Teaching What You Don’t Know

teaching what you dont knowCollege teachers often have to teach courses outside their core expertise, but they encounter very little discussion and guidance in the academy about how to go about doing so.  It is this gap that this book attempts to fill.  The author Therese Huston, a cognitive psychologist who directs the Center for Teaching and Learning at Seattle University, provides some valuable tips gleaned from her conversations with 35 faculty members who have taught courses despite being “content novices.” Continue reading

Three Cheers for Migrants!

borderless economicsMy favorite story in this delightful book is that of Mei Xu, the founder of a multimillion dollar multinational firm straddling the US and China. Daughter of two teachers who were “re-educated” at labor camps during China’s Cultural Revolution, Mei was a journalism student at the University of Maryland in the early 1990s when she identified a market need in the US. Though Americans were in spoilt for choice when it came to apparel, she noticed, the same was not true in the case of home décor items. Continue reading

On Inequality

On InequalityIn this delightfully short book, Frankfurt argues against the doctrine of economic egalitarianism i.e. what is morally important in the evaluation of a state of affairs is whether everyone has equal amounts of wealth. He admits to caring about the equal distribution of wealth, but only to the extent that it leads to other outcomes that he cares about (such political or social equality). By itself, whether everyone has equal amount is morally unimportant. Continue reading

The Tricky Business of Measuring Happiness

measuring happinessThe problem, according to the book, of the current measures of happiness used in happiness studies is that the values so obtained are incommensurable over time and people. The following thought examples illustrates the problem.

Suppose a researcher randomly selects Joe and asks him to rate the current tidiness of his home on the scale of 1-10, with 1 representing the least tidy home he can imagine and 10 representing the tidiest. Continue reading

A Happiness Wishlist

Thisbok book cover book is basically a plea in favor of the following aims that the author wants the American society to do pursue through the means of publicly funded programs and mandates.

  • Strengthen marriage and family (by providing marriage counselling, for example)
  • Encourage active forms of leisure
  • Expand programs to relive the distress of the unemployed

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India and its Contradictions

India’s contradiction is a rapidly growing economy with lagging social indicators. Though the country is straggling towards the middle-income status, fully half if its population defecates in the open and its immunization rates are amongst the lowest in South Asia. Sen and Dreze believe that it is important to draw attention to India’s failings so that we do not become complacent. And they do an admirable job in painting the picture of some of country’s failings. Continue reading

India’s Tryst With Destiny

India's Tryst with DestinyThis book by Columbia University economists Bhagwati and Panagariya—two high profile advocates of liberal economic reform in India—has two goals. One is to provide a detailed rebuttal of criticisms put forth by the opponents of liberal reforms. The second is to put forth a manifesto for further liberal reforms to address country-wide malnutrition, poor provision of social services (healthcare and education), deficient infrastructure, and the expropriation of land of the poor. Continue reading