 30% off when you order at press.princeton.edu. Please enter code P05129 in the Catalog Code box when you check out. Your discount will be applied when the order is processed. This special offer expires October 31, 2012. You can also order by phone at 1-800-777-4726, just make sure to mention the special offer code P05129.

You can start browsing the catalog, or start browsing these great new and forthcoming titles below (just to name a few):

The Unheavenly Chorus:
Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy

Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba & Henry E. Brady
Read chapter one online.

The Spirit of Compromise:
Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It

Amy Gutmann & Dennis Thompson
Read the introduction online.

How to Win an Election:
An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

Quintus Tullius Cicero
Translated and with an introduction by Philip Freeman
Read the introduction online.

Creating a New Racial Order:
How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Vesla M. Weaver & Traci R. Burch
Read the introduction online.

Solomon’s Knot:
How Law Can End the Poverty of Nations

Robert D. Cooter & Hans-Bernd Schäfer
Read chapter one online.

And of special interest – two chapters available for free download:
The Gamble
by John Sides & Lynn Vavreck

The Hand You’re Dealt and Random, or Romney?

We hope everyone stays safe. We’ll see you next year at APSA!

To learn more about new political science and law books, you can sign up for our new book e-mail announcements at:
http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/

Check out the new animated cover for The Gamble by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck

As noted in an earlier post, we are trying something completely new by publishing e-chapters from The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election well ahead of book publication, so why not try something new with the jacket as well? Here you have the perfect image for a book about the close presidential election, the teetering White House alternately dipping to the red and blue.

To delve into the debates over animated book jackets, try these links:

Has Kindle Killed the Book Cover?, The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/has-kindle-killed-the-book-cover/255935/

Is the Book Cover Dead?, Technology Review: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/427686/is-the-book-cover-dead/

Gorgeous re-imagined Picador jackets: http://www.picador.com/blogs/2012/2/Picador-40th-Animated-Book-Covers

Designers on Book Covers of the Future: http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/02/designers-on-book-covers-of-the-future/

Another animated jacket for a YA novel, http://yabookreads.com/blog/2011/10/28/my-soul-to-steal-animated-book-jacket/

I couldn’t find too many other animated book jackets — do you know of others? Leave a link in the comments below to other animated book jackets.

Thanks!

Lynn Vavreck and John Sides explain why and how they wrote The Gamble

Read up on the unique publishing story of The Gamble here: http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2012/08/24/free-e-chapters-available-from-the-gamble-by-john-sides-and-lynn-vavreck/.

 

Download THE GAMBLE: “The Hand You’re Dealt” here:
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9920.html

Download THE GAMBLE: “Random, or Romney?” here:
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9921.html

 

Thank you to UCLA for creating this wonderful interview.

Free E-chapters available from The Gamble by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck

Princeton University Press has never shied away from trying new things when it comes to academic publishing and our latest venture, The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election by Lynn Vavreck and John Sides is no exception. That Princeton University Press would publish a book of analysis by two top notch political scientists isn’t news, but the way we’re doing it certainly is.

 

Anyone who follows politics and particularly Election 2012 knows that political pundits are everywhere. But you probably also know that their analysis is often either based on anecdotes and personal experience or seems biased toward one political party’s views. This is all the more reason we need objective, scholarly analysis by accomplished political scientists. However, a typical political science book from an academic press about the 2012 election might appear two to three years from now, well after interest in the election has faded.

 

“Political scientists have much to offer all of us in understanding how voters make choices, what impact campaigns have on elections, the role of big money, and the role of political parties and interest groups in elections, among other issues. And yet nearly all the work is published years after the elections take place,” notes Chuck Myers, Executive Editor and Group Publisher of the Social Sciences at Princeton University Press

 

So, we are pushing the limits of academic publishing by releasing several free e-chapters from the book as they are completed. The result is peer-reviewed scientific analysis in real-time and a chance to inject a dose of reality into a discourse too often dominated by speculation and folklore.

 

Download THE GAMBLE: “The Hand You’re Dealt” here:
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9920.html

Download THE GAMBLE: “Random, or Romney?” here:
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9921.html

 

THE GAMBLE gives political science a voice in the ongoing conversation about this campaign,” says Sides. “It brings hard data to bear and casts doubt on a lot of commentary and conventional wisdom.”

 

“If you want to understand what’s happening in this election, you have to understand the data,” explains Vavreck. “We have great partners in YouGov and General Sentiment providing us with mountains of data that we can analyze to help readers understand what really mattered and what did not.”

 

The first two e-chapters of THE GAMBLE“The Hand You’re Dealt” and “Random or Romney”—begin to tell the story of the 2012 presidential election.

 

“The Hand You’re Dealt” describes the lay of the land at the end of 2011, as we enter into the election year. Sides and Vavreck explain why President Obama may be better positioned than a weak economy would typically predict.

 

“Sixty years of economic and election data tell us this should be a close election for President Obama, but his general likability and the public’s inclination to blame his predecessor for the economic downturn are making him more popular than we might expect given the slowly growing economy,” explains Vavreck. “People just generally like President Obama, and in a close election, that could make all the difference.”

 

“Random or Romney” challenges the “anyone but Romney” myth. It demonstrates that, despite the surges of candidates like Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich during the fall of 2011, by the eve of the Iowa caucus Mitt Romney was well-positioned to win. And in contrast to commentators who emphasized Romney’s problems with conservatives, Sides and Vavreck show that conservative Republicans had more favorable views of Romney than did moderate Republicans—suggesting that he would ultimately be able to unite the party, as in fact he has.

 

“What most people don’t understand is that Romney went into the primaries popular and stayed popular. He was already a familiar candidate to the media, so they tended to pay more attention to the other candidates whenever they did something noteworthy. The news coverage helped the other candidates surge in the polls, but their temporary surges didn’t mean Romney was disliked within the party,” says Sides. “Another myth is that Romney needed help in mobilizing the base. The data tell us that this is not really true.”

 

“The Hand You’re Dealt” and “Random or Romney” are now available at Princeton University Press’s website and through online retailers. Additional chapters that discuss the rest of the GOP primary, the summer campaign, the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate, and the conventions will be available closer to the election. In total, four chapters from THE GAMBLE will be released prior to the publication of the physical book in September 2013, and Sides and Vavreck hope that this early material starts a dialogue with readers.

 

Myers expands on this novel publishing program, saying, “We hope that the finished book will benefit from the comments of our readers, taking advantage of ‘the cloud’ to improve the analysis and the presentation of the story of the 2012 presidential election.”

 

The book’s web site: http://thegamble2012.com/

 

About the Authors:

 

Lynn Vavreck and John Sides are authoritative voices on voting behavior and campaign effects in political science. Vavreck (lvavreck@ucla.edu, @vavreck) is Associate Professor of Political Science and Communication Studies at UCLA and is author of The Message Matters and co-author of Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence, & The Logic of American Politics. In 2003, she helped start an online survey research company that became YouGov/America, and in 2010 she co-founded Model Politics, a political blog dedicated to bringing data to bear on contemporary questions. She has been interviewed in the media on campaigns, elections, and media research.

 

Sides (jsides@gwu.edu, @monkeycageblog), an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, is a leading authority on public opinion and voting behavior in the United States and abroad. He is co-author of Campaigns and Elections: Rules, Reality, Strategy, Choice and is co-founder of and contributor to The Monkey Cage, an award-winning blog about politics and political science. He is also an occasional contributor to the 538 Blog at the New York Times and Wonkblog at the Washington Post. His writing has appeared at the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Review, Salon, the New York Daily News, Al Jazeera, the Washington Monthly, the American Prospect, and Bloomberg View and he has been interviewed in the media numerous times in recent years.

BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “According to the archaeological record, the cranial capacity of humans living 250,000 years ago was roughly the same as ours (about 1300-1500 cubic centimeters), granting individual variation then, as now. (For comparison, chimpanzee brains are about 400 cc, and the Homo erectus brain was only about 800-1100 cc, based on cranial size.) Whether the details of neural anatomy were the same is of course unknown, since the brain rapidly decays after death.”

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
by Patricia S. Churchland

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the “neurobiological platform of bonding” that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality.

Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals—the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves—first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider “caring” circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality.

A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9399.pdf

PUP Design Books at Designers & Books

Do you ever find yourself searching around endlessly for what art, architecture, or design book to read next? Well, if you’re coming up empty-handed after key-term searching phrases like, “Books Every Architect Should Read,” “Books All Fashion Designers Must Read,” or “Books Graphic Designers Need to Read,” there’s a pretty nifty “design books” website out there for you. The people at Designers & Books have really picked up on the intricate relationship between design/designers and books.

According to their website, Designers & Books aims to compile lists of books that “[E]steemed members of the international design community identify as important, meaningful, and formative—books that have shaped their values, their worldview, and their ideas about design.”

Whether interested in books on architecture, web design, fashion design, urban design, product design, or anything design related, this website offers an easily navigable interface that allows you to keep track of your own design Reading List. Designers & Books also lists publishers, which allows you to access an individual publisher’s forthcoming titles, recently published titles, and selected backlist titles.

Take a look at the list Designers & Books created for Princeton University Press’s Design titles. It’s a great selection!